4 Difficult Jobs Everyone Secretly Thinks They'd Be Good At

There are some professions in this world that will never be respected as "real work," no matter how much effort they may actually entail. Sure, they're real in that you do them for money, but come on, it's not like you're actually working, right? Wrong. Almost always wrong. We talk about some of these misunderstood and wrongly maligned professions on this week's Unpopular Opinion podcast ...

... where I'm joined by comics Jeff May and Kym Kral. The first job we talk about is one of the most important of all:

#4. Teacher

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Is it the three months off every year? I've always suspected that was the reason we pay most teachers about as well as we pay the fast food employees of the world. Also, what are you really doing? Just telling a bunch of asshole kids which pages to read in a book, right?

I've never been a teacher (you're welcome), but I suspect there's way more to it than that. Also, I know a few teachers, and while I do make it clear to them that I think teaching is a bullshit profession, it's only because I'm a terrible friend who resents the hard work and accomplishments of the people around me. Secretly, though, I respect what they do a lot, and I know for damn sure I'd never be able to do it.

For one thing, there are the aforementioned pay hassles, which often extend to having to go out of pocket for basic classroom supplies, since most of our tax dollars these days go to things like empire building and militarizing police forces.

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Seeing this on the streets is all the education a kid needs.

Beyond that, no matter how often the comparison comes up, teachers are not glorified babysitters. For one thing, babysitters make way more cash. Also, their main job is to make sure a child lives, while teachers are supposed to make sure kids don't grow up stupid. I mean, good teachers are supposed to, anyway. I guess a shitty teacher could be considered a glorified babysitter, but anyone can be shitty at anything. That's not what I'm talking about. What I'm saying is that most of us aren't capable of being good teachers -- certainly not you. The reason for that is really simple: People just don't like you that much. Sure, it's because you're an "introvert" or whatever, but the fact remains, you're awkward as fuck in social situations, and that tends to resonate with people, especially kids. That's probably why Sting didn't last as a teacher; that guy is a total dick.

Nice fucking lute.

That he was a teacher isn't unimportant, though. Teaching is a public performance. All of the people I know who are or were teachers are also comics. I imagine teaching is harder. If an audience member doesn't laugh, their parents aren't going to show up weeks later to yell at you for it. That happens to teachers, sometimes to the point that things turn violent. That's when the students aren't busy getting violent, of course.

Basically, dealing with people is hard, and teaching is a lot of that. Just dealing with the public and their awful offspring. Hey, since we're on the subject of dealing with the public ...

#3. Customer Service Rep

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Ever since tightened regulations mostly killed the telemarketing industry, customer service reps have become the most hated aspect of owning a telephone. They exist merely to make the wait between discovering a problem and fixing that problem as long and unbearable as possible. While you sit on hold, listening to Sting wail on a fucking lute version of "Message In a Bottle," they sit behind a computer screen, refusing to learn anything about the company or product they're representing and doing crossword puzzles and shit.

Okay, for starters, nobody does crossword puzzles anymore, you elderly son of a bitch. Beyond that, customer service is an extremely difficult job. Sure, there's little to no physical labor involved, but that just adds an unexpected element of danger to things, seeing as how excessive sitting can cause blood clots in your legs that eventually break free, make their way to your heart and kill you.

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Which probably sounds great to all of these people.

The real danger in customer service work is mental, though, and that's mostly because you're all a bunch of assholes. The average caller expects customer service reps to have instant access to every piece of necessary information about any problem that could possibly arise. For that to happen, every company needs to be a finely-tuned machine that communicates every change and update to every department effectively and quickly. That describes absolutely nowhere any of us have ever worked. All the waiting and jumping through hoops you have to do to resolve a problem are almost never the doing of the person on the phone, but they get all the abuse for it because they answer the calls.

It probably won't surprise you at all to know that there is almost no limit to the things people will say when they're angry and feel like their needs aren't being met. I answered phone calls about military health insurance claims for a few years. At least once a day, someone would call in, hear that a woman answered, and immediately ask her to put a man on the phone.

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And stop voting!

I once got screamed at because a guy had to pay $35 of a $10,000 hospital bill. Customer service is, for all intents and purposes, getting paid to take insane amounts of verbal abuse. That's probably why depression is a serious problem in that industry.

Customer service representatives, in almost every case, are not your enemy. If anything, they're heroes for putting up with our shit on a daily basis.

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Adam Tod Brown

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