We spend over 25% or our working lives at work. Yet some (most?) people seem to hate what they are doing. Their passion is NOT their profession. The reverse is often true. Work pays the mortgage. They work harder and climb the organisation to be able to nearly afford a larger mortgage.

That is a sad way to spend such a large proportion of a person’s time on the planet.  Life is not a dress rehearsal. Some people leading quiet lives of desperation, but increasingly their outpourings on Facebook  or Twitter have made it public. And some have lost their jobs as a result – but it wasn’t something that they wanted anyway!! Often it takes redundancy to give people the shove they need to fulfil a dream with a financial cushion that allows them to do it.

There is no shortage of research that are more productive and companies full of happy people perform better. But what does ‘happy’ mean? A recent blog called “Happy Staff, I don’t run a bloody holiday camp” pointed out that every job has its highs and lows. The lows help you appreciate the highs. But on balance you need more highs than lows.

So what are highs? Surprisingly it is not money. Money helps.  It is not recognition. But everyone needs to feel they are doing something important. The answer, surprisingly, is feeling that you are making progress toward some goal, either self imposed or set for you.

So what is the worst job in the world?

There are quite a few that would seem to be up there.

  • Coal miner – dangerous job, low pay, awful working conditions in a dying industry
  • McJob – a minimum wage job in a service industry with no future
  • Dentist – hurts people who don’t want to be there so no surprise dentists have highest suicide rate
  • US Football player – who trains hard for a career that lasts no more than 5 years, 30% of which is spent on the bench or injured
  • Popstar / celebrity – lots of attention and no privacy but in some cases a great deal of money
  • Politician – lots of power and no privacy but a fairly low salary (augmented by fictitious expense claims in the UK)

But I think know the worst job. The person who designs the turn indicators on cars for the US market. It is the worst job in the world because he (or she) works hard making sure that the indicator design fits with the style of the car and the rest of the lights, it is operated by the stalk on the steering wheel column, it makes the right sort of clicking noise, and it switches off after a turn.

And then they have to walk the streets, cycle and drive around the roads of America seeing that the turn indicator they poured their energy is NEVER USED. 

How soul destroying.


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