by Jonathan Geissler

This winter break, how many of you will writhe in pain as the alarm sounds to indicate the start of a new work day? If you feel you’re among this tortured group, don’t feel too sorry for yourself. The legendary Drew Carey once said, “Oh, you hate your job? Why didn’t you say so? There’s a support group for that. It’s called ‘Everybody,’ and they meet at the local bar.”

Most college students claim they don’t enjoy their summer or winter jobs. Still, we all need to trade some of our time for money. As the old adage says: “No bees, no honey; no work, no money!” Especially in difficult economic times, we have to accept that work will be, well, work.

There is a gamut of possibilities when it comes to employment, some of which you probably never knew existed. To get through the day a little easier, it might lessen the sting a bit to know about a few jobs out there that are downright appalling, regardless of pay.

Most of us have plopped onto a park bench and had the misfortune of placing a hand on a piece of repulsive old gum, or stepped on the gooey stuff while walking along the sidewalk. Well, that’s where these guys come in. They are “gum busters,” and their specific job description is to remove the gum that resides in unexpected places. Provoking similar aversion are the “vomit collectors.” Some theme parks employ cleaning persons specifically designated to wipe up puke near the rides that have a tendency to provoke motion sickness.

Then there are pet food tasters. Most of us would jump at the chance to taste-test chocolate truffles or ice cream, but it takes an especially strong stomach, and probably a will of steel, to down gourmet dog or cat food. Another unusual job is the hemorrhoid cream researcher. After spending four years studying chemistry and biology in college and another three or four years specializing in medicine, some wind up developing stuff that 50-something men rely on for rear-end relief.

Finally, there are jobs that stink — literally. People actually get paid to smell gas given off by cows in order to determine hormonal balance and overall health. Similarly, there are odor judges doing exactly what their job title implies. They jam their noses into participants’ armpits to see how well the brands’ deodorants work.

A moment of silence for these brave men and women is probably in good order. So when you wake up next week, don’t lament. You might not have your dream job just yet, but remembering these unusual workers might help you feel better about starting the day!