It takes all sorts of people to make a world, and it takes all sorts of jobs to keep the world running the way we think it should. Several of those jobs go a long, long way into maintaining our daily lives to the standard with which we’re comfortable. Whether we like to think about it or not, the people working those jobs sometimes have to deal with truly discomforting obstacles. Sometimes, those obstacles come in the form of foul odors. We’d like to think that compounded experience has resulted in the hardening of their nostrils and the strengthening of their spirits, and of course, nose plugs exist in this world. But still, a strong stank is a strong stank. Be warned now: there will be much talk of caca in this list.
Being that we are but lowly writers, the only smells that we have to deal with are normally confined to the stale cigarette stank on our white-T’s, and the acrid reek of burnt tofu. Thankfully for us all, TheRichest has not yet optimized their article formatting to support virtual reality, so you can read all about these jobs without the risk of smelling what these brave workers smell. Feast your eyes on the words; your noses are safe here.
We all love animals, don’t we? They’re sort of like us, except completely different. We find great pleasure in watching videos about them and seeing what they’re up to. An even better experience than watching pixellated animals on the screen is seeing them up close, in their full visceral glory. It’s unfortunate that the way people mostly go about seeing animals up close is when they’re behind cages in a zoo. So it goes, we suppose. The people who work at the zoos have a relationship with these animals that goes vastly beyond the average customer experience. That is to say, zookeepers tend to carry the responsibility of cleaning up after the animals. By that we mean, they’re responsible for ridding the cages of the animals’ urine and faeces. You might not think that this sort of job comes with the most lavish of fragrances, and you’d probably be right. Despite how we feel about the concept of zoos as a whole, we have some sympathy for the stinging nostrils of zookeepers everywhere.
14. Pig Farmer
Many of us have heard the expression, “It smells like a pig sty in here.” Sentences like that are usually thrown around by parents in an attempt to describe their teenage son’s or daughter’s room, which is usually replete with dirty socks and underwear, stale cigarettes or cannabis that was smoked out the window the night before, maybe a mouldy sandwich or plate of french fries. To the credit of those parents, we can imagine that their teenager’s room does smell bad (ours certainly did), but surely not as bad as a pig sty. Definitely not as bad as a pig sty. Pig turd smells like most other types of turd — very, very bad, and when the air of a pig sty is replete with the conglomerate cloud of a thousand big pig turds, one might find themselves thinking back fondly of the day they walked into their teenager’s dirty room.
13. Sanitation Worker
Colloquially known as garbage men or women and a little more formally known as garbage collectors, sanitation workers have what is most commonly known as a reliably, indefinitely (re: definitely) smelly job. Think of how your kitchen air starts to stale when you haven’t taken the garbage out for a couple days. You’re thankful of the way the air clears after you finally put the trash out to the curb, and you don’t pay much mind to rubbish of any sort at all until it’s time to take the next load out. Well, your mindfulness (or lack, thereof) of rubbish on the curb doesn’t alter the fact that it is constantly morphing, getting stinkier and stinkier under its cover. When the humble sanitation workers finally get to your house, that stale garbage bag has morphed into an inanimate god of sheer stank. The stoic sanitation worker, nostrils chiseled by infinite past stanks, picks it up in an almost subconscious way and throws it into the truck. The smell is almost unbearable to our virgin nasal canals, but it’s all in a day’s work for our faithful friends.
12. Sewage Worker
Do you know what happens to all those daily offerings you gift to the toilet bowl? We’re not sure of the exact process either, but we know that human excrement doesn’t disappear off the face of the earth. It’s all funnelled through intricate pipe systems graciously passed down by those who came before us, making its way down to the mind-numbing hades of stank that is our city’s sewage system. If ever you find yourself wading through the depths of a sewer — which you really have little reason to be doing unless your job carries the same title as that of this entry, or you lost your wedding ring in which case just friggin’ buy a new ring at that point, bruh — you will find yourself in the company of the craps and pees of everyone you’ve ever met and everyone you haven’t. Sewage workers are well-acquainted with all of our excrements, which can’t be very pleasant at all.
