Most demeaning job?

I just want to horn in again and say that I really don’t think any job is inherently demeaning. I’ve done what a lot of people would consider some pretty suck-ass jobs at some pretty suck-ass pay but enjoyed working there because my employer treated me with respect. Back before I became a Nice Catholic Girl[sup][sub]TM[/sub][/sup], I was an exotic dancer. I enjoyed it, largely because the bartenders (who basically were the managers) treated all the girls like actual human beings who were worthy of respect and courtesy. (Imagine this scene- I’d just come off the stage and was changing from my costume to my “floor clothes” so I could go hustle drinks. I was stark naked, and the male bartender comes in to tell me something. He didn’t leer or make comments, he just said what he had to say, chatted with me for a few minutes, and left. ‘Course I guess when you see bare boobs and asses all night long, a girl’s girly parts just get to be part of the furniture.) They were very concerned with the girls’ safety, and would stand in the doorway and watch to make sure we got safely to our cars or cabs at the end of the night. Just a bunch of great guys. Now, a lot of people would consider being a stripper to be a demeaning, dehumanizing job, but because the management of the bars I worked in treated me with respect, they were really great jobs.

Wal-Mart, OTOH, does its best to cultivate an image of being a great place to work, but, at least for people in cash-handling positions, employees are treated like criminals. If you’ve worked there more than a week, it becomes painfully obvious that you are regarded as some kind of subhumanoid who can be chucked out the door and replaced as easily as a spare part on a machine. What could, even should, be an enjoyable job is rendered a living hell by the way Wal-Mart treats its employees.

Manual Bull mastrubation definitely gets my vote.

I wonder if it would be illegal if you did it because you enjoyed it, rather than for pay? :stuck_out_tongue:

Oh man… I was about to say that myself. I was a busboy at a Chili’s in Houston for a summer.

Let’s see what all awful stuff I can remember:

[li]Had to go dumpster-diving for some mythical check that one of the wait staff accidentally lost[/li][li]Had to be the janitor before the restaraunt opened. This entailed mopping the whole place, cleaning the bathrooms, etc…[/li][li]Had to scrape the gum off the sidewalk one sunny July afternoon in Houston[/li][li]Had to scrub down the rancid, reeking grease-trap runoff on another sunny July afternoon with some cruddy detergent. Then got yelled at when I couldn’t scrub years of congealed grease stains out of the concrete.[/li][li]Got yelled at by asshole customers for tea, chips, napkins and silverware.[/li][li]Got yelled at by wait staff if slow at busing because of fucking customer requests[/li][li]Got yelled at by management and customers if I wasn’t just ass-kissingly obsequious to customers and waitstaff[/li][li]Got yelled at by management and customers when I told some little shit to quit running through the restaraunt throwing coasters everywehre.[/li][li] Would routinely get worked in all sorts of fucking terrible schedules like 7 days straight, then 4 days off, and would get worked 10 hour days, then get let off at 1, just so they wouldn’t have to ever pay me any overtime. (this one REALLY pissed me off)[/li][/ul]

That’s about all I can remember at the moment. That job broke me of ever working in a restaraunt again.

I agree that maid is definitely not the most demeaning job. If I could afford to hire someone to clean up after me, scrub my counter tops and toilets, you know for DAMN SURE I’d appreciate it, and thank them for it. Not everyone would - but a job where someone knows you were there and appreciates what you did is inherently less demeaning than one where you might as well be a machine, or a number on a payroll spreadsheet.

Diamond (and other) miners who work under dangerous, crippling conditions in Third World countries seem pretty demeaning and dehumanizing to me, but that’s probably closer to slavery than it is an occupation. I gotta go with the bull jacker (or rooster jacker, which I once heard someone discussing as their previous career on the radio.)

I don’t mean to hijack here, but, in the USA, the most dangerous job is actually credited to the old fashioned garbage man. (s)He uses only gloves to handle the unknown trash bags and cans. A needle with AIDS could puntcure him, a dog could bite him…etc

It’s also a little demeaning, but somebody’s gotta do it, and they get paid better than I do.

When horses are put out to stud (the ones that win races like the Kentucky Derby), they are not allowed to actually do it with the girl horses. (They might get too excited and break a leg or something.) People who work in the stables go to the boy horse and use some really weird equipment to get the horse sperm out, and then they collect it and put it in little vials, which are then given to the owners of girl horses.

That’s a pretty bad job, I think. Especially when you realize the horse can have a little horse orgasm and make more money than you ever will in your entire lifetime.

I have had some cleaning jobs that some would probably consider demeaning, one in a pet store and one in a YWCA residence for homeless women. One thing that makes cleaning jobs less demeaning than you might think is there is always a tangible satisfaction of seeing the results of your work. In the case of the pet store, there were also puppy hugs!

One that comes to mind is one that someone described to me once while he was interviewing for a job. A major financial corporation had screwed something up big time, and hired a bunch of temporary CSRs just to get yelled at. There was really nothing these CSRs could do to help, they just needed to pick up the phone and let the customers vent.

Another that might be a contender is one that was described in Fast Food Nation, the people who come in at night to clean the meat processing plant. I can’t do it justice, but I do recommend picking up that book if you want to write a great essay about demeaning jobs.

I think anything where someone hires you to lie for them is what I’d vote for in the end. No matter how apparently glamourous the job is, in the end that eats your soul.

I think a demeaning job would be people who had to check deodorant’s effectiveness by sniffing stranger’s armpits, before and after deodorant application. I’d have to think long and hard before taking that job.

chicken sexer is often touted as one of the ‘worst jobs’ around. As I understand it, you stink your pinkie into the newborn chick butt to determine its gender. If it’s a male, you get to kill it.

