Working from home, or having a remote job, sounds like a luxury to a lot of people. And in many ways, it is. Having a work from home job allows you to adjust your work-life balance for more flexibility – if you want to sleep in while you’d typically be commuting, you can, for example – and if you get sick of your home office, you can always work from a neighborhood Starbucks, or library. Yes, remote jobs have their perks. But it’s not necessarily all sunshine and rainbows.
In fact, depending on what job you have and which organization you work for, it may be a miserable experience. And you don’t get the option of “not taking it home with you,” in the case of remote jobs.
While there are literally dozens, if not hundreds of remote jobs and positions out there, some are definitely better than others. And finding a good job that allows you to work from home is difficult to begin with – job listings are often rife with scams, or opportunities that pay next to nothing, while expecting you to put in long hours. It’s difficult to tell which are worth your time, and which aren’t.
But there are solid opportunities out there, with many top companies hiring heaps of remote workers, even as you read this.
So, if you want to go out on a limb and try to find a new job or even some side work that you can do from home or remotely, which jobs should you try to avoid? Well, it’s going to depend on a lot of different factors (hours, pay, etc.), including which company you choose to work for. But overall, there are some specific jobs or positions that tend to be a drag. Here are seven of the worst remote jobs.
1. Customer service
Customer service jobs often get a bad rap, and for good reason. Just read through the subreddit r/TalesFromRetail for a few minutes, and you’ll get an overview of what customer service professionals deal with on a daily basis. And even though you can do the job from home, that doesn’t make the job any more palatable. Many companies are using remote workers to handle customer service claims, but before you sign on for one, you may want to ask yourself this: Do you really want to be screamed at by total strangers all day, right there in your own home?
Probably not. You’ll just mentally poison yourself against what once was your “safe space.”
2. Pay-per task services
There are many services that offer small, tiny little jobs that pay pennies. You can do these, yes, and make a little money. The problem is that it’s very, very little money. If you do this full-time, you’ll be earning less than minimum wage in most cases. If you’re okay with selling hours of your life off for pennies, then maybe these gigs aren’t a bad choice. Take a look at places like Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, or Clickworker to get the gist.
3. Multi-level marketing
Though multi-level marketing companies are often associated with pyramid schemes or scams, not all of them are giant conspiracies to separate you from your money. But they’re also something you should probably avoid. The trick is to know one when you run into it. Multi-level marketing companies come in all sorts of flavors – selling “magic” pills, or weight loss wraps, or a million other things. If you’re being asked to put down an “investment” to “run your own small business” to sell some crappy product, save your money. There are other opportunities out there.
4. Stuffing envelopes
Yes, you can get a job, working from home, in which all you do is stuff envelopes. If it sounds mind-numbingly dull and repetitive, it’s because it is. So much so, that companies don’t even want to invest in office space for employees to do it in, so they offload that cost to you. Similarly, there are remote jobs that ask you to do assembly – basically, putting things together, and shipping them out. A lot of these are scams and schemes, and not something you should spend your time pursuing.
5. Writing for content mills
If you hope to be a writer, it’s easy to wind up writing tons of content – often really terrible content – for content mills. These are companies that pay very little for articles, books, etc., which they then sell to websites or publishers. They’re basically brokerage firms for content. The problem is that if you want to be a writer, it’ll pay next to nothing. Content mills may be a good place to refine your writing chops for a short period of time, but they quickly become a time sink, and will earn you very little.
6. Lead generation
If you don’t like sales, lead generation certainly isn’t for you. That’s not to say it’s all bad, though. It’s like doing all the work of a salesman, but then handing off “the closing” to someone else – who probably gets commissions, and makes way more money. But it’s a job, and people do it. You can do it too, but your time would probably be spent doing something else, which you would probably enjoy more.
7. Child care
One of the perks of sending your kid off to child care somewhere else is that they can terrorize and destroy other people’s property. If you want to open up your own home-based child care business? Well, those kids will be destroying your property. And there’s nowhere for you to run to get away from it. Again – that doesn’t make it a bad idea, necessarily. But just because it’s a business opportunity doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right one for you.
If you like kids, go for it. But if you like having nice things, avoiding vomit, and the occasional bout of silence? Try something else.