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Top 10 Worst Urban Jobs in America

MT . . . Comments

In the big city life is hard, it’s dog eat dog. But the rent still has to be paid and you gotta eat, man! As a result some people take whatever job is available. Sometimes it’s a 9 to 5, sometimes it’s the night shift at a gas station. Sometimes it’s not even legal. To that end, here is my Top 10 List of The Worst Urban Jobs in America. If you have had experience in any of these jobs, tell us about it in the comments.


Police Officer


Unless you are patrolling Mayberry, you are risking your life every day you start your shift. Most cities have budget constraints that prevent an adequate number of police on the street in the first place. They are often under trained and out gunned in the most dangerous situations. Every traffic stop, domestic dispute call or drug house bust could be their last. Although the benefits are great the pay is only adequate and many officers moonlight doing private security or as bodyguards. Moving through the ranks and becoming a Detective or some other non street level position is usually the best option for a long career.




Arson for profit. Old, abandoned buildings full of homeless people. These are a couple of reasons that that big city fireman have to risk their lives everyday. They have to go in, save lives and put out a fire before it spreads to surrounding buildings. In times of riots (Detroit and Watts in the 1960’s and LA after the Rodney King verdict) they are actually the victims of attack from angry mobs. It is a demanding job not for those weak in mind or body.




If a roach or rat infested house is your idea of fun then this job is for you. For the rest of us, the prospect of going into a stranger’s house that is overrun by disease spreading vermin is a nightmare job. This is such an awful job it even inspired a Stephen King short story!


Convenience store workers


A job where your life could be lost over a few dollars in the till. Some stores are mom and pop businesses that are family run. Others are large 24 hour conglomerate stores that offer a chance for people to work hours suitable to their lifestyle. Despite closed circuit cameras and even an occasional gun hidden under the counter, many employees are shot even before a demand of money is made.




The world’s oldest profession is alive and well on city streets all across the planet. Besides the risk of being raped, assaulted or even killed, there is always the real chance of catching an STD or AIDS. Since it’s illegal in most states, prostitutes also run the risk of being arrested and jailed.


Factory Worker

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The $5 a day that Henry Ford offered people to work in his Detroit factories almost 100 years ago was life changing to some families. Many laborers and skilled tradesman jumped at the chance to double their income. Although conditions are safer nowadays and the pay is much more thanks to unions and collective bargaining agreements, the typical factory job is still dirty, hard and tedious.


Office Worker

Office-Space-06 Full

A long commute to spend an even longer day in a cube. You work just hard enough to keep from getting fired and get paid just enough to keep from quitting.(That’s a quote from Les Brown, the motivational speaker). Most people spend a lot of time surfing the net, exchanging humorous emails or updating their resume. It’s a wonder any business gets done at all!


Cab Driver


Most drivers have to put in long hours behind the wheel to make a living. You have to deal with traffic jams and passengers that don’t tip. Sometime passengers are actually out to rob you of the few dollars you have made and will kill you in a heartbeat. This is why some cabbies will not pick up certain fares which of course leads to more controversy.


Drug Dealer


Crack, weed, meth, etc. They’re available on any street corner for a few dollars a hit. In neighborhoods where drug use is rampant and jobs are scarce, many people choose this fast money option to make some cash to pay the bills. Whether it is the low level, street corner dealer or someone in a “middle management” capacity, the risks are high (prison, rival gangs) and pay is surprisingly low.




They call at dinner time, in the middle of your favorite movie or right when you finally get the baby to sleep. They are pre-scripted, auto call generated denizens of call centers calling to sell us magazines, insurance or to get us to change our long distance service. The truth is most of those people calling us are hard working young people that really are paying their way through college or older people in between “real jobs” trying to keep up with their mortgage payments. They are practically tied to the phone by a headset and breaks and lunches are also tightly monitored.

Contributor: MT

  • Gigi

    Only in America this are actually bad jobs…In my country guns are illegal so armed robberies are basically unheard of.

    • Gamer_2k4

      The people who commit armed robberies in America generally do so with illegally obtained weapons.

  • rowen

    Great list as usual.

  • Leah

    ok i think i’ll appreciate my job a bit more haha i was gonna do a telemarketing job once, then after a minutes thought realised how stupid i was to consider it

  • jck1074

    God I could not do number 4. All the jobs on here are better than that. Except maybe prostitution…….actually being a prostitute would be better than the office job. At least it would be exciting, like the drug dealer. :P

  • sharlu

    hahaha i do market research . . which is like telemarketing but we don’t sell things we just do survey’s . . hmm it actually is quite tedious but the people that work there are soo much fun! . . but gosh we don’t get paid enough lol

  • James

    Number One is inexcusable. Selling your soul to telemarketing, just go shoot yourselves now.

  • beff

    I think that here in Philly, number 10 should be number 1. Our poor officers are killed everyday by illegal gun owners and #2’s.
    i don’t know how you came up with the order of this list. Office worker at 3! give me a break…

  • cass

    Perhaps this would have been better titled 10 worst American jobs? As with a lot of things the American way isn´t the global standard.

  • Ghidoran

    Nice. I think I’ll appreciate telemarketers more.

  • Redcaboose

    Good list. I worked in a convenience store for more years than I wanted. I was robbed at gunpoint 3 times, and accosted physically several times. IT IS NOT WORTH IT!!!

  • Rusty

    Well, I think most of these jobs actually qualify as luxurious in a historical and geographical context. But then it is contemporary America, where anyone can become President, and currently has.
    Dr Tony Robinson (the smelly one in Blackadder), did a lovely series in 2004 – 2006 on the “worst jobs in history”.
    He also has books:
    Robinson, Tony (2004). The Worst Jobs in History
    Robinson, Tony (2005). The Worst Children’s Jobs in History.
    These included chimney sweep, executioner, leech collector, Plague burier, rat-catcher, leather tanner, gong farmer, fish wife and sin-eater…

  • nyys

    I’d like to share my experience as a drug dealer…

    Just kidding.

  • thirtytwo

    I’m an office worker and it definitely blows. What a way to make 8 hours seem like a full week.

    Oh and any convenience store workers who are sick of having guns pointed at them.. move to England, you’re far less likely to get shot.. stabbed, maybe.

  • Drogo

    To me #4 is dangerous, I might die from ennui.

    Like cab drivers, School bus drivers in urban areas have to deal with traffic and passengers. Mobs of passengers who have the mentality of children, ’cause they ARE children. It was a job I loved and hated at the same time. There were times when I thought “Holy cow, I’m responsible for the safety of these kids.” and “I might have the future president of the U.S. on my bus!” (haha)

    p.s. Try navigating a large modern school bus in a neighborhood, on a hillside, that was developed about 40 years before the invention of automobiles. Narrow cobblestone streets built for buggys and horse carts.

  • Bytedragon

    @ Rowen. First.

  • Great list.
    I am a software engineer, guess it will come under category 4 (office worker). I wud have put it at #1 but then I dont have an experience in any of the other jobs.

  • stevenh

    At least a shout out to:

    Sanitation workers (street pickups)
    Sanitation workers (sewage processing)

    Didn’t you ever watch Mike Rowe’s Dirty Jobs?

  • Cheeshygirl

    Wow, I’ve actually had/have 3 of these jobs. Ok, I’m not admitting to one more but if you want to get technical …… Moving on, I currently work in the accounting department of an office and wouldn’t consider it a bad job. I am fortunate to have an office and not a cubical which may make it better. I will admit that the description and quote from Les Brown are fairly accurate but I think that’s why I like my job so much. Plenty of time for ListVerse. :) And Office Space rocks!

