Phoebe Buffay was a friend who truly loved her job. She’d found aromatherapy and decided to become a massage therapist early on in her life. That said, her work hours were difficult, and being an independent masseuse, she was often strapped for cash.
Hustle was a part of Phoebe’s life on Friends and she sought solace in her music. In between finding stability working as a freelance massage therapist, she also tried her hand at telemarketing and catering. Fans appreciate Phoebe’s ability to push through financially uncertain times, and she saw something of value in the numerous survival jobs she picked up along the way.
In the underrated Friends episode, “The One with George Stephanopoulos,” when Rachel excitedly held her first paycheck, Phoebe cut in and recalled the day she received hers. Her words, “There was a cave-in in one of the mines, and eight people were killed,” led everyone to think she worked in a mine.
Phoebe was quick to clarify that her starter job was at Dairy Queen. At that moment, fans got to know she was once a fast-food worker and later, had switched to a totally different industry.
In season 1’s “The One with the Ick Factor,” Phoebe temped as Chandler’s secretary and found a great deal of pleasure in working under him. She was looking for some short-term work and between choosing to operate a drill press and secretarial work, she chose the latter.
Phoebe’s stint at Chandler’s company was a sweet ride. She was invited to work at parties and was let in on work secrets. Everybody got along well with her and she helped Chandler see that he was a great boss, despite the awkwardness surrounding his promotion.
Phoebe was dedicated to her music and wanted to make it big as a musician. She was an entertaining busker, as seen with her “Your Love” performance in the Friends pilot episode. She wrote a total of 55 songs throughout Friends, and some of Phoebe’s best tracks include “Smelly Cat” and “Your Love.”
Phoebe’s songs were far from mainstream, and the lyrics were not always pleasant. In season 2’s “The One Where Eddie Moves In,” Phoebe was signed by a record company to make a video for “Smelly Cat,” but her voice ended up being replaced entirely by another singer. Though she didn’t mind being replaced, but couldn’t find further success as a singer.
Phoebe worked as a massage therapist at a parlor named Healing Hands Inc. She knew that she was truly blessed to work each day with a great purpose. She initiated small talk if need be, and her clients always felt at home.
Unfortunately, Phoebe’s stint at Healing Hands Inc. was cut short in “The One With the Ballroom Dancing,” when she developed a crush on one of her clients. Her boss, Mrs. Potter, caught her fooling around with Rick and she was let go.
After Monica and Phoebe realized they made a terrific team of caterers in “The One With the Dirty Girl,” they decided to go into business together. They were off to a good start and even invested their money in a van to get their catering business going in full swing.
Unfortunately, Monica was offered a head chef position at Allesandro’s and had to step back. Phoebe quite obviously couldn’t work without her, and they dissolved the business.
After Phoebe told Ross she was pressed for cash in “The One Where Rosita Dies,” he suggested she take up a temp telemarketing job. Within no time, Phoebe showed up at Empire Office Supplies and was inducted into telephone salesperson training.
Phoebe was doing fairly well on her first day but got distracted after she spoke to an office worker named Earl. She saw him in person because he was going through a rough patch. Earl was played by Jason Alexander, and his appearance is counted as one of the best one-off characters in Friends. Phoebe left telemarketing soon after and was back to working as a massage therapist.
Once again, Phoebe was short on cash in “The One Where Rachel Goes Back To Work” and her good friend, Joey, came to her aid. He got her a job as an extra on the Days of Our Lives set since it paid good and she could work as long as she needed. Although she seemed excited at first, she got all shaky and nervous with the director’s commands.
Phoebe had a hard time playing the role of a nurse and the director wasn’t helping either. Thanks to Joey’s pep talk, Phoebe managed to lift the tray over to the operating table but broke character before the director yelled cut. The next day, she worked as a waitress and demanded to know why the show used the same extras for different parts. Phoebe was fired and had to be chased out of the set by a security guard.
Phoebe’s jobs often put her into survival mode but landing this stint at a chain spa by the end of season 9 was her big break. She finally started to make steady money and the company gave her benefits, such as medical and dental.
But here’s where it gets tricky. No one knew Phoebe was working at the newly-opened massage spa in SoHo, and she made Rachel feel guilty about going to massage chains. Long story short, Rachel still choose to go there, and coincidentally, Phoebe was assigned as her masseur. The women argued back and forth but nothing changed their choices. Phoebe lied about quitting and the incident revealed that she and Rachel perhaps weren’t real friends, after all.
NEXT: 10 Phoebe Buffay Quotes That Prove She’s Actually The Smartest Friend