You have probably had a few bad days at work; everyone does at some point. However, if you dread getting up every Monday through to Friday, or regularly find yourself in tears at your desk, then you are definitely in the wrong profession! Truth be told, very few people can say they are working their dream jobs with a straight face.
The average career is a mix of the good, the bad and the downright ugly. Let’s be honest; we have all had those evil thoughts of choking our bosses to death. But while you compete amongst your friends to win the title of worst job (don’t even act outraged, you know you enjoy the pity!), and trade horror stories about your workplaces, there are jobs out there that would make you want to rush to your office and kiss the shoes of your boss in gratitude.
These jobs would have you and all your friends handing over the crown, feeling ashamed that you ever thought you had it bad. So just how bad do these jobs have to be to get a general consensus on being the worst? We have compiled a list of 20 jobs that will make you go home miserable, along with what exactly makes them so horrible.
20. Social Worker
You might be surprised to find social workers on this list. I mean, just checking on kids all day and once in a while accompanying them from one location to the next can’t be that hard, right? Wrong! First of all, these are not normal kids (who are already a handful as it is), they are abused kids, whose stories are heart-breaking. To see these children suffer, yet not have an immediate remedy due to bureaucratic red tape, is bound to lead to depression. Similarly, these children themselves may be difficult, rude and unwilling to co-operate, making your job even harder still. Given the emotional nature of this job, it is almost impossible not to invest your heart into it. This ends up taking a lot of your time, as well as your emotions. It is not a 9-5 job you can punch out from; you are constantly thinking about these children. This drain of time and emotion leads to burnout within just a few months or if you’re really strong years. And you thought your job was ‘depressing.’
19. Administrative Support
You have probably never given a second thought to this profession, unless of course you work in this department. People in this field suffer from a classic case of high demand and low control. Part of this is because they are always on the front line, taking orders from all directions. Ironically, they are at the bottom of the food chain in terms of control. These professionals, just like entertainers, have unpredictable working days, not to mention that they almost never get acknowledged for their effort, which is usually a lot! The worst part about this job? Having to make everyone else’s life easier while working your ass off!
18. Artists, Entertainers, and Writers
They are probably the most misunderstood professionals in the market currently. While a lot of people tend to think being an entertainer is all fun, booze and partying, you’d probably need to walk a day in their shoes to understand. First, these jobs bring irregular paychecks. True, they have periods of cash windfalls, but they also have long ‘dry spells’ in which they literally do not know when they will earn their next dollar. Worse still, because people have the notion that they always have money to splurge, they are expected to live out a certain type of lifestyle, which would be murder to their accounts during the low periods. They also have to work uncertain hours, which includes weekends. Here’s what will really grab your attention though; creative people have a higher chance of suffering from mood disorders, and more than 10% of them have reported a major episode of depression in the previous year. According to statistics, it’s worse in men, who are more likely to have an episode of depression. The probability of depression is also higher for those working full time.
If you are a parent, then you definitely understand this is no easy job. Your own children give you hell, now imagine having to deal with a class full of them! Not only do you have to ensure the toddlers don’t literally bite each other’s hands off, but you also have to actually ingrain knowledge into their heads. It probably gets worse for teachers teaching teenagers, as this group of people could make you pull out your hair in frustration!
For a teacher, the hardest part might be fighting to hold the concentration of the child, yet young people are full of curiosity, and never dwell on the same thought for long.
Demand for teachers is constantly increasing, and many of them have to work after school and even at home. Then, there’s all the pressure from the parents, the school, and the community to meet standards, and all these groups have different demands.
The absolute worst part of it is that when all is said and done, teachers never get the credit when their students become successful. They are forgotten the day the student walks out of the school gate for the last time.
16. Maintenance and Ground Workers
How does it feel to be needed when there’s a problem? Like Superman I suppose. But take away the great camera angles, the background music, the superb artificial lighting, and that fine girl that’s indebted to you for rescuing her, and what you are left with is the maintenance guys. Basically, they do all the hard work but without the benefits of Superman. Imagine enjoying that dinner that’s been planned for weeks only to be called up because a pipe burst and now an entire building is flooded. Not the kind of job where you can say ‘I’ll sort that tomorrow.’ Well, that’s just part of the job description.
