TigersIf you’ve been out of work for a while, eventually you get to the point where you’d do just about anything to get a job. At one time or another we’ve all had lean years at which time we contemplated temping at a sewage treatment plant or slinging corn dogs at Hot Dog on a Stick. But miraculously something always comes through before you have to don a hazmat suit or wear a funny hat. These days, however, things are getting dire. And it doesn’t help that according to your mom (who, by the way, is tired of you sleeping on an Aerobed® in her enclosed back porch just because you can’t afford your own apartment) having a steady paycheck always beats the uncertainty (and low wage) of unemployment.

Or does it? Oh sure, you have to eat and provide a roof over your head, but even so you have to ask yourself are there occupations that are worse than facing the unemployment line? Well, that depends on your pain threshold for all things “icky” versus giving up just about every luxury you love. It’s a balancing act in which you have to determine the tipping point. To find that sweet spot you have to face the lowest of the low and then test your gag reflex against it. Therefore, I give four jobs that are (probably) not worth doing, even if you’re unemployed in a bad economy.

1. Janitor in an Adult Movie Theatre

Hey, someone has to sweep up (and I use that term loosely) after the patrons in a theatre that caters to the raciest of adult entertainment. Unfortunately, the aftermath of a movie in this case is not limited to some scattered popcorn or a stray Jujube. And that sticky stuff on the floor? Probably NOT Mountain Dew. According to the adult theatre owners that I interviewed for this article (who wish to remain nameless) rubber gloves, a facemask, and several bleach-based cleaning products are required to get the job done. Also, an ability to believe just about anything you see (or find later) helps.

Pay range: Between minimum wage and upwards of $15/hour for shift managers.
Education required: None

2. Cat Box Cleaner for Tiger Habitat at the Zoo

Believe it or not, felines are all the same, whether they’re small and domesticated or huge and wild. The one thing they all agree upon is that they will never do their business where they sleep, eat, or play. In fact, they tend to pick a spot (call it a feline bathroom, if you will) where they repeatedly relieve themselves in all manners – which can get rather messy.

Zoos that like to keep things clean bring in kitty litter with the hope that the tigers will use it. And guess what? They do. That’s where you come in. Professional cage cleaners “flush” the cat boxes in the tiger habitats multiple times a day. Instead of a traditional pooper scooper a wheelbarrow is the tool of choice. Need I say more?

Pay range: Zoology interns – nothing to minimum wage. Man on the street – minimum wage.
Education range: Biology, zoology, veterinarian majors, helpful, but not required.

3. Manhole Cover Technician

Remember the video game Frogger in the 1980s? The point was to get your frog across eight lanes of traffic without getting squished. Same idea holds for the person who repairs manhole covers. Seems these urban lids (which are typically located in the middle of busy streets) tend to get stuck and damaged more often than you would think, and therefore must repaired. The Public Works Department considerately puts up a couple of flimsy, plastic barricades around you as you toil, which of course would stop any speeding vehicle from crushing you like a bug. (By the way, Public Works is considered the most delusional department in city government.)

Pay range: $15 to $30 per hour, depending on experience and city.
Education required: None, however, trade school in welding, construction, or ironworks helps.

4. Accountant for The Mob

This job definitely pays the most, but it’s a position in which you get to screw up only once. Plus the possibility of some prison time looms on the horizon, but hey, what’s an unemployed business major to do? No matter which branch of the Mob you work for, they like their books neat and tidy, with an ability to change at a moment’s notice, if necessary. True, you sometimes have to do double duty by keeping two or more sets of books, but the bonuses at Christmas time more than make up for your year round efforts.

Being a master of disguise is also a plus (but not required), as it may help if you have to go into the witness protection program.

Pay range: $50 per hour to “The sky’s the limit.”
Education: Business or accounting major (and a minor in criminology or law helps).

So as you can see, just because you haven’t found a job yet, doesn’t mean you should be down in the dumps about it. There’s always somebody WITH A JOB who has it worse than you. Besides, at some point the economy will recover, and you’ll get a job that’s even better than the one that left you behind. In the mean time, keep patching that Aerobed® on your mom’s back porch and be happy you’re not cooking the books for The Godfather.
Can you think of a job that’s worse than being unemployed? Lay it on us. The funnier, the better. We’re always looking for a good laugh.

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