  • michael

    yeah.. office worker..
    ..cause surfing email in a chair just sucks?

    seriously you basically sold it as an average job with creature comforts.

    honestly office work is a lot better than food industry.. on your feet all day, dealing with losers, making minimum wage.

    people must be confused, working in an office is way better than so many jobs.

    jobs that suck worse/are more dangerous than the office:

    bouncer (standing still, assaulted nightly)
    poultry processor (killing chickens, dirty facility)
    farmer (unstable, long hours, low pay)
    commercial laundry (HOT, chemicals, blood, piss)
    high steel worker (you want to work up WHERE?)
    roofer (hot crappy work)
    soldier (bang, you’re dead)

    I mean coooome on.

  • rushfan

    Cool list. I work in a hospital, and most of the jobs here suck, unless you’re a doctor or an administrator. Housekeeping and food service have a pretty high turnover. Landscaping and construction also seem hard, especially here where it is very hot most of the year.

  • blackwaffle

    being a drug dealer isnt that bad really. you just have to know a lot of people to sell to when you get started because making customers is what will get you arrested. Other than that, if you don’t sell PCP, meth or heroin there isn’t really all that drama with police and violent customers and rival gangs.

    I’ve been a couple of these. Telemarketing really sucks but the pay is really good for the level of work.

    • pothead

      if i had to pick i'd grow my own and distribute – you'd make more money than the street dealers and requires less effort – having made larger & fewer sales, and not being on the front line presents a lower risk of getting noticed or caught, you need only expose yourself once every 5 months, however if caught you'd come off far worse

  • ajaxkid

    Rusty, thanks for mentioning Tony Robinson, because it made me recall turnips shaped like thingies. Snorted coffee out my nose.
    But that’s not the subject…
    I admit, I used to give telemarketers a hard time. I used to hang up , make smart jokes or even go off on them. I wasn’t nice and I’m not proud of that.
    Then I realized they are people trying to pay bills… and I was an ass. No one wakes up and says, “Yay! I today is the day I start my job as a telemarketer! my dream has been realized!”
    I would think it is a depressing job. Getting abused all day for a buck… just so some stupid company can make more money that you’ll never get your hands on!

  • notas

    not among the better lists

    office worker just doesnt make sense because it covers such a large expanse. you could be getting paid a lot for sitting in an office and surfing LV!!!

  • MT

    .7 beff
    I should have indicated that the list is in no particular order. Thanks for your comments.

  • LordCalvert

    i did telemarketing for a few weeks in college. for beer money. it sucked so hard i wanted to kill myself. fast food was a better job and that’s saying something.

  • ajaxkid

    Oh Rushfan… when you talk about the hospitals, don’t you dare forget to mention the poor nurses and nurses aides. Overworked, underpaid, verbally and physically abused, treated by the administration like sh**.
    I know… I worked in nursing homes and hospitals as an aide and am now a student nurse.
    Thanks to HIPPA, ypu won’t see “Dirty Jobs” doing a segment on nursing (dammit!!!!) but, it really is a dirty job.
    However, it is a dirty job with a greater good…. peoples’ lives.
    A telemarketer (which I just commented on) doesn’t even have that incentive.

  • rushfan

    I just thought of another one. Unarmed security guard. I used to work in HR for a security company and we hired armed and unarmed security guards. I always felt bad for the unarmed ones, what if they confront someone with a gun? What are they supposed to do? What do cops in England do? They don’t have guns, either, right? What if the criminals have guns?

  • nyashleym

    Can we add debt collector to the list?

  • Fromthefuture

    rushfan: Hey im an unarmed security guard and its not that bad. It forces you to develop good interpersonal skills and deal with people on a whole diferent level. Specially forces you to handle conflict more profetionally. It can be done….

  • Z-rex

    Interesting list, but it might be wise for spouses of people who do many of these not read this- it would probably add to their already considerable stress!

    I work in an office, and generally enjoy it. So I guess I’m the exception here. Office jobs get a ton of bad pub, but I think it really depends on what job you are doing and what type of industry you’re in. In good humor, I’ll take slight exception to the sentence about “most people” spending most of their time surfing the net, etc- we stay busy enough that we don’t have time for such indulgences. Although I know people who do… particularly during fantasy football season. LOL

    I second the reference to Dirty Jobs- I love that show.

  • Sedulous

    Have a friend who was a drug dealer at 15….apparently he went out and bought his brother a car for his birthday(private owner). I also know another guy who had boxes of cash stashed in his closet because making frequent large deposits make them suspicious. So maybe not all drug dealers make good money but some do.

    Office work isn’t that bad, I’ve done it for 3 years now but I have the personality for it. Prostitute is easily the worst…lets not kid ourselves here people. Often they are turning the tricks to support a drug habit so it turns into a vicious cycle that ends in death. So ya I’d say the order of this list is out of wack and that there are worse urban jobs than some of these…..ever had to work in the city sewers? EXACTLY!

  • Polymath

    I am an unarmed security guard, Of sorts, at a University. Previous training has made me aware and my people skills has got a long way. If I had a gun there has been a couple of times that I may have used it just because the law student was better than I.

  • ringtailroxy

    want to know a job that is lacking here?

    Veterinary Technician.


    it’s not all hugging and loving animals all day. oh no. it’s being a nurse, radiologist, dental hygienist, poop-scooper. it’s being a phlebotomist, record-keeper,animal behaviorist, kennel attendant. it’s soothing the egos of veterinarians, handling clients, bill collector. it’s housekeeping, rodeo-star, and exposure to dangerous chemicals daily. it’s avoiding needle-sticks, snapping teeth, and pet owner’s verbal attacks. it’s exposure to zoonotic diseases, heartbreak, and frustration daily.

    and it’s all for usually under 12$ an hour. even if you went to school for 2 years and are licensed.

    so why do i do it?

    I adore animals and the people who love and care for them. i enjoy the challenge of my job, but really have issues with the ignorance prevalent in American society to their pets.

    i gain deep personal satisfaction in educating people on how to relate and care for their pets. i soak up the kind words and appreciation. i truly could not be happy doing anything else. which is why i am spending the next 2 years and thousands of dollars i don’t have to get my degree in veterinary technology.


  • Ernmas

    I work in an office and have done so since getting out of school. I absolutely love what I do and have more than enough work to keep myself busy – and I do get good compensation for my knowledge and productivity. I don’t think it should really be on this list, but the entire list was interesting.

  • tobbytoy

    So MT, I take it you would rather be a prostitute than an office worker… weird.

  • dave4248

    #6 Prostitute…reminds me of a joke Bill Maher (who I don’t usually like) once said about prostitutes and how tough they have it. He said words to the effect of “With the way young girls dress these days, I feel bad for prostitutes. I mean how are they supposed to stand out anymore? How do they let the world know ‘I’m really selling this, it’s not just a tease’…..Since so many young girls dress the same way, how does a hooker distinguish herself? I think they may need to start carrying signs.” LOL

  • Me

    Gigi, where do you live? Singapore? I live in Singapore, yay! THE WORLD’S FIRST FORMULA 1 NIGHT RACE IS COMING VERY SOON!

  • xKaylax

    This is actually pretty funny, considering the fact that I just started working as a telemarketer a week ago. I get paid around $500 dollars twice a month [we get paid on the 15th and last day of the month] and to a college student, that’s a lot of money. Not to mention we also get bonuses depending on how much we sell.
    It’s really hard work. I’ve been yelled at, cussed at, insulted, and hung up on more times than I can count.
    The other day I called a woman whose friend had just recently passed away, and she started crying on the phone.
    Most of the people we call are in the California area [since I work the night shift and we’re nice enough to not call people at midnight], and many of them can’t speak english.
    It’s also really REALLY hard to try and sell insurance when the company I’m trying to sell the insurance from recently went bankrupt. [AIG].
    I wish people weren’t so rude to me. I’m just a college student trying to pay for my education. I hope all of you remember this before you decide to try and humiliate a telemarketer or scream at them.
    We’re just trying to do our job.

  • MT

    .35 tobbytoy

    I’m always open to new opportunities! Thanks for your comments.

