Work life satisfaction is sometimes overlooked when it comes to finding a job. Many people often end up working just to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads. This can result in them taking on challenging professions that others often avoid.
If you think your cubicle-sheltered job is bad, or your profession is boring, then these professions will help you put your 9-to-5 grind into perspective. From unfavorable conditions to gruesome tasks and challenging work environments to low wages, these are the 30 worst jobs in the world.
Telemarketers get paid to make cold calls to the general public in order to sell various products and services. They’re a huge annoyance to many people and receive endless abuse and constant hang-ups as a result. Having to endure this on a daily basis can be quite demoralizing. They receive a mediocre salary, too, despite the scope to earn more based on performance.
Cleaners are often mistreated in the workplace and often end up doing horrendous tasks. Unfortunately, many in-house cleaners are also taken advantage of by their bosses and are not given fair wages. To get on in this job, you need to have thick skin and be comfortable to say ‘no’ when needed.
Besides the fact that driving a truck is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world, it’s also one of the worst. It can get quite boring and lonely on the long trips up and down the highway, and many consider it a dead-end profession with no room for progress and development.
This profession can be rewarding as you are working for your country, yet many military personnel have to battle with mental health conditions and other health-related issues. Spending extensive periods of time away from your loved ones can be challenging, let alone having to have your bed and uniform inspected numerous times a day.
5. Social worker
People who choose a career in social work are often faced with awful and demoralizing situations. While it can be a fulfilling job, the circumstances and situations social workers must deal with can be grueling and their mental health issues may end up taking a toll, particularly when working with orphaned children, victims of abuse and homeless people.
6. Customer service advisor
Do you know the saying ‘don’t shoot the messenger’? This is too close to home for customer service advisors. They get the brunt of angry complaints and deal with abusive customers who are dissatisfied with the company they represent. On the plus side, they can really make a difference when they’ve helped solve a solution, especially if the company has a great culture.
Coal mining is one of the most despised careers that can greatly affect workers’ health. Miners are known to have a considerably short life expectancy, as they work in incredibly dusty and toxic environments; they are also at great risk of a gas explosion or a tunnel collapsing.
8. Slaughterhouse worker
This job isn’t one for the faint of heart. Killing animals for a living can be extremely depressing. In fact, slaughterhouse work has been linked to numerous mental health problems.
Speaking to the BBC, one former abattoir worker went on to describe the less-than-ideal working conditions in slaughterhouses: “They are filthy, dirty places. There’s animal feces on the floor, you see and smell the guts, and the walls are covered in blood.” Although it sounds vile, it’s a necessity for a meat-eating world.
9. Promotional mascot
Any list of the worst jobs in the world wouldn’t be complete without promotional mascots. Whether it’s dressing as a pair of testicles in the name of testicular cancer awareness or promoting a new fried chicken restaurant in a giant chicken costume, you’re bound to attract attention — usually ridicule and bullying.
10. Traffic warden
Traffic wardens are strongly hated amongst the general public; I mean, who likes getting a parking ticket? Their day-to-day lives involve a lot of abuse and shouting, so you will need to have thick skin to be able to do this job. Dennis Sarpong, who works as a traffic warden in London, says: “You get verbal abuse all the time, but I never take it personally.”
11. Pet food taster
Although some people actually enjoy eating pet food for a living, it’s fair to say that most of us are repulsed by it. This job involves eating really bad batches of animal products and comes with the risk of severe food poisoning. To be successful in this role, you will need a highly developed palate and the presence of mind not to swallow anything but your pride.
12. Portable toilet cleaner
These brave workers tackle cleaning portable toilets on a daily basis. Using a tank and a vacuum wand, cleaners must suck up all the waste in a portable toilet. After picking up any stray toilet paper, they also wash down all surfaces that could possibly be soiled, including the walls. This is when a high-pressure hose comes in handy, and as you can imagine, hosing a wall off in a closed space results in a lot of spray back. Nevertheless, some cleaners grin and bear it — and take home, on average, $51,000 a year, according to PayScale.
13. Roadkill collector
Roadkill collectors are faced with the grueling task of collecting and disposing of animals that have been struck or killed by vehicles on the road. They never know what they’re going to face (including oncoming traffic). They also don’t know how long the animal has been lying on the road, so the stench they’re faced with can really make them want to hurl.
14. Animal masturbator
I didn’t believe it, either, but this is a legitimate job. There are times when semen needs to be collected from an animal for fertilization or a study. This is where the animal masturbator comes in; their role is to extract sperm from the animal, either manually or with an electric stimulator.
15. Sewer cleaner
Some jobs are lousy, and some just plain stink. Being a sewer inspector falls into both categories, but the decent salary could make you reconsider. Their daily duties involve inspecting sewers and flushing out problems.
However, there is a relatively high chance of contracting diseases, especially gastrointestinal, respiratory and skin conditions.
16. Crime scene cleaner
A job for only the most hardened, a crime scene cleaner is responsible for cleaning up and restoring areas where homicides, suicides and accidents took place. Performing this job includes removing blood stains, body parts, bodily fluids and other gory things from the scene.
This job requires high endurance, as it can take hours to clean up everything, depending on how bad the crime scene is.
17. Fast food cook
Fast food cooks work in overheated and fast-paced kitchens to produce a limited menu of fast food items. Beyond the burns, cuts and minor injuries that can occur from working in a kitchen, this job often comes with one of the lowest wages in the food industry, as well as long hours during evening and weekend shifts.
