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I’ve never met a job I liked, but some are worse than others.
For example, a New York Times expose describes what’s called, “purposeful Darwinism,” in the Amazon workplace, complete with annual firings of employees who underperform or just don’t answer midnight emails quickly enough.
The atmosphere is so high-pressure that one employee says, “Nearly every person I worked with, I saw cry at their desk.”
That sounds awful, but it doesn’t make the CareerCast.com list of the worst jobs for 2017. That list includes “news broadcaster” and “disc jockey.”
Really? Apparently there will be fewer of those positions available in the future. Okay, that’s one way to rate how “bad” jobs are. Here are a few more:
- Jobs with the highest divorce rates – Dancers, bartenders, and massage therapists top this list.
- The most stressful jobs – The four worst on the list are military personnel, airline pilots, firefighters, and police officers.
- Worst bosses of all time – This New York Post list includes bosses who scream and throw things at employees, and one who has created a “culture of horror.”
- Lowest paying jobs – Not surprisingly, fast food workers, dishwashers, cashiers, and farm workers make this list.
Clearly there are many ways to measure “job horribleness.” And jobs are a personal matter too. After all, one investigation of Amazon found employees who love the fast-paced, high-pressure environment.
For the following bad jobs list, I chose the entries based on the “grossness” and “horribleness” of the actual work, as determined by research and my personal aversion. Using those totally objective criteria, I give you my list of the 25 worst jobs.
1. Pig Brain Remover
An expose by Mother Jones Magazine shows pig processing to be a nightmare, and working the “brain machine” is the worst position of all. You blow the brains out of pig skulls using compressed air. Then, once you get horrible neurological disorders from breathing too much “brain mist,” you get fired.
2. Forensic Entomologist
According to the job description, you observe and interpret, “insects that colonize in human tissue in postmortem situations.” In other words you poke around in dead bodies to see how the bugs living there are doing and what that says about the time and place of death.
3. Maggot Farmer
Maggots are fly larvae, and yes, people farm them. Millions are needed for various purposes ranging from pollination of crops to cleaning wounds. You can almost smell the scene in a video showing maggot farming, and the reporter says he had to wash his clothes twice just to remove the odor.
4. Slaughterhouse Worker
The dangers of working in a slaughterhouse include losing limbs, getting respiratory infections, being forced to wear diapers because your employer doesn’t allow breaks, getting infected by antibiotic-resistant bacteria, as well as PTSD and other psychological problems that come with killing hundreds of peaceful animals per hour.
Working all day every day in people’s anuses…. Need we say more? Well, you will make a lot of money, and you might hear some good jokes, according to Dave Barry’s list of things one doctor has heard during colonoscopies. Anyhow, aren’t we happy that someone is willing to do these jobs?
6. Septic Tank Cleaner
Years ago I had a home with a septic tank, and I watched it being cleaned. Maybe it’s not quite as gross as you’d imagine, but it’s pretty close, especially when there are splashes.
One septic tank cleaner says, “The smell is certainly not pleasant…” and “You tend to get dirty from digging and from handling the hose.” I think he’s downplaying the negatives, because we know what’s on that dirty hose.
7. Roadkill Collector
Those dead animals you see along our highways have to be cleaned up, and they’re in various stages of decay by the time a collector gets to them.
Job Monkey says these jobs are either paid by the animal or at about $15 per hour, and warns about “the horrid stench of fresh, decaying, or maggot and blood covered carcasses.” Wear gloves.
8. Professional Fart Smeller
I really wish I was inventing this one, but, as reported by Live Science, this is a profession in China. Live Science says, “…each person’s flatulence has particular nuances — bitter, savory, sweet, fishy,” and professionals can diagnose disease with a good whiff.
Apparently you need quite a bit of training to be accredited (and probably an odious and odorous final exam).
9. Chimney Sweep
As you might expect, this is a dirty job. But there are also some serious health hazards for chimney sweeps. They include skin irritations, eye problems, respiratory illnesses, carbon monoxide poisoning, organ problems — the list goes on.
Who would have guessed breathing in soot and creosote all day would be so unhealthy?
10. Portable Toilet Cleaner
Portable toilets have to be pumped out and cleaned in all sorts of conditions.
The routine work is bad enough, but one cleaner describes how an employee forgot to depressurize a tank when he detached a hose, and “It sprayed waste everywhere like a fire hose, covering him, the truck and some of the surroundings with raw sewage.” Now that’s a rough day at work.
11. Chicken Sexer
In case you missed the relevant “Dirty Jobs” episode, here’s one description of what a chicken sexer does: “This method involves holding the chick in a very specific way and gently squeezing the poop out of the chick so the sexer can see the intestines.
From this view, the chicken’s reproductive organs can be seen, which identify the sex.” You do this over… and over… all day long.
