Popular Science had an interesting article about The Worst Jobs in Science 2007, their annual bottom-10 list, in which they salute the men and women who do what no salary can adequately reward. Number 6 on the list was Microsoft Security Grunt. From the article:
The people manning secure@microsoft .com receive approximately 100,000 dings a year, each one a message that something in the Microsoft empire may have gone terribly wrong. Teams of Microsoft Security Response Center employees toil 365 days a year to fix the kinks in Windows, Internet Explorer, Office and all the behemoth’s other products. It’s tedious work. Each product can have multiple versions in multiple languages, and each needs its own repairs (by one estimate, Explorer alone has 300 different configurations). Plus, to most hackers, crippling Microsoft is the geek equivalent of taking down the Death Star, so the assault is relentless.
I do not envy the techs who suffer day after day in this role but I can’t help but think that I’d rather be doing this job than the one in the Number 10 spot: Whale-Feces Researcher:
“Brown stain ahoy!” is not the cry most mariners long to hear, but for Rosalind Rolland, a senior researcher at the New England Aquarium in Boston, it’s a siren song. Rolland, along with a few lucky research assistants, combs Nova Scotia’s Bay of Fundy looking for endangered North Atlantic right whales. Actually, she’s not really looking for the whales—just their poo. “It surprised even me how much you can learn about a whale through its feces,” says Rolland, who recently published the most complete study of right whales ever conducted.