  • Iâran

    A pretty good list, and I agree with most of it, BUT:

    I think “office worker” is too broad a term to be used in a list like this. It includes everything from the most boring low-paying temp jobs to corporate executives, as well as a lot of engineers, city planners, secretaries, analysts, architects, etc. And a lot of these want their jobs and have studied and worked for years to achieve them!

    If you had focused on a specific type of “office worker”, it would be a lot clearer. Right now it all depends on the reader to define what goes into the term.

    And yes, I’ve been an “office worker” all my life. I’ve had completely sucky jobs where I literally got sick every morning by the thought of going to work, and I’ve had wonderful jobs (like my current one) where I have a lot of fun, great co-workers and interesting, challenging and varied work that I enjoy a whole lot.

  • Callie

    Do a drug dealer really and a prostitute really qualify as “jobs?” I mean, if they go into a place and apply, under previous work history, do they really put drug dealer? I doubt it.

    I work in advertising for a major’s a cube in an office but I love it. I think cubes get a bad rap. Oh well…at least mine is a real job I can put on my resume one day. Guess I’m ahead of all the drug dealers and prostitutes.

  • jake ryder

    Fireman (aka firefighter) really? The most overrated profession in the world.

    • Wes

      Overrated in what way mate?

  • rushfan

    Iâran ~ I agree. Maybe “temp” would have been a better term. Also, as someone above mentioned, your personality greatly influences how you will feel about working in an office. I find that very social people enjoy the office environment much more than I do.

  • rushfan

    jake ryder ~ care to expand on that nugget of wisdom? how can fearlessly rushing into a burning building risking death not be considered heroic?

  • Miss Destiny

    I spent four and a half years as a convenience store clerk. It wasn’t the danger of being robbed that made me hate it. It was the customers.

  • copperdragon

    i think the list is in reverse order.
    being a cop is much more dangerouse (ergo, worse) than an office drone.

  • Callie


    Overrated? My uncle is a firefighter and I’m pretty sure he’d be kind of upset with that. How are they overrated?

  • Callie

    ha..all the office worker stuff reminds me of the office episode where Michael tried to convince everyone its more dangerous to be in the office than in the warehouse and pretends to jump off the building.

    “dwight, you ignorant slut!”


  • xKaylax

    Copperdragon: This isn’t a list of the most dangerous jobs.

  • A

    I’m a prostitute. Not.

  • logar

    Actually, from what I’ve observed (my step-father is a retired fireman), the toughest thing about being a firefighter isn’t the life-risking, but the emotional toll dealing with all the medical calls/accidents they have to go out on. While they might not literally risk their lives every day, they deal with pain, suffering, tragedy, and loss all the time. Anyone that has to deal with that day in, day out, has my respect.

  • jake ryder

    Well Callie I am so glad you ask.

    As a 16 year member of a combined emergency service for a urban center of over 1.5 million people I get tired of hearing about the hard working Fire Fighters who have to notify the press every time they do their job. They do not “Risk their lives everyday.” Their job is dangerous but no where near the extent their very able public relations department has brainwashed the public to believe.

    No statistic ever compiled by a reputable firm has ever shown Fire Fighting to be a most dangerous or “worst job” This list speaks to Urban jobs. Therefore the firefighters included on this list would most likey have full benefits and a pension.

    Statistics tend to put the worst jobs in America as. Fisher, Cab Driver and Truck Driver near the top.

  • Cedestra

    I call in to question the order of the list, too. I have much more sympathy for the police and firefighters than I do prostitutes, office workers, and telemarketers.
    I was a telemarketer for 2 1/2 days and quit shortly after the training. I wasn’t even selling anything- I was just trying to get people to go to a time-share workshop. It wasn’t that I didn’t have thick skin, I just didn’t agree with it. BIG TIP: When you fill out any form to win a drawing, ALWAYS read the back. That’s where you’ll see, in tiny print, that you agree to have someone call you about time-share classes.
    That’s not even the worst job I’ve had. I was a head lifeguard for an inner city pool. Every day, from when I woke up to when I went to sleep, I had a stomachache, which probably turned into an ulcer (when I was 20). I had to deal with rioting, insubordination from my lifeguards, a broken management system, safety violations, and a gun being pulled out on the grounds. All in two months.

  • Callie

    Actually, statistics put the jobs you mentioned as the most DANGEROUS. There will never be any statistical evidence regarding “worst” jobs because worst is a relative term and can’t be quantified. There are statistics detailing job satisfaction, but thats not the same.

    Additionally, this is a list based mostly on opinion. The order is already being disputed in good old listverse fashion.

    By emergency services, I’m assuming you mean you work as an EMT or 911 call center. While I commend you for this work, as I find it selfless and have surely apprieciated every EMT (and by extension, the 911 call takers who send them) that I’ve ever come into contact with, it sort of sounds like there might be a bit of bad blood between EMT’s and firemen? Perhaps you’re frustrated they get praised for fighting big fires while you do your job day in and day out with no recognition. That doesn’t mean firefighters are overrated.

  • rushfan

    Callie ~ By far my favorite episode is the George Foreman grill injury. :)

  • jake ryder

    Sorry Callie I should have mentioned. I have done 6 of these jobs. (I have never, worked in an office, sold myself or drugs or professionally killed bugs). All the other 5 jobs I had were far worse than being a fire fighter. i still think there are jobs far worse than anything I have done. Soldier comes to mind.

  • Cedestra

    In lieu of other comments, I will correct my previous statement. I still believe that being a police officer is worse than an office worker. Yes, office work sucks, but at least you don’t put your life on the line. I’m pretty much an office worker/secretary and I find my job nowhere near as bad as a firefighter or police officer.

  • appie

    OMG,I’m a telemarketer and I couldn’t believe it,I’m worse than a drug dealer and a prostitute..

    I know sometimes were so annoying but were just doing our job..

    We’re paid so little to annoy people..
    And sometimes it hurts when people hung up on you..
    I guess we deserve it,..hahahaha

  • Callie

    so you’ve been a policeman, firefighter, factory worker, convenience clerk, cab driver, and telemarketer?


  • Callie


    That’s a good one!! I don’t know if I have a favorite episode, but it’s definitely one of my top three shows on TV right now. The opener last night was amaaaaazing

  • Fromthefuture

    copperdragon: i think it was metioned but is not in any order.

  • #42. jake ryder, my cousin was a Los Angeles firefighter, a Captain, for 30 years. He not only fought house and business fires, but was involved in two riot related conflagrations in which the firemen were shot at!
    These guys also respond to accidents, saving lives on the roads and highways.
    Far from being “overrated” they are, if anything, underrated!
    And you need to do some investigation before you make another such misguided statement.

    Re: bad jobs – When I was young and needed a job, but wanted something that didn’t interfere with my fun, I worked as an usher at the Hollywood Bowl.
    It was great, most of the time, free concerts every night. But some of the attendees were quite a problem, especially at the Jazz concerts!
    One I particularly recall; an extremely intoxicated man wanted to go from the tier he was ticketed for to a more expensive tier. It was my job to prevent such things from happening. In this particular case, I was out weighed by more than two to one, plus he was falling-down drunk, and I was standing at the top of cement stairs!
    Well, long story short time, next thing I remember, I was laying underneath the behemoth, stretched full out the length of the stairs, with a blinding headache and a faceful of beerbreath.
    The guy somehow stood up and swooped me up, dancing me around the landing. Right about then Security showed up to escort my dance partner off the premises, and the EMTs checked me out.
    Nothing but a headache.
    This wasn’t a solo experience, but thinking back, it’s an experience I wouldn’t give back for anything.

  • Blacknimbus

    I disagree. The worst job is the one you are doing right now, every day, that you hate. The kind of job that steals your weeks and shortens your weekends.

    Terrible jobs that you dread going to every day will steal your life away. Find a way to escape before it’s too late.

  • rushfan

    How about waiting tables? That must really suck. A physically demanding job that relies on the kindness of strangers for tips.

