12 of the Worst Jobs That Will Make You Think Twice Before Complaining

What is the worst job you’ve had? We’ve all had at least one bad job, thanks to a bad boss, bad pay, or responsibilities that no one wants to do. But I bet there’s one that stands out as the worst.

There are a lot of dangerous and unpleasant jobs out there, each with pros and cons. Here’s a glimpse into some of the toughest occupations that might make you appreciate your job a little more.

1. Call Center

woman working in customer service on headset
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Working in call centers almost feels like a right of passage because, for many, this is the first job they get. Despite knowing that telemarketing calls are annoying to receive, we convince ourselves that being on the other end of the line can’t be that bad, right? I mean, what’s the worst that can happen besides being hung up on?

While there are some good call center jobs, most train you with a script that badgers the person at least three times before letting them get off the phone. Almost all of these calls include people cursing, shouting, name-calling, and hanging up on you. Then, if you do manage to get someone to listen, you are pressured to use deceptive tactics to sell products. No thanks!

2. Garbage Collector

garbage collector sitting on garbage bags
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Garbage collecting is an important but dirty job. While I doubt anyone would call it glamorous, I didn’t realize that cleaning the garbage truck can be part of a garbage collector’s job. It’s not just tossing bags into the back of the truck; they have to climb in and get out whatever waste is left behind. I can only imagine what that smells like!

Being exposed to hazardous waste is also a big concern.

3. Collections Agent

Concerned female listening on the phone in a cafe
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Another bad job that involves calling people who don’t want to hear from you is working in debt collection, where you spend your time calling people to collect on their delinquent accounts.

But if that wasn’t bad enough, the amount of money you get paid to do this job could be tied to how successful you are at collecting the owed money. So, no matter how hard you work, you are out of luck if the account holders can’t pay.

4. Processing Facility

food manufacturing plant worker
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If you are not familiar with how poultry or other meat processing plants work, you probably don’t want to look it up. It’s not pretty.

The working conditions can be harsh, involving long hours, repetitive tasks, and exposure to unpleasant sights and smells. Few have the stomach and resilience for it.

5. Manual Laborer

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Working in construction can be a lucrative and rewarding career overall, but being an entry-level crew member can be a bad job. If your days consist of moving heavy bags of cement, bricks, or other materials from the warehouse to the truck and then to the job site, you will be physically exhausted.

Plus, you likely have to work regardless of the weather, so you could be stuck in 95 95-degree sun one day and working during a thunderstorm the next.

6. Children’s Party Place Worker

clown at child birthday party
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Parents might love them, but working at a restaurant or children’s entertainment center known for hosting kids’ birthday parties is not a job that many people want. It’s loud, it’s messy, and most of the time, the pizza isn’t even that good.

If you also have to dress up in a costume, expect kids to be all over you—pulling at your arms, climbing on you, and covering you with candy and pizza sauce. It’s not easy to keep your cool with all of that overexcitement and unpredictable behavior.

7. Corrections Officer

Prison officer with inmate
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A few things make being a corrections officer a bad job. Even on the best of days, it’s a sad and stressful place to be.

It’s a 24/7 job, so you work night and day and will miss out on many holidays and family events. Those night shifts can be long and boring, but a busy night means there is trouble, like fights or medical emergencies, which are potentially dangerous and high-pressure.

One of the toughest tasks of a CO involves conducting thorough searches for contraband items. Think about how this contraband might make its way in… and how uncomfortable that is for both the officer and the person being searched!

8. Pest Control

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Most people hire someone else to deal with infestations, chemicals, and potentially dangerous pests. But as a pest controller, you’re the one they call when they’re dealing with bedbugs, cockroaches, rats, spiders, or aggressive wasps. It often involves crawling into tight, dark spaces where these pests hide, exposing yourself to bites, stings, and potentially harmful chemicals.

You might also get blamed if the treatment doesn’t immediately solve the issue or if they encounter any unexpected consequences, like damage to the property.

9. Hotel Housekeeper

wiping kitchen counters, cleaning kitchen
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Housekeeping is another common entry-level job. People think it’s easy, but cleaning multiple rooms per shift often involves tight deadlines and physically demanding tasks.

The job requires constant attention to detail and strenuous physical labor, from scrubbing toilets and showers to vacuuming floors and changing linens. Moving heavy furniture to clean behind and underneath it, reaching high to dust, and wiping surfaces are all part of the daily routine.

Housekeepers often encounter disrespectful guests who leave behind messes or damage the rooms, making their workload even worse. They may have to deal with complaints from guests who are unsatisfied with the cleanliness of their rooms, even if the issue is beyond their control.

Despite their hard work, housekeepers often receive little recognition for their efforts. They work behind the scenes to ensure that guests have a comfortable and pleasant stay, yet their contributions are often overlooked.

10. Coal Miner

coal mining in open pit
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Working underground in hazardous conditions, with the risk of accidents and long-term health issues, is not on most people’s dream job list.

Coal miners face numerous dangers daily, from cave-ins and explosions to exposure to toxic gases and dust. The job requires navigating through narrow tunnels and working in confined spaces, often in extreme temperatures and poor ventilation, which adds to the stress and danger of the job.

It’s also not good for one’s health. Prolonged exposure to coal dust can lead to respiratory diseases, and the fear of accidents and the uncertainty of what each shift may bring can take a toll on their mental well-being.

11. High-Rise Window Washer

High-rise window washer
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Scaling tall buildings to clean windows, facing heights and unpredictable weather conditions is not for the faint of heart.

The job is physically demanding and requires balance and coordination. High-rise window washers perform their job hundreds of feet above the ground, relying on safety harnesses and ropes to prevent falls while also maneuvering heavy equipment and carrying buckets of water and cleaning solutions.

12. Healthcare Aide

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Providing direct care to patients, whether in a hospital setting or in the comfort of their own homes, requires a unique blend of compassion, physical stamina, and emotional resilience.

Caregivers must be prepared to handle physically demanding tasks, including lifting and transferring clients. They must also be prepared to handle emergencies and respond quickly to changes in their clients’ conditions.

Personally, I think emotional stress is the hardest part of the job. As they form close bonds with their patients or clients, they witness suffering and decline, and navigating complex family dynamics can take a toll on their mental well-being. However, they also experience the satisfaction of making a positive difference in the lives of those they care for, providing comfort and support during difficult times.

What do you think? Is there another worst job deserving of a spot on this list?

I Hate My Job But Can’t Quit

Stressed young businesswoman with laptop
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We spend roughly a third of our lives at work. (Not to mention all the time we spend commuting, getting ready for work each day, and thinking about work.) So when things at your job are going badly, it can feel like your whole world is falling apart.

Although I know it feels as though you are stuck working a job you hate with no other option, you are not stuck forever. You don’t have to waste your time, your energy, and your life being miserable. There are other options for you when you hate your job, as well as ways to cope until you can make a career change.

Warning Signs That Scream It’s Time to Find a New Job

irritated man at computer
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Is it time for you to find a new job? If you’re asking yourself this question, the answer is probably yes. But to help you genuinely decide whether it is time to move on or stay where you are (at least for now), here are 10 warning signs to look for and advice on what to do next.

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