The World’s 25 Most Difficult Jobs
Not everyone loves their job. Some hate the hours, their commute, their coworkers, or simply the fact they have to leave their home. But given the choice between the jobs listed below and their own, we’re betting that most people would choose the one they’ve got.
In no particular order, we’ve highlighted 25 of the most dirty, difficult and hazardous jobs that some people do every day.
- Coal Mining: As one of the most dangerous careers in the world, coal mining is a dirty job. Underground mines are cold, noisy, dark, and damp, sometimes with water on the mine floor. Breathing in coal dust can lead to a lung disorder called “black lung,” and on top of all that, accidents can occur, where miners are subject to explosions or getting trapped underground.
- US President: It’s not hard to understand why the President of the United States has one of the most difficult jobs in the world. Aside from a constantly hectic schedule, the President is responsible for making wise decisions about war, peace, politics, and the fate of not just the United States, but often, other nations and even the world.
- Alaskan Crab Fishing: Alaskan crab fishers have the most dangerous job in the world. The commercial fishing industry is difficult in general, but Alaska crab fishers have a particularly deadly and dirty profession. Hauling nets and cages that weigh several hundred pounds is one thing. Doing it in freezing rain, while on icy decks in unsteady water is completely insane. But Alaskan crab fishers do it, and some live to tell the tale.
- Mercenaries: You can certainly make good money as a mercenary, and often, it’s a great job for convicted felons, but this job is not an easy one. This is a position that is extremely hazardous, and typically takes you to some of the most dangerous places in the world, interacting and often fighting with some of the most dangerous people in the world. Typically, it requires lots of time away from home, uncomfortable conditions, and the constant threat of death.
- Freelancing: Freelancers don’t have it easy. They deal with feast/famine inconsistencies, being distracted at home, not being able to call in sick, and on top of that, they still have to figure out how to balance work and social life.
- Calcutta Sewer Cleaner: Not every sewer worker has it this bad, but Calcutta sewer cleaners have it pretty raunchy. Not only are they required to clean human waste, they put their lives at risk doing so. With no safety gear and exposure to sewage waste without protective gear, these cleaners are exposed to gases and chemicals. And human waste.
- UN Negotiator: Want to know what it’s like to never be able to make everyone happy? Be a UN Negotiator. These UN workers get involved in conflicts and wars that can’t be resolved by other parties. Their job is to find compromises among all sides. That’s right, they have to fix what previously could not be fixed.
- Logging: Logging is not as bad as it used to be, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy by any means. This is a dangerous and labor intensive job, with all of their time spent outdoors, even in bad weather and remote areas that require a very long commute. The work itself is strenuous, and hazards include falling branches, trees, slippery ground, moving machinery, snakes, and extreme cold.
- Prison Warden: If you think your work is stressful, just think for a moment about the life of a prison warden. This person is responsible for managing an entire prison, and works with convicted criminals day in and day out. It’s a demanding job suitable only for those with nerves of steel.
- Mountain Rescue: Did you know that most mountain rescue workers perform their service on a volunteer basis? That’s right, mountain rescuers brave the cold, altitude, and the danger of death for others, for free.
- Public School Teacher: Teachers are unsung heroes. Although unlike other difficult jobs we’ve listed, you are not likely to lose your life to your teaching job, you might lose your sanity. Disrespectful students, endless assignments, taking work home, and school politics are among the top complaints from teachers. But at the same time, teachers often report that it’s the most rewarding job they’ve ever had.
- Ironworker: Ironworkers suffer an above-average nonfatal injury rate, and must use extensive safety equipment to prevent accidents. Most work outside year round, carrying heavy materials in extremely cold or extremely hot weather. And on top of that, this work is typically completed at a significant height, such as on different levels of skyscrapers.
- Portapotty Cleaner: Many people hesitate to even step foot in a portapotty, much less clean one up. These cleaners start out by vacuuming all of the waste out of the receptacle. We could end there, but then, they get to work on stray toilet paper and other items, and wash down soiled surfaces with a high pressure hose.
- Mortician: Death is a difficult subject to face, even on an occasional basis. But morticians look death in the face every day. They complete the grisly job of preparing the deceased for burial or cremation, which involves cleaning, embalming, grooming, and dressing them. Additionally, morticians work long, irregular hours, providing support to grieving families even into the evenings and weekends.
- Models: At first glance, one might think that models have it easy, living a life of glitz, glamour, and luxury, all while looking beautiful. But the reality is that most work long, odd hours under intense pressure, and get paid peanuts for doing so. Most models take on other jobs to make ends meet, typically as waitstaff.
- Ice Road Trucking: You may already be familiar with this job from the TV series Ice Road Truckers, in which truckers carry extra heavy loads of mining equipment over ice roads, which are otherwise known as lakes. These roads are seasonal, and due to the lack of transportation in northern Canada, typically the only way supplies get to the mining operations they serve. Ice road truckers are paid handsomely for their work, but they complete their job knowing that at any moment, ice roads can collapse, and drivers may experience life threatening weather conditions.
- Roadkill Remover: This job was featured as one of the pilots on Dirty Jobs, so you should know it’s pretty heinous. It doesn’t require a lot of explanation-the task is pretty obvious. Roadkill removers spend their days picking up and disposing of the battered remains of everything from family pets to unfortunate wildlife.
- Guard at Buckingham Palace: Imagine being a living tourist attraction, then imagine having to stand still for hours on end with no bathroom breaks, while being ridiculed and poked fun at, and you might have an idea of what it’s like to be a guard at Buckingham Palace. But guards are proud to protect the Queen, even at the expense of a little pride.
- Animal Cruelty Investigator: Animal lovers are typically the best people for the job when it comes to investigating animal cruelty, but loving animals is what makes this job so difficult. As an investigator, it’s your duty to get to the bottom of terrible animal situations, including abuse, death, animals that can’t be saved, and brutal people.
- Crime Scene Cleaners: We all know that crime scenes are not pretty, but crime scene cleaners have an intimate knowledge of that fact. They clean up after meth labs, dead bodies, suicide scenes, and even hoarders’ houses. In addition to proper handling of bio-hazardous materials, crime scene cleaners are exposed to difficult situations that require a strong stomach and well-checked emotions.
- Oil Drilling: Offshore oil rigs bring in the resources we need to fuel our modern lives, and those that work on these rigs face a difficult job. Workers stay on rigs for weeks or months at a time, with long hours in remote locations. On top of that, offshore rigs often have extreme weather and dangerous hazards.
- Hot-Zone Superintendent: Your job may be stressful, but chances are, your stress is nothing compared to those who work in labs that contain lethal airborne pathogens with no known cure. Superintendents perform maintenance work for these labs, and although the work is not dirty, it is certainly hazardous.
- Porn Theater Janitor: Porn theaters are, no doubt, pretty seedy places. Regular theater janitors might wonder if the substance they’re scrubbing away at is gross or not, but porn theater janitors don’t have to wonder.
- Child Protective Investigator: Like animal cruelty investigators, those in child protective services may be placed in situations where it’s hard to face the reality of what you’re seeing. In addition to being a part of difficult scenes involving children, investigators also have to deal with belligerent parents, red tape and more.
- BP Media Officer: Who doesn’t hate BP after the Gulf Coast oil spill? Although the leak was repaired months ago, this worker still has an extremely difficult PR repair job to do.