  • MT

    Just a reminder, the list is in no particular order. But even if it was there would be disagreement. Thanks for all of your comments.

  • MzFly

    Interesting List – but I disagree with the order.
    A friend and I were discussing the benefits of legalizing prostitution in the US. I really think it would help the women who are in the profession to become more independant and in control of thier situation. As it stands now, many women and young men who are prostitutes have a pimp who basically beats them up and takes about 80% of thier money- all in the name of so called “protection” from the streets. Also, legalization would ensure regular testing for STD’s.

  • ian

    You can add some others:

    1.nightclub doorman – high risk, night sift but you can watch sexy chicks entering clubs for free – don’t forget about free extra weed.
    2.doctors – sure it’s a high paying job, but doctors have no exact working hour, makes them easier to get depressed.
    3.soldier – low salary and you can die anytime & anywhere in the world, yet you can receive better salary by working to private security company (or working as hitman)
    4.costumer service guy – low salary and some people shout at you “your products are crap!”
    5.graveyard hole digger – digging hole everyday, and you have no chance to enjoy your own creation. Once you needs that hole, some others will dig it for you

  • Mom424

    What a bunch of spoiled, whining, pampered children we North Americans are. Office worker, Telemarketer, Convenience Store Attendee, Factory Worker, even Exterminator, are among our WORST jobs.

    I’m not going to be telling any of the people in Cairo who pick through garbage and sewage to scrounge a few pennies for their day’s labour. Or those factory workers in all those 3rd world countries making our necessary consumer goods. You know, where they are locked in all day; more like servitude than employment.

    Bah, worst jobs? Hardly worth noting.

    Rushfan: Where we live hospital workers are all unionized. They have great benefits and good pay and great working conditions. There is hardly any turnover; I had my kids bang, bang, bang, all in a row. 4 kids in 5 1/2 years. I got to know the dietary staff and housekeeping staff as well as I got to know the nurses and doctors. Great bunch of folks! Now PCW’s (Personal Care Workers), generally employed by nursing homes, have it very rough. Low pay, long hours, and hard physical labour. Not all the infirm are little folk, and the 300 lb patients require the same care and the 90 pounders.

  • rushfan

    Mom424 ~ Great point about third world jobs. I just kinda took it for granted this list was not on that level. It’s more of a subjective list of dangerous/soul-sucking/illegal jobs Americans do. There’s really no comparison to what people in poor nations do to survive, not just make money.

    As far as unions and hospital jobs, all I know is that there is a large unskilled undereducated class of first generation and/or illegal immigrant population here who do a lot of crappy jobs until they get tired of them and then move on to another crappy job.

    And for those who work in nursing homes, that has got to be one of the hardest jobs. It’s similar to working in a daycare. Very hard work for too little pay and appreciation.

  • Mom424

    Rushfan: Here illegal immigrants are afforded the same rights. They must receive the same pay and benefits as legal citizens. It is circumvented by paying cash, but generally these folks are skilled tradesmen; Construction workers from Portugal etc.

  • dani lynn

    Factory workers make ALOT of money. Some people would kill for an office 9-5 job. Where are the fast food workers? Sewage workers? And when did prostitution and drug dealing become considered “JOBS”?

    I understand that these jobs may be dangerous, to say the least, but to say they are the “worst” is a matter of opinion.

  • Cullinan

    Yeah – you don’t know how good you have it until you have it bad.
    My favorite gig from the past was a telemarketer, selling Catholic-based children’s books across the country. I was so dejected after 2 hours, I just ended up calling the machine of this
    southern belle the rest of the day, because I loved the sound of her voice on her message.

    Next thing you know I’m called into the office as they have record of my progress and numbers called – That was that as I took my $40 bucks and went home.

  • K.Inez

    I really expected to see teachers on the list {unfortunately}.

  • kofeelite

    My dad and brother were both volunteer firefighters for many years, they had to give it up after seeing some of their fellow firefighters die…
    I was a nursing home aide for retarded people when I was younger-very satisfying in a way, but also a hard and demanding job-adult’s urges with a child’s mind…
    Recently, I worked in a warehouse for 8 years. I enjoyed my job a great deal, blue collar workers are the salt of the earth!

  • Mom424, I totally agree with you, but the title of the list was 10 Worst Jobs in America.
    Even then, I don’t agree with the list.
    Have you ever been inside a clothing factory “sweatshop”? I have. Those women, and some no more than girls, are working in conditions that would horrify you.
    I worked for a month in a city deep in Mexico, and some of the things the people were willing to do to earn a buck were awful! I was ashamed.
    Even in America, people work at jobs that are far worse, far more dangerous, far more demeaning, than anything on this list.
    Those people don’t whine, though.

  • catz

    I my self is a telemarketer for 2 years now. And i enjoyed it! Probably in America it’s like a junk. But here in our country it’s one of the most high paid jobs.
    And we need to work at night here since we’re calling US! We understand that most of the time we’re so annoying…
    but most of us who works here are students and single parents. It’s sad that for other people our job sucks but for us it’s one of the best because we’re able to talk to professional people. We learn through everyday of calling and I assure you guys people working in a call center are really amazing and professional compared to those who have other jobs…that’s just my opinion….. :-)

  • postman

    I would have thought that postal workers would be on the list , after all, isin’t that what ‘Going Postal’ refers to.

  • quiana

    I work in a cube al day. no complaints here. when I get off I still go and have fun and enjoy life. its sucks to here I have one of the worst jobs. I thought I was pretty fortunate. I definitely agree with MOM we have to be spoiled as hell to think some of these jobs are considered some of the WORST.

  • Quiana

    Oh and I use to be a telemarketer too, lol (dont shoot me) that also sucks to hear I wouldve been better off as a prostitue or drug dealer. Sad world :(

  • joeyjoejoeshabadoo

    #4 is actually a quote from George Carlin, but hey

  • joeyjoejoeshabadoo

    Also, drug dealing is pretty much the stupidest job anybody could ever do. 25 year for a 10$ profit margin? Idiots.

  • JayArr

    Oi! I cannot believe janitor/custodian is not on this list. Having done a short stint at this quite a number of years ago, I can honestly say the janitorial profession in an urban environment is horrible. Poop smears on the wall and toilet seats… drug paraphenalia stuffed into urinals… insects diving for cover when you turn on the light of a rest room… plunging used super-maxi pads up from a toilet that’s too small to push it down…and oh, the list goes on from there. Truth told, I have almost as much respect for a good janitor (custodian) as I do for many firemen and police officers.

  • Quiana

    Funny name Joey. I agree drug dealers are pretty dumb.

  • Kreachure

    1) Nice list. It could also be called “Top 10 jobs that make you want to shoot yourself”… :P

    2) Callie: Prostitution is not only a job, it’s the world’s oldest job.

    3) Office work is indeed the worst if A) You work for one Michael Scott (just ask Stanley), or B) If they take your s-s-stapler. :D

  • “5 Gigi – September 26th, 2008 at 3:15 am [Report Abuse]

    Only in America this are actually bad jobs…In my country guns are illegal so armed robberies are basically unheard of.”

    Errr .. what? Guns are illegal in my country, too (Mexico) but that doesn’t stop criminals from getting and using them! Please tell me this was sarcastic??

  • Yun

    1) The Clerks screenshot posted alongside #7 made me laugh.

    2) The fact that the ad warning, “Just paying the bills” was directly under the entry on Prostitution made me laugh even harder.

  • jake ryder

    Callie you are correct in summing up my resume. Some of those professions simultaneous. ie Cab driver/firefighter as no problem sleeping at a firehall then going to second job.

    Segue. Fire Fighters do not save lives at accidents. Paramedics do. Level of importance of a career does not make it a “Worst Job.” My investigation has been first hand over year, and not hearsay from disgruntled relative.

