Jobs can be considered “bad” because they offer very low job security, involve risky working conditions, are stressful, or pay very little. The 2018 CareerCast Jobs Rated Report ranks more than 200 jobs in the US based on income, occupational outlook, amount of stress, and work environment quality. Similarly, here is a review of the 20 Worst Jobs in the World, as informed by everything from low wages and challenging work environments to gruesome tasks.
20. Newspaper Reporter
According to Career Planner, the demand for reporters is expected to drop by 10 percent by 2026. Newspapers will bear the brunt of this decline even as more and more readers turn to online sources. Even worse, these reporters face the stress of print deadlines, intense public scrutiny, and even threats when working on sensitive stories in a polarized political environment. Some even get death threats.
Roofers replace, repair, and install roofs. Their work environment is risky and difficult because they have to work on elevated and sloped surfaces out in the heat. Because they cannot work in bad weather, they often have to work all day during summer. Despite this, most only earn about $40,000 a year, partly due to the fact that roofing is an unskilled profession.
18. Food Server
Serving food to customers requires you to spend hours on your feet, depending on your shift, interacting with customers. You have to move from one customer to the next, meeting their different needs and preferences. Sometimes, customers are rude, angry, or difficult to deal with, and you have to take it in your stride. Despite this, food servers have one of the lowest median salaries in the US at $23,290 and depend on tips from their customers.
17. Disc Jockey
Disk jockeying may seem like a great and fun job, but DJs actually have one of the lowest job securities in the world. Projections show that most DJs will be near obsolete in the near future as more listeners turn to other music options like podcasts and online music streaming. Today, there are many software that can mix music just as a DJ would. All of these factors contribute to the projected 11.6 percent decline in the demand for disc jockeys. For those that will have jobs, disc jockeys make less than $34,000 annually despite working in a noisy and strenuous environment during odd hours.
Telemarketers make calls to individuals or businesses to sell a service or product, complete surveys, or share promotions. They often have to read from a script and engage the people on the other side of the phone until they make a sale. Sadly, these professionals are the victims of poor treatment and abuse. People generally loathe telemarketing calls and will often abuse or hang up on telemarketers. In addition to this stress, the starting wage is low compared to the conditions.
15. Construction Worker
Construction is one of the fastest growing industries in the US. The steady population growth in the country necessitates the construction of more homes and offices, which calls for more and more laborers. But because construction is an unskilled profession, many construction workers earn less than the median annual wage for most jobs. This is despite the fact that construction is also one of the riskiest and most physically demanding jobs in the world. In fact, the industry records some of the highest rates of injury and occupational illness of any profession.
Firefighters face dangerous and difficult conditions every day – they fight fire. Whether they are up against an inferno in a manmade structure or out fighting wildfires, the stress of charging into potentially fatal situations can be too much. Even worse, firefighters have to be on call for shifts that often last 24 hours and have to sleep and eat at the station. Opportunities for danger here abound, with some firemen getting trapped and injured on the job. Even sadder is the $49,620 median salary.
13. Pest Controller
Pest control involves several unpleasant work conditions. In addition to dealing with termites, rats, roaches, bats, and more, these workers often have to crawl into small and tight spaces to get rid of pests. They also work with toxic chemicals that could be very dangerous if not handled carefully. Getting a contract is also not a guarantee, and pest controllers can go a long time without getting a job. This is partly thanks to increased sanitation and the availability of pest control products that homeowners can use without professional help. To cap it off, pest controllers have a $35,610 median annual wage, which is one of the lowest in the country and $2,000 less than the national average.
12. Military Personnel
Serving in the military is often portrayed in films as a source of pride and joy for soldiers. But while it usually is, it is also very stressful. Soldiers working in active combat zones face the risk of injury or death every day and make less than $30,000 a year. Since they are often on tour, they get to spend very little time with their families and, when they do, have to struggle with adjusting to normal life. Military personnel has some of the highest numbers of PTSD cases caused by injury or trauma.
11. Security Guard
Security guards watch over buildings and homes while the occupants go about their businesses, are away, or are asleep. When covering the night shift, they have to sleep during the day and stay awake all night, which can be stressful, especially during cold months. They are also the first point of contact in case of a break in, which puts their lives at risk, although most of them are untrained and unarmed. For their troubles, security guards earn a median annual salary of $19,660.
Miners generally have a short lifespan because of the nature of their job. According to The World Counts, the average miner in Bolivia has a life expectancy of between 35 and 40 years, which is 25 years less than the average person in the country. All of this can be attributed to the dangerous conditions in which miners work. They have to enter narrow and unstable tunnels that could collapse and often work with explosives in these tiny spaces. In some cases, miners run into water-filled ditches or caves and drown. The hot, humid, and dusty conditions also cause respiratory problems like silicosis, asbestosis, and pneumoconiosis – all painful conditions that lower a miner’s quality of life.
