Best Job In The World: Blood, Shit and Q Fever

The interviewer looked at me and said “hmmm, you go to uni, so you can read and write”. We shook hands. I was officially an abattoir worker.
Arielle Richards
Melbourne, AU
Yannick Tylle via Getty

We do not choose to be born into this world. We absolutely do not choose to spend the majority of our lives toiling for someone else’s profit, just to stay afloat.

And many people have little say in what work they do, to keep themselves and their families said-afloat.

There are some fucked up jobs out there. Someone’s gotta do it, right? RIGHT???

Why is it that we have dystopian robots helping cops avoid human interaction with homeless people, but real human beings with lives and families and hobbies and dreams and aspirations are expected to risk their lives daily, for often shitty pay.


Capitalism, bubba. You know the one.

Now shhh….

Welcome back to Best Job in the World, where we take a look at the best of the worst jobs going ‘round.

Blood, Shit and Q Fever

I worked at an abattoir in my hometown during my uni breaks and every last second of it was a living hell. 

This certain abattoir in particular ~processes~ lamb in Australia. The facility has the capacity to have thousands of sheep go through its doors a day. Very cool!

First of all the job interview: It was the quickest/easiest/most low-key problematic job interview of my life. 

I walked in with my resume, the interviewer barely looked at it, then looked at me and said “hmmm, you go to uni so you can read and write, and I like that you’re wearing a button up shirt”. 

We shook hands and I was officially an abattoir worker (note: I was wearing a $12 shirt from TaroCash… 2012 was a different time). 

I was told to come back in the morning for a group orientation. Later that day I found out through a friend that the orientation would involve a drug test, which wasn’t great because I definitely would’ve had weed in my piss, just having come back from uni. So, I called the abattoir back saying that I had fallen ill and couldn’t start for another week. They said it was fine and to just join in on the following week's orientation (there was a high turnover of staff). 


I spent the next week drinking litres-upon-litres of cranberry juice – as-per Reddit’s advice to clear my piss – only to find out that I didn’t have to do a test in the end because I was “one of the uni kids”. Yep.

We all got to decide what part of the abattoir that we’d like to work in. I chose the loading floor because I didn’t really want to be around dead sheep. 

So, for five nights a week, from 6PM till 2AM, I’d stack 30kg boxes of sheep brains onto shipping containers, which really wasn’t the worst.

I was able to work in the shadows at the abattoir for many uni breaks until one shift, when my supervisor (who also bullied me in primary school lol) transferred me to “gut room”. Your job in the gut room was simple: Take the insides of a sheep after it’s been ~processed~, place it on a hook, and then slash the stomach with a knife so all the shit falls out.

I instantly said “no” because they never provided me the shot to protect me against Q fever, which is a pretty severe bacterial infection that affects people who work around livestock, that can fuck you up in the long term. Here’s how the conversation went:

Me: “Hey… so I don’t think I should work in the gut room because I haven’t had my Q shot. Can someone else who’s had theirs go work in the gut room instead?”


Supervisor: “Don’t be gay, Q fever isn’t even that bad.”

He made a good point.

After four hours of draining poo out of dead sheep stomachs I started to get anxious about the possibility of catching Q fever, so I went back to my old supervisor to tell him my concerns, which led to him and other supervisor laughing at me for “being a pussy”, which, again, was a fair point.

They then said that if I was “too scared” to work in the gut room/get Q fever then I should go clean up one of the old offices.

The “office” they sent me to was an old demountable out the back of the abattoir that definitely hadn’t been used for multiple decades. I know this because some of the files on the desks were dated from the 90s and the place was more of a dumping area for old office gear, with every surface in the room covered in cobwebs and dust. I knew they didn’t expect me to clean it, they were just fucking with me for being a pussy

Not knowing what to do or where to start, I found a fire extinguisher and an office chair, and proceeded to fulfil a childhood dream of doing the rocket booster thing I’d seen so many times in movies. It was totally worth it. After multiple trips around the demountable in the rocket chair I had completely emptied the fire extinguisher and was out of stuff to do. 


I then got a call on the radio from my supervisor, saying I was needed back in the gut room (I wasn’t). 

I started the long walk back to the gut room, which turned into a long walk to my car, where I went home and never went back.

Oh yeah, and I don’t eat lamb anymore.

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