The worst jobs in Ireland: can you make this list bigger?

By Fernanda Otero / February 24, 2020
The worst job in Ireland

We all have to work to live, sometimes, doing bad jobs is impossible to avoid. Babylon did a survey and found some answers and some useful information about jobs that you should avoid.

What makes people happy in life? Without thinking too much, the answer could be: a happy family, a place to live, a good job. What about happiness at work? What is the worst job you ever did? Would you do it again? How did you manage to leave it? It is quite certain that you, at some point in your life, will probably face some job that you dislike and you will wish to run far from it as soon as you can!

In a survey from 2016, the website Indeed said, “Dublin came top for employee happiness in Europe, beating London, Stockholm, Rome and Madrid. The survey of 35 countries ranks Colombia top for job happiness, followed by Mexico, Russia and Ireland.” So, once you are here, chances are that you are a happy employee! But, life doesn’t always work like that…

As far as the Brazilian community is concerned, Brazilians are the second fastest-growing foreigner population in absolute terms according to 2016 census, their opinion about jobs in this country should be something to be considered. Their view of businesses might help entrepreneurs to do better. 

 “I could be robbing, I could be killing, but I am here… working!” is a saying in Brazilian-Portuguese that is difficult for a European person to understand: Brazil used to be a place where people beg a lot. There were people asking for everything on streets: asking for spare change, asking for food, asking for cigarettes and so on, as is sometimes the same here. Some of those beggars changed their approach: instead of begging straight away, they ‘updated’ the way of begging, using emotional speech: “I could be doing something other than this, but I am here asking for your help! Please, give me something”. These words apparently make people more generous, convincing them to give what the beggar is asking for: spare change, cigarettes, food, etc. 

Now, let’s get back to Ireland. This piece is about the worst job in Ireland. An informal survey conducted on Facebook groups of Brazilians living in Ireland, Classificados, Calcinhas (closed group) and Brasileiros in Ireland, resulted in some good and fun stories, some sad ones, and also some awful testimonials of what is the worst job in Ireland. We found professional ‘mentors’ (we call these people ‘coaches’ in Brazil, but they are not necessarily trying to always help people) saying “the problem is not the job, the problem is the leaders!” However, we concluded that the problem is the job, people don’t make all circumstances worse! After all, according to the Mexican character Mr. Madruga, a sort of “Latin-America Guru” whose followers never stop growing, “there is no bad job. Bad is to have to do a job”. 

The worst job in Ireland

There were so many comments, it was difficult to choose which are the worst ones and organise this “worst of the worst” list. Here are some of our findings of the worst jobs in Ireland:

  1. People standing for hours and hours on nightshifts, organising boxes of fruits; supervisors shouting on them “quicker, quicker, quicker”. In some people’s opinion, this is definitely the worst job in Ireland. 
  2. Housekeepers running against the clock to clean and tidy a room in an unbelievable 12 minutes. Or you can also marathon clean 77 rooms in a day. You always have to be finished sooner and some supervisors “don’t allow us to talk to other staff members, this would delay the work” as someone said.
  3. Holding a sign for the entire night, standing in the cold, rain and wind, trying to use all your limited English to explain that the nightclub is just for dancing and not for prostitution. 
  4. Fighting with your coworkers to have the tools of work (like a mop, cleaning products, brush, gloves and others) beforehand, otherwise, you wouldn’t be able to do your job, and also, you will have to answer and explain to a supervisor shouting to you that your work is not done. Working as a cleaner has many votes, and is as bad as being a housekeeper.
  5. Some companies hire staff for big summertime shows or camping parties. These people told stories about the lack of facilities for the staff (no bathroom or toilet available), the long shift hours and the long distance to the location (that sometimes has to be covered by foot). “I give up on the payment and spend two days inside a tent, I couldn’t do more,” a woman said.
  6. Leaflet distribution is a good option for those that like walking and exercise, right? Not exactly. The distribution has to be done during some strict hours, with lots of weight, rain, wind, snow, dogs… “The pay is really low, you have to follow a never-ending number of rules and spend hours and hours walking”.
  7. Floor staff are just going around in a nice pub and bringing glasses and other stuff  to the dishwasher. Unless you have to deal, every single night, with drunk people, broken glasses, filth and violence.
  8. Waiter. Dealing with the “especially drunk people” trying to chat you up is something to avoid in life” someone said.
  9. Finally, there is the rickshaw. Not included as all the answers were private from private messages. Some of the Brazilian’s drivers mentioned the problems related to drug dealing and the number of people trying to buy drugs.

Of the answers given in our survey, housekeeper and sign holder were classified as the worst jobs in Ireland. 

Apart from this simple question, respondents were also asked: Why did you quit this job? The most common response was, “When my English got better, I could find a better job”. 

We finally asked: Would you do this job again? 100% of answers to this question were, “Yes, I would, if it was really needed”.

These bad experiences are not exclusively Brazilian, this can happen to other nationalities, of course, and to the Irish as well. 

How to be protected

Technology is here to help! You can visit Boards.ie join one of the many Facebook groups and do the same as we did: start a discussion post! People are always friendly and you will find the information you need.

In case things get really bad, you can go to the Migrant Workers website, as part of the Citizens Information board and find some support and information. Or UNITE, the biggest trade union in Ireland, also has a community group where you can find help if needed.

About the author

Fernanda Otero

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