America's Dirtiest Jobs
Think your job is disgusting? From the gastroenterologist who spends his days deep in the bowels of patients, to the crime-scene cleaner who scrapes human remains off ceilings, here's a look at five careers that are hard on the stomach -- and just might make your job seem like a day at the beach!
To anyone who finds using a porta-potty distasteful, having to clean one might sound unbearable. But it's all in a day's work for the crews at companies like Sani-Hut, who go onsite to clean and service porta-potties. They start by picking up wads of toilet paper, then spray every surface with a degreasing solution. Next, they power hose it all down with scalding water, scrub it, squeegee it, dry it and finish off with a deodorizing spray.
The entire process takes about three minutes (unless the potty has been tipped over and sitting out in the heat for a few days), with the average worker sanitizing anywhere from 10 to 60 potties a day.
"People come up to us all the time and ask how we can do this," laughs Larry Balz, who says this is one of the best jobs he's ever had. "When they find out what we make, they ask if we're hiring."
Annual wages are around $50,000. In addition, Sani-Hut offers incentive pay as well as excellent medical, dental and optical benefits.
Don't want to spend your days cleaning toilets? How about plumbing the depths of the human intestines? That's what gastroenterologist Sean Griffin does -- and loves it! "People ask whether I like doing colonoscopies and, to tell you the truth, they're quite enjoyable," Griffin says.
"It's like a computer game with a start and finish point -- and you might find things along the way like polyps that you have to pull off. It requires a lot of manual dexterity and the challenge is quite fun."
Aware of his occupation's public image, Griffin often tells people he's an electrician. However with earning potential of up to $800,000 a year, most folks are able to get over any initial feelings of shame or revulsion.
Perhaps the most mentally disturbing job of all is the crime-scene cleaner, who must cleanse walls of blood and guts, rip out stained carpeting and deal with decomposed bodies or loose remains of victims. Of course all this is done wearing a hazmat suit, respirator and chemical-spill boots.
Starting salary is about $35,000, but after a few years it can jump to $80,000 in a big city (read: high-crime market). Those in private practice make more, as each assignment pays between $500 and $5,000. (We only hope mental health counseling benefits are included.)
The adult entertainment industry is often not a person's first career choice and its customers can range from unwholesome to downright unhygienic. While at certain clubs, an exotic dancer can earn up to $2,500 in tips a night, most times, things don't go so well. Sandra Stevens, who writes of her first (and last) exotic dance job in the book, 'Bad Jobs: My Last Shift at Albert Wong's Pagoda and other Ugly Tales of the Workplace,' recalls being ordered to strip to Aretha Franklin's "R-E-S-P-E-C-T" for which she earned $20.
Science is full of inquisitive minds that revel in performing jobs others wouldn't touch with a 10-foot pole. According to Popular Science magazine, the very worst is that of odor judge.
Mouthwash companies employ them in their research labs, where, halitosis-inflicted subjects blow into their faces before and after using the product to test its efficacy.
And just recently, two brave researchers were called in to help determine the most malodorous component of human flatus and the role it plays in disease. In the study, 16 subjects volunteered to eat pinto beans and have their gas syringed into a discrete container. The odor judges then sat down with more than 100 samples, opened the caps one at a time, inhaled and rated just how noxious the smell was.
While the researchers did not divulge how much they paid these judges, it would seem safe to say it was not enough!
Sure, you may be bored, frustrated or feel unappreciated at work, but remember there are others out there worse off than you. Next time your job drives you crazy, be thankful it's only testing your patience, not your gag reflexes.