Let’s face it; nobody dreams of a career where you sit for 40 hours a week in a small cubicle, eyes glazed over as your boss drops yet another “urgent” set of accounts in your lap. At 4.56pm. Where memos, synergy workshops and self-appraisals are about as exciting as your working day gets; and where you look longingly out of the window hoping this week’s winning lottery numbers will mysteriously reveal themselves.
But there is good news. There are careers out there that are so fun, so varied and so interesting, that there is hope for you yet! And the best part is, all of the jobs on this list are real, quantified, well-paid professions.
So if you’re thinking of making a change, or you’re unsure of what to do after university, make sure you check out this list of the most fun jobs in the world:
1. Stunt person
Setting yourself on fire, jumping off high ledges and deliberately crashing a car at high speed? Yes, we’re starting this list off with one of the coolest jobs. These activities are the day to day norm for professional stuntmen and women, a role where you will never be short of excitement.
It’s a tough gig to land though. While there is no formal education or path to take in the US, you must hold a Screen Actors Guild (SAG) card, which can be a challenge in itself (the UK is slightly different – you must be a member of the Joint Industry Stunt Committee (JISC)). Then it becomes a case of getting your foot in the door somehow, usually via existing contacts and relationships with those already in the industry.
Realistically, you need a wide range of skills and qualifications in active pursuits (such as skiing, rock-climbing, motorcycle licenses and martial arts) to be taken seriously, and even then luck can play a large part (such as if you physically resemble an actor). But if you can make it, be prepared for a thrilling life of high-adrenaline rushes in exotic locations with Hollywood stars. Better than the 7am commute to Slough, right?
2. Ben & Jerry’s Flavor Guru
Yes, that’s correct – you can get paid to eat Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. One such “guru” is Chris Rivard, a food scientist with the Vermont-based company. Aside from testing and tweaking the flavours, Rivard is also responsible for discovering new ones. “We go on small ‘trend treks’ in different cities to see what’s new in the food world” he says. “Jasmine ice cream with salted seaweed in the heart of Tokyo really gets the creativity flowing”.
You need more than an enthusiastic affinity for Chunky Monkey to get on board though. As a minimum requirement, candidates for this role would need a bachelor’s degree in Dairy Science, Food Science or a related field, as well as experience in the food manufacturing industry, project management, and – of course – a tolerance of dairy products. You’d also need to relocate to Vermont. But it’s all a small price to pay to travel the world, and be responsible for creating the flavours that have accompanied a million break-ups and Bridget Jones marathons.
3. Private island caretaker
This one probably depends on your definition of fun. For some people, being isolated on a small island by yourself is akin to a nightmare, but for many the freedom of having an entire island to yourself – especially in a beautiful natural location, such as the Great Barrier Reef – is a dream come true. If you’ve got a passion for the outdoors, then it is likely this could be the job for you.
Of course, it’s not just about taking long walks and becoming one with the natural world though. As the caretaker aspect of the title suggests, you’ll actually have to take care of things; this means you need to demonstrate qualifications and experience in a wide variety of areas, such as electrics, plumbing and general maintenance. Structures on the island will need to be preserved, gardens will need to be landscaped and weather damages will need to be repaired; all the while your resources will be limited and your amenities will be restricted.
But if you enjoy a challenge and you’ve had enough of the political and social turmoil of the 21st century (and who hasn’t?), then there’s no better place to get away from it all. Just don’t forget to pack a decent stash of Pop Tarts.
4. Video game tester
Getting paid to play video games might sound like it’s too good to be true, but it’s a real and valued job. In fact, as the video games industry continues to grow, the skills and services of experienced and competent video game testers are in ever more demand.
It’s not as easy as it sounds though. You’re not playing the game for enjoyment, but to find bugs and defects. And once you find a bug, you work with the development team to fix it. As a result developers are less interested in your Level 55 Prestige on Call of Duty, and more interested in your soft skills, such as communication, self-motivation and your attention to detail.
Although you don’t need any formal qualifications to become a video game tester, knowledge and experience of software development will work in your favour (it is also mandatory if you want to progress further into the industry in a design role).
As the popularity of microbreweries and craft beers continues to grow, it seems that every self-respecting hipster with a beard and flannel shirt has got his own brand. It’s good news if you’ve ever fancied working in a brewery too, with the industry adapting to various economic and cultural trends to put itself in a strong position.
It’s not just a case of turning up and testing the goods though. In both the US and the UK, many breweries (although not all) require some form of scientific or engineering education due to the meticulous and potentially dangerous brewing process. Alternatively, you can get yourself a position “flipping kegs”, which usually pays minimum wage and is physically demanding work, but – if you demonstrate the aptitude and attitude – smaller breweries will train you on the job and promote you from within.
So if you enjoy the process, the smell and, of course, the taste of beer, this could be your idea of fun.
