Today's Worst Job in America


I’m starting a new feature here at Team Building is for Suckers where I will identify the day’s worst job in America — and by worst job, I mean the worst job where random, good-natured people have to deal with my irrationality and stomach it with a smile.

The first, worst job in America? Vet tech.

Today’s worst job? Front desk clerk at the local fitness center.

First of all, I hate the gym. There is nothing fun about driving over to a germ-infested sweatbox and forcing my fat ass onto an elliptical machine. When I’m at the gym, I have one goal:

  • Get in & get out without making a fool of myself in always-too-tight lycra pants.

My local gym has a policy where they greet you, swipe your card, and ask, “What are you working on, today?”

This question always throws me. Here’s how I usually answer it.

  • I don’t. I just take my card and say, “Thank you.”
  • I respond, “Why are you asking me? Do you just ask the fatties?”
  • I once said (with a passive-aggressive smile), “I don’t tell the government what I’m doing. Why should I tell you?”

I learned — during one of these tense exchanges — that the policy is to ask everyone this insane & ridiculous question. The gym wants to ensure that fitness personnel are properly staffed throughout the facility. I think this is a stupid and inefficient policy, and I responded, “Why don’t you create a more thoughtful workforce strategy and staff your gym accordingly?”

Here’s another idea: they could ask the question they want answered.

  • “Are you planning on swimming, today? If so, I’ll alert the lifeguard.”
  • “Are you working in the weight area, today? I’ll call someone from the fitness office if you need assistance.”

I just think the question — “What are you working on, today?” — is too broad and somewhat invasive. Sometimes I feel like cardio. Sometimes I’ll take a class at the last minute. There are other times when it takes me fifteen minutes to decide if I want to hop on the treadmill or leave & go to the closest Starbucks.

Today’s response was a classic-Laurie response: I rolled my eyes.

I know these kids at the front desk are just doing their jobs, but really, please, stop asking me why I’m at the gym. I’m at the gym because my anxiety flares up when I don’t exercise. I’m at the gym because I find that my self-esteem is better when I exercise. I’m at the gym because I don’t want to have a heart attack when I’m forty.

If you promise to stop asking me, kids, I promise to stop giving you dirty looks.

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