There are hot jobs that everyone wants and jobs that just make you hot, hot, hot. Like totally suffering out of your mind hot. If you are stuck in an air-conditioned office or classroom, you might gaze out the window and yearn for the great outdoors. But be careful what you wish for. There are some jobs that can be dangerously hot to perform. It’s summer and 90 in the shade. Do you really want to be laying asphalt in the middle of the day or stoking a boiler? How about slaving away in a restaurant kitchen or prancing about in a Pokemon costume? “How bad can it be?”, you are probably saying. Bad. Very bad. Even very, very, very bad. By the time you finish this, we bet you will be totally happy to be stuck in a cool air-conditioned building. Well, maybe just not as miserable being there. It’s a fact: Some jobs are just too hot to handle.
Here are 15 jobs you would probably want to strip down and peel off for, especially in the hot summer months. And, as you will see, some of our workers have done just that. If you decide to follow their example, don’t forget the Factor 200 sunscreen.
15. Construction Workers
You’re walking along a steel beam on a sunny, hot summer day in New York City. Only thing is, you’re a construction worker and are eight or ten or twenty storeys up. Everything is hot. The steel absorbs and gives off heat. The sun is beating down. The classic picture is of a mail construction worker stripped down to shorts or jeans. But there is a more sinister side to the job. Construction work is one of the most dangerous jobs you can do, with a fatality rate of 25.2 per 100,000 workers. Why? Imagine you’re trying to install iron or steel beams, using cranes, and perching precariously on narrow structures. Slips and falls from the roof of a house are bad enough, but imagine you are atop a skyscraper. And what can you expect to get for hot and dangerous work? Just over $50,000. We bet that air-conditioned office is already looking better.
14. Mascot Costume
Think about it. You are inside a padded suit with almost no ventilation. And you have to dance around, sometimes for hours on end, while being cute and cuddly. And imagine you are doing that on a hot summer’s day. It happens all the time in places like Disney. It’s already 100 degrees hot and humid in Orlando, Florida, and then you put on the padded suit and do your thing. Temperatures can be degrees hotter on the inside than the outside. If you are lucky, you might have a little battery operated fan that circulates hot air. Sometimes workers faint or are faced with dehydration. Good employers like Disney give regular breaks. Don’t even think about the bad bosses out there. So, be nice to Pokemon. It’s not as easy as it looks.
13. Roofing Contractor
Roofing contractors clamber up and down usually sloped roofs installing roofing tiles or metal sheets. The tiles absorb heat and radiate that heat back, so it can be like walking on hot coals. Then there are the metal roofs that not only absorb heat but reflect it back. If you think you are sweltering in 90 degree summer temperatures ground level, imagine a roofer who works in temperatures that are ten or more degrees hotter than you experience. A roofer on a hot, sunny day can suffer severe sunburn and dehydration. He or she can bash their thumb with a hammer. But that’s nothing to the big danger: falls that can break bones or kill. And there’s not a lot of money in it, with an average roofing worker making around $40,000.
12. Zoo Keeper
Everybody thinks being a zookeeper is neat. There you are with cute little furry creatures. You feed the little darlings and generally take care of them. It’s okay if you work in the aquarium, inside and cool. But zookeepers are usually required to wear full boots, even in the hottest weather. And if you are outside, the temptation to strip off must be huge on boiling hot days. Add to that the fact that zookeepers are also doing hard manual labor, like shoveling elephant poop the size of a human head or chasing an aardvark around an enclosure, and you begin to get the true picture. The best you can hope for? That you work for a good zoo that rotates jobs that are not in shaded areas. Even better, put in for the aquarium as far away from the elephant poop and elusive aardvarks as you can get.
It’s the oldest profession. No, not that one. It’s farming. You’re out in all weathers, rain or shine. And, unlike workers like zookeepers, you can work long hours from the crack of dawn through the night. And it is back breaking work. It’s one thing if you are a big farmer and have that handy air-conditioned Combine Harvester, but it’s a completely different thing if you are a small farmer who works the fields over the spring and summer for ten or twelve hours a day, with the sun blazing down on you. The long hours and the physical demands of the work make farming work one of the most demanding and hottest of jobs around. And dangerous, too. Long hours and consistent contact with heavy equipment makes for a dangerous environment. Farming is a 24/7 kind of job. And don’t expect any shade to cool off in.
Welders fabricate, repair and weld steel. It’s hot and dirty work, but according to Bankrate, welders only make a measly $23,000 a year. A welder will wear a leather jacket, a welder’s cap, goggles, and boots to protect them from sparks that fly from a torch that can produce a burn of 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s like a hot cocoon in there. Who can blame a welder for wanting to strip down? Then there’s the dust, fumes and searing heat in stifling working conditions. Not bad on a bitterly cold day, but if it is a hot summer day, it can be unbearable. All that leather, the heat, the sparks. As The Guardian reported one welder saying, that the work is particularly challenging on a hot day because “we are often working in awkward, tight spaces and, in hot weather, the atmosphere is stifling. There’s no way to get away from the heat.” The best you can hope for? Big fans blowing straight at you. Take a stroll down to the water cooler and think that one over.
9. Seasonal Fruit And Vegetable Pickers
Sometimes students have this romantic vision of going out to the country and helping a farmer harvest his produce for work. There are just a few hitches. Usually, you are paid minimum wage. Secondly, it’s usually at the hottest time of the year. And you work from dawn to dusk out in the open. And if you are working in polytunnels that protect the crops, The Guardian has reported that the temps can reach 50 degrees Celsius (around 130 degrees Fahrenheit). It is hard physical labor out in a field where there is no shade and you are constantly bending over and pulling at crops while continuously moving down a line. So it’s no surprise that there is a real risk of heatstroke. Take two bottles of water: One to drink and another to pour over your head. And a soaked handkerchief around the neck stops you from becoming a redneck. Literally.
