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Jobs? What Jobs?

Updated on September 4, 2012

Aim High

To be regulated to the bottom of the “worst jobs in America” list, is not the place anyone wants to be. In fact, someone must be doing something incredibly wrong to be earning a living with that position, wouldn’t they?

Not necessarily. In today’s job market many are working at jobs they wouldn’t have considered five years ago. It’s an employer’s market and they can pick and choose. And there are many factors involved in deciding what the worst jobs are. For example, work environment, physical demands, promotion prospects, income, stress and how much danger is involved.

As far as pay, the criterion has appeared to have changed slightly from several decades ago. The general rule then was, the more dangerous a job the more it was likely to pay. Not now,some of the most physical and dangerous jobs pay the least. But wages are just part of the problem. Health hazards, lack of insurance and labor law violations are other problems encountered by those on the lower rungs of the employment ladder.

So what are the worst jobs? The answers appear to differ slightly with whoever does the polling, but the majority of pollsters report those jobs making it onto the list generally don’t require a college degree. However, that in no way implies employees having one aren’t doing them out of necessity.

Today, many are scrambling for any job they can get, part time or otherwise. Things are especially tough in traditionally low-wage service industries such as laundry services, supermarkets and nail salons.

Conditions in these jobs are reportedly no worse than in other job sectors, but unlike most manufacturing jobs, they aren't usually subject to outsourcing, therefore unions governing their operations have little power to negotiate.

Needless to say there are numerous jobs that are in the running for America’s worst jobs, but here are a few finding their way onto most polling lists:

· Garbage collectors: Usually the standard by which all messy jobs are classified.

· Laundry workers: These workers have to deal with bio-hazardous materials not disposed of properly that inadvertently find their way into laundry rooms. Blood, needles and even body parts have been reported found in laundry bags. In addition there is danger of being exposed to toxins. Other workers in laundry and dry cleaning stores are exposed to cleaning chemicals and detergents.

· Supermarket baggers: On their feet all day repeatedly lifting bags, some quite heavy. That puts them at risk for musculoskeletal disorders…all for minimum wage.

· Manicurists and pedicurists: Over 40% of these jobs are held by Asian immigrant women, according to industry estimates. These are also exposed to toxins contained in cosmetics ingredients. Since cosmetics don't fall under the jurisdiction of either the EPA or the Food or Drug Administration many contain known toxins such as Formaldehyde and toluene, both carcinogens that have been linked to birth defects.

But, let’s not be all doom and gloom. There can usually be some humor found even in the worst circumstances. Take a few of these jobs for example:

· Condom Tester: Before applying for this job, be advised there is no sex involved.

· Animal Inseminator: Endangered species on the verge of extinction continue to exist by means of artificial insemination. Insemination involves taking the sperm cells from a male of the species and combining it with a female’s ovaries of the same species. One person having this stimulating employment said, "Do you have any idea how hard it is to arouse a Giant Panda?”

· Diarrhea Relief Quality Control: In the heavily regulated home remedy industry, there has to be quality control. That means the product has to be tested to ensure quality. The person tasked with this is fed foods formulated to simulate diarrhea conditions and then given the product to see how well it works.

· Sports Mascot: Humiliating costumes, low pay and getting kicked by screaming kids is not a job for the timid.

So, if you thought your job was the worst, remember millions don’t have one to complain about, or you could be stuck in one of the above.


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    • JY3502 profile image

      John Young 5 years ago from Florence, South Carolina

      I'm thinking of being the sports mascot myself. Probably won't even have to buy a costume. :-)

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 5 years ago from southern USA

      Praise God for my job!!! Very interesting and thought-provoking hub, with a little humor goes a long way. In His Love, Faith Reaper