You’re 22, and it’s your first job straight out of college. It is not your dream to work as a secretary and your boss is not making it any easier when he asks you to blow on his hot coffee. Seriously? Can this job get any worse? Believe it or not, it can. Some bosses like to abuse their power and ask their employees to do all kinds of odd things: from running personal errands, like buying underwear, to taking their urine sample to a lab for testing or scraping gum off the sidewalk.
But what if your job consisted of doing odd things every single day? How would you like to be paid for cleaning vomit for a living? What about sniffing armpits or collecting feces? These jobs stink. Literally! Take a look at the list below and who knows, you might be more thankful for your own job or consider starting a new career.
15. Breath Odor Evaluator
Bad breath is the ultimate turn-off for most people. And just because you are paid to be exposed to it on a daily basis, it doesn’t make it any better.
Being a breath odor evaluator means you would be working for a food or chemical company. The job involves sniffing people’s mouths before and after trying a new chewing gum or mouthwash product. To make it even more “fun,” sometimes testers are required to consume garlic or coffee before the smell test.
14. Roadside Ear Cleaner
Mumbai, India, 1 PM, 93 degrees Fahrenheit. White collar young men are on their lunch break, students are rushing home from school, and a mix of street vendors begin crowding the streets. In the middle of all this madness, you can find Sayed Mehboob on his stool, waiting for his regular customers, most of whom are elderly.
Sayed has been removing dirt and wax out of people’s ears for over 20 years. Everyone needs a good ear cleaning, so why not let Sayed do it for you for just 30 cents. If you want the deluxe treatment, for an extra 50 cents, your ears will be pampered with lotion, coconut oil and an Ayurvedic toner (for red or inflamed ears).
13. Funeral stripper
Funerals are generally religious rituals, while strippers are not exactly considered holy people. So how exactly did this happen you might ask. In many cultures, instead of mourning the deceased, people celebrate their lives by singing and dancing, which sometimes involves hiring an entertainer. The people of Taiwan took this to a whole new level by including strippers in the ceremony to attract crowds and throw a memorable send-off for the deceased.
Stripping may be illegal in China, but in rural areas, attracting a large crowd is more important, as it means good fortune in the afterlife.
12. Vomit collector
This unfortunate bodily function occurs in many places: bars, cabs, hospitals, amusement parks. But did you ever stop to ask yourself who gets to clean the mess? Well, it depends on the situation, but this theme park in the U.K. decided to hire someone specifically for this job. Can you imagine how the interview went? “You’ve already told me you love amusement parks, but how do you like puke, son?”
Twenty-two year old Rhys Owen loves rollercoasters so much that he decided to take this job because “being able to ride them for free makes the sick collection worth it.”
11. Professional cuddler
Are you a kind, loving and understanding person who enjoys cuddling? There are several websites out there that offer these services and promise earnings from $40 to $80/hour. Sounds crazy, right? And possibly a front for prostitution, especially since most clients are mostly interested in female cuddlers.
It turns out that there are plenty of men who request the services of a professional cuddler. Sure, some of them might be hoping for more than just cuddling, but many of them are simply looking for some human contact.
Research shows that during human interaction, oxytocin (known as the “cuddle hormone”) is released into the brain, lowering high levels of stress and blood pressure. It can even help with sleeplessness, chronic back pain, and PTSD, so this might be the next thing in the therapy world.
10. Snake milker
“Must-love snakes, excitement and danger” could be the description of this unusual job, but truth is it takes more than that. Those interested are required to have a degree in biology, chemistry, biochemistry, or herpetology.
A snake milker’s job is to extract venom, which is crucial for the production of antivenom. They collect venom from hundreds of snakes every week and make around $2,500 a month.
American Jim Harrison and his wife own the largest venomous snake collection in the country (around 2000 snakes), housed at their Kentucky Reptile Zoo. Jim has been doing this for almost 40 years and has been bitten eight times, which put him through three surgeries and weeks of hospitalization. None of this scared Jim off, since saving lives is way more important than risking his own.
9. Subway pushers
This job originates in New York, where they were also called “sardine packers,” but is currently more common in Japan. It’s almost hard to believe that in a country so civilized and so technologically advanced, people get shoved and pushed into subways and travel in uncomfortable conditions.
