PUT YOUR HAND UP IF YOU WANT TO BE A PROCTOLOGIST.
Or a crime-scene clean up expert or a UN peace envoy to Syria or Gaza or even the person whose job it will be to unpick exactly how much public money has been spent at Nkandla. Okay, scratch that one. That would be a great job.
The Oxford English Dictionary sparked outrage by suggesting the ultimate definition of menial task should be defined as: McJob. Flipping burgers all day is a pretty grim prospect. So is being a Marikana miner according to NGOs, which at the height of the platinum sector crisis in August pointed out the risk-reward quotient of spending all day underground as a rock-driller for an estimated wage of R8 000 a month ranked highly on the list of unsavoury occupations when it came to earning a living.
Turns out that most jobs that mean dealing with anything to do with human bodily functions or the product of those functions rank pretty high up on the list. (See box on right.)
For those of us who languish most of the time sipping frothy cappucino’s in air-conditioned comfort and read with empathy the annual statistics of journalists killed in the field seeking truth in hostile environments. Reporting in countries like Iraq, Jordan, Turkmenistan, Syria, Iran, China and North Korea is dangerous and sometimes makes journalism a lifethreatening occupation.
American resea rc hers have ranked lumberjack as the worst job of 2012. They cite “hazardous working conditions, a likelihood of breaking or losing a limb on the job, and poor hiring prospects because of low demand for lumber due to less construction”.
That was c l osely followed by the arduous task of a dairy farmer for whom there is no respite from the relentless pursuit of milking cattle – days are long, conditions are often In Tudor England gong farmers cleaned and scraped out the long-drop toilets. They were only allowed to work at night. They got paid twice though. Once for doing the job and then for selling the product outside the city walls as fertiliser for fields and market gardens.
tough and what makes things worse – none of us want to really pay for the product they produce.
Military personnel rank third because their lives are on the line, daily, they are away from home for long stretches of time which adds to the pressures of family life. Many of the best jobs for 2012 require proficiency in science, maths or technology.
They are considerably safer than their more physical counterparts. Anyone at the forefront of the digital revolution is regarded as having a great job and they don’t need to be languishing in the luxury of the Google head office complex to qualify. White collar, corporate sector jobs are generally more desirable than those in the blue collar reality of manufacturing or agriculture. Plus they pay considerably more.