Memories – Office job

August 1, 2011


Note: I am entering the time of year where I work during the day and make home visits to students during the evenings. These ‘Memories’ posts are part of a system to keep me sane. Enjoy these silly stories.

A long time ago, way, way back in the early 90’s, Lloyd and I worked together up in Minnesota for Oetting’s Detasseling during the summers. Actually, Lloyd and Brad had worked for them since the 80’s, but they both had the yucky job of actually detasseling in the fields.

‘What is detassleling?’, you ask? Well, it’s basically corn castration. Big companies that grow seed corn (corn grown to sell as seed) like to make mutant hybrid versions. So they plant a field with a pattern of four rows of one kind of corn followed by one row of another kind of corn. Slaves strong, young, well-paid workers walk through the fields and pull off the tippy-top of the corn plant – the tassel – off the four rows so that the tassels from the one row will fertilize all the plants. Here endeth the lesson.

I am not up for that kind of hard labor. Those kids got up at four in the morning so they could be in the fields before the harsh sun showed its face and burned them all alive. Nope, I landed myself a cushy office job. I had the pleasure of letting which crews know where they’d be sweating that day, then fielding phone calls from angry mothers asking if I knew how hard their child was working. “Builds character,” I would reply between mouthfuls of bon-bons.

I also got to use the fax machine – the premier technology of the day.. I liked to make my own cover sheets when requesting items from the home office back in Nebraska.

Perspective is hard.

Whew. I really sweated making that one. I should have had my mom call me to complain.

About Lauren

Lauren Sommerer is a preschool teacher who likes to build prototypes, grow cats, cook things once, save money, reduce, reuse and recycle.

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4 Responses to “Memories – Office job”

  1. Brad Said on:

    The upside of being a field worker was that you were done by 1 or 2. But then you had to go to bed at 6 because you were so tired.


  2. Peggy Said on:

    HA! Besides a cool fax cover sheet, that would make an awesome bank hold up note too.


  3. Mark Said on:

    I think that picture ought to be your gravitar for a few more weeks.


  4. Gretchen Said on:

    I’m a day late on this comment, but I can totally relate to the complaining parents. When I managed a pool for the summer I had to deal with teenage employees -- and their parents who would call me to tell me they couldn’t work. I hope the parents got a cut of their paychecks (that is, when they actually did work.)


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