You're not supposed to talk about your job to outsiders. That's "talking shop" and is frowned upon socially, which is a shame because people's jobs are fascinating. Which is why we talked with a whole lot of people about their jobs and discovered some stuff you'd never expect.
1. Drug Chemists
When chemists are given samples to test for drugs, they sometimes just make up positive results instead of running tests. It's called "dry labbing" and has led to thousands of convictions getting overturned.
2. Phone Sex Operators
Weirdly, phone sex operators may be forbidden from actually getting explicit, the very thing customers are paying for. Depending on what phone number they use, the FCC may oversee the calls and penalize operators accordingly.
Hundreds of doctors in the US kill themselves every year (meaning, they have a significantly higher chance of killing themselves than the average American, despite the mitigating factor of financial security). All the death they witness leads to depression and PTSD.
As a good looking man in the US military, you stand a chance of having your photo stolen by catfishers. These catfishers will then impersonate you online to lure in lonely, horny old ladies.
5. Debt collectors
People keep threatening to kill debt collectors, and threats from a gun owner in their home miles from the nearest paved road come off as legitimate. Murder isn't really a solution, of course. The collection agency will just send someone else.
6. Tower Climbers
7. Divorce Lawyers
Divorce lawyers deal with a lot of homemade porn. In some states, divorce is all about proving fault, which generally means proving infidelity. Rather than photos that a detective took of a couple entering a motel together, this often comes down to amateur hardcore footage.
8. Hospice Nurses
Caring for the dying may not be much fun, but the upside (if you're a criminal) is the chance to steal lots of drugs. To keep drugs off the black market, hospices use creams and suppositories instead of the more popular pills and syringes.
One reason not to judge a book by its cover is that the writer might have zero input in its design. On seeing the published version, they might curse whoever drew that misleading, contemptible cover art.
10. Veterans Lawyers
Getting a veteran their benefits can take forever. Lawyers working today are still trying to get benefits to vets who served during the Vietnam War. They're still trying to get benefits to the spouses of people who served in World War II.
11. Foley Artists
Foley artists might not use existing sounds of things breaking when they have to mock up the sounds of explosions for movies. Instead, they use the squeals of pigs. And cats.
12. Gym Trainers
Never go barefoot in a steam room unless you want to bathe your feet in body fluids. Not only is the steam room a noted hookup spot, but it's also where many customers masturbate pre-workout, believing that dropping their blood pressure will improve their gains.
13. Stunt Doubles
14. Sewage Engineers
Your local wastewater plant probably makes a bunch of money off your poop, selling the nutrient-rich material as the best possible fertilizer. Some plants have schemes for extracting precious metals from sewage, but the poop earns more.
Nurses deal with a lot of zombified flesh. Untreated leg ulcers kill muscle to the point that the flesh sloughs right off, and you can see the bare bone underneath.
Does your mailman not like you? Maybe they'll "accidentally" squash a package before delivering it or delay delivering something as long as they can. This is why people tip their mail carrier, just as they tip their local mafia enforcer.
17. Surgery Techs
Surgical technicians like to have a little fun in the operating room. They'll toss bits of skin and tissue at each other and smear blood on each other's surgical hoods. One prank involves mixing cement and human fat, which bursts like a firecracker.
Archaeologists throw most of their finds away. A piece of pottery might be thousands of years old, but pottery was the plastic straws of the ancient world, and no one has enough room to store all that stuff. It goes to a landfill to be buried once again.
To clean an aquarium, workers might use a specialized tool called a water vacuum. Or, they'll use a siphon that they have to jump-start using their own mouths, which can result in ingesting a lot of fish poop.
20. Chuck E. Cheese's
21. Emergency Rooms
The ER must examine everyone who comes to them. That includes the many people they know are fine, such as hypochondriacs and addicts hoping to walk out with an IV in their arm as the perfect new drug port.
Sometimes, people die in casinos, and it falls on the security guards to rush to the corpses. They'll probably be the only ones rushing. Gambling addicts will simply ignore the dead body in their midst.
23. Nuclear Engineers
Nuclear plants prepare for attacks. Teams of guards from multiple plants face off in force-on-force exercises, each using laser guns to try to take the other down.
24. Real Estate
An agency selling a house might discover that it was used as a meth lab. They're supposed to disclose this, not just because of the effects on the home's value but because of serious health implications for whoever buys the place next. But they might keep it secret.
25. The TSA
TSA officials miss the vast majority of smuggled bombs and weapons in every single test. They also officially don't care about box cutters, even though that was the weapon used in the attack that led to the TSA forming.
The air divers breathe can have some "funny" effects. Too much oxygen sends a squeak in your ear, followed by collapsed lungs and detached retinas. Too much nitrogen causes rapture of the deep—you will get high, leading to euphoria or terror.
