Think you’re having a bad day at work? Well you might reconsider after you discover some of the more “interesting” jobs out there.
All around the world, at any given moment there is at least one person complaining about how much they hate their job. What few seem to realize is that there is probably someone out there with a far worse job and that person would take their job in a heartbeat with a smile on their face.
So next time you start to complain about your job, just be happy you’re not a sewer swimmer, armpit sniffer or dirt sprinkler (more on that later).
To prove just how bad it can get, our staff searched the Internet for the strangest jobs we could find. As you’d expect, thousands of people took to Reddit to share their story of the most miserable job they’ve ever worked. For your viewing pleasure, we’ve assembled some of the craziest, funniest, saddest, and downright shocking professions. Most of which you’ve probably never even heard of until now!
For the best experience, click the button below to view the article in “quickview”
1. Mud Sprinkler
This might sound fake but it’s actually totally true. When I was 16 years old I got a summer job at a supermarket near my house. I hated everything about the store — the customers, the bosses — and the only reason I stayed was because it paid me an insane amount considering I was just a teenager.
My job was to sprinkle mud onto potatoes so that they would look freshly dug when they hit the supermarket shelves. Apparently dirty potatoes impressed shoppers (people are SO weird).
Imagine an eight hour shift of doing nothing but standing in a musty stock room by yourself sprinkling dirt on clean potatoes. By far the most depressing and craziest job I’ve ever had.
2. Being a “Salmon Breeder” is even worse than it sounds
I never really made a concrete plan for after high school, but my mother made it clear that I could not simply layabout around the house (totally fair). So I took the only job I could find in my small town. It was at a salmon hatchery in rural New Brunswick. My job was to breed salmon (for minimum wage).
A typical day went like this; Get to work at around 6AM. It is around 15 degrees, and you work outside.
You get the female fish from the breeding tank and k*ll them. Then suspend and gut said fish to free the eggs which you collect in a bucket.
Next you take the male fish, one person holds it while the other essentially j@cks off the fish and you collect the reproductive liquid in a bucket.
Then you bash the male fish in the head with a steel pole and toss it aside to prepare later.
Lastly, you take the male reproductive stuff from the bucket, and pour it in your eggs bucket, and give it a big old mix around with your hand. You’re only protection is a flimsy latex glove.
I dare you not to vomit or freeze. Worst. Job. Ever.
3. It was a prank show, but the joke was on me
I once worked as a production assistant for a prank show, where the ‘star’ of the show would run up to people and just insult them or quiz them about fairly common knowledge trivia, so they could make fools out of themselves in front of the camera if they didn’t know the answer.
As a production assistant, I was the one who had to run up to the victims and get all their information and signatures, including SS#s, photo IDs, addresses, and other info for the release forms. None of these people ever wanted to be on camera in the first place, especially after being insulted or humiliated.
I was yelled at, spit on, and absolutely hated by these poor people who were just in the wrong place at the wrong time; all while a producer screamed into a walkie-talkie hooked to my ear that we NEED this person’s permission, and to make sure they don’t get away.
It was as if my job was to ruin their day (and mine!).
4. It’s hard to tell which job was worse
I worked at a gas station in my extremely rural hometown and my very first day on the job, someone rode their horse up to the station to buy a soda or something and it took a giant mess in the parking lot. So I had to spend my day with a shovel picking up horse feces and scrubbing the concrete on my hands and knees because my boss wanted the entire parking lot to be “spotless”.
But before I was able to clean up the entire mess, some people somehow managed to step in it and track it into the store. Someone that was my fault… But I mean come on, how do you step in a big pile of horse poop?!
It’s a tie between that and the job where I spent 8 hours a day sticking barcodes on things. It tended to be large numbers of the same things, so for like two months straight, it was glitter-covered pencils, and my job was to count out 50 glitter pencils, put them in a bag, stick a barcode on it, repeat. The adhesive on the barcodes was so strong it actually took the skin off my fingertips, and I was covered in pink glitter 24/7 for weeks afterward.
5. The customers were beyond creepy
I used to work at an adult DVD rental shop — as a 23-year old woman fresh out of college. So I had to deal with sweaty old men renting and returning videos for 8 hours a day. What made it worse was that the store was incredibly small, so only one person worked at a time.
Because I stayed in the same location every day (there were over 10 locations) I was constantly degraded by these creeps who would show up week after week to fulfill their weird fantasies. I never understood why these guys were leaving their house to rent movies from a store — apparently they hadn’t heard of the internet…
The pay was actually pretty great, so I stuck around for much longer than I should have. But I finally quit a year ago. Best decision of my life.
