There seems to be no limit to what people get paid for these days. Gone are the days when professional disc jockeys were among the most unusual careers. Today, the question “What do you do for a living?” can be followed up with “I’m a paper towel sniffer” or “I taste dog food”.
It seems crazy to think that people can make a sustainable living from such strange and obscure employment, but these professions actually come with quite a hefty salary.
Here are ten of the strangest jobs that pay surprisingly well.
See Also: Top 10 Weirdest Job Titles
1. Golf Ball Diver
Acquiring anywhere from $50,000 to $100,000 a year, golf ball divers do exactly what you think they do: they dive into a golf course’s water hazards and retrieve golf balls! As you might have guessed, it takes a special kind of person to fill this position; you need to have balls, so to speak. Anybody hoping to break into this career must have a love for treasure hunting and be extremely testosterone-laden. We certainly like treasure!
The need for excessive amounts of testosterone stems from the fact that the job of golf ball diver is actually quite dangerous. Many of the lakes and ponds in which golf ball divers spend their time are laced with chemicals, laden with bacteria, and are even home to ferocious reptiles!
Those wishing to pursue a career as professional golf ball retriever must be able to carry large, heavy bags of golf balls throughout their shift, and dive blindly into poorly-conditioned water without using any kind of lighting. Fearlessness of alligators helps, too!
2. Sex Toy Tester
Working from home is usually near the top when listing characteristics of our dream jobs. Having to wake up early and squeeze into a pencil skirt or suit and tie just to spend eight hours in a tiny cubicle is not what many of us would be doing if we had our way. Well, not only do sex toy testers get to work from the comfort of their own home in whatever attire they so choose, they also get to spend their days – ahem – playing with toys, and are then compensated in the neighborhood of $40,000 a year. That’s about as much as an elementary school teacher makes!
Lucky hopefuls who are chosen from the enormous pool of sex toy tester applicants are paid to assess the functions and level of pleasure experienced from various devices. A typical work week for a sex toy tester involves receiving a free adult toy in the mail which has not yet been released to the public and then sending back a detailed report to the company after having evaluated the product.
Just imagine: instead of being confined to a computer desk, surrounded by paper clips and pencils, you could be working from your bed, surrounded by battery-powered appendages and lingerie. Gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “home office”!
3. Paper Towel Sniffer
Smelly paper towels typically don’t sell very well (duh!), so paper towel companies employ individuals to sniff their products to ensure that they are odorless. These employees, paper towel sniffers, with their heightened sense of smell, spend their days smelling paper towels to make sure they do not emit any odors. It sounds like a made-up job, but it is indeed a real position that sees hundreds of job applications every month. Sadly for napkin-sniffing hopefuls, however, they’re better off trying to find work as an actor in Hollywood as job openings are far and few between.
Paper towel sniffers or odor judges rake in around $1,000 a week just for smelling paper towels. The only requirements for the position are a strong sense of smell and a love of paper towels. Who doesn’t love paper towels?!
4. Professional Snuggler
Professional snuggling may sound like a sneaky way to pay for sex and not get caught, but it is actually a legitimate business that earns employees up to $60 an hour for simply cuddling with a stranger. Seriously!
Science has long supported the physical and psychological benefits of touch and between work, chores, kids, pets, smartphones, and binge-watching television, many of us miss out on physical human interaction. Thankfully, however, when we’re feeling lonely and in need of some warmth (and maybe a nap), we can turn to places like Cuddlery.
Of course, professional snuggling opens doors for the potential for sexual assault, so policies and regulations have become much more rigid over the years to protect employees and clients alike, but people are still making a killing lying in bed with strangers. Think about it: these people are essentially being paid to be a human teddy bear! We just hope that their clients shower before snuggling appointments because, unlike teddy bears, humans have a sense of smell!
5. Bed Tester
Being a bed tester is a dream job for many us – literally! Getting out of bed to go to work in the morning is not fun for anybody, so imagine getting into bed to go to work. Bed testers exist because machines are not able to give feedback on how comfortable certain types of beds are. Finally, a job for us naturally lazy people!
Anybody wishing to become a bed tester need not worry about making a lifelong commitment to the job, as temporary and casual positions are offered in the field. Those choosing to lay into the job on a part-time basis can make anywhere from $150 to $2,000 a month to roll around in bed all day. Those who are in it for the long haul can earn as much as $53,000 a year. Not bad for a career that lets you sleep on the job!
