IT Employment

What's the worst job in the world?

With reports predicting a decline in IT staff jobs in 2009, it may help to ask yourself what job situation could be worse. Snake handler? Lindsay Lohan's AA sponsor? Let's take a moment to imagine the worst jobs in the world.

With reports predicting a decline in IT staff jobs in 2009, it may help to ask yourself what job situation could be worse. Snake handler? Lindsay Lohan's AA sponsor? Let's take a moment to imagine the worst jobs in the world.

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OK, I'll admit it: Yesterday's blog, Reports indicate IT staff jobs will drop in 2009, was one of the bleakest articles that I've written. I needed a serotonin IV after I hit the Publish button.

So for today, I thought we'd momentarily climb out of the handbasket we're going to hell in and have a little fun. Let's forget for a second about the suckiness of our IT jobs and the unspeakable fear that we may lose those sucky jobs and take a walk down "It could be worse" lane.

The topic: What other job would you absolutely hate to do?

I'll go first. Ignoring for a moment the obvious, like Porto-can cleaner or anything else featured on Mike Rowe's Dirty Jobs show, I think it would be a nightmare to be in sales. I don't mean that the line of work itself would suck, just MY being in sales.

I don't think I could deal with the constant aura of rejection, and the attitudes of clients who hold all the cards by being in judgment of your product. In my mind, no matter how high-end the product, I would still feel like a door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesperson.

So let's hit it. What's the worst job you can imagine?

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

327 comments
Snak
Snak

Any job that demands the wearing of a suit. I've done sales, I've done factory and building site. I've done teaching and photography. I've done programming, web design, database engineering. I've done box stacking and writing and driving and band promotion. In all of the jobs I've done, the best were the ones where I did not have to put a noose around my neck for the day. "Never trust anyone in a suit" is a good adage. So the worst job in the world would be one for which I'd need to don one.

Nathan.Young1
Nathan.Young1

I like being a student of the IT industry. I am currently about to receive my Bachelor of Technology degree on August 23rd. I do not about about everyone in the IT industry or any other industry for that matter. My first question is who paid for your education? Was it your mommy and daddy? Some of us like myself actually bothered to serve the greatest nation in the world. That nation being these United States of America. Regardless of anyone's feelings of the war, there seem to be too many ungrateful bastards in this industry with no patriotism whatsoever. When you get to be so unhappy and ungrateful for your IT job just be thankful that some of us actually had to work our ass off in the U.S. Military to have the same opportunity you have. So I say stop complaining and be grateful that you were blessed enough to born in the United States of America.

EJirouschek
EJirouschek

The worst job in the woeld is looking for a job. For ten years I worked for a major finanial institution and then I found myself outside looking in. Much has changed in the job search process.

spidaparthi
spidaparthi

According to my opinion The worst job in the world is being jobless..... When u r in dearth necessity then would you think that this is not a good job and leave it??? You wouldnt.... It is necessity that determines the worst job......

spork
spork

Telemarketing. Few people are as reviled as telemarketers, and it was selling insurance too. After feeling like an absolute scumbag, I quit after one day.

mjd420nova
mjd420nova

This really follows another thread, that of PERCEPTION. Depending upon your field of expertise and the job you are hired to do, many assignments may be beyond your skills, or even below your skillset. Often a good job can be made difficult and unbearable by a jackass of a boss. Just as an example, I worked for six years as a Flexo photopolymer plate maker for a lineup of 12 presses. The job involved proof reading and examining film negatives of a four color process generated by both Mac and PC systems. Insuring the negatives were dust free and placing on a twenty four by thirty inch sheet of polymer and exposing to ultra-violet light for various exposure times. Removing the the sheet and placing on a rotary drum and washing in a solvent to remove exposed areas and drying at 185 degrees for up to 4 hours, cleaning and again proofing the plates before sending to the pre-press area for mounting. A very challenging job but very satisfying to see your fruits in a finished product that looked like a photo. The job was done in a fifteen by fifteen foot room with two light tables and two large dryers and a dust filter/fan. The DB level was a constant 80 to 90 level depending on whether the washout unit was running or not. The supervisor had a habit of standing at a sink thirty feet away washing his hands and issueing instructions and expecting me to hear him. This created a lot of friction as I was often bent over a light table concentrating on looking over negatives under a X10 magnifier or looking over finished plates with a X15 light/magnifier. With all the noise, often I didn't hear him at all or was in a position where I couldn't exit the room to hear if he was even talking to me. I left after I became totally frustrated when I was forced to do two jobs with no increase in pay. You see, perception has a large part in determining if a worker is happy in their job.