6. From cleaning drains to cleaning diapers
I worked at a country club last summer where my official title was “pool aide.” That sounds a lot nicer than what my actual job title should have been – “the poor schmuck who cleans up throw-up, scrub toilets and showers, and has to pull an insane amount of hair out of the drains 2x a day.” Not exactly a dream job.
After a few weeks I actually became numb to the gross stuff I had to deal with, but I never got used to the crazy parents and their spoiled kids. I can’t tell you how many times these people asked me to change their kid’s diapers. Crazy right?!
And when the parents actually did change their own kids, 99% of the time they just left the dirty diapers on the counters and expected me to pick up after them. My spineless manager was so scared to stand up to these rich folk, so he actually yelled at me when I refused to pick up after these filthy families. Remember, my job title was “pool aide” not “poop aid”!
To be honest, I actually feel bad for those little kids. With parents like that, you pretty much have zero chance of growing up and becoming a normal adult who isn’t a complete wacko.
7. I was the crazy guy in the parking lot handing out free weenies
I worked for a nightclub. My job was to direct cars in and out of the parking lot, but the manager also gave me a mini grill and told me to make hot dogs for the people who came into the club. If you’re thinking that’s a typo, it’s not. This guy really thought it was a smart business decision to offer customers free hot dogs. These people are all decked out because it’s Friday night and they’re about to walk into a somewhat fancy nightclub and this guy is giving out free weenies.
So I was directing traffic and making hot dogs at the same time. A part of me thinks the owner did this just to laugh at all the customers who would make fun of me. They thought I was some random crazy guy who was wandering around the parking lot trying to hand-out free hot dogs.
Every weekend I had to deal with at least 2-3 guys who wanted to beat me up because they thought I was trying to use the free hot dog to make some weird pass at their girlfriend.
That’s by far the weirdest job I ever had.
8. The “fun-zone” was fun for everyone, except me!
I used to work at a kid’s “fun-zone”. I was in charge of the trampolines. My job was to stand by the trampolines & make sure the kids understood that you could only have one kid go at a time. For those who are unaware, 2-year olds are NOT very good at following rules. Especially if you’re a stranger who is telling them they have to patiently wait in line to jump on a trampoline.
To make a long story short, I stood in the same place for hours at a time and was forced to maintain order amongst a screaming group of 2-year olds who were constantly trying to ran past me to get to the trampoline.
If I wasn’t getting yelled at by my boss, I was getting yelled at by the rude parents who thought it was somehow my fault if their kid had to wait in line. I can’t even remember how many times I was kicked in the shins by angry little kids.
It was a pretty damaging environment. I still get some nasty flashbacks whenever I hear someone yelling. Which probably explains why I don’t like crowds.
9. The Dancing Bear
I was a waiter at a kids restaurant, which had a bear as its mascot. The new guy had to “be the bear” on their first day, which meant putting on a massive bear costume over our waiter’s uniform. The costumer had a huge fur head that you could barely see out of. You were then led around the place to wave at the parents and play with the kids, once per hour. If you spoke you were fired, as some of these kids were return customers who would recognize a waiter’s voice.
Wanting to impress my boss, I really hammed it up. I danced, I gestured, I goofed around, I sat on a mother’s lap, I ruffled a father’s hair while he growled “get off me or I’ll stab you”. The boss loved it so much that he made me be the bear every day I worked there.
Which would be great, except it was August and the restaurant’s old air conditioning system was broken most of the time. To make matters worse, the bear suit hadn’t been washed in the history of the restaurant, so it served as a memorial to the sweat of a hundred fallen waiters. Little kids would run headfirst at the bear and headbutt my testicles with depressing regularity. And all it earned me was the disgust of my wait team, who thought I was “goofing off at work” by being the bear, since it was clearly easier than carrying two plates of reheated lasagna across the room and refilling drinks.
10. High Risk Pizza Delivery
I was a pizza delivery guy for one night. Just one night. First day on the job, my fifth or sixth delivery of the night, and I get mugged! The two guys hit me in the head, knocked me down, took the money and the pizza, and fled.
I went back to the pizza shop and quit on the spot. I don’t need that noise.
The shop did the right thing and took me to the Emergency Room to make sure I was OK. Nothing was bruised but my ego, really.
There is one silver lining. I get free pizza every time I show up at the pizzeria.
11. Dog Mess Everywhere!
A pet store where we sold puppies and kittens. We were a pretty popular store, so at any one time, there would be upwards of 50 puppies in the store. Do you have any idea how much poop 50+ puppies produce day in and day out?
