There are some exceedingly difficult jobs out there and some that are not. Most of the time you can tell or just know a job is going to be hard by its very definition. Firefighter, hard because you are fighting fires! Construction Worker, hard because shit is heavy. The easy ones again, not so much. For every easy job, there is a representative from the field that will tell you it’s not easy at all, or just very dull.
However, there are some jobs that people just assume are easy, either through ignorance or romantic notion, even though they’re actually some of the hardest. When people who believe the following fifteen to be easy, it’s difficult for them to accept the opposite and all we can do it is wait as a new light dawns upon their head as they reach enlightenment.
OK, that was a little dramatic and useless. ‘Writer’ is not on the list you’ll notice, even though it’s a lot harder than people think. Nevertheless, these jobs are not only stressful, tedious, and outright murderous, most are some of the lowest paying as well. Some anyway.
15. Commercial Painter
Standing there whistling while moving a brush up and down a wall with no worries since it’s all blaring white anyway. How difficult could it be? While the motion appears to be simple, there are other factors and risks that come with this believed easy job. I would like the shade closest to truth, please.
It’s not all painting. A commercial painter also sands, scrapes and cleans the surfaces, meticulously goes over it time and time again with coat after coat of paint, cleans up bleeds and works awkwardly on shaky ladders. The hours are long and the repetitive motion and chemical inhalation can lead to serious health problems such as asthma, dermatitis, and cancer. Well ventilated areas are not always available either, and inhaling those chemicals have an instantaneous effect as well. They often experience light headedness, double vision, and a feeling of euphoria. Basically, the painter gets high. Maybe that’s why he’s whistling?
14. Flight Attendant
Nifty uniforms, always smiling, jet-setting around the globe and seeing far off exotic places. Only worry about handing out some drinks and miming the safety instructions, especially the seat belts. How difficult could that be? Attention passengers we are now landing in reality. Please fasten seat belts.
Besides having to bid on schedules, including flights, there are a myriad of stressors and health issues that come with this job. Besides the obvious ones of unruly passengers who become increasingly difficult as the elevation does. The well-being and mental stability of the attendant is a huge factor. In a study conducted by the Center for Disease Control in 2016 found the deaths of male flight attendants from Auto Immune Deficiency Syndrome (A.I.D.S.) was 1.6 times higher than the general population. The suicide rate was 1.5 times higher and alcoholism 2.5 times the general population. To add to that we have: exposure to radiation, sleep deprivation, and possible injury and/or death from accident or terrorism.
13. Postal Carrier
Out in the sun, lot’s of exercise, and all you do is slip some paper through a slot. How difficult can it be? Besides an overall decline in the use of postal services, there are other factors that make this job unexpectedly much more difficult and stressful than imagined. Don’t forget their motto; “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”
That and trying to learn a new route, even worse filling in on a route they have never done, health problems such as foot and leg issues, and risk of violence. Dogs are the major concern to carriers, approximately 6000 postal carriers were reportedly attacked by mongrels in 2015.
12. Cross Country Truck Driver
The call of the open road, favorite music playing on the radio, and talking jargon on the CB. Seeing the country, meeting new people and learning the highway system, how difficult can it be? —Breaker, breaker, one-nine, I hate to be a ratchet jaw but we got some reality in the hen house, over?
While most cross country truck drivers don’t have to unload or load their trailer like local drivers do (it’s called “No Touch” freight), the job is just as difficult as they come. Driving ten hours straight down monotonous highways, dealing with traffic and people cutting you off while you are essentially driving a missile on wheels. All while making sure your Department of Transportation log books are accurate and dealing with them and weight stations. Health concerns are numerous from the sedentary lifestyle and nutritional deficiencies, such as heart disease, joint and muscle pain, and fatigue. Truck driving is also one of the most deadliest jobs. A long haul driver has 1 in 3 chance of being in a fatal accident, according to the CDC, truck driver deaths from accidents accounts to 65% of all truck driver deaths. There are over 2.5 million truck drivers in America.
11. Professional Mascot
Dress up in a silly outfit, wander around the crowd and entertain them, rub shoulders with famous athletes, and use high velocity air bazookas to launch t-shirts at people. Sounds like a lot of fun! The last one does anyway. Nevertheless, this job definitely cannot be that difficult, right?
You try walking around in a hundred pound suit doing acrobatics, that weight doesn’t include the different heads they have to wear either. There is a fan inside for the performer’s comfort, however, on a hundred-degree day it does little. You must be a master of acrobatics and in prime physical condition. On-the-job injuries are common, ranging from sprains and strains to one mascot being hit by a speeding van during a skit, ended up in a wheelchair for forty days. Bromley Lowe, the former Oriole Bird mascot said, “Imagine wearing a fur coat in a sauna while doing aerobics. That’s what it’s like.” During a game on a 105-degree day Lowe, was feeling the symptoms of heat stroke. He says he lost ten pounds in that one day— don’t get any ideas, this is not a good thing.