In Tokyo, 8.7 million people take the subway every day and even though there are about 24 trains per hour going in one direction, it still gets very overcrowded, especially during rush hour. Introduce “oshiya” or “pushers,” whose job is to cram as many people as possible in every train. People are squished so tightly against each other, that they can’t move or even breathe properly.
8. Professional apologizer
We all know one or two people that could do this for a living because they continuously get into some kind of trouble, and have to apologize to their partner and promise it won’t happen again.
The Japanese were the first to use a professional apologizer for business purposes. And now many U.S. companies look for college graduates (a communications degree is preferred) to make things right with upset customers. Some companies will pay as much as $60,000 if you are good at writing apology letters and smooth talk people into forgetting about everything that went wrong.
7. Garbage detectives
Have you ever thrown batteries in the garbage even if you knew you were supposed to dispose of them in a different way?
In Germany and Switzerland, specially assigned detectives go through the garbage looking for irregularities: items that aren’t supposed to be in the trash, whether the garbage was placed in correct bags or disposed of in the right day. Throwing your garbage out on a Sunday can get you a $280 fine in Switzerland or two days in jail.
The garbage detectives look for clues to help them figure out the identity of the offender. Medicine bottles, shopping bills or any piece of mail can trace the garbage back to its owner. If the detectives have a hard time locating him, they ask the neighbors, who are often more than happy to turn someone in for their dirty crime.
6. Poop collectors
While working at a gas station or working as a janitor often involves cleaning dirty toilets, things get a lot messier for certain Chinese workers.
China is one of the largest recyclers of human waste and the profession of collecting it has been a tradition since ancient times. In Beijing, 6,800 tons of human excrement are treated each day and converted into fertilizer and biogas.
5. Parmesan cheese listener
A good cheese, like the famous Parmigiano Reggiano, takes more skills than one might think. Taste and smell are not the only decisive factors when it comes to assessing the quality of cheese. When it comes to Parmesan, you also need to have a good ear.
A Parmesan listener hits the head of the cheese with a special hammer to figure out whether the head meets the standard. Certain sounds let the specialist know about possible cracks and voids inside the cheese wheel. So next time you enjoy a nice piece of Parmesan cheese you can thank the Parmesan listener for doing his job right.
4. Professional mourner
If you can look sad and cry on demand, you would probably make a good actor. Or a professional mourner. Yes, that’s a thing in many countries, including the U.K., where this industry is booming.
For a small fee, the mourners will attend the funeral, act really sad, shed a few tears and even deliver a eulogy. They will also learn a few things about the deceased so they could carry a conversation like they actually knew them.
This custom was brought to Europe by immigrants from the Middle East and Asia, but it can also be found in other cultures and it tends to be even more dramatic, with mourners wailing and even rolling around on the ground.
3. Chicken sexer
A chicken sexer’s job is to separate the male and female chicks, a crucial task in the poultry industry. At first sight, it doesn’t seem to be too bad of a job and it can pay up to $60,000 a year in the U.K. But the truth is it takes quite a bit of training and a good eye to be able to tell the two sexes apart.
The workers determine the gender either by “vent sexing” (inspecting the inside of a chick’s rear end) or by “feather sexing” (based on the shape and length of their wings). After training for at least three years, a chicken sexer can sort around 700 chickens per hour with 98% accuracy.
2. Face feeler
Under any normal circumstances, trying to feel a stranger’s face would be considered creepy. Imagine you are walking down the street and a stranger suddenly reaches out with their hand and starts caressing your cheeks. Um…time to dial 911 pronto.
But in the beauty industry, people get paid to touch the testers’ faces after they have used skin care products. A face feeler needs to have sensitive hands and feel comfortable about touching a stranger’s skin and inspecting it up close.
1. Roadside dentist
Most people hate going to the dentist either because they are scared of pain or they simply can’t stand needles and the drill.
Modern dentistry has come a long way. In most civilized countries, you can expect a comfortable, clean environment, where you can feel relaxed and even pain-free thanks to anesthetics or dental hypnotherapy.
Unfortunately, that is not the case in every country. In India, there are dentists that could make even the bravest of people reconsider getting their teeth checked.
The dental checkup or treatment takes place on the side of a dusty road and it is performed with rudimentary tools that are not sterilized properly. And you can forget about anesthetics because not all roadside dentists think they are necessary!
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