And they’re puppies so they walk in it and roll around in it and get it all over EVERYTHING. We fed them three times a day which meant three rounds of cage cleaning every single day and inevitably someone would exclaim while we cleaned “How on earth did you get poop ON THE CEILING”.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge animal lover, but that job absolutely stunk! (pun intended)
12. Harvesting Eyes
The weirdest job I had was an ocular procurement technician. I harvested eyes from dead people for research. It got more weird when I had to go through an extensive checklist to make sure the donor didn’t have any communicable diseases.
Imagine this: It’s 3 am in the hospital morgue. But, before you can harvest this 83 year old woman’s eyes you have to check “below the belt” for any signs of STDs. You can’t unsee that.
It may sound gross to some, but I’m already used to it so there’s no problem with me, but yeah I know it’s weird.
13. I had to make up weight loss stories
Weirdest job I ever had was to make up (fake) news stories about celebrities taking weight loss pills so my boss could advertise the (bogus) diet pills on social media. In the morning, I’d look at Google trends to see which stories I could spin into weight loss miracles and then make juicy click-bait ads.
It was fun seeing what kind of crazy stories people would fall for, but it eventually got depressing. I knew I was poisoning the internet and these celebrity’s reputations and I finally had enough.
My favorite ad campaign working for them was for a casino offer. I made an ad and landing page saying a guy dipped his “down there” in gold and died after winning a jackpot. Lmao.
14. Looking at Abandoned Properties
Once a week for 6-10 hours I drive around the county I live in looking at/walking through abandoned properties that are going to be sold at auction. It’s pretty common for me to find squatters, drug labs, dead animals, and weird belongings left behind by the previous owners.
I’ve had neighbors chase me, hold me at gunpoint, had dogs sent after me, been detained/handcuffed by police, got my vehicle stuck on long dirt driveways. Think of the worst possible scenario you can imagine, and there’s a 95% I’ve already survived it.
Very unique job, but definitely not for everybody. If I weren’t such a thrill seeker, I would have quit a long time ago!
15. Nanny for an absolutely crazy mother
Worked as a nanny for a (crazy) rich lady. She had two babies, 3 months apart (both adopted.) When they were 7 months and 10 months old, she told me that I was spending too much time with the kids and not enough time focused on housework. So I started letting them “play independently” while I cleaned. Two weeks later she scolded me for “neglecting” the kids, and made me promise that I wouldn’t spend so much time on the house work.
If that wasn’t weird enough, a week later she’s in crisis mode because she thought her 7 month old was “getting too fat”. Keep in mind she’s SEVEN MONTHS OLD at that point so all she’s eating was apples, peas & milk. She’s furious about this and is convinced this is somehow my fault. So now I’m no longer allowed to feed the baby I’m supposed to be watching all day.
Fast forward a month later and the “fat” baby still looks exactly the same. Even though I hadn’t feed the baby in a month, I was still somehow responsible for this and I was fired on my birthday.
16. Karma is a ____! (I think you get the point)
I worked the register at a dry cleaners, but the owners were completely inept so I ended up having to do a lot more than that. Aside from cleaning and pressing, I did pretty much everything; separating, organizing, tagging, janitorial cleaning, etc. The space was dangerously small so I have several large burns from the pressing machines. They ran two other cleaners and washed everything at one so the clothes were constantly missing or misplaced. They pretty much clocked out midday so I was on my own trying to figure out/fix their mistakes until well past closing time.
The tipping point was when I got so sick (probably from exhaustion and stress) that I passed out. When I finally managed to stand up straight I called my boss and his wife but no one answered their phone. So I closed the store and went home.
Later that night I my boss called me and he was absolutely LIVID! Instead of seeing if I was okay, he was angry at me for closing early. That was the last straw. I quit that Thursday and had a new job by Monday.
They closed down shortly after.
17. Giving hand massages to VERY “Creepy” customers
I was a sales associate at Bath and Body Works. As a shopper, I have NEVER been inside a Bath and Body Works where the employees gave customers hand massages with the lotion, but I swear, we had to do it at the one I worked at. We would have a sales goal for the day, pick our favourite lotion and force it upon people as they walked it. Then, while rubbing their hands, we would exclaim about all the wonderful properties of said lotion and why on earth you should pay $18 dollars for it while your manager is asking you how many you’ve sold through your earpiece.
Not only did it make me feel creepy, it attracted creepy old men who felt obliged to tell me exactly what they would like to do with the body butter. The smell of all the products made me want to throw up after a couple of weeks and there was a nice old woman who had been working there for years and her hands were cracked and bleeding from handling all that crappy lotion every day.