8. Coal Miner
You’re deep underground where the conditions can be hot and stifling, even on cooler days. If you are lucky, there is some lighting. You excavate using picks and drills. Sometimes explosives are brought in. It’s dusty, hot, dirty work. And dangerous work, too. Because if something goes wrong, you may be trapped. Add to that the possibility of cave-ins, floods, gas explosions, hot welding fumes, a radon leakage and more, and it’s easy to see why mining is not for the timid. And don’t forget the rats. But wait, you say, isn’t it cooler underground? No, says Geek Pause: “If you keep two baked potatoes in a freezer, one for 5 minutes and other for 30 minutes. The one which was kept for 5 minutes would still be warm. But the one which was kept for longer duration, to feel the warmth of that potato you would need to peel inside and then you would find that it has cooled from outside but it might still be warm inside”. And the miners are right at the center of that hot potato.
What’s the old adage? If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. Professional cooks and chefs have jobs with heat included in the form of all those hot ovens and stoves. Home cooks tend to steer away from the hotter times of the year, turning to outdoor grilling during the hotter months. But professional cooks don’t have that luxury. Plus cooking in a restaurant kitchen involves lots of lifting and stirring and running around. Because the head chef wants everything yesterday. It can be frantic. The worst restaurants to work in? Without a doubt, pizza places are the worst. Employees might have to climb into the pizza ovens to clean them. Then come Asian restaurants who steam everything. So hot plus steamy. Then throw in electric dishwashers which produce mountains of steam. Restaurant kitchens in the summer? Don’t even think about it.
6. Road Surface Contractor
Laying asphalt on the road is not for wimps. Imagine it’s a hot day and you are working with hot, hot liquid asphalt. Plus you are covered from head to toe in boots, hard hats, long trousers and safety glasses. Everything is covered to protect you from being burned by the molten hot (100-120 degrees Celsius) asphalt. You may begin to feel like that baked potato. And once you start laying asphalt you can’t stop. If you have ordered 100 tonnes, you keep working until you have laid the lot. So, you are covered from head to toe, working with molten asphalt, and constantly working to shovel the stuff around. As one worker told The Guardian, “The hardest job in hot weather is shoveling the hot material around.” He adds, “It’s murder in the summer.” But when you’ve finished there’s the water fight with the gang hoses to look forward to.
5. Football Player
Wait, you say. Football comes in the autumn after we bring out those comfy sweaters and mittens. Football and hot just don’t mix. Well, think again. High school and college football players start training during August, the hottest month of the year. They wear heavy, protective gear and helmets. They train in the heat of the day. Running, tackling, pushing. Doing drills. More running, tackling and pushing. And just about every year, there are reports of young football players who have been pushed too far and collapse and die. It’s just a fact that some coaches don’t know when to quit. According to SWATA (Southwest Athletic Trainers’ Association), 31 high school football players died of heat stroke complications between 1995 and 2009. And the number of heat-related injuries increased 133 percent from 1997 to 2006.
4. Yard Work
Landscape design is one thing. Landscape maintenance means that you cut grass, whack weeds, blow leaves, and trim hedges. And your busiest time? Why, it’s the summer when that grass is growing like mad and the pesky little weeds are springing up at an alarming rate. And so you are out in the hot sun doing what is little more than manual labor. All day. Every day. Because come November, nobody will need you much. So, you make hay while the heat wave is in full force. And you work at a furious pace, trying to squeeze in as much work as you can for those brief warm weather months. Students tend to think the job is an easy way to make summer money. You make money, but easy it is not.
3. Sewage Treatment Workers
This one will convince you to stay put in that nice office or classroom. Imagine you have a job removing contaminants from sewage. A really, really sh*tty job. Sorry. You’re not going to get rich; you might start at around $25,000 a year. You wear goggles, gloves and a high visibility jacket just in case you fall into the sewage. You could drown. Now imagine you are working out in the sun on a hot summer day. All that gear, hot sun, and sewage. If the heat doesn’t get you, the smells will. As one reporter said, “the smells, the smells. On a hot day, sewage is even more pungent than usual.” Sewage workers are told to drink water, wear sunscreen and take regular breaks. Let’s go back to the thing about drowning. No. Let’s not.
2. Car Wash
All that water and all that sun. Like being at the beach, right? Wrong. Working at a car wash during hot weather means you are wiping and drying and swiping and polishing in the sizzling sun. And it’s not just the one car. It’s car, after car, after car. And the pay is lousy and the workers are not always treated very well. And the idea of regular breaks? Forget it. Work until you drop from heat stroke or exhaustion (or both). A while back, The Los Angeles Times reported a rare breakthrough when a California car wash was unionized. Sometimes unscrupulous businesses employ illegal immigrants who cannot afford to report the stiflingly hot working conditions. Our advice? Keep your boring job with air conditioning included. And be generous with your tips if you go to the car wash.
1. Delivering Packages
It’s mid-summer and you are in a stifling warehouse and loading packages onto your van. So many packages that you can’t imagine how you will get it all done. Then you unload them one at a time all through a hot summer day and into a warm summer evening. There are small ones. Big ones. And gigantic heavy ones. The smiling UPS guys that you get in movies like Legally Blonde, are a fiction. Drivers are driving in the heat in an open van. They are humping package, after package, after package at such a fast pace they are exhausted by the end of the day. They have to deliver them all. One former UPS driver commented on complaintsboard that his time there was a kind of living hell, with 55-hour weeks not uncommon and 12 or 13 hour work days as the norm.