6. Crime Scene Cleaner
Forensic crime shows give viewers a lot of insight into the day-to-day life of crime scene investigators, forensic laboratory technologists, and forensic pathologists, but few ever show how all the blood and guts get cleaned up after the crime scenes are inspected and the bodies are cleared out.
It turns out that there are crime scene cleaners who specialize in cleaning and decontaminating crime scenes as a result of suicides, homicides, fatal accidents, tear gas, unattended deaths, hoarders, and other trauma. Like most jobs in the forensics field, cleaning up crime scenes requires a special kind of person. Spending your working hours around blood and bodily fluids requires a sympathetic nature, the ability to emotionally detach, and – of course – a strong stomach.
Though crime scene cleaning is a dirty job (literally), employees do not require a college degree or any kind of lengthy educational training. Despite the ease at which individuals can acquire a job cleaning crime scenes, it is not for the faint of heart. One crime scene cleaner says that there are some things like the smell of a decaying body that you never get used to. However, being able to detach from all that means you could be taking home between $40,000 and $50,000 a year. That’s right; you can really clean up working as a crime scene cleaner!
7. Pet Food Taster
We’ve seen a handful of people who have been featured on TLC’s My Strange Addiction who eat dog/cat food and treats on a regular basis because they want to! Well, there are people who actually get paid to eat pet food. Professional pet food tasters smell and eat dog and cat food to ensure that the product not only tastes good but that it also meets the brand’s standards in quality. Preparation for this career involves professionally training that allows employees to identify specific flavors that dogs and cats enjoy.
We all love our pets like they’re family, so we wouldn’t want them suffering through tasteless, unappetizing meals. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that we want to taste their food! Thankfully, there are some ladies and gents employed as pet food tasters who make sure our pets’ food is as healthy and delicious as it should be and haul in between $34,000 and $117,000 a year for doing so!
8. Live Mannequin
Getting paid $100 an hour for a job that won’t land you in jail seems too good to be true. Luckily, working as a live mannequin is legal and does indeed pay $100 an hour. Not so luckily, the job involves standing perfectly still for long periods of time, which is quite a feat for most human beings, considering our declining attention span. That’s probably why the pay is so high. The job requires individuals with a lot of stamina who don’t get bored easily – in other words, not us!
People hired as human statues are sometimes required to interact with customers, but the majority of their shift involves simply standing completely still for a solid hour until they change positions and do it all over again. Businesses who employ human statues say that they have opted for hiring live mannequins to replace plastic ones because they tend to attract more attention. For anyone who is able to sleep standing up, we suggest you apply for this job right away!
9. Pet Psychologist
Tired of Rover chewing up your sneakers and peeing on your tomato plants? Maybe he needs therapy. Luckily, there’s a job for that.
Much like human psychologists, pet psychologists attempt to understand bad behavior from the perspective of our beloved pooches. When medical conditions have been ruled out by veterinarians as the root cause of a pet’s unusual actions, psychologists who are specially trained in animal behavior are called in to work alongside the owner and help make Rover’s behavior more manageable.
This appears to be the highest paid of all strange and unusual jobs, as pet psychologists make, on average, $80,000 per year! The salary seems to be commensurate with the job requirements, as pet psychologists are required to have a Master’s degree, a Ph.D., or a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine as well as certification through the Animal Behavior Society. It certainly takes a lot of preparation, but getting paid $80,000 a year to work with cats and dogs all day? Sign us up!
10. Snake Milker
Those of you looking for a career that involves testing death on a daily basis, look no further! You can apply for a job as a snake milker. The reason this insanely dangerous job exists is because snake venom is an extremely sought-after substance, as it is frequently used for scientific research and is utilized in the creation of many antivenins and medicines that help with strokes and tumors.
Milking a snake requires manual skills and, more importantly, undoubted fearlessness; one slip of the hand, and it’s all over! However, the satisfaction of saving lives through snake venom extraction must outweigh the danger associated with the job, as there are countless individuals employed as snake milkers who are willing to risk their lives to milk the poisonous creatures.
Anybody crazy enough to work as a snake venom extractor receives, on average, $3,000 a month! You know what they say: nothing ventured, nothing gained!
Some of these jobs probably seem like a perfect scenario. Getting paid to stay in bed all day? Where do we apply?! But others make our desk jobs seem a lot less hateful. Working on spreadsheets every day seems a lot more pleasant (and less disgusting) than eating cat food or milking a venomous snake! The next time you feel unhappy at work, just imagine wading through a pool of alligators to earn your paycheck.
Know of any more strange jobs not listed here? Let us know in the comments section below!