5 Terrible Jobs Anyone Can (And No One Should) Do
Not everyone can sleep their way to a position writing columns on Cracked. Sometimes, in order to get by, you have to do real jobs. And the worse the economy gets, the more you'll debase yourself to make sure you still have a home to live in and food to eat. That being said, some jobs out there seem to be suitable for everyone, yet once you actually start doing them, you realize they're at a level of soul-shattering awfulness heretofore unexperienced by many.
I want you to take a second, right now, to jot down on a sticky note all the things you can think of that are worse than selling knives door to door. Now I'm going to perform an awesome magic trick by copying your list exactly!
1. Hitler AIDS
Isn't that amazing? No, I'm not psychic, I just watch you very closely. Very. Closely. Anyway, the sad truth of the matter is that every door-to-door knife salesman you'll ever meet is one rejection away from turning that Santoku carver on his own kidneys.
Without naming names, I'm of course talking about Cutco. Oh shit. Unread that part. But for reals, Cutco is to a general sense of workplace satisfaction what a scuba trip through a Bolivian sewer is to personal hygiene. For years, this company has existed to sell you knives that can cut through leather and rope and pennies and shit, and you will never, ever need to cut any of that with your steak knife. Not ever.
Why did I waste all my money on those fucking knives?!
As a customer of Cutco, you have a few things going for you. First, the knives are actually pretty high quality. Second, you're as mythical as a unicorn because no one buys Cutco knives. As a seller of Cutco knives, you have everything going against you. You're expected to call every person you've ever interacted with for more than five minutes and set up a time when you can come to their home, their sanctuary, with your little bundle of shyster tricks and force them to endure a solid 30 minutes of you hacking apart leather strips with a butter knife. For the love of Christ, who needs to cut strips of leather with a butter knife? The son of a bitch who wants that already has a knife that can do that. He doesn't need you there. No one needs you there!
So basically your job is to alienate everyone you've ever met by convincing them that you're sad and desperate for money. You'll accomplish this mission quickly. You may think that's no big deal, but remember, too, that Cutco made you pay for that shyster kit you're carrying around with you, so you're already into the company for like $100 or more before you even set foot in the house of someone who doesn't want you there. It's entirely possible that, by the time you decide to quit this job, you'll actually be in the negative financially and down a few friends. But at least you'll have scissors that can cut pennies into spirals, should the world ever get hit very hard on the head and decide that's an important thing to have.
You've likely gotten about a million spam messages in your lifetime about becoming a mystery shopper, the most glamorous job this side of an erotic cake baker. You can go shopping and get paid? That's amazing! My boner just broke the sound barrier, and I'm a lady!
The reality of mystery shopping is that it's about as glamorous as a fart in a glass elevator. Generally speaking, most companies will want you to pay some kind of administrative fee to get started, because "administrative fee" is actually a lesser known synonym for "I'm ripping you off, ass face." You will never make this money back, unless you're a crazy person or some kind of churlish robber baron. I don't even know if that's a thing.
Your job as a mystery shopper is to go deep undercover in a Target and let your employer know if the cashier called you cock breath and refused to give you change. You have to go to a specific store, maybe buy a specific item, and pay attention to what happens. Were you greeted promptly? Were the walls bleeding? Is there still vomit in Aisle 6? You don't give opinions, you just tell them how your experience went. It's part of a store's internal evaluation process. It's that boring.
Now it's not a scam per se, but it's also not a job for a real person. Odds are someone out there right now makes a killing at mystery shopping, but someone out there is also making a killing at selling golden shower videos, so let's not split hairs. For the most part, what's going to happen is you'll get an offer to drive across town and buy a pack of gum and see if the clerk has pants on today. You'll get paid $5 for your effort. Maybe tomorrow you can go to the other side of town and see if the Walmart greeter really has been spin-kicking elderly patrons in their decrepit old nuts for a cool $10.
If you live in a big enough city and there are few enough people doing it, you could maybe get a whole mess of jobs this way and start pulling down $10 an hour. But, you know, why?
