The 6 Weirdest Jobs in China

There are some jobs every country has (cook, farmer, prostitute) and some jobs bred from unique cultural conditions in certain countries. For example: Only in America can you make a living selling trophies for champions of imaginary football leagues.

I think it's worth taking a look at jobs that are particularly Chinese, especially since they are supposed to take over the world and we'll all be applying for these jobs soon enough. Jobs like...

"Face Jobs" For White People

Just like Americans always need to find an Asian (any Asian) when they need a kung fu sidekick or villain for some hero, Chinese people need to find a white guy when they want to show off how big they are in business.

It works like this - China doesn't actually want any foreign firms to come in and own anything in China, or plant their own companies, but they do very much want to deal with foreign firms and bring in their money. So a successful Chinese business is one where a parade of assorted white guys in nice suits is constantly passing in and out of their offices.

But it's a lot of work to drum up that much foreign business when you pour lead and melamine into all your products. It's a lot cheaper to rent white dudes and tote them around at your conferences, ribbon-cutting ceremonies, press conferences, etc.

"Hey, that guy looks like a CTO!"

If you don't have any conferences or ceremonies coming up, you can just put them in the window, like mannequins.

Unfortunately, white women don't usually get to be pretend-CEOs, because women can't be businesspeople, that's silly. Women do get called on to pose as exotic foreign girlfriends though.

"Why don't you come over tonight? Cheryl is making the exotic dish of her people, chicken-fried steak."

Standing In Line For Other People

I assume this is a relatively new job since apparently Chinese citizens only learned how to stand in line about 4 years ago. After rigorous line-standing practice on the 11th of each month, I guess the line is respected enough now that a place at the front actually has some value.

And that value is about $3 US per hour. That's how much you can pay someone else to stand in line for you. In a city where it takes 5 hours to see a doctor, this makes sense. In America, camping out in line is only for wastes of time like Star Wars prequels or iPads, but Chinese people need to camp out for days to register for housing or even get into some kindergartens.

That is a lot of trouble to teach your kids how to eat crayons.

I wish we could bring this over to America and I could have someone stay on hold with Comcast customer service for me, but it's not going to happen. In China, people are dirt cheap. One of my VFX co-workers told me that on movie sets in China, they commonly use people instead of C-stands to hold lights and reflectors because hiring a person is a lot cheaper than renting a C-stand.

Kaye Lites
To be fair, this one sells for $165.

When China made the historical epic Hero in 2002, instead of hiring a small team of foreign VFX artists to create the massive armies, Lord of the Rings Style, for most scenes they just hired what appears to be about a million Chinese extras.

The director of this movie also directed the Olympics opening ceremonies, if any of this looks familiar.

Anyway, I realize unemployment is nuts right now in the U.S. but I still don't think you're going to convince anyone to hang out at the DMV for $3 an hour.

Poop Collectors

In China, collecting human waste is an ancient and noble profession. Well, okay, it's not noble, but it is pretty traditional.

We don't usually think of environmentalism and China in the same sentence, but China recycles a shit ton of shit as fertilizer, transporting 3.3 billion tons of human poop in 1994.

That would be enough to build Mount Rainier out of poop. I just made that up.

Despite the government's heavy-handedness in other areas of private life, I guess they can't get everyone to report to a poo-depository when it's time to drop a deuce, so that means somebody has got to go around to all the outhouses and public toilets and pick it all up.

You would think college grads wouldn't be jumping eagerly at the opportunity to join the brown patrol, but you would be wrong. In an internationally reported story, one sanitation company's ad for 5 shit-scooper positions brought in 391 applications from desperate graduates unable to find any other jobs. It's funny what stories catch the international media's attention, because another city had 2500 applications for 10 positions the previous year.

Want China Times
One of the 5 lucky job seekers.

It could be worse. They could be a funeral director. Chinese people are so superstitious about death that some buildings don't have 4th floors (because "4" sounds like "die") and you can't give people clocks as presents because it looks like you are counting the seconds til their death. Really. So people who work in funeral parlors don't even want to tell their parents.

"No, I swear, Dad, I'm a prostitute!"

But somehow a funeral parlor job fair attracted 5000 college graduates. Hey, times are tough and there's only so many poo-collecting jobs.

Fortunately for everyone, there should be more waste collector openings soon enough, as China has decided that poo is not enough (when is it ever?) and is looking to go after pee soon.

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Christina H

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