The Worst (Fictional) Jobs in Literature

Every week in a competition of wits The New Yorker asks a question of the Twitter-verse. One of our favorite questions was when they asked followers to reply to the question, “What’s the worst job in literature?

Although James Joyce’s proofreader appeared several times in the list, most tweeters stuck to the fictional theme. In the end the job The NY found worse than Hamlet’s motivational coach and Jay Gatsby’s pool boy was the winning entry “Narcissus’ girlfriend.” There were, however, so many gems within the bunch that we had to round up a Top Ten for you.

Think your job’s unbearable? Check out the hilarious responses below:

1. Captain Hook’s harpsichord key repairman

from Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie











2. The reception committee for Godot

from Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett











3. The chiropractor of Notre-Dame

from The Hunchback of Notre-Dame by Victor Hugo


4. Gregor Samsa’s exterminator

from “The Metamorphosis” by Franz Kafka


5. Public relations for Lisbeth Salander

from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson


6. Richard III’s physiotherapist

from William Shakespeare’s Richard III


7. Hester Prynne’s stylist

from The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne


8. Huck Finn’s elocutionist

from The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain


9. Ophelia’s swim instructor

from Hamlet by William Shakespeare


10. Oedipus’s shrink. Or ophthalmologist.

from Oedipus Rex by Sophocles