Feeling down about your job? Unsure if it won’t get replaced by AI? We get it. As artificial intelligence continues to revolutionize various industries, many roles are being called into question, like coders, copywriters, and legal advisors.
But before you begin with a frantic job search because you worry about your profession’s future, take comfort in the fact that your work is likely more meaningful than some of these seemingly pointless roles.
For example, consider the job of a professional paint-drying watcher. Yes, you read that right — some people are paid to watch the paint dry. With a role like that, your own career might seem like an exciting adventure in comparison.
See the rest of our list of the top 10 most useless jobs, and let them serve as a reminder that your work isn’t so bad after all.
Table of Contents
Click on a section to skip
10 most useless jobs
Apparently, 1 in 20 people holds “a useless job.” Some of these jobs are either outdated or almost extinct; others are simply benefitting society in any tangible way.
So what are some of the most useless jobs out there?
1. Restroom attendant
Guardians of the sanctuary, these people do nothing but make our trips to public toilets uncomfortable. Sitting there all day, they watch you closely as you follow the rules. And their main task is to prevent you from entering without paying.
Let’s imagine a world without them. Would any of us miss the experience of having a total stranger squirt soap in our hands or give us gracefully some toilet paper?
2. Lifeguard at the Swimming Olympics
The Olympics host the world’s fastest and strongest athletes in the universe, including swimmers.
But not even these top swimmers are free from following health and safety rules. Following the regulations, a massive fleet of lifeguards is always on hand to help them should they get into trouble.
3. Elevator operator
These people’s job is to press the floor button for whoever enters the elevator. They earn a meager salary for traveling up and down inside these tiny steel boxes. And for performing this complex activity, they need a unique qualification of, you guessed it, pressing buttons.
This custom might have come from the times when elevators were much more complicated. But now, in the 21st century, the profession has no reason to exist.
4. Pet psychic
The concept of a pet psychic has intrigued pet owners for years, with some hoping to gain a deeper understanding of their furry companions' thoughts and emotions. However, despite its growing popularity, pet psychics may as well be one of the most useless occupations.
That's because the existence of psychic abilities remains largely unproven. And without any solid evidence, pet owners may be wasting their money on services that provide little to no real value.
5. Parking attendant
Although rather outdated, this profession still exists. Parking attendants are the last remnants in places where machines haven’t had their go yet.
However, one can do nothing but admire parking attendants for doing their job with full dedication in the harshest of weather conditions.
6. Professional paint-drying watcher
While this profession may sound made up, it's real. If you decide to be a paint-drying watcher, you can even look forward to an average yearly income of over $42,463.
So what does a professional paint-drying watcher do? Well, they watch the paint dry. They also observe how quickly it dries, and how the color changes. Sometimes, they even use a microscope. Sounds quite dull, doesn't it?
The Paparazzi profession has long been a subject of debate and controversy, with many arguing that it's a useless and invasive job that thrives on capturing celebrities in their most vulnerable moments, often invading their privacy and causing stress.
In a world where countless meaningful professions positively contribute to society, it was voted among the top 10 most useless jobs, as it's difficult to justify the existence of a job that thrives on the exploitation and commodification of individuals' private lives.
8. ATM guard
Yes, certain banks in India and Europe actually employ ATM guards.
Is there anything more non-sensical than people guarding an automated system that was meant to replace bank tellers?
9. Premier of North Korea
North Korean Premier Kim Tok-hun has been serving in that office since 2020. Never heard of him? That’s quite understandable.
His efforts are dwarfed by the performance of the infamous Kim Jong-un, Chairman of the Workers' Party. He’s the only supreme leader of North Korea, making the work of his prime minister invisible.
10. Store greeter
What is the purpose of store greeters? All they do is smile and greet.
Well, according to a “Bullshit Jobs” book that was published in 2018, this kind of job exists only to reinforce the societal structures and serve the only purpose — and that is to make a shopper feel important and superior.
What to do if you find your job useless, too?
Is it you who finds yourself resenting working every day? If the answer is yes, what should you do if you feel like your job lacks meaning or purpose?
- Reflect on your feelings. Before taking any action, take some time to reflect on why you feel your job is useless. Is it because the tasks you perform seem unimportant or because you're not passionate about the cause? Understanding the reasons behind your feelings can help you make informed decisions about what to do next. Also, make sure what you're going through isn't burnout. In that case, seeking professional help rather than quitting is advised.
- Evaluate your job responsibilities. Look at your job description and the tasks you perform daily. Analyze whether these tasks contribute to the overall goals of the company or your team. If you find that your work does have value, try to focus on the bigger picture and how your role fits into the overall success of the organization.
- Speak with your supervisor. If you still feel your job is useless, discuss your concerns with your supervisor. Share your thoughts on why you feel your role isn't contributing to the company's success and ask for their perspective. They may be able to provide insights or suggest changes to your role that could make it feel more meaningful.
- Seek opportunities for growth. Look for opportunities to expand your skills and take on new responsibilities within your job. This could involve asking for additional tasks at work, volunteering for projects outside of work, or seeking training and development opportunities. Taking the initiative and being proactive in your professional growth can help make your job feel more meaningful.
- It may be time to move on. If none of the tips above worked, you may have to start with a search for a new position. However, be clever about it. Don't quit your current job before you sign a contract for a new one. Dull work is better than not being able to pay bills.
FAQ: The most useless jobs
- 1. Which jobs will likely never go away?
Healthcare workers, police officers, arbitrators and mediators, museum workers, and psychologists may always be in demand.
- 2. Are there any benefits to having a useless job?
Depends on the job, but most “useless” jobs can be quite stress-free. In some cases, they're also good conversation openers. Imagine that you say you work as a pet psychic at a party full of strangers. Just wait for the conversation to flow.
- 3. What is the definition of a useless job?
A useless job is a position or role that serves little to no purpose, provides minimal or no value to the organization, and doesn't contribute significantly to the overall goals or objectives of the company. It may involve performing tasks that are redundant, unnecessary, or inefficient, ultimately making the job unproductive and ineffective.
This article was recently updated. The original article was written by Jakub Kapral in 2018.