pskhoo24
pskhoo24

It's definitely better to have a job than having none... Now, is there really such a thing of having the "worst" job then?

aftipus
aftipus

A suited job is not just about skills. It is much about personality. The worst in the world is a job that you hate and doesn't suit your personality. Any job that answers this definition would be your nightmare. Real good salesmen are those who don't see rejection as an issue - for them is it a challenge. Their reward is the cheque in the pocket. So, if your nightmare is rejection, NEVER go for sales. You are unsuited for the job. Thumbnail rules in hiring salesmen (in IT too): * A person who hates rejection is a bad salesman. * A bad salesmen harms the business. About learning curve in the dynamic technology world - I have seen 3G people with an incredibly short learning curve. Their move into 4G and Internet world was so quick and intelligent that they could bend any NET expert when it comes to dealing with project management issues (where development & sales often meet). Their nightmare is young experts who doubt their ability to learn new technologies at the age of 45 and up. If any of you are "stuck" in the same technology for 10 years, one day you will be thrown out of the market by another technology and another young person who'd say the same about you. So better watch out - soon you may realize that your worst nightmare is: TIME...

LisaLouLou
LisaLouLou

One summer I had just moved to Phoenix and was trying to get a job. I answered an ad for an "Art Gallery Manager." Turned out the job was selling cheap plastic luggage and foil prints in parking lots, out of the trunk of my car.

DNSB
DNSB

Spent one summer while at university working in a fish packing plant. You got a hint about what the job was like when you were told to bring a change of clothing in a sealed plastic bag. At the end of shift all but a few showered and changed before leaving. You could smell the stench 5 kilometres away upwind. At least, I got out after 3 months. One employee retired that summer at 65 after working there for 46 years. OTOH, for some strange reason, I still have a violent gag reflex when someone suggests fish and chips.

melao64
melao64

OK let me give a little twist to that question. What's the worst job in the IT world ?, personally i think the monitoring can get pretty boring. what do you think?

technopercy
technopercy

Sales is the best Job in the world! I work at DELL and having customers get their money's worth buying laptops and desktops with the right configuration at a very special price..even old folks can have the chance to see and use cutting edge technology without spending so much..

mtaylor619
mtaylor619

I think she has a small economics lesson to learn. On the one hand she complains about the gloomy economic prospects, then turns around and talks about how sucky it would be to sell stuff. Well, if more people sold stuff, even vacuum cleaners, corporations would be hiring instead of firing. Think about it, nothing happens until somebody sells something. Nothing gets produced, no one is hired to transport it, or to support all those poor sucky IT jobs.

Jessica.Funk
Jessica.Funk

Ya know, I really feel sorry for the people that work in the sewage plants! For my junior year in high school our chemistry class took a trip to the sewage plant. They explained to us that if anyone fell into the huge aeration vats they would drown on crap before they could turn the aeration machine off. Was interesting to see how they seperated the elements of sewage and redistributed them as water and fertilizer, but it STUNK!!! Funny thing, one of my classmates thought it'd be cool to stand on a mound of crap and play King of the Hill, only to discover that it was light and airy. His feet slid straight to the bottom of the poo pile and he got that stinky yuck all inside his shoes! Ha ha, dumb@$$! Never step in $&*% if you don't have to!!!

rich303nyc
rich303nyc

Working in IT is probably one of the worst. Working on projects that other people(managers) consider to be high priority can be torture when you realize that it's not very important. It is miserable when one has to carry a pager that may interrupt life at any time. At one point, IT seemed as if it would provide the promise of a good career and future. These days IT staff seem to have zero job security as jobs leave the country at an alarming rate. I regret my choice to go into IT and I'm currently trying to find another line of work. I'm tired of lay offs, etc.

wizardofJ
wizardofJ

Tomato packer - you stand at a moving belt and sort tomatoes by ripeness, and sometimes by rotten-ness (ugh) I did this once for about 3 weeks, and couldn't eat tomatoes for years after.

