Everyone remembers that great Discovery Channel show Dirty Jobs, hosted by Mike Rowe, in which he went around the world performing and highlighting some of the dirtiest jobs on the planet. These were the kinds of jobs that people were generally glad they didn’t have to do. But yet, they were still fascinated by them, investing hours into watching 8 seasons of this show, totalling 169 episodes in what was one of Discovery’s biggest hits.
There’s something comforting about learning about the worst jobs that are out there. Especially since you don't have to do these jobs. There’s also of course, a certain level of respect that comes from the people having to do it, as evidenced when Rowe himself would often fail to complete the tasks which he was assigned at least in part compared to the skilled workers.
The fact is that dirty jobs exist and need to be done. While we can enjoy laughing about these jobs, we should also have some serious respect for the unfortunate souls doing these jobs and take comfort in the fact that in many cases they’re being paid pretty well to do it. So let’s have a look at twelve of the worst jobs in the world.
12 Armpit Sniffer
You may spend hours of your day sniffing your own BO, but imagine if you had to spend that amount of time sniffing someone else’s BO all day, every day. Well for some of those unfortunate people who work for deodorant companies, that’s exactly their job. Someone needs to test the effectiveness of that deodorant, right? To test it they literally have employees who go around sniffing the armpits of several, um, “test pits” to evaluate the effectiveness of the pit stick. Deodorant tester Peta Jones, commenting on her job, said: “It was strange at first, but in a week it was fine.” Well, okay then.
11 Crocodile Trainer
Crocodile trainers have a rough life. In the movie Joe Dirt, the job was given a kind of hilarious spin as Joe Dirt put his head into the crocodile’s mouth for an audience, only to be nearly eaten by the beast. Oh, wait. That really happens. Putting your head in a crocodile’s mouth for shock money is actually a thing. And they even have the audacity to call it “training.” It apparently happens in Thailand all the time. Even worse, the workers are paid nearly slave wages for their work. One person attending such a show said: “One of the performers had his head crushed while locked in the jaws of a croc.”
10 Target Stabilizer
Gun enthusiasts are probably well aware of the one cardinal rule of the gun range. Well, you know, except for don’t point your gun at someone else. That rule is don’t go out onto the range for any reason! You certainly don’t want to wind up getting shot by accident. Apparently though, in some places, it’s actually someone’s job to stabilize a shooting target. You just have to feel bad for that poor man. Someone has to have been shot at some point doing this job. It’s literally just an accident waiting to happen. Then it’s going to be someone else’s job to clean up.
9 Porta Potty Cleaner
Admit it. You’ve thought about this one before as you were using those porta potties at the state fair or wherever. Someone’s job is to clean these things out. Granted, it’s not the worst job in the world. They have a giant hose that they use to suck out all the crap. They then have to use a powerful high pressure hose to soak down the walls and the seat. Of course, there’s a lot of spray back, so they want to be wearing a body suit. Most people apparently clean 10-60 per day on this job, each taking several minutes. It’s not too bad, though, but when one tips over, that’s when they must truly hate their job.
8 Crime Scene Clean-up
This one actually made news last year. As the popularity of crime dramas continues to climb, with some network announcing a new one (it seems like) nearly each week, they still lack a show about the people cleaning up these crime scenes. The body and blood doesn’t just disappear by itself after all. Apparently, the job just isn’t as entertaining as watching the investigators. A married couple in Florida who work together cleaning up scenes had just one thing to say about cleaning up a murder scene in a hot caravan: “There are some things you can’t just Febreze.” That’s all you need to know.
7 Fart Smell Judge
Actually called a “flatus odor judge,” these people have the distinct honor of getting to smell lots of farts. Just imagine doing this for a job. This was apparently for a research project, which had 2 unfortunate judges attached to it. Sixteen subjects would eat pinto beans and insert plastic collection tubes into their rectum. Every time they farted, the gas would be trapped in a container. The odor judges had to then sit and smell over 100 samples, one at a time, by inhaling the smelly contents. Their job was to rate just how disgusting the smell was. We bet it was pretty disgusting.
6 Professional Mosquito Bite Victim
In order to combat malaria, scientists in Brazil offer themselves as bait to the little vampiric insects. In the evening, when the mosquitoes come out to play, researchers find nice bug-infested areas to hang out in and get themselves bitten. They set up inside tents that trap the mosquito within, where they feast upon the poor scientists. When the mosquitoes attack, they take the opportunity to capture them, sometimes catching up to a ridiculous 500 mosquitoes in just 3 hours. Of course, this also amassed a total of 3,000 bites. Something like this just can’t be healthy. Let’s hope at least they got their malaria shots.
5 Animal Manure Collector and Inspector
As you may know, manure is very important to farmers. It’s often used as a natural fertilizer to help crops grow throughout the world. It’s also why farms are often associated with that familiar but terrible smell. But did you know that manure actually has standards? It has to be inspected by someone before it can be sold off as fertilizer. Contaminants like E. coli and salmonella are a serious risk, especially if they make it into the crops they’re fertilizing, and so the manure must be tested first. Their job is to sift through tons of manure to collect samples that are then used in a lab to test for the nasty bacteria.
4 Cat Food Quality Tester
They say some people love their cats more than they love other people, right? Because of that, cat food has to be tested for the quality by humans. It seems like a lot more work than one might imagine, too. It’s not just taste testing some fishy food. It couldn’t be that easy. One particular job in England requires burying your face in tubs of cat food to sniff for freshness. They also have to sift through by hand to check for bony bits, which seems a bit unsanitary. Let’s hope they wear gloves. They also have to smear it on a flat surface and poke it to test for gristle. On top of that, they must also taste it. One worker in the US chews gum frequently to avoid dog breath. He also refuses to swallow the nasty stuff.
3 Oil Rig Personnel
Oil rig personnel have it pretty rough indeed. It is a ridiculously dangerous job with an almost uncountable number of hazards fighting against you at any given time. The job is always performed far from civilization, on an oil rig of course, and usually demands 12 hour shifts with hazardous oil raining down around you the whole time. Oh, and don’t light a cigarette. What’s worse is that if there is some kind of accident, they’re so far offshore often it’s difficult to get timely medical care. The pay for the job is not too stellar either, given the risks.
2 Coal Miner
Coal miners have what is often ranked among the most dangerous jobs in the world. Coal miners work the whole day in extremely narrow spaces deep in tunnels that are often incredibly hot and humid. Coal dust is of course quite dirty, but it’s also quite harmful to the lungs, and breathing it in constantly is terrible for your health. Not to mention the risk of tunnel collapse, which is a constant threat that seeks to bury them under rock forever. But that’s not all! Miners also suffer hearing loss from the loud instruments used to mine the coal. Around 30 miners die per year in the US alone. We have come a long way, though. Before the 1990s, over 1,500 miners died per year.
1 Sewer Diver
In some countries without a fully-developed sewer system, sewer divers can be one of the most disgusting jobs imaginable. In places like Mexico City, where the sewers aren’t as advanced as ours, people have to swim through sewage in order to clear blockages and repair pipes by hand. It’s absolutely disgusting that they have to wade through sewage just to do that. They often have to wear helmets and body suits for protection. In India, it seems even worse. They sit low at the bottom of a manhole in nothing but their underwear and use a bucket to scoop feces out to be dumped in the middle of the street.