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The 5 Most Unproductive Jobs In Human Existence

Updated: Mar 11

A decorated bell ringer on a balcony.

(Originally written for a now-defunct blog called "Prudent Opinions" in 2018. The point of this article is to criticize the waste of human potential, and to claim that humans deserve more useful jobs to themselves and to society.)

Jobs are the engines that allow individuals and communities alike to preserve and prosper themselves through the fulfillment of important roles which contribute to society through productivity and to individuals through the compensation of a regular wage to provide for themselves and/or for their families. Most jobs are there because of this function which they fulfill.

However, there are some jobs that even if they are luxurious and may serve a fair payment, they are mostly if not entirely unproductive and a waste of resources that could've been used otherwise in a more productive way. Here are 5 jobs I find to be most unproductive, with 5 being the least unproductive and the first being the most unproductive and literally useless.

I apologize if I am to offend people who serve in these jobs or know people who do so, but this is but my prudent opinion, accompanied by much thinking:

5. Bell Ringer (Non-Musical)

Bell ringers are people whose job's purpose is to ring one or more bells on specific occasions on a chronological routine. Examples for this can be to wake people up, beginning and ending a ceremony, getting an audience's attention, and so forth. With the invention of alarm clocks, automatic bells, and other time-based machines, bell ringers are no longer necessary and can be used more productively. Besides, it is cheaper on the long run to afford a timer and maintain it than to pay a monthly income for an employee whose entire job is to ring a bell. As said in the title, I am not referring to people that use bells as musical instruments to produce melodies


4. Elevator Operator

Elevator operators, though more common in the past, still exist in various places around the world, from the U.S. to Sweden, Taiwan, and Japan. They are not only found on ancient elevators, which are more complex, but also on modern-day elevators. Like the previous job, these operators have only one role, which is to select a specific level at the request of the people using the elevator.

I don't understand why elevator operators are needed when people can press the buttons of the elevator themselves. Perhaps an operator is needed when passengers ask questions regarding the building they're in, but why would it be necessary if they can search the information on the internet?

3. Ornamental Hermit

It may sound strange at first, but there were (and perhaps still are) people who are employed as hermits in gardens and other places for the pleasure of visitors. It can be claimed that ornamental hermits are only there for the sake of beautification and nothing more. This job began around the 18th or 19th century by nobles who wanted to impress people who visited their manors. They recruited people to serve as hermits, and they forced them to obey strict rules; the original ornamental hermits were only allowed to eat specific food and drink only water, not shave, and so forth.

Today, there are still some ornamental hermits, with one example being in Berlin, Germany, where in a building designated to be a modern-day hermitage, lives an ornamental hermit named Friedrich Liechtenstein who waves to people from his balcony at night. Sounds very charming, but otherwise unproductive.

2. Text-to-Speech Livestreamer

This is the most one of the most recent jobs to exist in the history of mankind and was made possible by the usage of social media. Basically, people who work as livestreamers for a living generate income by allowing internet users to donate to their social media channels. In return, the donors are allowed to insert a text to be heard through a synthetic voice, and sometimes they are also allowed to play a video for a limited time. The idea itself sounds pleasant on paper, but in reality, it is highly abused by "trolls", people that entertain themselves by annoying others and causing mischief through the internet.

A popular example of this occupation is the YouTuber nicknamed Asian Andy, a text-to-speech livestreamer that records his daily life around strangers and allows people to donate in return. That's how he and others make a living. In many videos of Asian Andy, he is seen walking in public places while his virtual followers insert offensive, threatening, and abusive messages, leading to disturbances in public areas, such as supermarkets, trains, and shopping malls. In a video of another livestreamer, he was seen being arrested after the cops thought he allegedly made a bomb threat in a room, while in reality it was simply a text-to-speech donation.

This job, even if it brings entertainment, is immoral and harms social order and comfort in public areas. Not to mention that it is also dangerous because you might be expelled from an institution, ruin your reputation, and even find yourself in jail.

And finally:

1. Gossip Columnist

Writing has many roles and many benefits both for the writer and the community, but earning money by gossiping is in my opinion the most despicable and useless job as a writer. Those who earn a living as gossip columnists earn a living by exposing intimate information about people (usually famous people) to the public.

For some reason, many people are interested in knowing very personal information about famous people, from romantic relationships to what they've worn for a specific event. Many times, they expose this information without the consent of the person they've exposed, putting their private lives in the eyes of potentially millions of consumers.

Let's ignore the fact of invading people's privacy (even if they are famous), there is still the issue that much of this information is useless and brings nothing to society beyond entertainment and potential subjects for social events' conversations. People with excellent writing skills and great popularity should, in my opinion, use their merits as writers for more beneficial subjects that can help promote society and justify their work as writers and their wage.

There is a saying that goes: "all occupations respect their owners", but due to these 5 jobs I partially disagree. Even if a job has a decent salary, let's not forget about the degree of contribution and productivity we grant to others and to ourselves by doing these jobs, more than the fact that it makes us a living and pays our bills.

Let us learn from this article that even if there are some unproductive jobs out there in the world, they are at least few in number compared to most of the other jobs out there. Even if many of them are below luxurious, at least most of them come from necessity, from the need of someone to do them. This article, even if possible, was not easy to write in terms of actually finding the jobs and their titles, and that's definitely a good thing in my book!

Enjoy the sources: (An Asian Andy video. Viewer discretion is adviced).

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Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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