  • Gecko

    Wow, telemarketer is at number one? I would’ve expected that to be drug dealer, but it makes a lot of sense.

    Good list!

  • Mr.Graves

    You missed an entire sector of society, one that continually ranks amongst the worst occupations anywhere: the service industry. If this list was only about danger, then I’d agree it doesn’t belong, but multitudes of organizations monitoring labour and employment standards agree that working in the service industry (kitchens, cleaning, hospitality, etc) is consistently amongst the least paying, higher stress and lowest employee standards in north america.

    And before you assume I’m only talking about teenagers flipping burgers at fast food places, consider this: the average wage of a chef in north america can be as low as 20,000 dollars a year, in a massively stressful and always potentially dangerous environment. Women who are not educated enough or slightly too old for more energetic jobs often become room maids and cleaners, which is back breaking work that almost invariably leads to physical injury. There are tons of other examples as well.

    It’s not a fun industry.

  • Rising Falls

    I’d probably be a cab driver or drug dealer, if any.

  • Adam

    As others have said – you’ve missed the cleaners. I work in Housing and, after a woman was found who’d died in her bath, we had to call the cleaners – because the soap was in the bath it had emulsified her flesh, dissolving her in essence, and leaving something looking like lasagne than a human being. On the upside for these workers, because it is such a horrific job, they get to charge lots of money for the ‘honour’.

  • I worked as a telemarketer… for a week. I quit cause it was absurd. I rathered be broke than work telemarketing

  • Nejikun

    There wouldn’t be much worse than telemarketer in terms of pure job dissatisfaction. Getting hung up on 20 to 30 times a day? You can have it.

  • Adam: good God! I don’t think you could have made that sound any more revolting if you had tried!

  • pankhudi: In a previous life I too was a software developer and I absolutely agree with its place on this list (under office worker).

  • MartinL

    What I really appreciated about this list was the compassionate tone accorded to each of the job descriptions. Really, there’s no reason for prostitution to be illegal, except for the mandates of dogmatic religious moralists, which do nothing to improve people’s lives. It was a little understated in many of the entries — but people take many of these jobs because the alternative is eviction and starvation. (ESPECIALLY now that people by the thousands every month are being forced off public assistance.) Telemarketers do what they do because that’s what’s available, not because they love antagonizing people. I swear it’s a vogue to demonize them; you want to bitch about somebody, but you can’t decide who — well, telemarketers, who doesn’t hate them? I’ve been doing market research phone interviews for some time now, and we get tarred with the telemarketer brush, hung up on, sneered at, screamed at — and we’re just asking for people’s *opinions*, for God’s sake!

    But I really agree with K. Inez at #73. Why aren’t teachers included on this list? They don’t get paid enough, they have to be little unpaid administrators on top of the work of teaching kids, *plus* working school security in environments in which it’s becoming increasingly necessary to put on-duty armed police officers in the halls. No job is so unfairly politicized or scapegoated, not even police and doctors, here in the US. I lay the blame for this situation at the feet of American school boards that *still* will shell out thousands of dollars for football uniforms, but not a penny for better pay for teachers. (As well as shutting down music and art programs in schools, but that’s another diatribe for another day.)

    America’s priorities are so screwed up it makes me cry. We’re on the way to being one of the worst-educated of the developed countries. The average citizen of three quarters of the rest of the world speaks and writes in at least one other language than his own — and the second language is often English, which they speak and write better than many supposedly educated Americans do. Said average world citizen can also calculate in his head well enough to balance his checkbook or run his business, while most of us would be hamstrung without a pocket calculator. (And I say this as someone who *sucks* at math, though I’m doing better at it now that my older daughter is struggling through pre-algebra homework. And I’m taking Civil Service exams where the math can be murderous — and sometimes no calculator is permitted.) And the people of most other countries, Arab nations especially, are much better students of history than we are. Which is why so much of the rest of the world hates us: Christian westerners from the Crusaders to this-minute America are the bad guys in a lot of their history. Today the average American can’t even tell you when the Declaration of Independence was signed; about a century ago, if you had an average public school education, you could *recite* the Declaration. And the Bill of Rights. We don’t know anything about history, because teachers don’t get a chance to teach. My daughters’ teachers have to spend most of the year prepping the kids for the tests mandated by No Child Left Behind, so they don’t get to teach anything that isn’t on those damn tests. And that’s our recipe for improving the educational system in this country. People have told me I have the makings of a good teacher. Sorry, but as currently constituted in America, I wouldn’t go anywhere near the job. And I guess that really is a damn shame, because I know there are people with far more talent for it than I who feel exactly the same way, for many of the same reasons.

  • 87. jake ryder …Segue. Fire Fighters do not save lives at accidents. Paramedics do.
    I’d love to see a couple of paramedics wielding the Jaws of Life, or pulling people out of burning automobiles.

  • I just love how some people can’t pay enough attention to properly spell another’s name, even when it’s staring it the in the face.

  • Cubone

    money for sex . . . how bad can that be?

  • willbear

    97.segue….With all due respect, once they get the patients out of the vehicle I’d like to see them administer the proper drugs, intubate, or preform any life saving skills that go beyond basic first aid and CPR.

    I see a lot of mud slinging going on, but the fact of the matter is, both these professions working together is what makes a call successful. Its just unfortunate that only one usually gets all the attention.

  • astraya

    Don’t worry. Jamie will soon post another list called “top 10 things that are surprisingly good for you about the worst urban jobs in america”.

  • meanmofo

    I used to be a factory worker at good ol’ C&H Sugar in Crockett California. From 1999 through 2004 I helped to make about 1/3 of the granulated sugar that came out of that place. The pay was good the hours were the worst you could imagine and 90% of the people were a-holes…anyone desiring a life need not apply!

  • 100. willbear , some of the firefighters *are* trained to administer the proper drugs, intubate, and preform many life saving skills that go beyond basic first aid and CPR. At least that’s true in the larger cities.
    Of course paramedics come along and take over and get the patient stabilized and off to the hospital, but without some adequately trained firefighters on board, many times the injured would die before the EMTs arrived.
    I had the opportunity to study the L.A. fire dept. because my cousin was a captain. I was doing a documentary photo shoot on the department, so I got to spend some time “inside”.
    It was interesting.
    Now, all my info is good for L.A. only. I can’t verify anything for any other city or county, but I do know Los Angeles system.

  • willbear

    103 Segue…”Of course paramedics come along and take over and get the patient stabilized and off to the hospital, but without some adequately trained firefighters on board, many times the injured would die before the EMTs arrived” The same can be said for firefighters, they arrive on scene, extract the patient, Paramedics arrive and administer further lifesaving techniques. If the medics weren’t there to provide the services needed for the patients survival that the firefighters may not possess, then they may not survive, making the training of both Paramedics and Firefighters essential to the patients survival, or at least strengthen the odds.

    I know in larger cities firefighters are also paramedics, but thats not the norm. Here in Canada most provinces have different levels. Firefighters take training but it doesn’t go far past the training of an EMT (at least in my province) which is far from the training an ACP (Advance Care Paramedic) goes through, the ACP’s here work in ER’s as well along side the nurses because they are trained and provide the same services.

    My intention was to not come across as arguing, I apologize if I have done just that. My sister and I have worked for both sides, and seeing the animosity between both first hand is unbelievable, I was surprised it was a global thing, really if they could just admit that they need each other, it would be better for everyone.

  • astraya

    If I am ever rescued from a fire, I promise not to quibble about who did what towards the rescue effort.

  • morghine32

    Okay, so I have been a telemarketer- sucked huge; worked in a convenient store- a body filling a space was how my manager described my service there; Just got a new job as a Social worker- looking forward to it but office work is what you make of it. Worked in a lawyers office once and it was awesome. It is all a matter of perspective. But let us not forget the jobs that we as Americans are to good for. Like ditch digger, migrant farm worker, etc. When you have to pay the bills, does it really matter as long as you are taking care of your family?

