Choosing a career that you’re expected to stay in for the rest of your working life can really put the pressure on you. After all, you want to make sure that you do something that you’ll love. But what if you’re not able to find that dream job of yours among all those conventional and boring professions like lawyers, teachers and doctors?
Well, if you’ve got a thing for all things strange and weird, then you might want to consider pursuing an unusual career – and we’ve got some ideas for you. Here are the world’s 20 weirdest jobs you never thought existed (but actually do)!
1. Pet Psychologist
I hate to be the one to ruin that image in your head of a dog lying on a couch and talking about how his master told him he was a ‘bad boy’, but that’s not exactly what pet psychologists do. What they actually do is provide their services to owners who are facing difficulties with their pets by correcting behaviours and identifying triggers for those behaviours.
Money: Pet behaviour counsellors (which is a fancy way of saying ‘pet psychologists’) earn between £15,000 and £50,000 per year in the UK.
2. Professional Queuer
Let’s face it: everybody hates queues, whether that’s waiting in line at the supermarket, your local Starbucks or for the release of the latest iPhone. Naturally, someone found a way to cash in on people’s aversion to queues and their FOMO (fear of missing out), and professional queuers (people who will wait in line for your wants – for a fee, of course) are now a thing.
Money: Professional queuers typically get to set their own rates. One man named Charlie reportedly made $1,500 (£1,132) for waiting in line for 100 hours for the iPhone 5 launch back in 2013.
3. Cat Catcher
As the owner slave of six cats, I have enough first-hand experience to know that getting a cat into a pet carrier is no easy feat. Fortunately, there are people who can do it for you, keeping you injury-free in the process – but I’d still sleep with one eye open if I were you.
Money: Jordana Serebrenik, who is considered to be the world’s first professional cat catcher, charges clients $80 (£60) per cat.
4. Bed Warmer
There’s nothing worse than getting into bed with freezing sheets of ice, and the English aristocracy of yesteryear agree. After all, they pretty much invented the human hot water bottle – servants who were dispatched to their masters’ beds to warm them up for when they retired to their chambers for the evening. The idea seems to have since caught on, with hotel chain Holiday Inn announcing in 2010 that they would start offering free five-minute bed warming sessions to guests.
Money: A young Russian woman by the name of Viktoria Ivachyova provides a similar service, charging £65 per night or £1,350 per month.
5. Live Mannequin
You guessed it – these professionals make a living by standing as humanely still as possible in a shop window while donning the latest fashion trends. Sounds creepy but it’s admittedly a really smart way for businesses to get people to notice their products.
Money: On average, live mannequins make $100 (a little north of £75) an hour.
6. Fake Wedding Guest
Weddings are real-life milestones to spend with your actual loved ones. But what do you do if you don’t have many friends to invite or if your family disapproves the wedding and refuses to attend? Well, you hire actors to pose as phoney friends, colleagues and relatives, of course!
Money: One Japanese company charges £127 per fake wedding guest. For an extra £64, you’ll get a heart-tugging speech and a good old song or dance for another £32.
7. Professional Bridesmaid
Speaking about weddings, a lack of wedding guests isn’t the only thing you need to worry about for your big day: frazzled, distracted or otherwise incapacitated bridesmaids can also be a problem. The solution: a professional bridesmaid who is able to take control.
Money: Jen Glantz from Manhattan, New York charges $1,500 (£1,132) for wedding coordinator duties and an additional $500 (£377) to act as a bridesmaid.
8. Professional Mourner
Let’s face it: sometimes the departed were complete and utter a**holes when they were alive. So, it’s only natural that not everyone attending their funeral will be very sad to see them go – but what’s a funeral without a little wailing? Enter the professional mourner who will, among other things, cry, wail and even throw themselves at the deceased’s coffin.
Money: You can typically hire out your mourning services for about £45 for a two-hour ceremony.
9. Human Scarecrow
This is exactly what it sounds like – though, thankfully, you don’t have to stand in the middle of a field for hours on end. You get to sit, instead, though you will need to chase off avian trespassers.
Money: Human scarecrows can make up to £250 a week.
10. Crisp Inspector
Considering our love for salty snacks, it should come as no surprise that professional roles have been created to ensure crisps are to the highest quality possible. These professionals spend their days making sure oversized and overcooked crisps don’t find their way into packets, while also enjoying the occasional nibble.