6. Professional zombie
With The Walking Dead reviving the zombie genre (get it? Reviving?), a whole host of undead-themed attractions and events have been spawned. As a result, there is now a demand for professional animators to don make-up and costumes and get paid to scare the living daylights out of the paying public. Various theme parks – including Universal Studios in California, and the London Dungeon – employ such people, as do full-time activities companies like Slingshot, who run a “real life” zombie chase game.
You don’t need any qualifications, but you’ll need stamina; Alex Noble quit his finance job in 2015 to become a zombie (a sentence I thought I’d never write). “I do training in the gym to keep up with it,” he says. “You have 600+ people sprinting around at full pelt for 3 hours and you can’t break character at all”.
So if you want to be involved in something that is only slightly more terrifying than a “corporate responsibility audit” – and could actually come in handy in the event of a real zombie apocalypse – then give it a try!
7. LEGO designer
Playing with LEGO is the very definition of fun for a lot of people. While most of us don’t get the opportunity to play with it anymore (unless you have young children, in which case you can “help” them build the models), there are a select few whose job it is to get creative with the famous blocks.
Lasse Lauesen is one such individual. While his degree in computer engineering and automation is a requisite for his role, he was originally noticed by the Danish company through his passion for developing and displaying unique builds. If you are good enough – and creative enough – you get noticed too; LEGO offer sponsorship to enthusiasts all over the world.
If you want to take it one step further and follow in Lauesen’s footsteps, you’ll need to negotiate the notoriously difficult recruitment process. Across two high-pressure days in LEGO’s hometown of Billund, candidates are given increasingly tricky time-sensitive tasks where they are in direct competition against other candidates. If you are successful, children all over the world will be recreating your designs though – and that’s a lot of fun for everyone.
8. Race engineer
If you have a technical mind and a background in engineering or mechanics, then there aren’t many careers as cool as this. Travelling the world, rubbing shoulders with VIPs and being part of a dynamic and exciting industry; what could possibly go wrong?
Well, aside from the exhausting hours (especially on race weekends, where you might work all night to fix a particular issue), the incredible pressure during races (where one nanosecond of doubt can cost the whole team), and the fact that the driver usually takes all the credit and glory for your hard work, not a lot.
The pay is good though, the prestige and status of the job will impress your friends, and on the occasions where you are not too tired to party, the lifestyle is hugely glamorous; what’s not fun about that?
9. Disney character
If dressing up as a zombie isn’t your thing, maybe you can tone it down a bit and dress up as your childhood memories instead. Disney is always auditioning for actors and animators for their theme parks, cruises and live shows across the US – and what’s more fun than pretending to be a real-life Elsa or Pocahontas all day?
It’s not without its downsides though. An anonymous former “Belle” at Disney World Florida claims that workers are underpaid (although perks are good), conditions are harsh, and princesses are “disapproved” if they gain weight or their skin is not flawless. She also alleged that she was not allowed to wear a coat in winter as the photographs she was posing in with customers “sold for 30 per cent less” than if she was in her dress.
If you can put up with that (as well as the greeting quotas, the fitness routines and the “creepy dads”), then you might find this an enjoyable role.
No matter what your passion is – be it food, movies, or water slides – you can get paid to indulge that passion by becoming a critic. Film critics for example get to see movies for free (usually before anyone else), while food critics eat at top restaurants and get treated like royalty in the hope of getting a good review.
The good news is you don’t necessarily need a formal education or background either, although the most respected critics can back up their opinions by demonstrating considerable education and/or experience in the field they are critiquing. If you are a good writer and can judge things objectively, then these are the key skills required to get started.
11. Bomb disposal expert
Let’s get one thing clear straight away – this is not everyone’s idea of fun. Far from it, actually. It’s incredibly dangerous, with a high mortality rate and an even higher training failure rate. Its complex, challenging and one lapse in concentration will cost you dearly; yet these very reasons are what undeniably attracts so many to the job. It is after all the ultimate adrenaline rush.
It’s also a difficult job to get, with the most defined path being through the Armed Forces. In the UK, this entails joining the Army as an Ammunition Technician, where you will become an expert in ordnance; with the right rank and experience, you can then apply for the relevant specialist courses (there are also equivalent roles in the RAF and the Royal Navy). In the US Army, you can apply directly as an EOD Specialist.
You should have an aptitude for chemistry, algebra and physics, as well as the ability to think quickly and clearly under pressure. If a high-adrenaline lifestyle of defying death on a daily basis is preferable to a 9 to 5 as an insurance clerk, then this may just be the job for you. Just don’t say we didn’t warn you!
And that’s it! We would all like a little bit more fun in our jobs (we do spend our entire adult lives working after all), and sometimes that means making the jump to another field. But as the list above can testify to, there are downsides to every role, and what may appear fun from the outside can quickly become tedious or repetitive. Even eating ice cream for a living. And travelling the world looking for inspiration for flavours. And playing with LEGO all day….
(Okay, I may be wrong on those ones!)
Are you lucky enough to have one of the jobs in this list? Let us know what the reality is like – leave us a comment below…