  • Shadow

    Prostitution is a job? I always thought it was a vocation.

  • Vera Lynn

    Drogo (14)I have seen these guys drive the buses on the tiny streets. They know exactly how big their buses are. They squeeze through the tightest most seemingly inmpossible places without knocking off any side view mirrors. Just amazing.

    Rushfan (64) Waiting tables yes. I never tip less than 25% These people aren’t busting their asses cuz it’s fun but cuz they have to.

    Mom424 (68) Shouldn’t it be Bang Bang Bang Bang? You left off a Bang? It’s not nice to pick faves! ;)

  • Cambrex101

    When my family first moved to America from Russia, my dad had to be a telemarketer. He hated it.

    Thankfully, that was only for 2 years before he got a job as a Bio-Chemist, which is what he went to college for.

  • Jennie

    I’ve done #4 and #1
    Very Very sucky jobs :(

  • Mom424

    Vera Lynn. Yes 4 bangs that count.

  • Bunbunbunbun

    Just thought I’d mention that you can’t catch AIDS. The HIV virus is transmissible, AIDS isn’t.

  • Cambrex101 ~ Wow. I’m always astonished by stories of nuclear physicists or doctors or whatever from foreign countries coming to America and driving cabs or working at convenience stores. It blows my mind. Highly educated professionals are willing to come here and start over from the bottom and work their way back up, all for the chance at the American dream. It’s admirable.

  • Vera Lynn

    Mom424 (111) That’s better. You have a great sense of humor. I knew you’d know I was teasin’

  • Rowen

    Why kids would like to be firefighters is beyond me.

  • yay #4 is milton!
    haha good list

  • Drogo

    @Vera Lynn #108

    (haha) When I told people that my route was in that civil war era neighborhood with the narrow streets, the 90 degree bends, the twisting around, going up and down with the terrain, with the parked cars, they would act incredulous and ask, “How the H*** do you get THAT bus through THAT neighborhood!?”

  • Jessy

    I too got to spend a lovely two months as a “market researcher” right after I finished school before my lovely job teaching English in Korea started.

    Worst. Job. Ever. And I’ve worked some sh*tty jobs.

    Someone else mentioned that market researchers are “tarred with the telemarketer brush.” So true. We mainly called the US, and what most people dont know is that the Do Not Call list does not block surveys- ONLY telemarketers. So about ten times a shift I’d be told off/sworn at/hung up on by someone saying “I’m on the Do Not Call List and it’s illegal for you to call me.” CLICK.

    I didn’t generally mind the hang-ups. I hated snarky people, or those who would actually try to ARGUE with me ex:”Why do you call people and bug them at home anyway?”

    Folks, all you have to say is “no thank you, I’m not interested.”

  • Clantargh

    How about working as an embalmer. Draining bodily fluids from the dead, and replacing them with chemicals. Some of whom you may have known in life or who may have died of contagious diseases. Reconstructing body parts after an accident trying to make the remains look like a person again. Embarrassment to admit your occupation to others because they will think of you as a creepy freak or necrophiliac. The horrific occasional experience of having to work with a dead child or infant. And the result of your hard work, people feeling sorrow and horror, crying uncontrollably. Who would consider that a rewarding job?

  • 104. willbear…My intention was to not come across as arguing, I apologize if I have done just that.
    willbear, worry not. It was not you who was the arguing one. You and I were discussing. I found your information interesting and, as I stated, all of the information I had was valid for Los Angeles, CA. city and county only.
    Because my cousin was a fireman, I grew up with a high regard for the profession. All of my interactions with the department were wonderful. I now live in a small village with an all volunteer fire department, and a separate EMT group. We don’t even have a police dept., but then, there’s no crime to speak of, either.
    Anyway, firemen, as my daughters always said while growing up, “They have great asses!”

  • HollyTamale

    Being a firefighter may not be completely glorious, but it has way more benefits than faults. My dad is a firefighter in the city and loves his job. It is definently not one of the worst jobs in America. Neither is that of a police. This list was not very well thought out. Have you even seen dirty jobs? Do some research. Many of the newer lists here are lacking.

  • purdnasty

    I’m a firefighter working for two different departments, one in Norther New Jersey and the other in Pennsylvania, depending on the time of year.
    To the kid who is 16 and says he is involved in the emergency services, congrats, you are a cadet, you do not receive and proper training beyond basic first aid, cpr and Gopher work until you are 18.
    I love working in emergency services, I have the opportunity to assist people every day. There’s a good and bad side to every job, I guess.

  • KryptoTSD

    I was a soldier for 5 years…
    It was not so much dangerous as it was a soul dirtying excursion into the real world of jerks and drug abusers, many of whom should have been in a psychiatric hospital.
    Speaking of worst jobs, how come corrections officer isn’t on the list? COs have a dirty, crappy job, where they have to deal with the scum of the earth, many of whom are criminally insane(also read: incurably) and that’s only the inmates.

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  • stef

    seems like you wouldve said “Firefighter” in stead of “firemen”

    comes off as a bit ignorant and sexist really….

  • leonard

    great list this website

  • #124. stef
    seems like you wouldve said “Firefighter” in stead of “firemen”
    comes off as a bit ignorant and sexist really….
    stef, do you understand the simple concept of a neutral personal pronoun?
    What do you call the round metal things in the street which over sewer or power access holes?
    What do you call the entire family of people, worldwide, in general?
    Or are you one of those who are so “p.c.” that even the word “woman” isn’t usable because it contains the word “man”? “She” isn’t usable because it contains the word “he”. “Human” isn’t usable because it contains the word “man”.
    Get a grip.
    Complain about something that actually makes a difference, stef, not language which has been useful for centuries (at least for people who understand language).

  • tallguy

    I work as a griller in a restaurant and i would take the office job over mine any day!

    It is 130 degress F at my station and has a high risk of severe burns. I have the scars to show for it. Not only that but the place is slammed all the time so i’m busy as hell.

    I only make a little over minimum wage and get very little credit for my hard work while the waitresses and what not are allowed to stand around in air conditioning and chat while occassionally catering to their tables needs. I am expected to bust ass all night and not allowed to take a break since there is no time for one, but they take a half hour out of my hours for it anyway.

    Yeah there’s worse jobs out there but my job is my hell

  • spacechick

    Good list, but the comments are annoying! How many times does the author have to say the list is in no particular order? I have had my share of good jobs and bad, but the worst situation is trying to survive on state benefit due to illness.

  • 128. spacechick…but the worst situation is trying to survive on state benefit due to illness.
    I’ll second that!
    12 years ago I became symptomatic with an extraordinarily painful and extremely rare genetic disease. The pain rates about 15 on the doctor’s pain scale of 1 – 10.
    I was put on disability, and there I’ll be forever. My disease will get worse.
    The disability pay is minimal, even though I worked all my life, mostly at high paying jobs.
    I wouldn’t wish trying to exist on disability on anyone.
    Two and a half years ago I married a wonderful man, and my life is much improved (not medically, but in every other way!). Before meeting him, I was lost. What a difference love makes.

  • Miss Nimbus

    I work on the phones all day too, but I don’t call anyone, I get called all day by people yelling/screaming/panicing/abusing and the occasional apprechative soul. I work for the emergency police number. And yip, the hours suck, work shifts (therefore don’t have a social life) and the pay just don’t quite equal what you do. But for the rest its great.. would highly recommend it. hihihi.

  • Joanie Girl

    same here miss nimbus however I probably dont get too many yelling and screaming at me. but your right about the pay and the social life.. *POOF! GONE!* hahaha

  • Bob

    MartinL, let’s make your daughter a prostitute then and see how your morality flares up.

    Also, the anti-American screed is tired and done to death. We don’t need to learn multiple languages here–we don’t live on a continent with many different languages every couple hundred miles.

    Look, just go vote for Obama and shut up–*that* would be real change.

