A job is something all of us have to do to get by. Those at the top tell other people what to do. Everyone else has to obey in order to take care of pesky things like rent and food. Not everyone is cut out for all the positions out there, though most of us try to do our best with the one we have.
Then there are the weird jobs that you’ve never heard of. In fact, you probably wouldn’t know where to begin if you got one of them. Nevertheless, all of them exist and are consistently looking for applicants—if you know where to look. These aren’t run-of-the-mill, nine-to-five affairs. Instead, they require specific sets of skills that you can only obtain once you get them.
10 Professional Sleeper
“I wish I could be paid for sleeping” is something most of us have thought at some point in our lives, mostly right after we have to wake up to go to work. It makes sense, too, as sleeping is amazing. But what if we were to tell you that you could actually get paid to sleep? In some cases, you’ll earn a lot (depending on where you sleep).
A professional sleeper is a serious occupation and provides services that are required in many modern industries. Although it’s not your typical full-time job, you could earn a sizable income if you land the right gigs.
From researchers (who regularly need sleep testers for various experiments) to mattress brands that need sleepers to test their products and artists who require sleeping subjects, professional sleeping could be a lucrative career if you advertise yourself well enough.
9 Parabolic Expert
When you train to be an astronaut, one of the first things you have to learn is how to maneuver yourself in a gravity-free environment. Although it may not sound like a big deal, you’d be surprised how difficult it is.
Inherently, our bodies are trained to only work in gravity. It takes a long time just to get used to a gravity-free environment, let alone be able to engage in day-to-day functions in it.
The people who impart that training are known as parabolic experts, one of the most coveted and highly skilled occupations in the going-into-space industry. In fact, only nine people in the world are qualified to do it.
First, they must become excellent at free-falling in an aircraft (aka a vomit comet in casual NASA lingo). This is the only way to simulate a microgravity environment on Earth for training potential astronauts to go on missions. It’s not their job to actually go into space, even though they’re a crucial part of nearly every space mission.
8 Professional Mourner
The death of a loved one can be difficult to deal with, and everyone copes in his own way. Some people mourn for days before getting their lives back to normal. Others shut themselves away until they can be around people again.
Still others take it one step further and get professional mourners to do their grieving. Although it may sound weird to the rest of us, these mourners are dedicated professionals in quite a few parts of the world.
Professional mourning has been a thing for thousands of years in many regions, including Africa, China, and ancient Egypt. However, China is mostly where it’s still big business.
The job consists of showing up to the funeral and staging a believable session of mourning—complete with physically breaking down and wailing. This may sound alien to the rest of us, but it’s completely normal in Chinese culture. These pros can also earn quite a bit depending on how good they are.
7 White Hat Hackers
With almost everything from traffic to government databases to supply line inventories of big corporations now operating through the Internet, hacking is an increasingly serious threat for almost everyone. This is especially true of hackers in countries where the Internet isn’t regulated much.
As a result, there’s an equally high demand for good hackers who know the basics of getting into networks without being detected. They expose vulnerabilities in high-value targets like government databases.
Known as white hat hackers (as opposed to the regular black hat hackers), these individuals are hired by corporations and governments around the world to do their best to get into the employers’ networks. If you’re really good at it, you may earn a fortune for doing a contract job, with a chance to be hired by your client at the end of it.
The best part?
Absolutely no one will ask how you got those skills in the first place as long as you’ve never used them to do actual harm. To qualify, you simply need to get really good at hacking. Just make sure you don’t practice on live targets, as that is illegal.
6 Iceberg Movers
Potable drinking water is already on the brink of running out for the whole world. We may not hear much about it because the crisis isn’t as dire in the loudest parts of the world yet.
Many countries are now looking to Earth’s natural ice reserves for help. They are devising plans to haul entire icebergs from the South Pole to their shores to harvest water. The job is given to iceberg moving companies, where you can apply to work if you’re up for it.
