The 20 Most Disgusting Jobs in the World

These occupations are not for the fainthearted! Take a look at some of the grossest jobs out there.

Reviewed by Chris Leitch

Illustration of two people in yellow hazmat suits standing in front of a large pile of garbage

Each job is unique in the work it involves and each has its own set of requirements which must be met in order to successfully carry out the duties listed in the job description.

Some jobs often demand a whole list of educational qualifications from only the world’s swankiest universities.

Others require specific skill sets, personal qualities and aptitudes, as well as what often seems like a billion years of previous experience.

However, a working knowledge of Javascript, physical strength or a head for numbers will get you nowhere in the following 10 jobs, where the main requirement you’ll need to meet is basically have a stomach of steel.

1. Scopist

Scopists are specially trained medical professionals who carry out diagnosis and treatment using a camera attached to a thin flexible tube. But what makes this job so gross? The part of the body involved — the gut, but through the rear end!

2. Meat process worker

Although it may sound similar to Subway’s ‘Sandwich Artist’, this role comes at a much higher point in the food chain. Namely the slaughter, de-boning and preparation of livestock ready for sale as food. Make blood and guts your day-to-day!

3. Beautician

The job of a beautician is often associated with class and allure, and while it’s true that the outcome of their work is often aesthetically pleasing, these artists don’t get to pick their canvas. That can mean getting up close and personal with the grizzliest bits of anatomy, including below the belt and between the cheeks — the bottom ones!

4. Mortician

Death is an essential part of life, and our only guarantee. But that doesn’t make it any less gross for those whose job it is to process the deceased. Morticians’ important work can see them exposed to bodies in advanced states of decomposition which sporadically expel unexpected and unpleasant odours and liquids.

5. Toilet attendant

The average person visits the bathroom around seven times a day. For most family homes, that makes up around 25 daily uses of the household loo. Now compare that to London’s Waterloo station, with an average of around 1.5 million uses annually. Factor in a few thousand upset tummies, negligent aim and a helping of drunk punters and someone’s got a gross job keeping that place clean!

6. Odour judge

There have been some pretty bizarre jobs in the world over the course of history, so the existence of odour judges should come as no real surprise.

However, what exactly is it that odour judges do? Well, they use chemistry and their noses to accurately identify and adjust scents of just about any product, from nail polishes to microwavable meals. They are also tasked with sniffing and carrying out odour tests on armpits, cat litter, breath, feet and even nappies. Exactly: gross.

7. Refuse collector

The average person generates around 400kg of household waste each year. From banana skins to soiled nappies, the job of removing hundreds of tonnes of trash falls to refuse collectors. Their grossness comes not just from handling the trash, but from the linger smell that sticks to clothes for hours to come.

8. Hotel housekeeper

Tasked with maintaining some standards of cleanliness during your holiday or business trip, housekeepers from across all kinds of nasty surprises. Think toilet attendant, but with a latent risk of unexpectedly discovering a surprise contraceptive among the bedsheets.

9. Specimen collector

Dealing with other peoples’ bodily fluids is not a job for the fainthearted. Specimen collectors collect a variety of human samples including urine, blood, oral fluids and hair. They must also preserve, process and pack these samples, but also dispose of them once testing is completed.

10. Vomit collector

Telling your friends that you work at a theme park might sound like a cool job. But only if that’s as specific as you get. Many theme parks employ a team of vomit collectors whose fulltime job is to peruse the park for puke and clear it away.

11. Portaloo cleaner

You’ve learned about an ordinary toilet attendant. Now remove the flush mechanism, add in precarious plumbing, ordinarily intoxicated clientele and a huge crowd. Have you ever used a portable toilet that wasn’t blocked, soiled or stinky? It’s someone’s job to tidy that up!

12. Sewer technician

It’s one thing to deal with excrement above ground, but to deal with it in a warm, moist, enclosed space is quite another. Sewer technicians are responsible for locating and dislodging blockages formed from hair, sanitary products and various kinds of waste matter. Absolutely revolting. But without them, your toilet wouldn’t flush!

13. Livestock breeder

Reproduction is a natural process which takes place between two suitors. But when we are talking about the reproduction of livestock for profit, there often isn’t time to let things happen organically. Unfortunately, the nasty task falls to the breeders who must manually extract sperm from a male animal and inseminate a female. This can make for some really gross work!

14. Roadkill collector

We’ve all seen it — the contorted mess at the side of the road: a rodent who misjudged a gap in the traffic and met their fate. While we see it for just a moment, the job of scraping the remains off the tarmac and disposing of them appropriately falls to these workers.

15. Crime scene cleaner

Typically, after a serious incident, the authorities will insist that nothing is tidied up, cleaned or moved so that evidence remains untainted. But once the investigation is complete, someone (you guessed it, a crime scene cleaner) has the nasty task of cleaning up the scene and removing potentially hazardous materials in the process.

16. Podiatrist

Imagine for a moment the smell as you reach the end of a long day and finally get round to taking your shoes off. And now imagine that every working day, dozens of times a day. Podiatrists are tasked with keeping our feet healthy, from fighting fungal infections to ingrown nails. This job requires a strong stomach and a resilient nose.

17. Hazmat diver

The name says everything you need to know with this one. Divers have a challenging task at the best of times, submerging themselves in all manner of water bodies. Now add in the challenge of submerging oneself in hazardous materials such as raw sewage and a requirement for a meticulous search and you’ve found yourself a particularly nasty job.

18. Forensic entomologist

Entomology is the study of insects. That alone is often enough to set many people off and make their skin crawl. But now imagine examining the presence and characteristics of insect infestations in and around decomposing human bodies for the purpose of an investigation. Gross.

19. Dermatologist

Dermatology is the branch of medicine concerned with caring for the skin. Typically concerned with skin conditions, dermatologists’ jobs can be quite rewarding. But in extreme cases, dermatologists may find themselves dealing with entrenched, long-standing and infected pimples and lesions with all the grossness that puss brings.

20. Hoarder clearance operative

Hoarders keep pretty much everything — every receipt, every letter, in some cases even every scab from personal injury, tooth that dislodges and so on. And eventually it is someone’s job to work their way through a chaotic home to remove and dispose of all of these belongings.

Final thoughts

There’s little doubt that many of these roles are essential. It’s likely you’ve even benefited from their services on many occasions.

From particularly strange jobs to outright awful jobs, society relies on a workforce willing to engage in a whole variety of gruesome tasks.

A quick Google search on some of these titles can reveal what draws people in, though, as many of them pay rather handsomely indeed.

This article is an updated version of an earlier article originally published in March 2005.