What kind of work environment would you consider ideal? For most of us, working in pleasant surroundings (well lit, dry, and comfortable) would be close to the top of the list. The careers on our list of the 10 Smelliest Professions don’t fit into that category at all. They are all jobs that rate high on the reek scale, and many of them do not pay well. It seems as though people who are surrounded by stank all day also get punished with a slim pay check at the end of the day. Somehow that doesn’t seem fair after working in what most of us would agree are less than ideal conditions.
Why would someone want to work in a smelly profession? In some cases, they are drawn by other aspects of the work. The funk factor is something they can live with. In other situations, the grab the gig because of financial need or other reasons. They may not be the most glamorous way to earn your daily bread, but they do represent necessary work that keeps the world of ours turning.
Commercial laundries are hot, steamy places. The fumes workers are subjected to make them some of the stinkiest, too. If you were employed here, you can expect to spend long hours working up a sweat. The pay isn't all that great, either. Smelly conditions and low pay means this job probably was not on the list of careers your high school guidance counsellor recommended by your high school guidance counselor.
Anyone who is considering becoming an embalmer must have a strong stomach. This stinky job involves working with strong chemicals on a regular basis, as well as being exposed to bodily fluids. The germicidal soaps used by funeral homes will no doubt have their own strong aromas as well. It takes a certain type of person to perform this necessary, but difficult, work to prepare a deceased person for burial or cremation.
Zookeepers don't get into this field because they are looking for something glamorous. No one chooses this line of work to make big money. The work is dirty and smelly. The job involves providing hands-on care for animals and includes dealing with cleaning fluids on a regular basis.
Podiatrists are trained to treat disorders of the feet. The work involves diagnosing and treating all types of disorders, including foot odor. Getting close to people with funky feet is all in a day's work for these dedicated professionals. They can offer suggestions for dealing with the cause of the problem once they have conducted a full exam. Apparently they get used to the smell.
Anyone working with livestock is going to be exposed to the smell of manure and animal odors. After a time, they become less noticeable. The smell does cling to one's clothing, though. It's a good idea to change clothes before going into town after spending time in the pig barn. Some people wear coveralls for work in the barn and remove them before stepping into the house as a precaution against bringing the piggie smell into their home.
Picking up garbage is a stanky, thankless job. Garbage collectors are responsible for picking up the things that we throw out and getting it to the landfill. They toil in all kinds of weather and are exposed to a melting pot of stink that we can only imagine. Only a sanitary engineer can fully appreciate the combination of dirty diapers and rotten eggs baking in the sun on a hot, humid afternoon. They must find a way to get used to the smell, but that doesn't mean they have to like it.
The work of a sewer inspector is not for the faint of heart. This smelly job involves walking or crawling through the tunnels under the city to look for clogs, cracks, and other issues. Be prepared to hold your nose to combat the smell of human ka-ka. Watch out for bugs and creepy-crawlies when you go underground. Inspectors also run into rats and the occasional dead body (animal and human) in their work.
Using a portable toilet is no one's first choice, but they do do serve their purpose when a standard bathroom is not available. Most of us get to do our business and leave the stank behind. The clean-up crew has to remove all the waste material and clean the soiled surfaces. They must learn how to breathe through their mouths while doing it. This is one job where you can only hope they issue a long handled-brush and a Hazmat suit on the first day.
This smelly job involves working outside in all kinds of weather. In the summer months, the temperature on a roof can get scorching hot. It's possible to get burned while on the job. The risk on injury from a fall is constant, too. It's no wonder this type of construction work has one of the highest turnover rates in the construction industry.
As long as people don't separate their garbage from their recyclables, there will be a demand for recycling plant workers. This job holds the No. 1 spot on our list because it is the only one where newbies regularly throw up because of the stink. Bottles and cans are part of the territory for these workers. They also have to deal with dirty diapers, rotten meat, used condoms and tampons, and dead animals as part of their sorting duties.