11. Portable Toilet Cleaner
If you’ve ever used a porta potty (and pretty much everyone has to at some point in their lives), you’ve probably had a bad time doing so. Unless you love the excremental smells that the rest of us find extremely unpleasant, you did your business in there while holding your breath for as long as you can. The only way a portable toilet can function is by grouping everyone’s waste together at the bottom of a hole which, it turns out, can start smelling really, very bad, and quite quickly. It makes us quite thankful for the miraculous innovation of the toilet bowl and the pipe and sewage system that makes it possible. One thing about porta potties that most of us don’t pay any mind to is the fact that, eventually, someone’s going to have to clean those things, and cleaning it will mostly likely take longer than using it. For these workers’ sakes, we thank the gods for the invention of nostril plugs.
10. Orangutan-pee Collector
You read right, that is indeed a job. It takes a very special kind of person to love orangutans so much that they built their careers around being very good at collecting their urine. Of course, this occupation exists in order to add a little bit of content to the wonderful, ever-expanding world of science. It’s actually a form of biological anthropology. Oh yes, if that many syllables doesn’t legitimize what an orangutan-pee collector does, we’re not sure what else will. We’re also not sure why we chose orangutans as the best urine providers of this article. It probably has something to do with how, if their pee is anything close to the colour of their body hair, it most likely smells really strong, which would probably go a long way towards highlighting the nostril strength of the dedicated scientific pioneers who go around collecting it. We could have actually verified the general colour of an orangutan’s urine before writing this entry, as there are a selection of videos online of the primates peeing liberally (sometimes into their own mouths), but we decided to spare ourselves the experience.
9. Manure Inspector
Though some of us see faecal matter as pure waste, something that exists exclusively for the purpose of being discarded, the truth is that faeces are actually fundamental in maintaining our way of life. Throughout history, crap has been a crucial tool in the agricultural industry. Crap makes stuff grow, crap makes food. For farmers to grow the best possible food in the quickest, most efficient way they can, they need the absolute best crap that they can get their hands on. In order to inspect the crap (we’ll start calling it manure now), there are people who specialize in the field, and they’re known as manure inspectors. Don’t judge them by the name, though; these people are actually scientists, and their work is extremely important. Manure inspectors sort through different types of animal waste in order to ensure that they don’t contain any harmful material that could make its way into the food that the manure is helping to grow. We’re grateful that manure workers do what they do, and again, our sympathies go out to their nostrils.
While sewage workers’ domain of specialty is the dank hell our excrements go to, plumbers specialize in the pipes that carry it there. While we can imagine that the former is definitely more replete with stank than the latter, most of us can verify through the personal experience of seeing (re: smelling) plumbers at work that their job does indeed include very bad smells. The walls of those pipes are lined with countless past poops and pees (sorry, but it’s the damned truth), and a plumber’s job entails getting right up close and personal with those pipes. Our homes tend to smell bad when the plumber comes around to fix stuff, and some of us tend to dislike that quite a bit, but we have absolutely no right to complain when considering how intimate the plumber is getting with the residue of our waste. There’s a niche theory out there that Super Mario put his wrench down and made a life for himself out of saving the Mushroom Kingdom because he just couldn’t handle the smell anymore.
7. Dysentery Stool Analyzer
We know, this article has been mostly about poop so far. Well guess what: there’s more caca to come, so stay tuned. And don’t laugh, because dysentery is a serious thing. Dysentery is essentially bloody diarrhoea, that is to say any diarrheal episode that results in the liquid stools containing visible blood. 140 million people develop symptoms of dysentery every year, resulting in 600,000 deaths, mostly in underdeveloped countries where health care is extremely hard to come by. That said, it’s easy to understand how important it is to have health specialists working to detect, prevent, and treat dysentery. Dysentery stool analyzers are one of the links to this chain. Everyone who finds blood in their diarrhoea instantly becomes an amateur dysentery stool analyzer, and everyone who finds themselves in that situation should instantly go to the hospital, where an actual professional can analyze the stool sample to identify the organism causing dysentery.
