Like most young students, I spent several years working part time in retail – there’s nothing like customer service to make you think carefully about how you treat people! There were the usual customers – those that turned up 5 minutes before we closed and hung around for an hour, those that firmly believed that because I was 19 I had no advice to give (if you aren’t even going to consider what I say why ask?), the really fun people that threw all the clothing items onto the changing room floor and left without a word. I have to admit nothing really horrendous happened there: no bodily fluids or obvious shoplifters to contend with. There was the coworker with insanely long toenails though, so there’s that.
For a long time I spent my day-to-days studying sleep – the mechanisms, patterns and processes. It was somewhat discordant to discover that studying sleep meant I wouldn’t get much of it myself. I get more now that I don’t work as a sleep tech but for a while there I used to stay up all night to watch people sleep and then head to University during the day to stumble blearily through classes. Working in a sleep lab taught me to hate that feeling of exhaustion, where your eyes roll involuntarily and your body feels like the earth’s gravitational pull is steadily increasing, weighing you down. It did make for some interesting stories though!
One lady was very offended that I opted to wear gloves while applying the sensors, then later mentioned in passing that she had scabies (good thing I wore those gloves then, you crazy old bat!). A gentleman came in who hadn’t slept properly in years, once the CPAP (a device to treat sleep disordered breathing) was applied he slept so well he wet the bed – the poor man then had to come tell me about it in the morning. I can’t imagine how mortified he must have been having to do that. I had no choice but to make it sound like it happened all the time! Hundreds of people do this! Bed wetters all around! He picked up some impressive speed on his way out of that lab, let me tell you.
Another ridiculous job I had involved manually recording everything a specific group of people did – to determine exactly how they did their jobs. I literally had to track their eye movements to see if they were focusing on the correct screens during their work days – I cannot even begin to describe how boring this was.
Now? Now I collect urine samples. Even then I probably don’t deal with as many random bodily fluids as your average Starbucks employee, but still.
It really makes me think about what I’ve opted to do with my life…