Dish washing is the great employment equalizer. I've washed dishes in at least three different restaurants, and each one helped enrich my hatred of the job a little bit more. Why is washing dishes so terrible? Well, there's a number of reasons. To start, it's a job you do at home. Any job you also do at home is going to breed a tiny bit of resentment. It's like you can't get away from it. You wash dishes for eight hours, then come home, make a corn dog, and wash the corn dog plate. God damn it.
The big deal with washing dishes is that, on the employment totem pole, it's as respected as janitor, Northern Canadian porn star and garbage man. No one cares about a dishwasher. It's a job your employer expects even an ape could do if you Tazed it enough times. This is actually partially the fault of dishwashers themselves, and if you've ever worked in a kitchen, you'll know why -- because any idiot can become a dishwasher, often any idiot will. This means that if you happen to not be an idiot who really just needs a job and sees the value in an honest day's work no matter what it is, the rest of the staff is just assuming you're an idiot and waiting for the moment when you think it's OK to try to shine the silverware on your sack or lick the stovetop to see just how hot that burner is.
And really, it's one of the most humiliating tasks we have for a person. Look at what you're really doing when you wash someone's dirty plate: It's all the bits of food and sauce and sludge this person wasted -- it's mirror-universe feces. The stuff you're washing off the plate and a deuce later in the day bookend the only decent part of the meal. You're cleaning preshit. Or unshit. Whatever.
I wrote a long time ago about my experiences in tech support, and judging from the few calls I've had to make to them in the last few years, things haven't gotten any better. I had to call Netflix support in two different countries once just to get my service set up. The tech support available in one entire country was not able to assist me in my quest to watch movies that came out a year ago.
Tech support hires people in the most insidious way possible -- they offer higher than average pay and the requirement that you are capable of some manner of locomotion. That's hard to turn down. Then when you get there, you see that it's run by the Boys from Brazil, and God forbid you wear blue jeans, produce urine during working hours and skip over the step where you need to ask people calling in if their computer is plugged in and turned on. All of these will get you written up or fired or caned in the public square so the other minions of Tech can see the example you have made of yourself with your own callous and disruptive behavior. Hail Tech Support! Long Live Unpaid Overtime!
Tech support seems like a very necessary job, but it shouldn't be. I mean, your shit should work. Everything breaks down eventually, there are glitches here and there, but don't tell me stuff isn't just made in a much more lazy fashion with cheaper parts these days. You need more support for two reasons -- the stuff you buy is shittier and the people buying it are dumber.
If you've ever been in a store that sells computers when someone comes in and talks to a salesperson about how they need a computer with lots of megapixels for emailing their Facebooks and Googling their extra RAM, it's no surprise that probably a few people have to call tech support when their penis gets jammed in a USB port or they've managed to fill their hard drive with gasoline and currently the Lower East Side is in flames because they never saw this coming. But that doesn't make it right. It just means stores should bite the bullet and not let idiots leave with technology until they've demonstrated a suitable level of understanding about the product.
Night Stock Clerk
If you ever get the chance, wake up before noon someday and go to a grocery store. You may even have to do this around 8 a.m. It's asking a lot, but you should never turn down a chance to experience something new and relatively painless. When you go into the store after it's just opened, you'll be amazed to discover how pretty everything is. Unless you live in a shitty neighborhood where no one does this stuff. But most places have stock clerks working all night in that store to make it look like it's a brand new store every goddamn day.
For a solid eight hours at night, a team of hapless boobs are in that store putting new stock on shelves and turning all the old stock around and lining it up so all the shelves are fully stocked and looking brand new and untouched. Every day.
It's worth noting right now that people believe that babies are so fascinated by peek-a-boo because they don't understand that when they can no longer see you, you still exist. So a game of peek-a-boo is like a transdimensional thrill ride of a mindfuck for a baby. You exist, you don't exist, you're like Portal or something.
This thrill of discovery should not hold true for adults and canned beans. You do not need to see new, pristinely arranged canned beans every morning to still need canned beans. And why is this only done for those four lonely, elderly nutjobs who actually go to the store at 8 a.m.? By the time normal people get around to shopping, the store looks like shit again anyway, and it's totally irrelevant that someone spent all night arranging the shelves to look like they'd never been touched.
For more from Ian, check out The 5 Most Overrated Jobs Of All-Time and 8 Geek Conventions God Never Intended.