9. Corrections Officer
By the end of 2009, there were 1.6 million prisoners in the US. This number fell to 1.5 million by the end of 2016, with the numbers expected to keep dropping. These factors may, in turn, contribute to the projected 7.7 percent decline in the number of corrections officers in the country. But job security aside, these professionals work around violent inmates all day. They record some of the highest illness and injury rates in the country and have to be extra vigilant at all times. In turn, they earn a median annual salary of $43,550, which is low compared to the risk of the job.
Photographers capture special moments into images we can keep forever. But, like DJs, they are steadily being replaced by technology. Good quality camera phones make it easy for people to take their own pictures, and hiring a professional photographer is becoming less and less common. Although some niche photographers are successful artists, others struggle to find steady employment. Companies prefer freelance photography jobs when they arise rather than hire an in-house photographer. For those that do have jobs, the median annual wage is $34,000.
7. Taxi Driver
It may seem like all taxi drivers do is sit in their cars and drive around, but this job is actually very stressful thanks to the combination of a risky work environment, high stress, slow employment growth, and low wages. These professionals work throughout the day, including at night and sometimes in bad weather. They have to deal with traffic jams, the risk of auto accidents, and potentially rude, unruly, intoxicated, or dangerous passengers. You never know who is getting into your cab, and taxi drivers have also been the victims of muggings and hijackings. For their troubles, taxi drivers make $26,000 a year.
6. Retail Salesperson
Retail salespeople are customer-facing professionals. Their job is to convince potential clients and customers to purchase a product, after which they receive a commission. Thanks to the advent of online shopping, more and more brick-and-mortar stores are closing or adopting a more online approach to selling and advertising. This greatly reduced the need for retail workers and salespeople, giving this job very low job security. Additionally, many salespeople get paid on commission and earn one of the lowest median wages in the US at $24,200.
According to Indeed, the average cleaner in Canada earns $16.24 per hour. Cleaners can work for a company or independently and often have to clean other people’s homes, properties, or businesses. They wash windows, dust, clean bathrooms, wash walls, lean rugs, and vacuum. Consequently, their job can be physically exhausting. Cleaners also use many cleaning chemicals, which can be toxic, and are constantly exposed to waste products, dust, mold, allergens, and more. This can create a health hazard.
4. Personal Care Attendant
Personal care attendants average $20.01 an hour. Their job includes providing care and support to individuals in hospitals, assisted living facilities, or private residences. On a normal day, they dress wounds, help their clients dress, bathe, use the bathroom, and more. They also sometimes feed their clients, help them with physiotherapy, cook, clean, and administer medication. Because they must meet their client’s every need, this job is very physically demanding and stressful. It can also put personal care attendants in uncomfortable situations, which could be made worse by rude and demanding clients.
3. Manual Scavenger
Sanitation workers are often underappreciated and overlooked although they perform a very crucial role in society. Manual scavengers work in some of the filthiest work environments of any professional on this list. Typically, they clean and repair sewer lines, clean latrines and railroad tracks, empty septic tanks, and more. Their direct contact with human waste also makes them vulnerable to several diseases, and they work with toxic chemicals all day. All of this is then coupled with solitude and social humiliation or stigma from people who find manual scavenging degrading work. Fortunately, the pay is better than the national average at $58,660.
2. Mortuary Attendants
Mortuary attendants receive and process corpses in hospitals and funeral homes. They see everything from the bodies of dead children and fresh corpses to mangled, decayed, and burned ones. Consequently, their job can be traumatizing and often requires a lot of strength. Embalmers, for instance, must clean bodies, preserve, and prepare them for cremation or burial, which can take a toll on them psychologically and emotionally over time. The scenes and smells can also be aggravating. Despite these harrowing conditions, the average embalmer makes $36,000 a year.
Logging has been called one of the worst jobs in the world because of the high-risk factors. In 2017, the logging industry recorded 350 nonfatal and 55 fatal injuries. To curb this problem, more logging companies are adopting automation to replace by-hand loggers, and logging jobs are expected to decrease by 12.6 percent by 2026. This physically demanding job also offers low wages.
The median annual wage for the worst Jobs in the World is below the national average, yet the tasks are demanding and sometimes dangerous. People in these professions are faced with more stress than is normal for other workers due to their working conditions. For example, taxi drivers may get mugged, soldiers and firefighters could get injured or die, and food servers might have to deal with angry customers all day. These stressful environments are not made any easier to handle by the low wages.
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Written by Dana Hanson
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