Any of you could wind up in one of these jobs, at any moment, without realizing it. The shitty jobs I’m about to describe aren’t specific positions or industries — they’re situations. Some of you — hell, maybe even most of you — are already in one of them.
The thing is, when people try to think up the worst job possible, most of them go right to shit. As in, “It could be worse, you could be shoveling shit somewhere!” or “At least we’re not working in a sewer! In shit!” But that type of job isn’t as bad as you think — you actually get used to the smell of poop, the same as you acclimate to a job where you work in brutal heat or bitter cold.
But these jobs below? They’re the ones you never get used to, where the longer you do it, the more it eats away at you. So let’s take a moment to say a prayer for ..
#2. The Assistant Cromulationist
Also Known As:
The highly technical job that is impossible to explain to those both inside and out of the workplace.
If you used to watch Friends, you remember the running joke about how nobody knew what exactly Chandler did for a living. He was always exasperated by this (“I told you, it’s statistical analysis and data reconfiguration!”).
Like the Laughingstock, the person with this type of job physically cringes at the thought of having to answer the “So what do you do?” question, and eventually invents a fake job title or a ridiculously dumbed down version (“I work on computers”) for conversation purposes. And if awkward conversation was the only problem, it wouldn’t be that big of a deal. The real problem is when none of their co-workers understand their job either.
“I … well … I put stuff in water.”
For Example …
We have a disproportionately computer literate audience, and I know a lot of you aspire to work in the field. Well, some of you are going to wind up as the one-man computer tech support team in an office full of old timers who still regard computers as a suspicious, yet necessary form of black magic. Maybe you’ll be the guy who maintains the online orders, in a department where everybody else hits the road and sells the old-fashioned way.
This is any job where the other employees’ task is labor intensive or requires “real world” work, and you’re just sitting there “playing on your computer.” That’s the key; because they don’t understand what you do, and because you aren’t capable of explaining it so that they’d understand, they tend to assume you’re just jerking off all day.
Even if they’re right.
So, they start treating you like dead weight. When profits are tight and it comes time to cut staff, everyone will point the finger at you. If lovable old Frank in Sales gets the ax instead, everyone will resent you even more (“They fire a hard-working veteran like ol’ Frank, but they keep Dave just because he can use the fancy computer machine?!? He don’t even wear a tie to work!”)
And that’s assuming that the people doing the firing also aren’t confused about your value to the company. If your job is, for instance, to prevent a problem that the average person isn’t even aware of, then good luck explaining that to the guy who has to make layoff decisions based on how much profit you’re bringing in. Think of the frustrated employees in Office Space trying to justify what they do to “the Two Bobs” (the two downsizing consultants, who both happened to be named Bob).
And most companies employ a couple of them.
Then again, being a Bob (wait for my next post) isn’t exactly a sweet gig …