10. Professional Musician
The roar of the crowd, the energy you get as adrenaline rushes in, then the music. Unfeignedly a dream for millions, becoming a professional musician. Once you master a talent it wouldn’t be difficult. It looks easy! Put your hands together, ladies and gentleman, here for one night only is Reality!
Learning an instrument is a long road for most and a somewhat shorter one for others. Sure, there are virtuosos who come out of the womb banging away on a piano perhaps, albeit, rare. People who have played guitar, for example, can tell you that time and repetition are their ‘squad’, as the young people say. Musicians in bands can create a list of horrible reasons to be in a band— there are enough. Here it is in a word-string: egos, drama, people, shows, travel, egos, drama, food, people, and the fact that if you get popular, your fans will never be satisfied. It’s really not so easy coming up with twenty new songs every year. Failure is most likely the outcome and research says over 90.7% of all musicians are considered undiscovered.
Set up a curtain, some lights, and yell different poses at someone. Maybe instead clicking the shutter on some wildlife or a celebrity. How difficult is it to point and click? That’s the problem, it was always so easy, or digital.
The reason photography is considered a hard job is not only finding the shot, having to go to new extremes to get original shots, and the competition is fierce. Everyone, every mobile user anyway, is able to steal your shot while swiping on Tinder. Citizen journalists are giving corporate media a great new way to get news and generally for free. This is hurting not only photojournalists but print ones as well. Photographers now have the unexpectedly difficult task of seeking out new and unique ways to capture the moment. These expeditions can lead to physical or emotional toil and risk of death is high as more and more venture to parts unknown in pursuit of a salary.
8. Video Game Tester
For most of us, this was at one time a dream job. Imagine playing video games all day, and not just any video games, the newest yet-to-be-released ones as well. Then you would get to tell the creators yay or nay, you would help influence video game history. How could that ever be difficult?
It’s a hard job. Another romantic notion edition where the truth shatters childhood illusion, however you handled Santa Claus not being real, it would be better than this. You’re not playing the game all day per se, more like a clip, a thirty-second demo, and playing it for twelve hours a day. Quality Assurance Testers or QA, don’t choose their games either which can lead to frustration and stress from having to play something you’re not used to, especially since a QA is tasked to try and break the game. The final stretch before a game’s release is called ‘crunch time’. Mandatory, borderline illegal overtime is required and it can lead to sleep deprivation and lack of nutrition. The job is notorious for lack of job security, low pay, and a lack of respect.
7. Stand-Up Comic
Get up on stage, tell some jokes, make people laugh. Difficult? No way! Everyone tells you how funny you are and how you should ‘go for it’. It’s just natural flow. No sweat. Next on stage, ladies and gentleman put your hands together for … The Truth!
Jokes. Sometimes they’re strong, sometimes they bomb. It’s an extremely difficult task to come up with new, original and, most of all, hilarious material all the time. Performing as many sets as you can, sometimes every night, and sometimes several shows per night. Hecklers in the crowd can throw your game off and sometimes you just flat-out bomb altogether. The travel, the necessary flow of creativity and landing shows are all huge stressors that can lead to health problems. Alcohol and drug abuse run rampant in the industry and stand-up comics are more likely to die at a young age than other comedic performers and actors. 14 out of 36 deaths (38.9%) involving stand-up comics are premature— not so funny now are you, funny man?
6. Public Transit Operator
All they do is drive, and not that fast either. They just hit a button now and then. Sometimes they have to pull over! Oooh! So difficult! Well, there’s more bad news for you, sunshine, assumption is a bad thing. This job is nowhere near as easy as you think.
There is a great deal of stress for the bus driver, strict time schedules, driving defensively, especially since every other driver is trying to get around you, and unruly and/or dangerous passengers put this unexpectedly difficult job high on the list. Drivers are first in risk of hypertension and heart disease. Violence is present almost daily and bus driver murders have occurred in the past. Trying to keep on schedule is almost impossible with increasing traffic congestion and many drivers miss breaks to make up lost time. Fatigue, burnout, and heart attacks are all common problems in the field even among operators under 40. Why not give your driver a break and behave? If not for them, for you. They are the one driving that condo on wheels remember?
5. Food Critic
Bet you’re writing up your resume just thinking about all the free food you would get with this job. You get to show off you culinary expertise, writing witty and snarky articles that will influence readers and make-or-break a restaurant’s success. The food, the power, and the food. Difficult is the furthest word for describing this job. Right? Garçon! Table for two in reality please?
