Worst jobs in travel


On a recent trip to Kaua’i, my wife and I visited the facility where the ubiquitous Original Red Dirt Shirts are produced. We saw how they churn out the shirts that are sold on the island and are shipped to stores in Sedona and other southwestern tourist destinations where visitors snatch up authentic desert dirt shirts.

We saw scoops of dirt and loads of nice clean white clothes being loaded into banks of churning washing machines. The place was awash in red mud. (The Maytag repairman would have freaked!)

Standing in that goop, watching young guys in storm gear go about their jobs, it occurred to me that there are a lot of jobs in the world that are worse even than mine. Moreover, as a part-time travel writer, I realized that many of those jobs are in the travel business.

So I’ve assembled what, from my point of view, seem to be the ten worst jobs in the travel biz.

#10 Shuttle bus driver. Driving ’round and ’round all day with a truck full of grumpy businessmen and screaming kids.

#9 Airplane baggage handler. This job might actually improve my health and be fun—riding around in a little truck, tossing weights to and fro in the outdoors, looking in luggage for an occasional goodie—until the rain or snow comes.

#8 Airplane de-icer. I hate the cold.

#7 Parking lot attendant. It’s kind of like a shuttle bus driver except you don’t even get a chance to move.

#6 Airplane lavatory truck operator. Actually this job isn’t so bad until there is some problem with the operation and thing start to leak—or worse.

#5 Hotel security guard. When the phone rings, it is almost never good news.

#4 Elevator operator. Where’s the challenge in this job?

#3 Airport screeners. Poking through people’s dirty socks? No thanks.

#2 Air marshal. When I think of this job, I’m reminded of what is said about sailing: Hours of boredom interspersed with moments of shear terror. Except for these guys those moments never come.

#1 Suicide bomber. The drawbacks here are that you are dead if you succeed, disgraced if you fail, and ugly in either case.