27. Rock Stars
In countries like Canada and the UK, sex workers who are allowed to make money off sex are not allowed to "live off the avails" of sex work. This means they are forbidden from spending the money they legally earned on rent or bills.
Security at the mall might have a camera pointed at the entrance to the ladies' room. Not for predatory reasons, actually. Guards monitor this feed to spot when you mistakenly tuck your skirt into your underwear, so they can dispatch someone to warn you of your error.
30. Home Security
Of all the home alerts that a security office receives, some 99 percent are false alarms. As a result, many police departments refuse to respond to security companies calling them about alerts unless they receive a separate confirmation of an actual break-in.
31. Nursing Homes
When patients have dementia, nursing homes have to lie to them to function. This might even include building a fake bus stop outside, so residents looking to escape will wait out there in vain until they forget they wanted to leave and walk back in.
32. Animal Testing
Pharmaceutical labs have to deliberately give animals the diseases they want to cure, which can include purposely infecting them with parasites or using shock waves to damage their brains. It's not pleasant, but it saves human lives.
33. Air Traffic Controllers
Airports may have lots of tech to help direct traffic, but the controllers have to be prepared in case all that tech fails. So, they're trained to calculate air currents by observing windsocks and can get down and direct planes manually with light guns if necessary.
34. Service Dog Trainers
35. Disney Performers
Dress up as a Disney character in a park, and prepare to get molested. The more elaborate your costume, the more comfortable guests are with squeezing your crotch.
Dead bodies get erections. Not as a consequence of normal blood flow (they are dead), but rigor mortis can do odd things to the body. If the erection doesn't go down, the undertaker may have to tape it to the leg for the viewing.
37. Bomb Disposers
Someone working in real-life explosive ordinance disposal probably isn't going to agonize over cutting the right wire. Probably, they won't be able to see or access any wires at all. A surer way to disable a bomb is to shoot it with a shotgun.
38. Bank Tellers
In movies, bank robbers demand "non-sequential bills" to avoid being tracked. In reality, a bank is probably never going to have sequential bills -- and if they do have any, no one's going to be able to use those numbers to track you.
39. Tornado Chasers
Besides direct attacks from the tornado itself, a tornado can kill anyone chasing it through hail. A tornado might fling hail the size of baseballs, weighing half a pound each, smashing through your windshield.
40. Garbage Collectors
Your garbage collector might be a police snitch. Cops might instruct them to look for chemicals used to make meth, or police might even grab entire loads of trash from them ... in search of body parts.
41. Loss Prevention
Ever feared dying while watching porn and having this fact permanently recorded in your obituary and on your gravestone? The paramedic who finds you might have your back, removing the offending material from your computer screen.
Bouncers fear women more than men. Women are more likely to attack with mace, for starters. Also, men will focus their fury on their opponent in a fight, while women will lash out at anyone.
44. Hand Models
Ever see a close-up of an actor's hand in a movie, with their face not visible? There's a fair chance you're actually looking at a professional hand model, with fingers far more attractive than the average A-list celeb's.
45. Museum Curators
A bunch of the stuff you see hanging in museums are fake. "Reproductions" would be the preferred term, but you may well not see any sign saying you're not looking at something original.
46. School Bus Drivers
Strict rules say bus drivers can't touch kids. That sounds more than reasonable. But this rule even applies when a kid is choking or having a seizure, and breaking it is one of the few ways a driver can get fired.
The first step in chicken slaughter involves an automatic saw severing a bunch of birds' heads off. But the saw misses some. So an employee stands at the end of the conveyor belt, wearing a face mask and goggles and covered with blood, swinging his butcher knife.
Ballerinas absolutely tear their feet apart dancing. The biggest victim may be the toes of dancers who stand en pointe, but really, the whole foot suffers. We're not even going to include photos here.
Some tattoo artists make the bulk of their money covering old tattoos. Partly, they charge more because disguising an old tattoo takes more skill than inking a new one. Partly, they charge more because they know when you ask for a tattoo to be covered, you really need that job done.
If someone vomits in a public pool, staff aren't going to drain the whole pool to clean that out. They'll just fish out the visible chunks. Always swim wearing a full-body condom.
Nuns can get fired for demon possession. Not all convents are governed by hopeless superstition, but some don't understand mental illness and may dismiss an ill sister for being possessed by the devil.
People who store the nation's archives have no idea exactly what they have. There's simply far too much in storage to properly document, and rules actually forbid archivists from opening some of their old boxes.
54. Porn Stars
As independent contractors, porn stars often own their own equipment. That means flying with big bags full of dildos. Security insists on examining this because a dildo counts as a hard, solid mass.