Theirs are often thankless jobs, but without the following professionals, most of us probably wouldn't be able to enjoy so many of the things we often take for granted, from clean bathrooms, homes and work spaces to the convenience of buying fresh fish and deli meats at the market.
The following occupations involve literally getting one's hands dirty and withstanding a variety of gruesome conditions on a daily basis to make life a little less painful for the rest of us.
While most of us do our best to avoid dirt, grime and grease at all costs, steam cleaners seek them out in everything from vehicle engines to restaurant kitchens, where they can use high pressure steam hoses and detergent solutions to remove the offending substances.
Average salary with benefits and bonuses: $25,859/year
Leaving work in blood-stained clothes would be a serious HR issue in many offices, but the practice is nothing unusual for a butcher, whose grisly work involves cutting and washing the innards of slaughtered animals to create sides of beef, steaks, sausage and ribs in slaughterhouses and meat packing establishments. This job is not for the faint of heart.
Average salary with benefits and bonuses: $25,961/year
Farriers inspect horse hooves for defects, trim and shape them and remove worn or defective shoes. Aside from the strain of shaping shoes with hammers and bending or squatting for long periods of time, farriers must also deal with unpleasant odors emanating from the horses and risk stepping in any number of "surprises" the horses leave behind.
Average salary with benefits and bonuses: $31,604/year
Working the "slime line" at a fish processing plant is just as gruesome as it sounds. Slime line workers withstand the horrific smell and feel of blood and entrails in order to clean, de-bone and fillet fish in preparation for packaging, selling, cooking and serving.
Average salary with benefits and bonuses: $9.87/hour
Proctologists diagnose and treat diseases and disorders related to the anus, rectum and colon, a labor of love that involves getting up close and personal in order to inspect these areas frequently and even performing hands-on work to repair or remove the affected body parts.
Average salary with benefits and bonuses: $388,734/year
Livestock breeders raise livestock, such as cattle, goats, horses, sheep and swine, for the purposes of making meat, riding, providing working stock, showing or using for products like wool, milk and hair. They can't be afraid to do a little dirty work, especially when it comes time to clean barns, stalls and pens, attend to animals in labor, treat ailments, brand, tag or butcher.
Average salary with benefits and bonuses: $31,495/year
For building inspectors, who complete assessments and determine insurance rates, squeezing into small, dark, hot crawl spaces and encountering such unpleasant things as vermin and pests, dirt, dust, dry rot and mold are all in a day's work.
Average salary with benefits and bonuses: $55,245/year
Real-life coroners, who direct the investigation of suspicious deaths, suicides, homicides, vehicle crashes and drug overdoses, know the work isn't nearly as fast-paced or glamorous as it may be portrayed on TV. Performing autopsies is just one aspect of the job, for which they need to have a high tolerance for handling the smell, look and touch of body parts, bones, organs and fluids at all times.
Average salary with benefits and bonuses: $44,932/year
9. Coal miner
The demand for coal has increased over the past few years, thanks in part to its potential as an alternate energy source at a time when oil prices are skyrocketing. Assuming they can withstand the grueling conditions of working in dark, tiny tunnels as small as five feet high and often more than 500 feet underground where coal dust cloaks the air, those with the proper training and experience face favorable job prospects in coming years.
Average salary with benefits and bonuses: $38,353
Copyright 2007 CareerBuilder.com.