When I was a kid, I was supposed to graduate from high school and go to work in a lumber mill for 40 or so years, and then retire. It didn’t work out that way. Instead, I worked in a mill then went to university. I almost stayed there – it was my way of staying clear of the labour market. There were certain things that scared me away from it.

I really didn’t want to work – but I did. From the mill, I worked as a street busker where I once made $60 in ½ hour,  a longshoreman, a guitar player, a student, and I spent 13 years as a professional archaeologist. In grad school I shifted course and became a Street Worker working with at-risk teenagers, an employment counsellor, a fitness instructor, and now I am an employment specialist. I have no idea what that means, but I get paid for doing what I should – whatever that may be.

The job that kept my umbilical cord permanently attached to the apron strings of academia was when I had to be an apple with a worm sticking out of it.

The Pacific National Exhibition is an annual late-summer fair that has occurred for over 100 years. For many a Vancouverite, it spelled the first job. Teenagers were hired as cleaners, gate attendants and a host of other “reasonable” jobs. These were jobs that you could go home from feeling proud that you’ve done a great job. These were jobs that you could look forward to getting up for in the morning.

Not for me I got to be apple with a worm sticking out of it.

There were other mascots. There were skunks, clowns, and even pantomime horses. I wanted to ne a skunk, or even the back end of a horse. But no. I got to be an apple with a worm sticking out of it. You needed seniority to be a skunk or a horse’s ass. There was only room at the PNE for one apple with a worm sticking out of it, and that, dear readers, was me.

There is something about an apple with a worm sticking out of it that brings out the worst in people. I was shoved, kicked, and the little hoodlums would spit in my peeping hole. When I went off shift, I didn’t head for the nearest A&W like everyone else. I went to the washroom in the cow barn to rub liniment on my bruised legs and to clean spit out of my hair.

I lasted as an apple with a worm sticking out of it for a week. I was caught dishing out revenge in the crowd. I examined the position of the worm relative to the spit … er… peeping hole. I reckoned that if I angled the apple at the right angle, I could make an effective defensive weapon. If I angled down to my left side, I found that I could disperse the crowd by mimicking the actions of a mad rhinoceros.

Late in the afternoon, I followed  my last pack of tormentors. I started to goose them with the work, and at one point I had one young fellow buy the pant leg. Swaying back and forth, I clubbed a few of them .

“You can’t use a costume as a weapon, Mike,”  my supervisor said while hand-writing my termination slip. “These costumes are expensive. “

My therapist told me I shouldn’t talk about the carnage I created, and I suppose he’s right.

That was my worst job. What was (or is) yours?

Mike Broderick is an Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he finds employment for people with physical disabilities. Part of this work means affiliation with the Vancouver Board of Trade where he is a member of the Ambassador Club, the Burnaby Board of Trade where he is a member of the Labour Task Force, the Tri Cities Chamber of Commerce where he is an active member of the 10X10 initiative, and the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce. He does some work as a field Archaeologist and is a  fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to alive magazine in Port Coquitlam. You can reach him at home at   or at

If you’re looking for a career change, he is the Spin Doctor and can give you a resume makeover at competitive rates

When he is not doing all this he lives in Port Coquitlam with his partner Cecelia.


3 Responses to “MY WORST JOB”

  1. Employment Specialist | YSA | Free Job Search Info Says:

    […] MY WORST JOB « SpinDoctorResumes […]

  2. energywriter Says:

    LOL! I can see it all.

    Being a target comes with all those types of costumes. We used to do Smoky Bear and Woodsy Owl and received similar treatment, usually in 90 degree days.

  3. mikebroderick Says:

    I would have mentioned the heat inside that damned thing. Sweat would cascade down my legs and sting the wound on my shins.


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