So it’s another Monday morning and off you go, dragging your sorry butt off to a job you can’t stand. Well, have you ever heard of the following jobs: vomit collector, dung archaeologist, armpit sniffer? Well, yes, these jobs really do exist and just be thankful that some poor slob other than YOU has to perform them. Following are these and some other odd jobs that just might make you appreciate your own job that much more!:
Dumping human waste into the sea isn’t a great way of dealing with it, but seafarers can’t always just wait until they’re back on land to go. That’s where Turd Burners come in. These workers maintain and operate special toilets that burn waste so it’s converted into harmless, germ-free, odorless ashes. But they’ve got to use their nose to tell if something’s wrong with the toilet – if there’s a bad smell, something’s wrong. ‘Turd burning’ is just one of the many dirty jobs that The Discovery Channel’s Mike Rowe has had to take on.
Inevitably, some people who can’t handle the twists and turns of rollercoasters end up losing their lunches. But have you ever thought about the person who has to clean it all up? Meet Rhys Owen, the official vomit collector at Thorpe Park, a theme park in England. The park needed a dedicated ‘chunder-cleaner’, as they so charmingly put it in Britain, for a particularly stomach-churning ride. “Although being responsible for cleaning up peoples’ puke is a bit gross, I am up for taking on the chunder challenge,” says Owen. “I absolutely love rollercoasters and the perk of being able to ride them for free makes the sick collection worth it – I may have to invest in a nose peg though!” Believe it or not however, this particular odd job has its roots in ancient Roman history. According to the history books, the ancient Romans loved to eat and eat and eat practically nonstop. So just how did they manage to do this? They basically puked where they sat and it was the lowly vomit collector whose ‘job description’ it was to crawl around on all fours under the dining couches and mop all this mess up. YUCK!
When we go to the supermarket to buy deodorant, we are drawn in by all the colorful packaging and the nice scents. But, before those bottles hit the shelves, someone needs to make sure they actually do what they are meant to do – mask body odor. This job comes down to the armpit sniffers who get to sniff smelly armpits all day long to ensure that their deodorant is effective.
Pet Food Taster
Few people have ever sniffed a can of wet dog or cat food and thought, ‘yum’. But Simon Allison tastes pet food for a living – and likes it. The senior food technologist for Marks & Spencer in the UK won’t allow anything that doesn’t pass his taste-test to go on store shelves. “You have to chew it a bit. I have trained my palate to look for materials that we will not allow in the recipe, such as tripe – pet owners react badly to the smell of tripe.I’m looking for a paté texture, almost to the point where you could spread it on crusty bread. It has a very slightly gritty texture but overall it should be smooth – and studded with peas and carrots.” His favorite? Organic luxury dinner with vegetables for cats. YUM!
No, this job isn’t quite as naughty as it sounds. The job of the chicken sexer is to determine the sex of baby chickens when they hatch, so that they can be sent off to the appropriate location for their future life, as a battery hen or dinner for four. This job requires a gentle hand (so as to not damage the wee chicks), a good eye (to recognize whether they have a penis or not) and the ability to drift off and forget that your whole working life is going to be spent looking at chicken’s sex organs.
Talk about a shi**y job! Pathoecologist Karl Reinhard, the world’s foremost expert in ancient feces analysis, spends his days sifting through piles of dung in search of clues about our ancestors’ lives, diets and environments. “Most obviously, if you know what people were excreting, you can get a pretty good idea of what they were eating,” says Reinhard. “If you find thorny-headed worms, you know they were eating insects. If you see roundworms, you know there was meat. It’s all part of establishing the relationships between human behavior and environment and the diseases they had. We didn’t end up with all the diseases we have around now by chance. They evolved with us, and we want to know how that happened.”
For any layman, this job seems like an easy going one where you can make your living by sitting. In fact many people call it as a ‘couch potato’ job. But it’s actually not so. For this job you have to sit in various sorts of rocking chairs, couches, love seats, and recliners; move them back and forth, wiggle around, rock them, lean back, lean forward and assess your level of comfort. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? Not quite. Once done with one chair, you have to move to the next piece of furniture and the next and the next and repeat the same thing all over again at least 200 times in a single day of work. Not such a “cushy” job after all!
