I had been meaning to make this a post but the moment simply arose.

In response to this comment:

Our grad students get 27K annually, a formal hourly rate that is just a little over what our dishwasher gets ($11/hour). And they always work more than 40 hours a week. So as a “real job” grad school totally sucks.

I said:

You know, I’ve had a post or poll idea nagging at me for a while- might as well ask it here. How many people whining about grad student salaries have ever worked a real, low paying job? One with hard work, long hours and a view of the 40-50 something workers telling you that there might not be any significant change on the horizon.

What was your worst job, how old were you and how long did you stick it out? (no, parenthood not included!)

and this:

I should point out for the nonscientists that “dishwasher” in this context refers to someone hired to wash laboratory glassware so the grad students and scientific technicians don’t have to do it. Not some poor chump sweating his/her way through a shift in a cramped kitchen loading the dishwasher for a restaurant.

also, US Federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. At 2080 hours per year (52 wks X 40 hrs) that works out to be $15K per year.

So how about it folks? What actual low-paying real jobs have you had? None of them worse than the conditions of being worked and paid like a graduate student?