  • 130. Miss Nimbus&131. Joanie Girl, maybe you can explain something to me.
    One evening, many years ago now, my mum had a massive stroke while we were talking (luckily she was lying down, in bed at the time).
    I called 911, and reported this immediately.
    The 911 operator asked me how I knew it was a stroke, was I a medical professional?
    I felt as if they were wasting time, questioning me, rather than sending the paramedics immediately.
    By the time the paramedics showed up, her brain damage was massive and nothing could be done to treat or reverse the damage. She survived for 9 months, but in a condition I can only call a living hell.
    Why the questioning? Why not just send the paramedics? Why would someone lie about their mother having a stroke?

  • LooLoo

    HOW COME SLAUGHTERHOUSE WORKERS ARE NOT ON THE LIST? It’s a very dangerous, filthy, disease-ridden job, with lots of chancees to sustain serious injurious on the very fast, sharp machines. They’re not all out in the middle of nowhere – chicken slaughterhouses are on the DELMAVA penninsula which is where a lot of peole live due to its proximity to the Bay & Ocean.

  • Jim

    How can #1 not be Assistant Crack Whore?

    (And Norm MacDonald fans in the house?)

  • kaes

    I totally agree with the telemarketing job! That really is the worst job ever! I really don’t understand how I could survive for SIX MONTHS!

  • willbear

    120. segue….Thanks! I didn’t want to come across as negative or anything. The thread is very interesting indeed.

  • legoland

    I love this site! I love lists too (clearly).

    I’ve worked at a call center, both inbound (taking orders) and outbound (trying to get people who have bought our products in the past to buy them again). Somewhere between office worker and telemarketer? My headset cord wasn’t even long enough to allow me to stand! The days were endless, I kid you not!

    Then I went to work at a convenience store for three years. I was never robbed or anything similar, but standing for hours and hours at a time took some getting used to; I worked alone so their wasn’t any “relief” so to speak. And dealing with the public – oy.

    Now I’m a nurses aid at a long term care facility – talk about another sweet job! lol Oh man I wish I’d have finished college!!

    Again, thanks for the lists jfrater – I’m kind of addicted to this site.

  • joebecca


    i’m actually an office worker. where do you think i read you from every day?? LOL

    Les Brown is a wise man. he says it best. That is EXACTLY the idea!

  • 133. segue: Things probably work differently in the states. If your Mum had a stroke we wouldnt be asking a pathetic question like that calltaker did.
    However in saying that we do need to find out what her medical history was, Who her GP is and how to contact him/her so we know what we are dealing with. There may have been something else that caused her to have a stroke, Suspicious circumstances, Stress it can be anything.

    All I can say is, Its not always simple to send someone out NOW! Different times and different situations can cause delays. As stated, I dont know how the proceedures work in the States. But I know for a fact that you would have got the urgent attention that was needed immediately.

    Hope that helps.

  • 140. Joanie Girl: Thanks for the information. I’ve never gotten over the feeling of complete helplessness, compounded by the guilt of “maybe” if she had gotten help sooner…
    Yes, your answer did help. A lot. Thank you.

  • FGFM

    tallguy has a good point, most restaurant jobs suck a lot worse than being a cop or a fireman. You could also add being a scrapper (collecting metal & pallets) to the list. Working at a recycling or garbage facility also sucks total balls. Historically, one of the worst jobs was gathering dog turds for use by milliners.

  • FGFM


    Good point, there is still a lamb slaughterhouse here in Chicago with dozens of meatpacking facilities that don’t look particularly glamorous. I just remembered about tanneries which has to be absolutely the worse. And don’t forget about laundries!

  • Denzell

    duh and duher.

  • CRSN

    Ha! drug dealers at 2, if it was Australia they wouldnt even make the list :twisted:

  • nina_beretta

    F*** the police! what about the military. Men get blown to pieces everday and that didnt make the list.

  • over 500,000 firefighters

    WOW. really…….firefigher at the 9th worst job??WHAT THE hell was running through your small little brians
    when you made this list??
    here let us help…….
    past 10 years only 100 ff died
    granted.. big number. we know.

    1988-1998 over 600 died. we got so much new equipment,tactics,technoligie,and more.
    we have improved so much and when there is riots nobody attacks us, where ever you got your source from is just one minded all the way. what about the military?
    construction worker?

    oho… how about this…
    FACT:1 OUT OF 182 calls are fires.
    FACT:1 OUT OF 452 calls are house fires.
    FACT:1 OUT OF 300,000 FIRE FIGHTERS can say that they been to a riot.
    FACT:I have been a firefighter for 7 years now and never had any close calls.

    last…..when we save lives like you guys siad. thats considered a hero. so in a way your saying being a hero is one of the worst jobs you can have??

    you poor morons with know brians.
    you are SICK!!!

  • badabing

    How is drug dealer a job?

  • 147. over 500,000 firefighters: With all due respect, you obviously did not read all of the posts.
    And thank you, being a fire fighter is one of the most selfless jobs on the planet. I salute you, and all of your brothers and sisters.

  • MT

    .147 over 500,000 firefighters:

    And with all due respect to all the other “poor morons with know brians” that contribute lists to this site, I am solely responsible for this one. And judging from your spelling I will definitely include teachers on the next list. Thanks for your comments.

  • aspyr

    500,000 firefighters: I can see where your coming from. I believe that being a firefighter is not a “bad” job. Just perhaps a dangerous and thankless job. But i thank and salute you for keeping us safe. But read the posts more carefully; people aren’t trying to diss your profession.

    I still find it absolutely hilarious that there are 5 jobs considered worse than prostitutes on this list and many of them are quite common =]

  • spacechick

    I just had to make another comment regarding this list. I did not consider prostitution to be a job and thought that most women who entered this profession had to through lack of choice. However, after reading the excellent book by Dolores French called Working: My Life as a Prostitute it totally challenged and changed my somewhat predjudical views.

    I guess it isn’t everyone’s idea of a great career choice, but she makes very valid points which certainly changed my mind about the whole issue.

  • spacechick: I had the same change of views after reading “The Mayflower madam” about Sydney Biddle-Barrows. It is a great book and I recommend it.

  • spacechick

    Thanks jfrater I will certainly look it up.

  • jajdude

    I thought door-to-door-salesman might be there for some reason, but I guess that isn’t common anymore.

  • Jenna

    I’ve worked at a convenience store, in a factory assembling air bags and as a telemarketer. It sucks being an unpublished writer. I’m now a phone sex operator……and I love it! Best job I’ve ever had.

  • Jenna

    BTW, I’ve worked as a maid at a hotel……and I consider THAT the worst job I ever held…..and I’ve worked on the kill floor of a slaughter house, road construction in winter and delivered singing telegrams dressed as a baby.

  • Steph

    My mother worked n an office her whole life, being shipped from job to job to job to. And what she did was pathetic: She was a mortage Processer. weeeeeeee

  • 158. Steph:…And what she did was pathetic:…
    Oh, Steph, I’m sorry for both her and you. As I raised my kids, I repeated over and over, “I don’t care what you do for a living as long as you can wake up every day and say ‘Thank God I get to go do X!'”.
    I was doing a job I loved (even though the hours could be excessive, and the conditions punishing), so I was a good role model for that. All three have ended up doing jobs they really love.
    I believe you add untold amounts of joy, and possibly years, to your life if you are genuinely happy in your career.

  • jose

    way to go jfrater. i think wherever you will outsource the telemarketing job, all people from all races would hate it.

  • oouchan

    How about a list of the best jobs? Not just high paying but satisfying.

    Worst job for me: Telemarketing….lost 20% of my hearing in my left ear when someone used an air horn on me.

    Best job for me: Waldameer Park and Waterworld. Worked there for 7 summers and I would go back … if I could afford it!

  • telemarketing sucks

    I used to work as a telemarketer for a month, till I decided to tell my ex boss “screw you I quit”

    BTW, you also forgot to mention that telemarking has the most ridiclous rules ever. For example, you have to dress work casual or be sent home without pay or risk getting fired.