Perhaps surprisingly, broadcasting is considered a challenging job, mainly due to the terrible work-life balance. This highly stressful job also involves working extensively in the public eye to tight deadlines. If you fancy spending most of your time at work and if you think you can handle the pressure, then it may not be so bad.
19. Paint dry watcher
These folks literally watch paint dry for a living. The purpose is to check how the color of matt and emulsion changes over time and to make sure that they’re durable. I mean, what can be more boring than staring at a blank wall for hours?
20. Queen’s Guard
“Guard duty at Buckingham Palace is regarded as one of the worst jobs in the British Army”, according to military documents obtained by the Telegraph.
Soldiers spend several hours each day cleaning and pressing their uniforms and polishing their boots in preparation for one of the many kit inspections that they’re likely to face before taking up their positions outside one of the royal palaces.
Perhaps the worst part, though, is obnoxious tourists treating you like an animal in a zoo, as well as the terrible accommodation.
21. Pest control officer
The job of a pest control officer is to exterminate insects and vermin, such as spiders, cockroaches and rats. Their work environment can range from houses to sewers and ditches to basements.
As if dealing with vermin and roaches isn’t enough, pest control officers must also work with toxic and poisonous chemicals in order to fumigate and treat infested areas, which could be extremely dangerous if not handled with caution.
Logging has a reputation for being a dangerous job that can often result in serious or fatal injuries. It’s also a physically demanding job which requires you to cut down and load logs of trees onto trailers. According to BLS data, the most frequent nonfatal injuries involve getting struck by equipment, falling or slipping, and overexertion. Meanwhile, between 2006 and 2015, an average of 66 loggers died every year due to fatal injuries.
On top of the hazards and physical strain that is involved with this occupation, the pay isn’t great, either.
23. Taxi driver
From traffic jams to working unusual hours and low pay, taxi drivers have to endure a lot of unfavorable conditions. They also often need to deal with rude or unruly customers, who also contribute to the high stress levels associated with this job.
Plus, your physical integrity could also suffer due to the elongated periods of sitting and potential traffic accidents.
24. Retail sales associate
Sales associates often face long hours and low wages, and with the rise of online-shopping, opportunities in this sector are becoming quite slim. Excellent customer service skills are essential, and when faced with dissatisfied or rude clients, sales associates must maintain a cool and pleasant exterior despite the customer’s unpleasant demeanor and behavior.
There’s often also a lack of work-life balance, having to work during weekends and holidays, without any overtime compensation, either.
25. Odor tester
Getting a whiff of bad body odor can make most of our stomachs churn, but odor testers spend days sniffing people’s armpits, breath and feet. Depending on the company you work for, you could also be testing the fragrance of scented candles, packaged food and perfume. According to Totaljobs, “On a good day, you might be testing the smell of a new frozen dinner after its cooked; on a bad day, you might be testing the effectiveness of a new deodorant, [which] could involve smelling quite a few armpits.”
26. Animal inseminator
Wait a minute. First, animal masturbator. Now, animal inseminator? Yes. While the official title is that of an artificial insemination technician, the job description is the same: inseminate female animals with semen to help them get pregnant. This position is typically found in the agricultural sector to help breed livestock, but it is also prevalent in the science field.
27. Dead fish harvester
Harvesting dead fish might be one of the worst jobs in the world. At the same time, a job is a job, and some tasks need to be done. Indeed, harvesting deceased salmon, sharks or tuna carcasses can be a challenge, especially when the smell is rancid. But with a few hazmat suits (the smell) and a strong stomach (the sight), you can survive and earn decent cash.
28. Podiatry technician
Let's be honest, being a podiatry technician will not offer low pay. But it can be a disgusting position when dealing with the public's feet daily, be it a foul odor or various blisters. Sure, a foot fetishist may want to apply and thrive in this career endeavor, but the average person could find this employment opportunity less than ideal because of what he or she will see (and smell).
Does being a roofer pay well? Most definitely. Is it high stress? Certainly. The job of a roofer requires technical skill and endurance. At the same time, it can be challenging to do in the harshest climates, particularly in the middle of summer under the hot sun that’s beating down on your skin. There is also the concern of falling off the residential or commercial property, potentially paralyzing you for life.
30. Animal urine collector
This must be a joke by now. Animal masturbator? Animal inseminator? And now animal urine collector? Yes. This is an actual position. Why do you think stores like Home Depot and Lowe's sell coyote urine? The job can net you around $80,000 per year, but it is tough work since you need to capture the animal, leave it in a room overnight, and proceed to collect urine when the animal drips some pee. Very glamorous.
So, there you have it — a list of puke-worthy, spine-chilling, ghastly jobs that people do for the money (or because they actually enjoy it!). Although these jobs might not be for the faint-hearted, many of them are a necessity to keep the world as we know it turning. Without podiatry technicians, we’d be suffering with pain. Without roofers, we’d have no shelter. Without pest controllers, we’d be overrun with roaches and other creepy crawlies. So, although they might be the worst jobs in the world, those who work in these fields are appreciated for their dedication!
Would you consider doing any of these jobs? Let us know in the comments section below!
This is an updated version of an article originally published on [date] and contains contributions by writer Andrew Moran.