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The ten most embarrassing, exploitative, soul-killing, downright dangerous tech jobs

Ian Paul | Sept. 3, 2013
Think your job stinks? Hope it isn't one of these.

tech jobs

The tech industry's image can seem as sleek and glossy as the products it sells, but as oh-so-many of us know, geek isn't always synonymous with glamour. In fact, some tech careers are wretched: soul-killing factory work, mind-numbing support gigs, and retail positions ranging from embarrassing to exploitative. And then there are the jobs involving serious, physical peril.

Before you start bemoaning your workplace's lack of casual Fridays, take a gander at this list of the ten worst jobs in tech. You may just realize that an annoying cubicle neighbor isn't such a bad deal.

Google content cop
Imagine gawking at the most horrific images you can find online—the kind of stuff that makes 4chan's /b/ board look tame. Now, imagine doing that all day, every day, and you get an idea of what it's like to be a Google contractor tasked with keeping tabs on YouTube and Blogger for inappropriate content.

One ex-Google contractor wrote a piece for BuzzFeed in August 2012, describing a job where he spent nine months—nine months—weeding out images of child porn, sexual fetishes, bestiality, and other offensive imagery. After spending the better part of a year bathed in all that digital horror, the worker says he received little emotional support from the company and was ultimately let go despite being promised a non-contract job.

Microsoft store employee
In 2012, The New York Times claimed that working in an Apple retail store was a rip-off, since employees are paid the slightest, smallest sliver relative to the bucketloads of cash each Apple drone brings in. But even so, most Apple Store employees really, truly like those Macs and iPhones they're hawking—and the ones who don't are really good at faking it.

Compare that to the Microsoft Store above, where employees were shambled and shook in a display of forced exuberance so bad it hurts just to watch. I'm not sure how much you get paid at the Microsoft Store, but the mortification factor of being caught in one of these "impromptu" dance lines should be enough to deter even the most desperate job seeker.

And while I'm at it: Is that woman in the white shirt visible at the 2:10 mark swiping merch, or was she just a Microsoft plant in consumer clothing?

Semiconductor processor
The good news: Semiconductors are still being made in the USA. The bad news: The people who oversee their production are slowly being replaced by job-killing robots.

And that's why, despite the fact that these jobs pay moderately well and require some post-secondary education, employment prospects for semiconductor processors are pretty bleak going forward, according to a Kiplinger report. The business forecasting firm took a look at data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor and says that job growth for semiconductor processors will shrink even faster than Intel's chip transistors.


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