lindafcave
lindafcave

2nd most stressful job in the US. The government has decided that your BS and professional training means nothing and a person with an associates degree can be your boss. Pay is a good deal lower than other health jobs with the same education. Most labs are understaffed due to lack of qualified people. Beware if you need a blood transfusion! What more can I say. Actually I could write a lot more but why bore you all.

desoto58
desoto58

i was the forman for a construction crew. one day we were sent to a sewage treatment plant. a drive chain in one of the tanks that is supposed to be filled with 80% water and 20% sewage had a chain break, filling it with 90% sewage. this tank held aprox 500,000 gallons of sewage. the plant had to send in a crew with shovels and hoses to clean it all out before i sent my crew in.

robjimc
robjimc

the worst work is where the person doesnt have nothing to contribute to make profits for the organization or the society, regardless the kind of job. I think every kind of job is helpful and necessary. everything is connected. but when on part of is not working well everything is affected

tungstendiadem
tungstendiadem

My first job was in retail. I remember the manager making speeches about the need to be extra friendly and keep the store in top condition because we were expecting a secret shopper, and I remember thinking what a great job it must be to be a secret shopper. I did some research and got hired as an independent contractor, and can never look at retail again. I have during the course of my studies, and as a result of secret shopping not paying, and my IT career occasionally stalling, been forced to pick up some part time work in retail only to find I am known to my employer as a seccret shopper andd targeted for abuse, then of course there is the pay that jobs every 15 year old aspires to entails.

gcjeffries
gcjeffries

I can think of a few bad jobs: Day care provider - have you ever hung out with 24 toddlers??? Ack!! ...and I love kids. Customer Service - you have to listen to those stupid rants and then say "yessir" or "yessmam", as if they were right... Helpdesk Tier 1 support!! Just think of all the jokes you know yourself. Those poor people have to put up with it for REAL - every single day!! Housekeeper - so you dust on Monday and what's back on Tuesday?? Talk about futility... Being unemployed - although sometimes that's not so bad...

yagzygee
yagzygee

The worst job is sitting down and not doing anything

jasondlnd
jasondlnd

After reading all of the posts on this forum, my worst job doesn't seem all that bad. A number of years back, I worked as a bank teller, and for me, that was the worst job. In addition to smiling, processing transactions with cash all day, balancing perfectly at the end of the night, and selling accounts and services, I had to deal with some of the most slimy, smelly people who seemed unable to shower or deal with money. Some of these people would come in on a regular basis and demand that the bank employees balance their checkbook, because they couldn't "figure it out". Others would come in with their side businesses and try to sell the employees of the bank, unsolicited. Some were illegal aliens that had to have their boss come in to cash checks made out in their name. I was even accused of "stalking" someone, just because I went into their place of business during my off hours to buy a cup of coffee. It was always worse on Friday...we used to call that "sweaty farm worker Friday", because that is the day that all the farm workers got paid. I ended up calling in sick most Fridays because I just simply couldn't deal with it. I put up with all of this for $8.00 per hour...seriously not worth it. I was laid off after three years, and tried really hard to contain my huge grin at the news.

sonexman
sonexman

Over the years, I think the worst one was probably either working at McDonald's with a psychotic owner who screamed at EVERYONE, multiple times a day, or a job where all I did was filing. I nearly broke down in tears with that one. My dad had a horrible job one summer when he was in college. He worked for a demolition company that used dynamite to blast holes in bedrock. His supervisor was certifiably crazy and used to light sticks of dynamite in his hand and then proceed to talk to my dad while holding it. This guy also thought it was funny to hit blasting caps with a hammer. My dad made it there for a week. His nerves were shot!!

chiefscientist
chiefscientist

Being a Juggie is probably the worst job in the world. These guys work seismic exploration crews to find oil. Imagine going to the arctic, in -50F ambient (-100F wind at times), hauling a pair of "jugs", which are transducers weighing about 60# each (one in each hand), plus 200' of 1" cable on your back. Haul this stuff out, set it out in its location, and wait for the shot. Pick up, haul back in. Do this 14hours a day, chronically dehydrated, living on coke and candy bars during the day, and let's say not- the-best meals at night....and when you're off shift the camp is moving over the ice/snow to the next location. Gotta pee? The bathroom is 100' away, make sure not to anger the 7 other guys sleeping in your shack when you open the door to go outside. Then do it all for about $8/hr. I am not joking. If there's worse than this, I don't know it. Other jobs pay less, but they're inside. Other jobs are smelly, but they're not life-threateningly cold. I haven't seen a job that tops this yet. and I am thankful I don't have to do it!

