So a few years ago I found myself on the job meat market after spending a while in the military. I hit up the usual places looking at the usual categories and found myself sifting through the usual jobs. Sales rep. Fast food shift supervisor. Part time tutor for five year old genius. The typical and boring role call every job seeker wades through.
Before long I had developed a complete dislike of the job market. It seemed like every job out there was designed by faceless suits whose entire goal was to choke the fun out of the workplace with a standard issue necktie. “Where,” I kept asking, “are all the interesting jobs? Who is advertising an opening for something that will turn heads at parties or become a best-selling autobiography?”
Eventually I did find a job, and it proved to be a pretty decent one. It doesn’t turn heads at parties, and it isn’t exactly going to land me any movie deals, but it pays the bills, and I do enjoy what I am doing. I do find myself wondering, though, what might have happened if, back then, I had been aware of jobs like these:
1. Soccer Coach
Okay, this one may not seem all that unusual. There are plenty of parents out there coaching their kids’ soccer teams on the weekend. It is not, however, something most people would think about making a career out of.
They probably should. Bruce Arena coaches the L.A. Galaxy, one of America’s fifty or so professional soccer teams. His team netted around $44 million in 2012 and has an overall valuation of $170 million. Across the pond his equivalent for Germany’s Bayern Munich team earned $24 million as coach last year.
With that much money floating around, soccer dads looking to cash in are going to want to be able to list more than “city league champion, pewee division” on their resume. Serious coach wannabees should probably invest in a program like a Master of Recreation and Sports Sciences – Soccer Track. Even if it lands you a job as head coach of a local community college instead of a contract with Manchester United, it’ll still turn far more heads at parties than mentioning you’re a public accountant.
2. Video Game Cartographer
Believe it or not, this is a real thing. A very lucrative real thing. Video games were worth $63 billion this year, and cartography is very much a part of the industry.
Just ask Kate Edwards. After obtaining a degree in Geography and a certification in Cartography she spent a while working for Microsoft. This included time spent applying geography to the PC and Xbox development programs within Microsoft Studios.
Not content to simply help others make games, this geographer turned around to found Geogrify. A consulting firm specializing in video games and digital cartography, she has worked on gaming titles like Dragon Age, Star Wars: the old Republic, Halo, and Age of Empires. Back in December Eurogamer declared her to be one of the top six influential people of the year in the gaming industry.
Anyone wanting to follow in Edward’s footsteps should probably get started by studying Geographic Information Science.
3. Freelance Librarian
Okay, what in the world is a freelance librarian? Someone who gets paid to come into your home library to shush your eight year old?
A freelance librarian is someone who puts their knowledge of all of the resources available in libraries large and small, public and private, to research for busy professionals. A doctor attempting to research a rare disease, for example, may not have the time to find every obscure reference out there while still working with patients. As such she may find it more economical in terms of both time and money to simply hire a freelance librarian to do the legwork to find all the relevant material.
One example of a freelance librarian would be Jessamyn West. The Library Journal has named her one of the Movers and Shakers of the library world for her outspoken stance on the protection of library visitor’s records and her political advocacy calling for the free access to controversial topics as part of a democratic society. She has protested against the PATRIOT Act’s warrantless search of library records and made headlines in promoting the librarian as an agent for social responsibility.
Freelance librarians can best learn their profession by seeking credentials in Library Science.
4. Astronautic Pharmacist
Tina Bayuse took what many people may consider to be the most boring medical job in the world and made it stellar. She literally took pharmacist work and made it into rocket science. As an employee of Wyle Laboratories in the first decade of the 21 century she worked as the primary pharmacist for NASA. As such she worked directly with the flight surgeons at NASA to research the effects medications had on the human body in space, determine what emergency medical kits should include during space missions, and figuring out what changes need to be made to medicine to make it viable in space.
“Space Medicine requires a different way of thinking, since what works on the ground might not always work in space,” Dr. Bayuse commented during an interview back in 2002. “For example, you cannot pour cough medicine onto a spoon and take it in space, like you would if you got sick here on Earth.” Armed with her knowledge of medicine and ability to think non-conventionally, she was able to literally create the position she occupied at NASA. She pointed out issues like that with the cough medicine while interning at the Pharmacology Lab at NASA and soon found herself NASA’s first full time pharmacist to the stars.
If you’re looking to turn heads at parties by announcing you medicate astronauts, the best place to start would be the same place Dr. Bayuse did and study for a Pharm.D.
5. Diplomatic Security Agent
Okay. If you really want to be the person who sells your life story to someone wanting to make a Hollywood blockbuster, you need the full Hollywood background. Exotic locations, international intrigue, guns, a little beefcake on your arm… The works.
Joyce Ann Reed happens to fit that bill perfectly. The exotic location was Kenya, a place most people go to on Safari. The international intrigue was a plot by Al Qaeda to attack the U.S. Embassy, where she was employed. The gun was actually a bomb. And the beefcake was her security agent husband, Worley. After the bomb was detonated the two leapt into action, securing the facility, leading search and rescue efforts, and helping to evacuate casualties. For their actions the two earned the State Department Award for Heroism and, doubtless, a future movie starring Jennifer Anniston and Ryan Gosling.
See also: 6 Grossest Jobs
Of course, most of us are actually not well suited to particularly exotic or unusual careers. Some of us lack any athletic talent, tolerance for freelance budgeting, and really would rather not face off against a Hollywood Villain. For the rest of us, the above list looks like a good start for our employment bucket list.