I couldn’t take it anymore and I quit after only six weeks. The pay wasn’t nearly good enough to make up for the extremely uncomfortable interactions with our more aggressive male customers.
18. Being a cement “watcher” is just as boring as it sounds
I worked for a Property Management Company for a few years. I literally had to stand on the sidewalk and watch the cement dry for 6 hours straight and guard it from any clueless pedestrians who might accidentally walk on it and leave footmarks. If someone did step on the cement before it was done dying, I had to do it all over again.
As we know, nowadays people are absorbed with their phones and usually completely unaware of what’s going on around them. Too busy taking selfies for Instagram to notice the traffic cones and yellow caution tape I put in place. So my job was basically to stand there and yell at airhead millenials all day long.
Shortly after leaving that job, I actually moved around the corner from the building where I spent most of my time. I guess I wasn’t exactly the nicest person when I was on the job, because everybody in the neighborhood definitely recognized me, and let’s just say they weren’t too happy to have me in their neighborhood.
19. Drilling the “back-side” of a pig
Last summer I worked in a slaughterhouse for 2 months. Every week I had a different thing to do but the worst I did was the “backside drilling”. Basically you have some sort of big drill which you insert in the back of the pig, then you press the trigger and it digs a big hole in the pig’s “backside” while sucking out what’s inside its intestines.
Sometimes you could hit an abscess which would explode all over you. So yeah, that was fun. Just to clarify, no animals were hurt in the process… as they were already “in Heaven” at this point.
My dad has a pig roast for just about every major holiday. Since working that job I can’t even look at pork without feeling guilty/nauseous. When we all get together for holidays I have to take my plate and eat in the TV room, far away from Porky.
20. Sledgehammer Man
Worked in a granite quarry. It was hell on earth. You know in the old black and white movies where the prisoners were punished by making big rocks into smaller rocks with a 12 pounds sledgehammer. So I wasn’t in shackles like the prisoners, but that’s pretty much what I did for a living.
It was generally 120 degrees in the hole during summer and seemed to always be below freezing in the winter. Swinging a sledgehammer hundreds of times in these conditions is absolutely brutal. Any normal man would be physically exhausted from swinging the heavy sledgehammer dozens of times. I don’t consider myself a “normal man”, but I quit after just one year on the job. The money was decent, but not worth the chronic back pain I still have to this day.
The only redeeming thing about that job was that I occasionally got to blow up stuff. I know, I sound like a teenager. But it was cool! Feeling the ground leap underneath you as you separate 40+ tons of granite from the earth is awesome. I just had to be careful and stay under the crane as debris from the explosion rained down.
21. The Hang-Up Specialist
I had a solid job in real estate, but I got laid off like a lot of people in late 2008. The only job I could find was selling magazine subscriptions. It was awful and I was awful at it. I hated calling and bothering people. Some were very nice and would say ‘No thank you’, but some would go out of their way to make you feel like absolute garbage.
Not only are you yelled at by the people you are forced to call, but also by your angry supervisor who doesn’t understand why you can’t make a sale on every single call.
There were 100 of us forced into a small room with tiny desks and one guy constantly pacing behind us yelling at us for sucking at our job. The highlight of our 8 hour shift was a 20 minute break in the parking lot.
If you didn’t make your goal, you were taken into a small conference room where you were verbally assaulted and instructed to do whatever it took to get people to sign up. My tiny desk was closest to that conference room and during my 2 months at the company I must have seen at least 20+ people (men and women) leave that room in tears.
I lasted long enough to get a small paycheck so I could pay my bills for a month and afford some groceries. It’s very easy to be negative about your situation, but try to remember there are probably a lot of nice people who have it much worse than you do.
22. Never let your dad pick your job. The situation could get VERY “dirty”
I worked as a Trash Recycler. There was a huge building that the recyclable garbage trucks would pull into and dump their load. A crew of about a dozen of us had to hand sort it- glass, paper, aluminum, etc right on the floor. Conveyer belts for different stuff. People are disgusting. Used diapers, syringes, cat/dog waste, bottles of urine, you name it, people put it in their recyclables.
Like seriously? Can you recycle those things? That was by far the worst job I’ve ever had. I tried to quit during my lunch break on my very first day on the job. But my dad was good friends with my boss (that’s how I got this lovely job) so he told me I had to stick it out for the summer or else I would be an embarrassment to the family.
The next time you think to criticize or stereotype a blue-collar worker, ask yourself; “would I do that job?” Most likely, your answer is gonna be, hell no!
Anyway… my dad and I are alright now but it wasn’t easy to grow up with a guy who made decisions for his son based on what other people might think of him.