Money: Quality assurance managers, which include crisp inspectors, make on average £23,000 to £55,000 per year.
11. Water Slide Tester
When it comes to strange but fun jobs, this one surely takes the crown. As a water slide tester, you’ll be tasked with rating slides on things like adrenalin factor and how much they splash. Though training is minimal, you will need to be a good swimmer.
Money: As a water slide tester, you could earn up to £20,000 a year.
12. Dog Food Tester
When researching jobs for animal lovers, dog food taster may not exactly be what you had in mind. But bear with me for a second: we want the very best for our pooches and that includes the food they eat. So, what better way to make sure only the best food makes it to their bowls than to taste it for yourself?
Money: On average, dog food tasters make about £20,000 per year.
13. Deer Urine Farmer
Deer urine. Not something you would normally think about. Or deer urine farmers, for that matter – people who collect and sell Bambi’s pee to hunters for a living. And yes, they are a thing. Buyers use the urine, marketed as deer hunting scent, to attract a poor, unsuspecting deer and – BAM – venison streak with stroganoff sauce!
Money: A single deer can pee $93,000 to $303,000 (£70,291 to £228,978) worth of urine every year.
14. Sex Toy Tester
Most professionals have an office filled with books, important documents and the like. What they usually don’t have is a collection of sex toys. Then again, most professionals aren’t sex toy testers – people, mostly women, who are hired to test-drive dildos and what not for adult companies.
Money: Earlier this year, a vacancy at LoveWoo offered a salary of £28,000 (plus unlimited holiday).
15. Sexual Care Worker
Another sex-related job, sexual care workers are basically the social workers of sex. Originating in Japan (where else?), these pros are trained to help the disabled ‘finish’. No actual sex involved, though – workers get the job done with their hands.
Money: One company charges about £23 for 15 minutes, £36 for 30 minutes and £63 for a full hour.
16. Professional Snuggler
If you love to cuddle or in desperate need of an emotional connection, you can hire out a professional snuggler’s service to, well, cuddle you. While it does sound a little strange job to do (okay, it sounds really strange), professional snugglers help their clients improve their lives by boosting their self-esteem.
Money: As an independent professional snuggler, you can charge what you want. However, most professionals in the field typically charge between $40 and $100 (£30 and £75) per hour.
17. Professional Tea Taster
This very British-sounding profession is not as easy as it appears. It takes about five years to train the palette to identify the flavours of each blend, and you spend your workday sampling around 300 cups of tea a day. Okay, that actually sounds like fun.
Money: Salaries for new recruits in the tea tasting business start at around £25,000 per year.
18. Golf Ball Diver
Head over to any golf course and you’ll be surprised to see how many golf balls end up in ponds and lakes. Naturally, golf club owners just leave them there – instead, they hire someone to dive into the ponds and retrieve the balls.
Money: A man named Glenn Berger has reportedly made over $1.5 million (£1.1 million) over the course of his career diving for golf balls.
19. Sewer Flusher
Sewer flushers, admittedly, don’t have the best job in the world – it’s actually kind of gross. But the truth is someone’s gotta do it. These guys are responsible for getting rid of blockages from sewers, which are mostly caused by cooking fats and oils.
Money: Like I said, not the best job in the world but the salary isn’t bad. Sewer flushers make about £45,000 a year.
20. Crime Scene Cleaner
Speaking about gross jobs, here’s another, which completes our list of the 20 weirdest jobs in the world. Crime scene cleaners do just that: clean up after crime scenes like murders and suicides. In other words, there’s usually a lot of gore and blood involved. This one is definitely not for the fainthearted!
Money: Although a grim job, it’s also one that pays well: between $35,000 and $80,000 (£26,427 and £60,405) per year!
Can you think of any other weird jobs that sound like a work of fiction but actually exist that deserve to be added to this list of unusual professions? Also, would you consider making a career out of mourning at funerals, collecting deer pee or testing sex toys? Join the conversation down below and let us know!
Meanwhile, don’t forget to check out our list of the worst jobs in the world!
Salary information is based on data compiled and published by various online sources, including the National Careers Service, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook and Unum. Currency conversions are based on rates supplied by XE.com on 17 November 2017.