  • 162. telemarketing sucks:…For example, you have to dress work casual or be sent home without pay or risk getting fired.
    Oh! You have no idea how important that rule is. I have a secret advanced video cam phone, and I can see everyone who calls me. Imagine if you went to work wearing shorts and no shirt! AaaarrrggG!
    No! It doesn’t bear think imagining.

  • ac

    20 years ago we used a diaper service for our baby. They provided everything–diapers, diaper pail, plastic bags, deodorizer, etc. Didn’t even need to rinse/dump out the used diapers–just toss into the pail and they’d pick it up each week. Always thought the worst job would be the guy who had to get those soiled diapers, poop and all, to get ready for laundering. Ick. . .

  • SallySweet

    I identify a lot with #4. Good thing I haven’t stooped to #6 yet!

  • ims

    bicycle courier? they are not only a target of every car on the road (and have to deal with pedestrians talking on their cell phones and poor road conditions and weather), but they have to deal with number 3!

  • Oculus

    4 – “Most people spend a lot of time surfing the net (READING LISTVERSE.. LOL) , exchanging humorous emails or updating their resume”

    I definitely belong to number 4.

  • pwscott

    To be picky the picture you posted on #5 is highly inaccurate. That is a picture of a warehouse or distribution center with what appears to soft drinks. Technology dosen’t change much on the factory floor so here is a more acurate representation.

  • otinflewer

    3 years i’m still a telemarketer . . .
    we are abused and treated like you’d imagine in your nightmares.
    and i still wonder, Why?

  • mike

    Drug dealers make alot of money, the source that says otherwise is wrong.

  • Babycakes Jenkins

    I don’t know why office jobs and telemarking are considered worse than being a prostitute but that’s just me….

  • Bearfoot

    You forgot to include the fact that most telemarketers have a quota to meet or get fired.

    Thus you shoudlnt’ feel guilty hanging up on them at all, you’re helping them meet the quota after all.

  • empire23


    think about it

  • jake

    im a fireman / emt in north carolina. i love doing what i do, but there is a very high stress level that comes with the job, so i can see how it could be on this list, but on the other hand i could never be a cop….i hate thoes bastards….

    Paramedic is a tuff job too….try having a firefighter runing towards you with a 5 year old child telling you to fix it…..thats tuff

    all i can say is in todays market anyones blessed to have a job…..

  • 3wheelerbuggy

    You would not believe how long ive been searching for something like this. Scrolled through 8 pages of Yahoo results couldn’t find diddly squat. Quick search on Bing. There this is… Really gotta start using that more often

  • moi

    i dunno if i already replied to this list but i lol when i saw telemarketer as no. 1 with prostitution and firefighters at less. because telemearketing is the one thing i will not do. being stuck to a phone having people cuss you out and being rude, that is like hell for me. lol. that, and waitressing should've been here, along with customer service rep. these are equal with prostiutie on the willing to do scale for me

  • EMT

    I can't beleive Paramedic wasn't on this list! They have to see such gruesome things everyday, risk getting sick from their patients, and at times get assaulted by hurt and confused people. Not to mention cleaning up after their patients while waiting to get into the hospital and all the stress associated with having someones life in your hands. If police officer and fire fighter are on here then paramedic should be too.

  • pothead

    i agree telemarketers can be okay however indian telemarketers is a different story. try having a conversation with one thats all i'm saying if anyone can pull this off please post a transcript. and if they don't hang up on you thats a bonus.

  • Gracie

    Well, I love love this site!
    I need to add Nurse to this list. Bedside nurses are kicked, hit, pinched, bitten and scratched daily. Exposed to all manner of infectious material. Subject to tempers of those who want to believe we can heal everything. And all this handled with nurturing and compassion!
    And that’s only inside the hospitals!
    Outside E.R.’s are some of the most dangerous places in America. Robberies, rapes, etc.

  • cathy @loving hands pet daycare

    i like all the links! its interesting list, but it might be wise for spouses of people who do many of these not read this- it would probably add to their already considerable stress!

  • Jo

    come on. call centre workers????

    • Rolo

      You must’ve never had the job.

  • stephen

    Great post! its interesting list, but it might be wise for spouses of people who do many of these not read this- it would probably add to their already considerable stress!lol!

  • Rolo

    Actual telemarketer here just letting you know that you guys don’t know the half of how much the job sucks, especially if you’re working purely on commission. I knew the job would suck before I took it and that my new boss was not being honest about the success rate, but I was desperate so I took the job.

    You’ll dial dozens of numbers in a shift, maybe a hundred or two even if you’re really hard-working, desperate and have nothing better to do. More than 2/3 of them will be people not picking up their phone so it might just go to answering machine. Then of the people who do pick up or call back maybe 2/3 of them will either just “not interested” before you can get out the whole pitch or demand you take them off the list … and of course the occasional hothead and people that make empty legal threats – oh no, you’re going to sue us for politely greeting you and offering you a discount sale over the phone? Omg we’re so scared. This job is not for everyone, if you’re sensitive and take easy offense to rudeness aimed at you just spare yourself. You can meet very interesting people who take up this line of work though.

    It’s incredibly RARE to find someone who wants to hear what we’re offering, meaning you’ll put in 100% effort, get back maybe 1% reward on it, maybe more if you’re lucky but as there are no real guarantees you might go a whole week or whatever with NOTHING to show for all your hard work. And I get it – I used to be one of YOU. Annoyed by a surprising stranger calling me with some offer that might be scam, probably just delete telemarketing messages before you even listen to them. Yes, I know we’re nuisances, yet it’s difficult to get people to listen even when we’re not asking for money.

    There were many, many, many disappointments in my office last week. One boss wanted to guilt everyone into staying the full shift even after they’d gotten their disappointing paychecks and news. He got REAL quiet when I mentioned “not paid by the hour” Hahaha but I bet a lot of them won’t be back.

    Sales and marketing are pains. If you take one of these jobs it’s probably better to look for one where you’re getting a wage, stipend, salary or something so you’ll know you’re getting something for all the crap you’ll have to put up with and people you’ll have to pester.

  • Louie Jacuzzi

    I wish these lists were sharable

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  • Scott @Classic Photo Booth Rental

    If I will be given a chance to pick which of which has the highest priority I would choose the prostitute. It’s not that i want to drag them down but I am more concerned with their job. I am not judging them the way they get money but I just want to emphasize that there are more jobs out there they can be in. For me, being a prostitute is also risking your health and giving diseases to others also. If you are concerned with yourself and the people around you. please..please..please.. stop spreading the disease. let’s make the whole world a disease free.

  • jeff

    you forgot space ranger and dog walker and professional dog walker and wheelchair bound ice cream taster doof

  • Parad0xfool

    Great list, as always! Very interesting

  • AmbiguousG

    #5–tell me about it! I have a degree in Radio and Television and I’ve been forced by the American healthcare system to give up what little semblance of a career I had to go to the factories to get what I need. I’m currently stuck living with my parents because of this and have to drive a half-hour away to work!

    Sure, it’s only a cabinet factory, but it still sucks. One way to find solace in there is to imagine all those lucky f***s I knew at college being forced to work like this–that’s hilarious!

  • Konnochiwa

    I would have to disagree with drug dealer for a couple of reasons. First, I don’t think it’s really a job. You don’t have to fill out any paperwork or anything to start. You just need some dope to sell. Secondly, I know many drug dealers that have better insurance than I do. it may be Medicaid or tenncare, but atleast they have some coverage. I went to college and I don’t have any damn insurance! Maybe you should put paramedics on there instead!

  • URmomsASS

    What about being the jizz mopper at a peep show booth?

  • A. Cowen

    Talk about a poorly researched list! Prostitution and drug dealing are not jobs they are criminal activities so why put them on this list at all?

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