ENTREPRENEURS FORBES LIST

15 Strange Jobs That Pay WAY More Than You Thought

For the most part, we can all agree. Jobs stink. If you’re lucky enough to have a job that you love then that’s cool for you, but I don’t want to hear about it because it will make me miserable. For those who are still in college or high school: the 9-5 grind is soul sucking. You’re always tired and the catch about making a lot of money is that you won’t have time to spend it. It’s a never ending cycle of waking up working, watching TV and sleeping, then one day you wake up and you’ve got a wife and kids. The cycle repeats a few more times and then you die. It’s a blast. Humans are not meant to be cooped up in cubicles staring at computer screens all day; it’s not natural.

That being said, there are many jobs that aren’t as soul-sucking as the 9-5 office jobs. These are alternatives to what our society calls “real jobs,” and can be interesting, fun and lucrative. You probably are not aware that most of these 15 jobs even exist. If you’re feeling trapped in your job and thinking that there is no alternative, this list should at least serve as evidence that there is life outside the cubicle.

15. Sommelier

Sommelier is a fancy name for professional wine-o, and apart from the perk of having a fancy, French sounding job title (might actually be French – going to have to delegate my research to you guys on this one), they actually make a decent amount of money. The average salary for a Sommelier is around $54,000, and you can make upwards of $60,000 if you pick the right places. Sommeliers are responsible for knowing anything and everything about their restaurant’s wine selection, and are referenced any time a customer has a question. They are also sometimes responsible for purchasing wine, as well as traveling to the vineyards and inspecting the product. Although a college degree is usually not required, Sommeliers go through a good amount of training and certification classes before they are unleashed on the public. Just being a big fan of Trader Joe’s wine selection probably won’t give you the edge.

14. Odor Judge

If you’re a person who finds themselves complaining about unpleasant smells or a person with too much cologne, you may be perfect for a career as an odor judge. Those who have a sensitive sniffer actually have a lot of options in terms of career paths, but you’d have to be ready for some seriously unpleasant smells in the process. Some industries that are always looking for the next great nose are the deodorant industry, the paper towel industry and the, well, bad breath industry. These jobs will have you sniffing armpits, mouths and even paper towels, but the compensation is pretty decent. You can make upwards of $50,000 as an odor judge, so if you have a passion for checking to see if people’s deodorant is working then this might be the perfect job for you!

13. Bed Tester

Being a bed tester isn’t exactly a full-time job for most people, but if you can find a way to make it one then more power to you. Testing luxury beds is more like survey work than it is a job, but it pays damn well. You can end up getting paid around $1,500 for using a bed for a month, and after that you get to keep the bed too! To reiterate, that’s $1,500 and a free bed just for sleeping and giving feedback. Being part of a sleep study seems like hard labor compared to this. There’s no measurement of how well you actually slept, just anecdotes on how comfortable you were. These are usually luxury beds that are paying this much, so you’ll likely wind up with a pretty nice bed out of the deal as well. Surveys are a great way to make some extra cash, and testing a bed for $1,500 may be the best of all.

12. Horse Trainer

A horse trainer is just that: someone who prepares race horses for their big day. Jockeys get all of the glory, but this person is the one who’s in the trenches training the horse. Day-by-day he grinds until the horse is in peak performing shape and ready for anything the race throws at it. I always thought that the jockeys were the ones training the horse, but apparently those guys don’t need to work as hard as the horses do. A horse trainer makes a modest salary of around $50,000, but this is quite high for the level of preparation required. A high school diploma is usually a must, though not always, and it reportedly takes only seven years to master the art of riding horses. On top of that, many people who go into this field of work love riding and training horses

11. “Intimate” Toy Tester

Ever wonder how companies decide which sex toy will be the hottest on the shelves this Christmas? Well, someone has to test them of course! I’m sure there aren’t many openings in this field, but if you can land yourself this gig you’re all set. These testers make around $40,000 a year, working form home and testing sex toys all day. I’m sure you’ll have to have a passion for playing with yourself and a lack of boundaries, but if you’re looking to work from home this may be your ticket. $40,000 isn’t insane, but it is enough to keep most people afloat and the work is anything but demanding. The next time you see this type of job advertised on LinkedIn, jump on it. It’s a dream job for any sex-positive homebody.

10. Food Stylist

If you love the aesthetics of food but feel they are overshadowed by the annoying taste, then a career in the food stylist business may just be perfect for you. Food stylists usually come from a culinary background, but focus on the way food looks on the plate rather than the ingredients and taste of it. A good Food Stylist can expect to bring in nearly $60,000 over the course of a year, and this can just be for telling a chef how to present their food. A little food coloring and additive ingredients go a long way in the presentation of food. If you have an eye for food but not a nose or mouth for it, you may want to look into food styling.

9. Pet Food Taster

Ever wonder how pet food companies decide which is the best concoction of ingredients to feed to your dog? It’s not that complicated: someone has to taste it. These testers usually don’t swallow the pet food (unless they’re really enjoying it), but they are required to thoughtfully chew the pet food before spitting it out and giving their score. The average salary for this job is about 40K, but some of the most well-known and respected testers in the game can make exponentially more. If you’ve eaten dog food on a bet, you might not qualify, as these testers are required to give thorough and meaningful feedback on the pet food they taste. It has to be a passion, because at that $40,000 a year price tag I’d probably rather take an office job. I’m not a 9-5 guy but if the alternative is eating dog food for less money then I’m going back to a “real job.”