12. Guano Collector
Bat poop is apparently a good fertilizer, making it valuable enough to “mine” in the caves where bats roost. Here’s what one guano collector says about the job:
“The worst enemy is not the smell, heat or exhaustion… the worst enemy is dust sticking on the eyebrows, covering our noses and cheeks and turning our face into a rigid mask.” A face covered in hardened bat poop dust. Enough said?
13. Stool Specimen Handler
It’s not easy to find information on this work, but someone has to handle medical stool samples.
A guide to stool collection doesn’t make it sound pleasant, suggesting that you, “Collect timed specimens in a pre-weighed, well-sealed container,” and then, “Mix contents of timed sample well to obtain a homogeneous mixture.” Again, we have to be grateful that someone is willing to be a poop mixer.
14. Armpit Sniffer
According to CareerSearch.com, odor testers need a degree in chemistry, and they sniff a variety of things. But when it’s deodorants that have to be tested, there’s really only one way to determine how well they’re working.
Start sniffing those armpits! This might be a good job for the right kind of fetishist.
Preparing dead bodies for funerals and burial? In a Business Insider article, embalmer John Mitchell says, “it’s actually one of the most rewarding jobs in the world.”
Hmm, I’m not convinced, especially when he talks about embalming children and says, “It is not so much working with the deceased that takes a toll on us as it is working with their loved ones who are experiencing the loss.” Just thinking about the work takes a toll on me.
16. Vomit Collector
Yes, it’s a real job, at least in one amusement park. According to the Daily Star, Thorpe Park had to hire someone just for vomit cleanup after opening “the steepest freefall drop roller coaster in the world.”
Someone has to do it, and that someone should probably start looking for a promotion to… well, any other position.
17. Hazmat Diver
Want to go diving in contaminated water? One description of what hazmat divers do says, “They work in precarious conditions, and regularly expose themselves to radioactive material.”
And here I was thinking only about the toxic chemicals. There’s something about going through a “decontamination process” at the end of each work day that makes me think there has to be a better job.
18. Crime Scene Cleaner
Whether you call yourself a crime scene cleaner, a “biohazard remediation technician,” or “CTS Decon specialist” (crime and trauma scene decontamination), the job is the same. You clean up after murders, suicides, and unattended deaths.
A technician doing this work finds that laughter helps him cope. He says you need “to add humor to the job when you’re cleaning up brains from a ceiling all day long.” Okay.
A pest control company explains that one reason you should get a job in pest control is that it never gets dull. They say, “One day you can be locked in a basement with an animal, and another day you could be under a house dodging snakes.
All pest control pros have their war stories, and you will soon have yours.” No, I won’t, and that’s not a very effective recruitment attempt.
20. Deer Urine Farmer
Deer urine is used by people to mask their own odor and attract bucks in order to shoot them. Of course someone has to collect that urine. One deer urine farmer says, “I can sell a gallon of doe in estrus for $105 to $110.
Dominant buck pee can go for about $60.” Who knew? But then again, do you really want to work with buckets and barrels of deer pee every day?
21. Sewage Worker
Think you might want to work in city sewers because of the job security and decent pay? Not sure? A video of a London sewage worker might help you decide.
It just showed me that one of the worst parts of the job is removing large globs of congealed fat mixed with feces, but maybe I was already biased against the job.
22. Medical Waste Worker
Blood-soaked surgical leftovers, dirty needles, and such, has to be dealt with by someone. A job profile for medical waste workers includes as “pros” the good job growth and lack of requirements for formal education.
For the “cons,” it’s noted that: “Despite safety measures, an inherent risk and danger occur in dealing with hazardous materials.” It also mentions “emergency cleanup jobs.” Hmm…
23. Sheep Castrator
On the “Dirty Jobs” program, Mike Rowe learned how to castrate sheep using one’s teeth. Apparently, though, tearing off testicles with your teeth is bad for your health, according to an article on ScienceBlogs.com. Not that you really needed another reason to pass on this job.
24. AI Technician
No, not artificial intelligence, but artificial insemination. It’s how most farm animals are born, and AI technicians help facilitate the process in various ways.
For example, a tutorial on semen collection from bulls says you can use an artificial vagina, an electroejaculator, or, “Finally, semen can be collected by massage of the seminal vesicles and ampullae per rectum.” Yes, it’s as awful as it sounds.
25. Live-In Babysitter
This is a very personal choice for the list, because of my live-in babysitting experience many years ago. I never really got used to how grape Kool-aid turned green by the time it hit the diaper. Never again!
Is your job on the list? Or do you hate the job you have even if it didn’t make this list? In that case, be sure to read my post on how to quit your job.
If you have had a horrible job, please share your story below (especially if it has a happy ending)… and keep on frugaling!