The food critic is probably the most despised and feared person in the culinary world, besides Gordon Ramsey or Val Kilmer on all-you-can-eat night. Not only can the critic make a success out of an eatery, they can also absolutely raze it to dust, destroying dreams, financial security and families. Critics have been stalked, sent hate and threatening mail, and assaulted. In 2010, Steve Barnes of the Albany Time-Union was leaving yet another restaurant when two men walked up nonchalantly and beat him to a pulp. However, Barnes believes he was attacked because he was gay, not because he wrote scathing reviews on restaurants in the area.
Strut, strut, turn, strut, strut, turn. That and being “attractive” is all you need to be a professional model. Not like they are Rhodes Scholars or researching the cure for cancer. It’s a party lifestyle until they marry some rich old guy. Difficult things don’t even play a part in the life of a model. Fallacious. Here wearing a lovely cloak of truth, designer, Realité.
As well as having a lot of free time between shoots and not even being paid for some, there is a great deal of pressure on models to keep their figure, from the wispy thin to the thick beauties, they are leaned on to keep the build that brought them to the spotlight. The model, uh, model lifestyle is generally a party life with drug and alcohol playing a dramatic effect. Physical exhaustion, burnout, and mental health issues are all common. Attempted and successful suicides run rampant from the pressure to stay on top. Then, there is the danger of stalkers and other mentally ill people who target them. The job is full of stress and one must develop a thick skin since they are essentially being judged on physical aspects alone. No, most models don’t get to keep the clothing.
Make your own hours, no business or boss to worry about, do anything you want, and all while still in your pyjamas. If every freelancer had a dollar for every time someone said “I wish I had your job,” they could quit the soul-sucking job and live somewhere they’d never see the internet or a computer again.
Freelancing is extremely hard work. If you don’t have an established client-base before you begin, don’t bother. Building a client list can take years and then it comes to selling yourself constantly to fill the voids. Feast-or-famine situations often present themselves and sometimes you have to take a “real job” to pick up the slack. Sites like LinkedIn have flooded the market with would-be freelancers and it has made the industry all the more rigorous and often leads to a dead end. Freelancers are prone to stress-induced illnesses such as heart attacks, strokes, and even carpal tunnel and arthritis from spending twelve hours a day, seven days a week working. Often, freelancers will work many jobs for different clients and portray the quintessential ‘jack of all trades, master of none’. Summarizing: Adapt to survive or don’t survive.
Hanging out with the night life crowd. Meeting beautiful women and serving the ultimate good time sauce, all while being worshipped by followers who love the way you pour and entertain. A bartender is a dream job for many, academies sprung up in the 90s and a few still exist today, albeit, an unnecessary certification. You start at the bottom, bar-back, and work your way in from either that position or a server. No openings right now? Don’t worry. There will be real soon. There usually is.
Bar tending is really hard work, physically and mentally. Now, maybe not so much at a slow corner tavern, however, at the busier nightclubs, restaurants, and local faves it’s pandemonium in a matter of a short time frame. During Happy Hour rushes you’ll be hard pressed to find a table or a stool. The staff is locked in and on point. Taking orders from six or seven customers at a time, bartenders have to remember the drink, the face, the next drink, and all with a charming and engaging personality. Research suggests that bartenders have quicker cognitive response time than brain surgeons given their ability to do so many tasks at once. Bartenders would also most likely make terrific parents since they have to explain things slowly and clearly many times a night. Then they spend another two to three hours cleaning, counting the till, and splitting tips with cooks and bar-backs. Health concerns range from alcoholism and drug abuse to joint and muscle pain, cancer and heart disease. Violence can be, and most likely will be, involved and there’s always that one girl’s boyfriend who isn’t happy she is taken with the drink maker.
Rate (Hourly): $3.28 to $11.68 per hour
1. Convenience Store Clerk
It’s almost guaranteed that every time you walk into a convenience store you hear Apu saying, “Thank you! Come again!” It can’t be helped. The idle worker behind the counter gives you the impression that they stand there all day only serving as a cashier. Difficult? Hardly, right? How much can there be to it? Can I get a Powerball ticket and some reality, please? Oh! And this Clark Bar.
It’s one of the hardest, most underpaid jobs out there. The clerk only looks calm and collected because they are in shock at the mountain of duties laid out before them. Not only do they have to keep the walk-in cooler stocked fully, they make the hot food, stock new product, take care of perishables, janitorial duties, and serving customers. Many of the large chain stores require the clerk stay until all assigned work is completed, no matter that your shift ended two hours ago. Fatigue, burnout, and drug abuse are all factors in this job, however, the largest employee demographic most likely strays from the latter. Violence and possible death play a daily role and you never know what’s coming through the door next. Graveyard shifts are the most difficult and dangerous for the clerk and many stores have resorted to a drive-thru, bank teller style, metal drawer that slides out of the building. That’s how you buy anything after a set time. Most likely one of the most underpaid dangerous and difficult jobs unexpectedly placed at number one on this list.
Rate: Minimum Wage