Patrick Lencioni just came out with his book, Three Signs of a Miserable Job: A Fable for Managers. I've read many of his books, but I haven't read this one yet.  However, the title has me thinking where he might go in the book.

All of us have bad days at work.  We might even go so far as to say we were miserable that day.  But how do you know if you have a miserable job?  I would imagine it somewhat comes down to the eyes of the beholder.

(Yes, this lady in Thailand does this show 3-4 times a day as part of her job.)

I read this post the other day, and it got me thinking of my past, and how God used some downright dirty jobs to build character in me.  Here are a few of my highlights dating back 20 years:

1. Grocery Store "Exterminator".  Technically, my job began as a bag-boy, and then evolved into the produce department.  However, this particular grocery store had a serious rat problem.  I'm not talking about nice mice.  These were huge.  Many nights, I got paid to stay after hours (when grocery stores didn't stay open 24 hours a day) to set rat traps in the ceiling, clean up the droppings in the warehouse, and shoot rats all throughout the store with my BB gun.

2. Septic Pond Cleaner. During the summer of 1990, I got paid to do many jobs at a camp I worked at in Colorado.  One of the most interesting was the one involving raw sewage.  This camp had three septic ponds.  The first was raw sewage.  It flowed into two other ponds to be chemically treated before being sprinkled out on the mountains.

Between the first and second pond, they had a cinder brick wall, lined with mesh netting where the raw sewage would seep into the second pond.  But there was a problem.  The "solids" didn't seep that well.  Instead, they would clog up the mesh netting.  It was my job to get in a small aluminum boat, paddle through raw sewage, and use a pool skimmer to unclog the mesh netting of that raw sewage.

3. Traffic Ticket Writer. Yes, this was a student job while I was in college at LSU.  I was one of the ticket writers you were bugged by back in your college years.  Each day between 3:30 and 7pm, I would wander the campus issuing tickets for cars either not registered with the school, or illegally parked.  Talk about a way to not win friends and influence people.

4. Maid. For extra money in college, I cleaned a few different offices.  Each weekend I would load up my cleaning supplies, and head out to a nearby office park.  It was there that I perfected the art of cleaning toilets and vacuuming in such a way to leave the pristine vacuum prints in the carpet.

Forget about your day-to-day struggles with your current job.  Think back to your past.

Can any of your past jobs beat those on my list?

For more blog posts like this on leading, following, parenting, fostering, and family, visit Kevin's blog at www.followingtolead.com.