Maintenance guys have to work at odd hours and at varied schedules; frequently at night. And their clients are mostly in a foul mood, having discovered something in their house is not working. You might think at least the pay will be worth it, well that’s not always the case. Worst of all, there is a slight chance that you might die at work due to an accident.
15. Accountants and Financial Advisors
Ever wondered why most people don’t like dealing with their retirement savings? The answer is simple, stress. Most of us get worked up over a simple grocery budget, imagine having to handle millions of dollars for other people… you probably wouldn’t last a minute in these guys shoes. The job comes with a lot of responsibility for others’ finances and very little control over the market. Plus of course, the screaming clients when you start losing money (which by the way, is not always your fault). You could lose a man’s lifetime savings in the blink of an eye. At the end of the day, you’ll need either a glass of whiskey or therapy or both!
Helping people get over their emotional hurdles is not as easy as it may seem. At the end of the day, the client’s emotional baggage could rub off on you subconsciously. It is hard enough being a single person’s punching bag, let alone a line-up of clients whose sole aim is getting their troubles off their chests onto you. In a normal setting, opening up to anyone gets you close or attached to someone emotionally. In this case, they have to detach your stories from their systems, yet find a solution and make follow-up rounds. This job is considered one of the hardest because it requires you to put someone else’s needs before your own; requires you to cultivate a one-sided friendship in which you are always the giver.
The fourth estate partisans of society are always rubbing shoulders with people in society; especially those they expose. Investigative and political journalists are always on the other side of the whip when the lashes of the mighty sound. When journalists expose a vice perpetrated by the mightiest in society, they get hefty threats, bounty hunters paid to assassinate them, blackmail and sometimes their jobs are threatened. As if that’s not enough, they put their lives on the line to unearth the unknown skeletons in the society, on battlegrounds and risky situations like disease outbreaks. They, like doctors, could be called to work at any time provided an emergency comes up. They work odd hours, late in the night or very early mornings, as well as holidays, at the expense of their social lives.
After films like Designated Survivor or Scandal, the idea of being president was brought to light in a very different aspect. Being a father – the head of a house – a man is tasked to be the provider and protector of the home; this could become an almost impossible task when one is incapacitated by factors like finances or lack thereof. Imagine then how it feels to be protector and provider of an entire state, some multicultural, multilingual, and others with different challenges and opportunities. It is considered a president’s personal failure when people in the country he serves go hungry, face wars, and other crises. The president is judged on a lot of things beyond his control, such as natural disasters. How he reacts matters a lot. Being president is not just anyone’s cup of tea.
11. Police Officers
Being a cop anywhere is already hard enough. Now try being a police officer in areas such as Chicago which face a myriad of challenges from brutal gang killings, to having their families endangered when working on certain crucial cases, or when not being able to talk about the current cases they are handling, for confidentiality purposes. The broken system and lack of adequate resources are a threat to the police officer jobs, especially with the bulk of work banked on them. In summary, police officers deal with long hours and little pay. Oh and the icing on the cake? Civilians, instead of being grateful, actually hate them!
10. Baby Sitters
Have you ever spotted a mother and her baby, looking like she has 5 crazy children in one? Children are a ball of curiosity, energy, screams, tantrums and noise. It’s hard enough to handle your own child’s stinky poop, vomit all over the front of your clothes, toys scattered all over a house you just finished cleaning up, or an ear-splitting endless cry. Think about how much more murderous you’d be feeling at the end of a session with a baby that’s not even yours to begin with! Facing all this just to get a cut for the day is not a task that every fella would say yes to.
Just like policemen, the firefighting line of duty could make one go back home feeling like crap at the end of the day. Bursting into a house on fire and being the hero of the day once in your life is super cool! Doing that daily? Not so much. The muffling and suffocating effect of a mask in a heavily smoky building, the rush of events happening so fast and in some cases, the traumatic events of the day embedding on a firefighter’s mind could lead to PTSD scenarios. Seeing destruction every day of one’s life leads to them becoming pessimistic about life. They also establish emotional ties with the people they rescue, who may not always survive. It’s an emotional battle every day. It is very difficult to bid your family farewell each day, not knowing whether you will come back home with your skin looking the same.