KarnageTyme
KarnageTyme

Well I cant compete with the guys cutting chicken beaks and slitting their throats but I definitely can appreciate the bad hours - During my career as a worker in the semiconductor field I worked on the production line in a fab from midnight to 8am-5 days a week, in the middle 80's. Start Sunday night and end Friday morning. Stay up all day Friday - go to bed Friday night wake up normally but groggy on Saturday and do chores etc... Stay up insainly late on Saturday night (usually drinking heavily, I was in my 20's)and sleep as much as Sunday as you can then start all over. Did this for a couple of years before being "normal" again on day shift....

DNSB
DNSB

Perhaps you didn't notice that quite a few posters in this discussion do not live in the USA and as far as I could tell, the original post was not about worse job in the USA but worst job(period). I wonder how you got through any time in ANY military service without noticing that grumbling about work and superiors is as long and proud a tradiition in the military as in any other field.

TtFH
TtFH

ummm... errr... It may surprise you that not everyone on the internet was born in the USA. Damned foreigners. It may also surprise you to learn that people born outside of the USA may also consider their own country to be the best in the world. Weirdos. It may absolutely astonish and outrage you that some people born and living in the USA can see any flaws at all in their country. Damned liberals. "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel." Samuel Johnson. Now, yawn, go and have a chill pill, and come back when you're rational.

JamesRL
JamesRL

Who peed in your cornflakes? How does your twisted logic somehow imply that the author had anything bad to say about work, working in IT or the military. You just have zero emotional intelligence now do you? The author was talking about selling ludicrously overpriced vacuum cleaners as being a tough/bad job. Did you sign up to protect the rights of civilians to express opinions? Or would you rather everyone be patriotic like they were in the former Soviet Union? James

jdclyde
jdclyde

As the original post has nothing to do with working in America, but working. When you grow up, you will look back at this and be embarrassed.

AttackComputerWhiz
AttackComputerWhiz

Who peed in your Cheerios this morning? First off, many of us started in IT when there was no degree to be earned. We did heavy math work and learned computers on the fly. I have been through C/PM, QBasic, COBOL, COMOL and all the other early languages. I have worked on PCs since the 8086s were the big deal. I also paid for all my college by myself. My parents paid ZIP, NADA, ZILCH!!!! I also did time in the service to earn part of my tuition. So your "pride" in your BS degree (and take the BS any way you want) that you earned through any of the military diploma mill colleges is misplaced. We paved the way so that wimps like you who want to hold up their military service as the only qualifier can get that oh so precious piece of paper that says you can spell "computer" while actually not having hard experience. The sad thing is that we are now considered "too old" or "behind the times"-no matter that we are still doing the work and have kept up with the changing scenary of IT. Sadder still, the Neidermeyers of the world like you will be promoted because your BS will be newer than ours, even though we will spend the next few years unteaching you the crap you learned in school. BTW, you didn't HAVE to work your ass off in the military. Last time I checked, the military is still all-volunteer. You weren't forced to join, you went in of your own volition and so can't hold up that "HAD to" stuff against us. Especially not me--I did my time and never ever used it as an excuse to get ahead of people who worked hard in other jobs. Come back when you no longer need diapers and a "passie".

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

Did you even [b]read[/b] the original post?

RBFeddersen
RBFeddersen

I've worked the fast food places in school (not too bad, I may pull an American Beauty one of these days), grocery stores (not bad either, but I worked with friends and we screwed around most of the time), construction (spraying wall texture in Austin, TX). This job wasn't horrible, but the conditions were... instant 100% humidity in the new house with no AC and all windows and doors covered in plastic to keep the wind out and drying the texture too fast. People thought we were crazy when we came outside to 100 degree weather and were delighted. Then, I joined the marines. Not too bad either, once I made it to my duty station since I never deployed and never left San Deigo. I thought alot of these jobs were miserable, but after reading through the posts, my bad jobs seem relatively nice. I couldn't do the slaughterhouse or dock work... My family would think I turned bulemic based on the amount of vomit and rapid weight loss. But, I guess some of the worst jobs ever are janitor, help desk, and the guy who has to clean and detail rental cars.... They have decent conditions, but I would quit the first time I have to throw away a used condom found in the back seat of a focus...