Thanks for all the comments everyone!
Harriet the Spry:

Well the exact essay prompt is “What is the most memorable book you have ever read?” I was planning on writing it on Nickel and Dimed, simply because pretty much everything that I have read is related to science and an essay about how a science book has influenced me can’t be too exciting. I have read about 1/4 of fast food nation, and REALLY wanted to read the rest but all the college crap (thats what this essay is for) got in the way. Would you suggest I go to the bookstore right now, and try to finish the book by midnight so i can write the essay on it overnight? Im on the west coast and its exactly 4:20 here so ive got a little time. Essay must be done by the 31st but i really wanted to use tomorrow just for proofreading. I read Nickel and Dimed around the time it came out so its not too fresh in my mind… maybe reading fast food nation now would be better. Ok, im on my way to the bookstore :slight_smile:

I’ve always felt sorry for restroom attendants. Now surely they get tipped well, but… Bad enough at poncy restaurants, but here we have them for some reason at our State Fairs as well. Sure, I pity-tip, but good lord. I’m not sure how worth it the money is there.

I don’t feel sorry for them at all. Every time I go to the bathroom, I end up spending a dollar to dry my hands. It’s annoying. Anyway, I know some of those guys are actually self-employed; they arrange with the bars to set up as an attendant in the restroom. Besides tips, they also sell products and single cigarettes (which is actually illegal in the U.S.).

I agree that being a maid would be far from the most demeaning job. I know several very happy self-employed maids, for one thing. Also, I think any manual labor has a certain inherent satisfaction. It’s jobs like the Wal-Mart job described above that truly suck, when you are treated like a low-life before you have even done anything wrong.

I’d have to go with telemarketing. It is very demeaning when people hang up on you all day. I’d be in tears.

My wife owns her own cleaning service. Of all her clients, there’s only one she thinks treats her disrespectfully. In fact, most of them not only gave her good Christmas tips, but presents as well.

She’s planning on dropping the one that treats her bad as soon as she gets a replacement client.

Most demeaning job…

How about President of the United States. You can’t make a move without millions of people telling you what an ass you are.

I’m guessing the OP gets the housecleaning-is-demeaning from reading Nickel and Dimed (a book I liked a lot, btw). The author works for a ‘cleaning service’, where they’re paid minimum wage and treated like potential criminals (just like at Walmart). IIRC, they aren’t allowed to drink anything during the day, and are required to scrub the kitchen floor on hands and knees, mostly as a trademark gimmick (as any actual proffesional housecleaner will tell you, a mop and bucket it better). Also, they didn’t actually clean, the just wiped, dusted and sprayed air freshener.

My parents’ cleaning lady makes better money than I do, and recieves frequent and effusive thanks from my mother, who is physically unable to keep the house clean since I moved out. (She still insists on ‘helping’, though. She pays the woman and still she feels guilty). She and my mom sit and bullshit in spanish while they work. She is self employed, however, recomended to us by friends.

We had a nanny when I was growing up. She became a surrogate grandmother to me and we are still close. I remember her telling me when I was an adult how much she appreciated that my family treated her like an employee and not a servant-- in that she was given X number of paid vacation & sick days to take at her discretion, paid for a full week, regardless if my mom happened to be home one day, or whatever. Her day started at 7:30 and ended at 4:30, and my mother would appologize and give her comp time if she were home late. When she came on vacation with us, along with things like the free trip to London, they paid her overtime. Looking back, I’m actually sort of impressed with my own parents, though my dad runs his business in the exact same way (and has the fervently loyal and exceptionally productive workforce to prove it). In return for a little dignity, she spent nearly 20 years providing the best child care you could ever ask for.

I think it is entirely about how employers treat their employees. And it’s sad because I tend to think men like my dad are now the exception, not the rule.

My most demeaning job was my third+ year of Local 367 Plumbers & Pipefitters apprenticeship.

These fuckers were rotton to the core. Me, an unknown woman, in their neices and meecies world didn’t quite cut the mustard. Why they excepted my application in the first place besides acing the math test is beyond me. I went through degrading hell with them from the first day when the whole class got to cut in line at the unemployment office. Should have been a signal to my brain. Damnit! Anyway, after a while riding the “out of work” list fullfilling their EEOC quota I got a job call.

The sewer treatment plant! So I go to work (small plane ride to big airport, taxi to work) as you have to as an apprentice. Once your a journeyman you can pick your jobs. They were surprized to see me make it as their plan was I wouldn’t. The sewer treatment plant is where they send old elephants to die. In other words, Local #367 was running me off. Just as they handed me the biggest screwdriver you’ve ever seen (to pop out the holes of a big sewer suck up line) a friend came to my rescue and got me sent to his job. Whew! That was close. That was for the C.R. Lewis company.

It was a demeaning job because it really didn’t have to be done. It was a message that I should have bean a Teamster.

I had a job for the state cleaning toilets at a campground.

That job sucked.

I dated a garbage man for a while. He was actually more into recycling, and he’d bring me the best garbage. Nice guy, but he kept wandering off into the mountains…gone for weeks at a time.

Have you ever seen the size of one of those things? I don’t think the ever have a “little” orgasm. :wink:

Working for a cleaning service in someone’s home would probably not be so bad. Working as a housekeeper in a hotel, however, can be really awful - it’s definitely my least favorite memory from my work history, and I was a busser and a dishwasher. People do things in hotels that they would never, never do in their own homes.