The Worst Job in The World — a Talking Points lesson for English reading and speaking

Here is a lesson plan on jobs. Most ESL jobs lesson plans might just introduce very common jobs. In this lesson, I introduce jobs that maybe no student wants.

When I have used this lesson plan myself, the students often become extremely vocal about why they would not like any of these jobs.

You can then talk about other categories of jobs – dangerous jobs, unhygienic, noisy, etc. This can also get much discussion going in the class.

Let me know how it goes. Give me your comments below!





What is your dream job?

What kind of job would be a total nightmare? Why?




Many people complain about their jobs. It is only natural to think your job is the most difficult and that other people’s jobs are easier and more interesting.

But before you complain about your job next time, look at these three jobs and consider.

First, let’s look at the job of sewer swimmer. This job is exactly as it sounds — it requires someone to swim in the sewer. The city is so crowded and therefore, has so much waste, that the sewer system can’t deal with it. So, occasionally there are blockages that can only be cleared by human hand.

It takes a bold worker to swim down the sewer and find the offending blocked channel and then clear it. But that is what several workers do in this city every week to earn money.

Then there is pet food taster.

Ever wondered who tests the food you give to your pet dog or cat? Well, there’s a job for that. There are people employed whose job it is to taste-test the food we give to our dogs and cats.

They have to make sure it has just the right taste to please our pets. You have to really love animals to do this kind of work.

Finally, there is the job of gravedigger. This is the person who digs the graves where people are buried. Sound like fun? The worst thing is that the work has to be carried out late in the evening to avoid upsetting anyone that might see the gravedigger at work.

Imagine that. Not only are you digging a grave for someone who recently died, but you are doing it in the pitch black with no other people around.

So, next time you think you have too much to do, sat at your desk with a big pile of reports to do. Consider the poor sewer swimmer. Or the pet food taster. Or the gravedigger.

If you fancy a career change, you only need to ask.


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The Worst Job in The World




Essential Vocabulary


only natural




can’t deal with it










carried out


imagine that

pitch black

big pile






Write down all the words and phrases in your vocabulary notebook. Look in your dictionary and find the meaning of each word. Write the definition next to each word.

Then make up your own sentences using each word or phrase.

For example:

Notebook—a small book with pages of blank paper that students use to make notes when studying.

“I left my notebook at home so I was unable to make any notes in my English class.”




  1. Would you like to try any of the jobs in the reading? Why/why not?
  2. Think about the following other jobs:

slaughterhouse worker

odor tester

traffic warden

feet fixer


portaloo cleaner

What do you think these jobs are? Would you like to try any of these jobs? Why/why not?

  1. All the jobs above are either highly unusual or at least a little different — what kind of normal, everyday jobs do you think would be difficult or hard to do? Think of jobs like police officer, dentist, teacher or truck driver. What is difficult about these jobs do you think?
  1. What jobs would you not like to do regarding the following:




high off the ground



Why would you not like to do these kinds of jobs?

  1. Can you think of any jobs to fit in the above categories? Would you like to do this job? Why/why not?


Group Work


In small groups, choose one of the worst jobs above. Now think of ways to advertise this job to

make it sound attractive. You need to find someone to do this job, so you have to make it sound


Present your ideas as a team in front of the class.


Teacher’s Notes


Students often have lessons on jobs. Usually all they talk about are the different kinds of jobs and what they involve.

This lesson is somewhat different – and possibly more entertaining – in that you are talking about really undesirable jobs.

I have found this to be good fun with younger students. But for adult students it can give them the opportunity to talk about the things they dislike about their own jobs.

The questions in this lesson are more about different kinds of jobs and why they may be dangerous, unhygienic or repetitive and so on.


Was this useful in your class? Please tell me in the comments below!


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2 thoughts on “The Worst Job in The World — a Talking Points lesson for English reading and speaking”

  1. I loved this lesson! There is nothing more boring than covering the usual most commonly used anything! Instead go to the right brain and develop creativity with these alternative careers. You don’t have to use them exclusively but at least offer them for exploration. This is what engages student’s interest and critical thinking. You will still practice all the skills needed to describe the actions and reasons why you like or don’t like these jobs. An added bonus is that there is a bigger chance to practice negatives (a much neglected skill in English that uses core fundamentals that student must acquire to master English).

    1. Wow, that’s very encouraging! Many thanks Leona! Whenever I did this in class, the students all got into much discussion and debate over desirable and undesirable jobs. I’m really glad you liked it.

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