Golf Ball Diver
Have you ever wondered what happens to all the golf balls that go into the water on golf courses? There are actual golf ball divers who go in occasionally to retrieve them. Golf equipment stores selling ‘gently used’ golf balls often pay several independent golf ball divers to gather as many of the errant balls as they can, usually for about 6 cents each. Some estimates put golf ball divers’ salaries at over $100,000 a year, but it can be a dangerous job – a 75-year-old man died while diving for golf balls, 27 years after his son perished the same way.
Researchers who want animal sperm -to study fertility or for artificial insemination-have several attractive options: they can ram an electric probe up an animal’s rectum, shove an artificial vagina onto the animal’s penis, or simply do it the old-fashioned way-manual stimulation. The artificial vagina, or AV, and the good old hand-require that animals be trained to the procedure. The AV-a large latex tube coated with warm lubricant -is used primarily to get sperm from dairy bulls (considered the most ornery and dangerous of bovines). First, the bull gets randy with a steer; then while he mounts the steer with his forelegs, a brave technician, with AV in hand, insinuates himself between the two aroused beasts and deftly redirects the bull penis into the mock genitalia, which he must then hold tight while the bull orgasms. Three additional technicians attempt to ensure this (fool)hardy soul’s safety by anchoring themselves to restraining ropes attached to a ring in the bull’s nose. Alas, this technique isn’t always absolutely effective: Everyone who’s wielded an AV has had at least one close call, and more than a few have been sent to the hospital. Talk about bull riding!
There are more than 2,900 species of snakes worldwide, 600 of which are known to be venomous. There are three types of venom: neurotoxic, hemotoxic and myotoxic. People who are bitten by poisonous snakes only have a small window of time for receiving the antivenins (anti-venom), or the bite could prove fatal. This is where the snake milker comes in. To develop the antivenin, snake milkers obtain venom from live snakes by forcing the snake to bite a membrane that is stretched over a glass receptacle that collects the venom. Once the venom is collected, it is injected in mammals such as horses, whose immune system responds by creating antibodies. These are then freeze-dried or preserved via cold chain storage. This stuff ain’t cheap either. Some snake venoms can fetch up to $2,000 per gram.
You know when you’re chewing gum and you get that uncontrollable urge to stick it under something? Yeah, I know you do. We all do it. Well, did you know that there’s a team of cleaners called Gum Busters whose sole job it is to remove our carelessly discarded chews from assorted surfaces? It all started back in 1998 when a Dutch chemist created the Gum Cart, a little dry steaming machine that conveniently removes gum from its eclectic locations in just 5 seconds. That’s pretty quick cleaning considering all the wayward gum that’s out there!
Even the smallest imperfection in a dice can skew the odds, causing it to land on a particular side more often than the others. Hence, the need for dice inspectors – people who carefully examine dice for blemishes, incorrect proportions and angles that are even the slightest bit off. Casinos really need these guys I mean after all, they can’t have too many winners on their hands now, can they?
They come out at night, wearing miner’s hats with headlamps and cans strapped around their ankles. Seeking out wet spots with lots of worms coming up to surface, they grab the slimy little creatures and put them in the cans. Good-quality worms fetch up to $18 per can. Professional worm picking may be a weird job, but it can be more dangerous than it sounds – especially when competing worm pickers get territorial. In Canada in 1993, rival worm-picking groups got in a violent fight that involved steel pipes and setting a van on fire – all over the most lowly of invertebrates.
Paper Towel Sniffer
Paper towel manufacturers prefer that their products be odorless before, during and after use. The only way to ensure a scent-free roll? By employing paper towel sniffers who let manufacturers know if their products harbor any unusual or noticeable scents.
Adult Store Attendant
One of the more harder-to-stomach professions, unless you’re a pervert. In this case the adult store worker not only takes care of the store, but has to uh, clean up the booths where clientele “test” the pornographic merchandise. Well, there’s quality control everywhere, I guess.