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Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Worst Jobs Ever

Technology is a wonderful thing! Thanks to my son who is always finding cool, weird, often intriguing and sometimes introspective website and sharing them with me. Now we play this game where we Instant Message each other with cool sites.  Always learning!!

Here's my find of the day. The Worst Jobs In History

Some examples:
Medievel Times
The 13th century is boom time for the wool trade. With three sheep to every man, woman and child, wool is our biggest export. But nobody likes stiff and itchy cloth that falls to pieces, so we have several openings for fullers.

As a fuller, you are expected to walk up and down all day in huge vats of stinking stale urine. The ammonia produced by the rotten wee may make your eyes water, but it creates the softest cloth by drawing out the grease (lanolin) from the wool. If you can dance up to your knees in urine for around two hours per length of cloth, you'll succeed in closing the fibres of the wool and interlocking them to produce cloth that is kind to the skin. You will be doing your part, along with the weavers, dyers and merchants, in making it a world-beating export.

You may stink and regularly have to fight back the urge to throw up, but you are guaranteed very clean toenails.

Tudor Times:
Groom of the stool
Attention all ambitious noblemen! Following the untimely death of Sir Henry Norris, a new groom of the stool is required by Henry VIII. The primary duty of the groom is to see 'the house of easement be sweet and clear' or, more plainly, to clean the royal rear and privy.

It's always interesting to look at your own stool but imagine looking at the king's and laying it in a dish. As for wiping – with the hands: there is no toilet paper at the Tudor court – just try not to think of the meat-heavy diet of the big man.

This is a challenging position for someone looking for exciting openings, for whom no job is to too big or small. Light relief may be provided by regular enema and laxative administrations. It's a coveted position – no one else will be so often alone with His Royal Highness, so although you will be dealing with number twos, you will be number one in the privy chamber. (And, later, the eminent historian David Starkey will write about you in his doctoral thesis.)


This is one of the toughest jobs for anybody, let alone a child, to carry out. Hurriers are all about six to eight years old. You'll be equipped with a wide leather 'gurl' belt with a swivel chain attached. After harnessing yourself into this, you'll attach the free end of the chain to a sled. Then, for over a mile underground, you'll make your way through the small tight passages of the mine, so small that you can't stand up.

Once you reach the coal face, you'll have to fend for yourself among the adult miners as these tough men load your sled with chunks and slabs of coal. Then you'll have to scrabble and crawl back to the surface pulling your load. This must be completed many times during a 12-hour shift. If you're lucky, you might get an even younger child to act as your 'thruster' and shove the sled from behind.

Danger waits around every corner in this sorry and thankless endeavour.

Did you learn something new? Browse the website for even more!

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