I have had a few bad jobs in my time, but they were relatively easy compared to some of the occupations I have seen while traveling around the world. From India to Australia, from Mexico to China, if you think your job sucks, at least you don’t have to do what these people do.
Jobs are shit, by their very definition (anything a person is expected or obliged to do; duty; responsibility) they imply something which has to be done, and anything you have to do will eventually suck.
Work on the other hand (exertion or effort directed to produce or accomplish something), is something you choose to do, and can bring a lot of enjoyment and fulfillment into your life, and which does so in mine.
This isn’t a list of the worst jobs in the world, I’m sure there are things out there which could easily be deemed worse than anything I have seen, like Thai Drug Mules, or Mc Donalds employees. These are just bad jobs, which made me grateful for the occupations I have had.
Bad Jobs Mexico
Every morning in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, tourists wake up, crawl out of bed, and casually stroll down to the crystal clear water and pristine white beaches, to lie in the sun and forget about their woes. If they woke up a couple hours earlier, they would see the Mexican fellas with spades, scattered along the beach just above the water line, digging large holes and burying small mountains of seaweed and debris.
Far from relaxing on this gorgeous coastline, these guys wake up before sunrise every morning, wander down to the beach, and spend the next few hours burying the seas regurgitated matter, so that people like me can stroll along the crisp sand without having to step over anything. It is not a terrible job in itself, but if you liken it to being sent to detention while your classmates go to recess (I was not a good student), then it is pretty sucky. So thank you Mexican men with spades, your toil is appreciated.
Bad Jobs London
London seems to exists in a state of perpetual ice, so any outdoor work is classifiable as a bad job, add to this a job which deals with the general public, and their hostility towards any sort of service providing occupation, and it can make for a pretty un-enjoyable work experience. This was my bad job.
I worked at Terminal 5, Heathrow, when it was being constructed. As a night shift security guard, I was in the enviable position of standing outside for most of a 12 hour shift, where icy winds would numb your hands and ears in minutes. Nights were boring and painfully cold, but the mornings were worse. At about six thirty every morning, Several hundred workers would arrive, packed into a fleet of buses.
The workers lived in a make shift caravan park nearby, and very rarely made use of any sort of washing facilities, add to this that they hated us (because we had to send them home if they were drunk, high or had forgotten their security pass). Which meant that every morning, tired and freezing, after 11 hours on duty, we would climb onto dozens of buses which stank of vomit, excrement and B.O., and get jeered at, sworn at, and ridiculed by bus loads of hung over sweat sacks.
One gentleman I pulled off the bus, became very aggressive, started postulating and screaming, and then informed me that when he caught me outside of work, he would rip off my head, and take a shit down my neck, needless to say it didn’t happen, and my neck remains feces free. Despite this small reprieve, it was still a pretty bad job.
Bad Jobs China
Toilet cleaners, I’m not sure that this job actually qualifies, as judging by the state of toilets in Beijing and the rest of China, I’m not sure anyone is actually doing their job here. The smell when walking by a toilet in Beijing is intense, it seems like someone is actually collecting 20 million bladder empties and storing them in the so- called toilets. The one saving grace, is that if you’re ever busting for the loo, all you have to do is follow your nose.
Bus Drivers, In the hills of Yunnan province China, the roads are somewhat hairy, every turn has a landslide warning, and every other turn has a landslide. This of course does not slow down the buses, it does however make for very nervous tourists. When I was there, we were forced to swap buses because a landslide had taken out the mountain road. This did not present too much of a problem, as we were merely led over the landslide, next to the cliff edge, to jump on another bus which flew down the remainder of the mountain, the bus drivers don’t seem to care much, but I wouldn’t want that job.
Bad Jobs Nepal
Electricians in Kathmandu Nepal, must have one of the highest risk jobs in the world, to walk down a street and look up, is to marvel at how this city did not burn down years ago. The mish-mash of cables and electrical boxes makes you question how any of it works at all. Some poor sod undoubtedly has to climb up into this birds nest of cables, and willingly touch stuff. I don’t know what the life expectancy of an electrician is in Kathmandu, but bravo to these unsung heroes of the wiring industry.
Bad Jobs India
As you can imagine I saw some truly bad, nay, awful jobs in India. In the holy city of Varanasi, where the streets are paved with human excrement, and the water flows with the carcasses of dead animals and, well, human excrement. I was walking down an old street, in this, the longest populated city on Earth, when I spied a number of men standing around a manhole.
Straight away I thought “Yuck”, and then I saw a poor fellow in the manhole, who had obviously picked the short straw, and I thought “Oh, my, Gawd”.
The unfortunate soul was up to his neck in filthy, poo smelling liquid, which had no right to call itself water in anyway. The state of him suggested that he had recently submerged himself in the filth, and was now preparing to return to its murky depths. The next time your sitting in the office, thinking how much you hate your job, pay mind to the sewage divers of Varanasi, India. That is a truly bad job.
How does your bad job look now?
Like I said at the beginning, there are undoubtedly worse jobs in the world, but these examples don’t have to be the worst to make you appreciate what you have. Nowadays I just design websites and make pretty pictures. I do however have a greater appreciation for what some people in the world have to go through to make a living, and it was partly this opening of the eyes which led me to work harder, to make sure I did not have to spend the rest of my life doing shit I don’t enjoy.
We only have one life (that I know of), and to spend it doing something you hate would be a waste, but if you have to, at least you’re not doing one of the above jobs*.
*If you are, your job sucks, look for alternative employment now.
if you enjoyed “Bad Jobs, things could be worse”, and want to know when I write a new post, then you should subscribe to my travel blog, because you’re worth it.*
*Disclaimer – You may not be worth it, but I promise not to judge, not openly anyway…