For the relief of our readers, we’ll have a one-entry break from all that talk about faeces. This job is smelly not because of the horrid human waste that the worker has to deal with (unless they run into an errant pile of crap on an expedition, for whatever reason), but because of the natural elements that they have to bear through. Volcanologists study everything there is to know about volcanoes by analyzing dormant volcanoes or keeping track of volcanoes that have the potential to become active. It’s actually pretty interesting work. Regarding his job, volcanologist Robert Tilling stated that “the present is the key to the past – In a sense, we’re detectives, trying to decipher clues that rocks tell us.” Despite how cool that sounds, we can’t imagine that the thick fogs of sulfur dioxide gas that volcanologists have to work through can smell like anything but pure nastiness.
Okay, now that we got that over with, let’s get back to the good old doo-doo. Many among us don’t like going to the doctor one bit, for a variety of reasons. Since we are of the male gender, we just hate going to the hospital by principle, and we generally have absolutely no idea why that is. We just feel it in our bones, and it’s a feeling too strong to fight. However, there’s one part of going to see the doctor that we absolutely know we hate, and we definitely know why we hate it. Because, frankly, we don’t want anyone poking around up there, even if it could save our lives. The work of proctologists actually does end up saving people from a lot of grief, but they do it via rectal examination, which is a mournful experience in itself. We can’t imagine that it could be very pleasant for the doctor either, for a variety of reasons which include the smell. Let’s just not talk about this anymore.
Dead bodies are always an unpleasant thing, unless you’re a psychopath of the sort that we don’t want over at our house for coffee. If you’re familiar with the personality that once belonged to a dead body, then the corpse is a personally, painfully unpleasant thing to think about. If it’s a stranger’s dead body, it’s less of a personal experience, but you’d still feel a tangible discomfort with the corpse that probably has something to do with being human. Pathologists are people who perform autopsies, determining the cause of death of a corpse. Pathologists see dead bodies all the time, since it’s their job. We can’t imagine that the frequency of the dead bodies that pass under their inspection does much to lessen the human discomfort they must feel, and we can’t imagine that the examination room smells like anything but dead bodies and pure awfulness. Still, it’s certainly a job that someone has to do, and we’re extremely thankful that there are people willing to do it.
3. Odor Tester
All of the other entries on this list go through odors as a simple side effect of their job, except for this one. The duties of an odor tester revolve explicitly around sniffing things that smell, to varying degrees. This job is actually in heavy demand, and companies will spend good money for an odor tester to put a nostril or two to their products. Essentially, an odor tester’s job is to sniff specific products and adjust their composition so that they give off the desired smell. Companies that manufacturer products like toothpaste, cereal, hand lotion, and pretty much anything else will contract an odor tester to get their opinion on what needs to be added or removed from the product in order for it to give off the desired scent. Though many times an odor tester will have a day filled with more-or-less pleasant fragrances that only need slight adjustments, they also run into truly unpleasant smells, like the kind that a testing-stage nail polish gives off, and it’ll be up to them to adjust it.
2. Septic Tank Cleaner
It feels like a while since we spoke about crap. Let’s get back to it, shall we? Septic tank cleaners, like some of the other occupations on this list, are specialists in the field of poop, specifically through clearing it from septic tanks. If you ever lived in a home with a septic tank that needed some clearing, we can imagine that you took up a position far away from the work that the crew was doing. You wouldn’t want to let that horrendous reek into your skull, after all, and you certainly wouldn’t want a rogue strand of poop to nail you on the cheek. Even if it’s your own poop. You won’t hear the septic tank cleaners complain about that, though, especially not if they actually own the business, as this can be a very profitable field to venture in. One septic tank cleaning service owner named Dick Dolan once said of the odor that “it smells like money.”
1. Crime Scene Cleaner
Crime scene cleaners are distant colleagues of the pathologists we went over above, and the two professions tend to share very similar odors. It’s part of a crime scene cleaner’s job to tidy up all potentially infectious materials in whatever setting the crime occurred in. Their work covers industrial accidents, animal biohazards, infectious disease contamination, and of course, murder scenes. These workers will clean up all the blood and any other bodily fluids found in a murder scene. Sometimes the bodies in question will only be found by the police several days, weeks, or even months or years after the murder occurred. Which, as you can imagine, would lead to an extremely smelly murder scene. It would also lead to them working around a dead body whose poor soul had to leave it before its time. So it goes. It’s a dirty, smelly job, but once again, someone has to do it.