DNSB
DNSB

What? You left before having a chance to win the weekly coitus interruptus award?

DNSB
DNSB

Not sure if this really qualifies as IT but the worst job I had after leaving university was 6 months at a nameless company working their service department. This was prior to PCs so what I saw was dumb terminals and modems. Basically, one model of terminal and one model of modem. After the first 4 weeks, you had the common problems and fixes memorized. After 8 weeks, you were cold calling for potential jobs because you were bored out of your skull. I stuck it out for 6 months which let me pay off my student loan. About 3 seconds after the last payment left my bank account, I gave my two weeks notice and was escorted off the premises about 5 minutes later with my final pay check and a box of "personal" possessions as verified by a security guard who didn't care what I took as long as I was off the premises before his coffee break.

bamyclouse
bamyclouse

...the devil will ice skate on the lake of fire.

bamyclouse
bamyclouse

Without sales by overzealous salesmen that promise the moon to make a sale on something that isn't worth a clod of dirt, IT jobs would not be so sucky for some of the people out there. Like those who have to explain to an irate customer that the salesperson lied to them and the software really does not do all that stuff and will only come close if they pay extra. And that the travel expenses and perdiem for the consultants are not included in the price for the add on. All while you have to be told not to badmouth anyone in your company, make sure the customer is always right, and not allow "scope creep."And sell more for the sales person who will pocket extra money on your work. Some of the crappy hospital software out there is probably responsible for killing people because it's so difficult to use, slow, balky, unwieldy. They sell to doctors and executives, who rarely have to touch a computer, not to the nurses, social workers, case manager, rehab therapists, imaging people, lab techs, pharmacists, and other "low level" personnel who have to let patient needs take a back seat to babysitting poorly made healthcare information systems software. The IT person who is putting in the software had to deal with the facility's understaffed IT department that was overloaded before the install, the "low level" people fighting using it, the execs (and in healthcare, the docs) who do not feel they are getting what they paid for and it's your fault, never the sales person's fault. I know that sales people are pressured but the fact is if you build your sales on a pack of lies, everyone's going down the toilet when the company fails from having a bad reputation.

ejvogie
ejvogie

I've always thought that holding the sign at a road construction project would suck. Hot temps, no shade, and what kind of job security would you have if you could be replaced any minute by a 5 gallon bucket of sand?

DNSB
DNSB

had a job standing outside a Church's chicken outlet wearing a chicken suit and waving at people and cars passing by. Occasionally, he added in handing coupons to people who dropped them before moving 2 metres away. Sounds like the same level of thrills and job satisfaction but at least his face was hidden by the suit. I can resist anything except temptation so I have to ask if you got to wear the Ronald McDonald outfit? Hamburglar?

DNSB
DNSB

One friend of mine from university days graduated with a bachelor's degree in microbiology. Went to work for government (Agriculture Canada) and 10 years later had 2 new hires assigned as her lab assistants. Both of them had done post doctoral work in microbiology but couldn't scrub glassware to save their lives.

somebozo
somebozo

i think one of the worst job is being a female in adult entertainment. No matter how much you deny it there is no respect in the job and you ger f----ked on the camera by random guys to make a living..

mihel
mihel

was being a furniture repo man. Unlike a auto repo man, I couldn't just sneak up at night and take the merchandise back. I had to track people down and then physically remove the funriture by myself. I was constantly being lied to and threatened with physical harm. Good thing I was big, scary looking guy. The hardest thing was having to repo from someone who was trying to make the payments, but had fallen on hard times. My boss once had me go out on Christmas Eve because he said that's when everybody would be home and no one would be expecting me. The first stop was a single mother with 4 small kids. She had made most of the payments but had fallen behind over the past few months. The kids were taking naps, and she had to get them up so I could take their bed, on Christmas Eve. I couldn't do it. I walked out, drove back to the office and promptly quit. On the other hand, the best job I ever had was as a bass player in a touring rock band in the eighties. Not a lot of money and the enviroment was "un-healthy" to say the least, but the "perks" were incredible (wink wink, nudge nudge)

jdclyde
jdclyde

With the new politically correct world, we are moving in that direction... This guy is probably 20 and never been in the job market yet.

ejvogie
ejvogie

Tell me this Dell sales boy stooge: How can Dell computers ship quality products when all their hardware contracts are sold to the lowest possible bidder?

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