Iceberg moving may sound impossible—like mountain relocation or beach stealing. However, many Middle Eastern countries are already grappling with serious water scarcity issues, so they’re willing to give it a shot.
Some iceberg towing companies are already on their way to get the first icebergs to some of those countries. Middle Eastern governments are also hoping that huge floating icebergs off the shores of their countries may serve as tourist attractions, too.
Many current jobs have never existed before, including that of a futurist. If it sounds like someone who sits around all day and makes predictions like a fortune-teller, it absolutely is—except that the predictions have to be backed by data.
It is one of the more accessible jobs on this list (though not for scientific fields). In fact, anyone can apply to be a futurist as many New Age firms are starting to see the importance of the position.
A futurist’s role is to study current data and make reasonable predictions about future trends based on that information. A government may employ a futurist to predict social changes in order to estimate taxes in the future. An advertising firm may try to find out what kind of messaging consumers are likely to respond to 20 years from now.
Depending on your field, a job as a futurist can be as awesome as it sounds or just entail data crunching all day like your old job.
4 Food Stylist
Over the years, food advertising has come a long way. If you’ve ever seen a food ad and thought “wow, that looks good,” it’s not because that’s how it’s supposed to look. Instead, a highly specialized type of professional called a food stylist made the food look good for the camera.
If “food stylist” sounds like a joke, we assure you that it’s absolutely not. You can go to your local employment listings website and find a posting for one of these right now.
The job is not easy to do, either. Apparently, styling food is an art form that you master after years of persistent practice, which also involves know-how of photography and videography.
If you do get your foot in the door and become a food stylist for a local firm, you may work your way up and someday get to style food for the big brands. Needless to say, that pays quite well.
3 LEGO Master Builder
LEGO bricks transcend age, sex, borders, and race. No matter who you are or what you do, a LEGO set is all you need to push aside everything else and spend the next four hours trying to build something that you’ll give up on anyway. And that’s okay. A big part of the company’s success is being able to engage the inherent builder in all of us, even if we’re not that good at the job.
That doesn’t mean that everyone’s bad at it. We all had that one kid in class who could build intricate structures out of LEGO sets and simply mesmerize us. If you were one of those kids and have always wanted to do this for a living, you can get paid tons of money for it.
Known as LEGO master builders, these guys are employed by the LEGO Group to create those huge structures built of LEGO bricks that occasionally go viral on the Internet. If playing with LEGO pieces has been your dream all along, you could definitely give this a shot. However, you’d have to be really good at it to even stand a chance.
2 Shark Tank Cleaner
Most people visiting a shark tank (not the TV show) have a great time, maybe have a snack or two, and then return home. However, the curious ones look at the whole setup and think, “I wonder who cleans that?”
There’s no way to keep the artificially created ecosystem healthy without someone actually going into the tank and manually cleaning it. In fact, there are shark tank cleaners tasked with doing exactly that.
The job is dangerous because the sharks are always in the aquarium. You can’t just make an expensive secondary tank to house the animals until the cleaning is done.
However, the cleaning isn’t what makes this a badass job. It’s getting used to being around sharks that are already angry at all humans for keeping them in captivity. The cleaners have to learn shark behavior and be good at diving—as well as knowing when to get out—to even be considered for the role. They spend around 30–40 hours in the tank per week as a part of their job.
1 Odor Judge
Smell is an important sense, which is apparent by how many products rely on it to make sales. From soaps to deodorants to candles, how a product smells is as much a part of its commercial success as its appearance. So, who is in charge of making sure that things smell the way they should?
You guessed it (presumably from the title of this entry). Odor judges determine the best smell for a particular product. Obviously, they have to go through plenty of bad odors, like those from armpits, to come up with a deodorant to counter the smell.
It may sound like a horrible job, but it’s also a crucial one. They also deal with issues like whether a particular type of seafood is contaminated by a nearby oil spill. Of course, you must have a keen sense of smell to qualify for this job, and it may end up paying quite well if you work at a large organization.