Books — 50 Jobs Worse Than Yours
50 Jobs Worse Than Yours

By Amy Diaz

50 Jobs Worse Than Yours, by Justin Racz, Bloomsbury, 2004.

And if you have one of them, sorry

The job immediately worse than yours? Substitute teacher.

If you’ve ever had a substitute teacher, you know that, indeed, this job is a less desirable one than yours. There’s the lousy pay, the hours that begin somewhere north of 7:30 a.m., there’s dealing with children who — in their hearts — know they have nothing to fear from you or your thin veneer of authority.

That recognition of the true horror of a job is one of the best and most heartening parts of 50 Jobs Worse Than Yours. If you haven’t had one of these truly awful gigs, you’ve probably at least seen some poor bastard slog through their day of data entry (number 13), cell phone sales (number 43) or teaching people how to drive (number 29).

50 Jobs Worse Than Yours is the book of the post-new-economy. This is the sort of schadenfreude that comes of knowing you can’t find something better than your current moderate-wage job but still wanting desperately to tell your boss where he can put his weekly reports and evaluations.

Each job is defined by some combination of its requirements, hours, dress code, salary, advancement, skills, education, travel, benefits and drawbacks. Some of the jobs are exotic (sherpa, number 1), some are jokey (Afghani travel agent, number 2) and some are sadly all-too-real (pizza delivery, number 28). Most of them reek with the stench of pathetic-ness, the thick and pungent funk of limited advancement and diminishing self-respect. These are the jobs you have during high school or your summers between college semesters. These jobs — more than any parental speech about trying hard or doing your best — spur you ahead to jobs where (unlike temp work, a painful way to make a buck as I am all too aware) you don’t need to get someone to cover the phones while you go to the bathroom and you get more than 25 minutes in the break room for lunch.

—Amy Diaz

2005 HippoPress LLC | Manchester, NH