8. Bingo Manager

Bingo manager doesn’t refer to those announcing the ping pong balls at the rec-center. This job is serious, and is usually affiliated with a reputable casino. Believe it or not, bingo is one of the big draws at the casino. The Bingo Manager handles the complaints and makes sure that all applicable gaming regulations are being followed, as well as maintaining staff and budget. The manager makes an average of about $60,000, but it depends on the size of the casino and the amount of money bingo brings in. Of all the gambling-related jobs at a casino, the bingo manager has to be one of the easiest. Seriously, we’ve been playing bingo since we were little kids; there’s not much to it.

7. Face Feeler

The industry term for these individuals is “Sensory Scientist,” but they’re really just face feelers so we’ll go with that. They do exactly what the name suggests: they feel people’s faces. These jobs are usually found at skincare or lotion companies, where a person is required to feel another’s skin with the product on it. The qualifications are rather limited: you have to have hands and be able to feel things, but there is a surprising amount of on-the-job training required. If you make it through the rigorous training process, you can expect to make around $25 per hour for your face feeling technique. It’s not the biggest pay-day in the world, but for such a specific job it isn’t bad. People often use this profession as a part-time gig, but there are those who have made a career as a Sensory Scientist.

6. Stunt Performer

If you’re looking to get into the stunt industry and you’re ready to grind, you could end up making around $800 for a day of work. If you’re attempting something dangerous, then there’s a chance you could end up making even more money for your time. Of course, you have to be willing to put yourself in dangerous or disgusting scenarios, but the payout is certainly worth it. Some stunt performers find themselves in movies and others are testing stunts for other people, but either way these people end up making a sizable chunk of cash. Of course, you can’t perform death-defying stunts every day. There are a lot of off-days in this industry, and being self-employed means that you have to find your own work. It can be a tough way to make it, especially in a town like Hollywood, but those who do take home an average of $70,000 a year.

5. Personal Shopper

Personal shoppers, while a hard position to break into, can make upwards of $100,000 a year just for being fashion forward and personable. There are certainly lower-end personal shoppers, and some of those only make around $30,000, but if you work up the ranks to the big fish then you can find yourself making quite a bit of cash while simultaneously spending someone else’s money. Personal shoppers are expected to purchase fashionable clothes that fit their client’s preferences, so in-depth knowledge of trends and the ability to buy for others is important. A lot of people love to shop, but this does not make them good personal shoppers. A good personal shopper won’t just buy what they would want, but what their client would want. Retail experience is helpful here, but there are a lot of qualifications needed if you want to be making the most money as a personal shopper. Put in your time and, who knows, maybe you’ll be advising a celebrity on their red carpet attire.

4. Water Slide Tester

Um, yes please.

I’ll start this one with the salary: around $34,000. It’s nothing crazy, but with a job title such as “Water Slide Tester,” who can expect a massive payday? Hell, for only around $6,000 more a year you could be tasting dog food for a living. This has got to be one of the most coveted jobs on the planet, which is why only a few people have the honor of holding it. Testers will probably need a bit of supplemental income to sustain them, but they get to try out all of the water park attractions before the general public. No lines baby!! $34,000 seems like a gold mine when your job is to test the safety and fun-level of a water slide. I’m sure there’s not a day that goes by when they don’t love their job (assuming they don’t break their leg testing an unsafe slide). If you told a baby me that I could go on water slides for the rest of my life and get paid for it, there’s a 1,000,000% chance someone else is writing this article right now.

3. Professional Snuggler

The professional snuggler position is one example of how you can fill the void with your own wacky idea. As far as I can tell, there’s really only one snuggler in the game, and she made a business out of cuddling other people for money. Her rates are pretty high too, considering that there are no sexual acts involved. For a one hour snuggle, a client will pay $50. A full 60 minutes will cost you $60, with an hour and a half costing $90. For an overnight session, a client would have to fork over nearly $500. For someone who just lays next to people for a living, this has to be a good amount of cash. You can even book two snugglers for double the price. If you’re looking to break into the snuggling game it would probably help if you were a cute girl, as I’m sure a lot of the clients are male. I can’t decide if this is a dream job or an awkward-fest, as cuddling people who are willing to pay to get cuddled may be a tough gig. That’s probably why she charges so much.

2. Golf Ball Diver

Are you a fan of golf but you can’t seem to break into the big time? Have you been turned down as a caddy by your local country club? Don’t worry! You don’t have to be charismatic, personable or even talented at golf to make a living in the golf industry. In fact, you can financially benefit from other people sucking at golf. A Golf Ball Diver does exactly what you think he does: dives into water hazards and collects the golf balls that were hit into the water. Did you think that golf clubs just cut their losses when it came to hitting golf balls in the water? Fat chance! They scoop them up and give them to the next guy so he can hit them back into the water. The most surprising thing about this position, though, is how much you can make doing it. A Golf Ball Diver can make anywhere from $50,000 – $100,000 annually, depending on the course. You probably have to have a bit of diving experience, as they aren’t likely to hire someone for such a prestigious role without it, but with some minimal training you could make your living searching for other people’s golf balls. Not a bad gig if you can get it.

1. Professional Mascot

It’s not an easy life, but professional mascots have the ability to bring home some serious cash. There are a lot of markets with different budgets in the sports world, and being a mascot for a farm team isn’t going to net you six figures, but some of the more popular icons in the mascot world make over $100,000 each. That’s not bad for being a professional homer, especially considering the fact that some people do it for free. Some teams have fan-created mascots that aren’t paid at all. Still, if you’re lucky enough to get the nod in a big market, you’re on your way to a sizable chunk of money. Professional mascots need to have some gymnastics in their background, in order to perform their stunts. They also have to have a pretty shallow amount of shame, as much of what they do is making a fool of themselves.

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