The Worst Jobs

Some people have unpleasant jobs. No, let’s not mince words. Some people do jobs that make most of us gag and contemplate suicide just knowing they exist. What these jobs are is a matter of personal opinion, and I won’t start a fight with any accountants by giving some examples of my list. But there is something important in there. What jobs are good and what jobs are bad is largely a matter of opinion.

Recently the question came up as to how to make people do unpleasant jobs without having a lower class. I had already considered this question, and I had my answer ready: you don’t force people to do anything.

All jobs that can be done fall into one of two distinct categories. The job is either worthwhile, or it is not. If the job is worthwhile then there will be someone who will want to do it. Take something small, like washing the dishes. Most people do not like washing the dishes, but it is worthwhile. And because it is worthwhile, eventually someone will wash the dishes. In fact, usually the benefits of having clean dishes is so high that many people who hate washing dishes do it anyway, just so they have the benefit of clean dishes. And some really odd people actually like washing dishes. :p

Now take a worthless job, like sweeping the desert. Obviously you would have to either pay someone a lot to get them to do this, or otherwise force them to do it. But if the job is worthless, why should it be done at all? Do we really have such an excess of resources that we can afford to throw them away on such worthless tasks?

If we don’t have such an excess now, why would we have such an excess then? Any task sufficiently beneficial to a society will be done by the society, no matter how disgusting or boring they may seem to us.

Benjamin Shender

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7 Comments

  1. February 1, 2007 at 6:36 pm

    All jobs are bad. Some jobs are worse than others, though. The thought we need to fight against is that jobs have value. It is merely one more method for the overlords to control us.

  2. Aftermath said,

    February 2, 2007 at 1:04 pm

    I really hope we are using different definitions here. I’m using the phrase “job” to mean a task or series of tasks a person does. Apparently, you are referring to “job” as in selling your labor hours. People have to work, and they will work. Nothing will change the need for people to obtain food, water, and shelter. And that takes work. The differences are in motivation, cost, pleasure, and how much work it takes.

    -Benjamin Shender

  3. Valnurana said,

    February 2, 2007 at 9:52 pm

    All jobs are not bad. Some bosses are bad, some companies are bad, but a job which compensates you for the work you do is not bad. It’s a way to put food on the table and a roof over your head in this culture in which, for better or worse, we live.
    Some jobs can be good. A job which allows you the freedom to express yourself, help others, and support a worthy endeavor, can be very fullfilling. Such a job which also compensates you for the work you do in order to put food on the table and a roof over your head is very good indeed.

  4. Valnurana said,

    February 2, 2007 at 9:55 pm

    …and washing dishes isn’t so bad either. It can be very satisfying…almost as satisfying as doing the laundry, mopping the floor, and scrubbing the toilet. All variously unpleasant chores which, in the end, result in a more pleasant and healthy environment.

  5. Aftermath said,

    February 3, 2007 at 11:03 am

    I would agree that doing various housely chores isn’t all that bad. Not all that pleasant to do, but I know I would be embarrassed to have anyone but myself, and those I live with, in the house if they weren’t done regulary. Besides, washing dishes, cleaning up after cooking, and washing the floors greatly cuts down on the possibility of sharing your food space with a bunch of roaches. I’ve lived with roaches. Never again….I clean obsessively in the kitchen.
    When I used to nanny, the kids and I would have cleaning days every so often. We would move the stereo, blast the music, and get to cleaning. I have to admit, that was fun. Generally speaking cleaning isn’t fun, but the benefits outweigh the costs.

    – Miranda Vivian

  6. Aftermath said,

    February 3, 2007 at 8:03 pm

    And the benefits outweighing the costs is pretty much my point exactly. No one needs to be forced to do worthwhile jobs, because they are worthwhile. Only if a job is worthless does a person need to be forced. And if a job actually makes things worse for having done it….

    -Benjamin Shender

  7. Galen said,

    April 24, 2007 at 3:48 pm

    I have worked at some jobs that were so demeaning and soul destroying, no person should be subjected to them.
    That being said, after the world goes through it’s post-oil industrial adjustment, there will be a surplus of jobs that will need to be performed, no matter how distastful they may be. And dealing with human waste will be one of the easier ones!
    As for who does them… there’s a simple answer. You don’t work, you don’t eat.
    But some tasks are their own reward. Sure, tilling the garden is backbreaking labor, but the rewards are so very worth it.

    Peace.


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