Needless to say, it is a dreadful and creepy experience to work in an environment surrounded by death. Some people can’t even get any sleep after watching a horror movie with blood and dead bodies, imagine having to work around shelves of dead bodies every day! What’s worse, the pathologist has to examine their bodies and cut them open. Perhaps even worse than the creepy part is the sad part; that of having to meet the broken-hearted family of the deceased and tell them how their loved one died. Being exposed to so much pain on a daily basis is bound to lead one to depression.
7. Public Transit Drivers
Public transit drivers are the ones who have it hardest. You have to wonder what motivates them to wake up every day to the same mind-numbing routine. This has to be one of the most predictable jobs in history. Same route, same time, every day. Imagine being constantly confined to a metal box for a whole day with no breaks or free time to stretch your legs; sounds horrible, doesn’t it? In addition to that, you have to deal with all sorts of passengers. Some refuse to pay; other are drunk and belligerent while a select few are just natural-born douche bags. So next time you cross paths with one of these unlucky chaps, try your best just to be nice.
6. Real Estate Agents
Real estate agents operate in a very target -driven environment, where achieving a specific set of goals makes up a big part of their daily routines. Pressure to perform is, therefore, a constant factor. Combine that with having to approach every client you come across with a plastic smile on your face regardless of what type of day you are having, or their attitude towards you. For people with mood swings, this is a definite recipe for disaster. These guys have to deal with people who behave like spoilt brats and still brave it with a smile on their face because their signature on the dotted line is all that matters. This involves patiently taking your client to twenty different sites and biting your tongue through it all, even though the site they have described could only be found next to the Pearly Gates! This career might at times have extreme financial perks, but the drawbacks that arise in between are not sometimes worth the hassle.
Among all health care practitioners, nurses have the highest likelihood of spiraling into depression. This is because of the high demands that come with their career. Nurses are supposed to embody everything Mother Theresa stood for; selfless service without the necessary gratitude that is supposed to follow it. There is nothing harder than constantly tending to fatally ill patients and trying to convince them that everything will be alright when you know it won’t. Couple this with the inevitable fear of losing one of your patients, and you can understand why most nurses don’t really look forward to getting back to their places of work. Once in a while, they often experience that positive reinforcement that their care is appreciated but the instances are few and far apart. Most times all they get is being yelled at, either by the patients or the anxious family of the patient, who don’t know who to take their frustration out on.
4. Food Service
Without a doubt, working in the food service industry is one of the most exhausting jobs around. Low wages, fatigue and having to serve people who exhibit different personalities are some of the reasons that exemplify why this job can really take a lot out of someone. They are constantly expected to take orders from their customers and supervisors; constantly getting yelled at by both of these parties. But that’s not all, most of these staff send the bigger part of their day on their feet. Having to serve people who are relaxing could really take a toll on one, leading to them becoming depressed.
In the words of one Notorious B.I.G who confidently stated, ‘Mo Money Mo Problems’, it actually turns out that earning a humongous salary and having your name in caps on the door of your office doesn’t necessarily result in a happier job. The average salary of a dentist is somewhere around $150,000 per year, and obviously it takes a while to sink in, but eventually, professionals in this practice realize that money doesn’t equate happiness. Dentists are high on the list of professionals with the highest rates of suicide due to the stressful nature of their job. Not to mention having to look into dozens of mouths every day. Gross! And it doesn’t help when everybody jokes about how much they hate dentists!
Most lawyers spend a huge chunk of their lives with a big bull’s eye painted on their backs. In many of these cases, they are under threat from a dissatisfied client or a felon they helped throw in jail. This is but just one of the downsides of their professions. Research has constantly shown that lawyers exhibit the highest form of depression amongst all professionals. To get just how serious this is, you have to realize that sewer and crime scene cleaners are among the professions analyzed in the research and somehow lawyers were still able to top the list. Similarly, even though a majority of the lawyers are able to command six-figure salaries per year, they are often weighed down by the stress of the student loans they graduated with.
This entry can be described as one of the most mentally exhausting jobs around. People who work in sales often spend a lot of time traveling across the country and rarely get the opportunity to spend time with their families. In addition to this, in most cases, they are employed on the basis of commission, which means they rarely have a steady income. It is hard to go home with a smile plastered on your face when you know you spent the whole day on the road trying to convince people to buy your products, and in the end, you have nothing to show for it.
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