Posted on May 29th, 2011 @ 6:07 pm
What is the worst job in the world? A cow inseminator? A janitor at a carnival for an elephant with the shits? A podiatrist?!?
These are all terrible, terrible jobs, but I have found one even worse. Introducing the official suckiest job in the world: MSDS maker.
As a science major, I have relied on the MSDS database for a few years now. MSDS stands for material safety data sheets; they are basically files with all the defining characteristics and safety information for every chemical that exists. These sheets are incredibly helpful – it’s almost impossible to do any sort of lab work without them. Unless you want to die.
So why does making these things suck? Let’s take one of my favourite chemicals – ethidium bromide. Ok, I actually really don’t like this chemical, I just use it a lot and it was a good example. ANYWAY. Ethiduim bromide is this red liquid shit that you use as a dye in gel electrophoresis. The MSDS claims it is a known carcinogen and highly mutagenic. AKA if it touches your skin you will probably wake up the next morning with a tumor.
What else does the MSDS say about ethidium bromide? It has a bitter taste.
…WTF? What poor soul had to TASTE this shit for the sake of the MSDS. The information is basically useless (no one in their right mind would ever taste a mysterious red liquid with a skull and crossbones on the bottle) and he probably lost his tongue in the process. Cleaning up after sickly elephants would be a DREAM compared to this job.
Not convinced yet? Here’s another example: chloroform. Chloroform is that highly volatile liquid that was used as an anesthetic in the past, but now mostly used by miserable organic chemistry students and serial killers to incapacitate their victims. The MSDS is pretty normal: colourless liquid, density 1.483, molar mass 119.38 and inhaling it will knock you out.
Oh, and it has a “sweet, pleasant” smell.
How the fuck does anyone smell this shit if you lose consciousness when it gets anywhere near your nose. Who would even want to try?
…ok I wanted to try. I was curious, whatever. I took the teeniest whiff of a bottle I had in my lab and…
I woke up on the floor five minutes later with not even the slightest recollection of a pleasant smell.
OK chloroform may have been a bad example. But how many times did that guy have to pass out before he could identify the smell as pleasant? That must have resulted in some mild neurological damage. And what about more harmful chemicals? How many people died after inhaling carbon monoxide before they decided it was odourless?
Next time you think your job sucks, just be grateful you still have your tongue.