The 40 Weirdest Jobs You Wouldn’t Believe Are Real

Mind blown.

Reviewed by Chris Leitch

Worker looking for weirdest jobs

Across the Atlantic, in the European Union, one third of all workers report using digital devices, such as computers, for the majority of their working hours. Over here, an analysis by the National Skills Coalition has shown that more than 90% of all jobs now require digital skills.

So, all in all, you could say that, on this part of the globe at least, most of us have regular jobs where we sit around and look at screens a lot.

But what about that smaller percentage of people who continue to resist the status quo? What about those who don’t have to deal with a soul-crushing daily commute, annoying colleagues and frustrating software and machines? Because those people do exist!

Since you’re curious, here’s a list of the 40 weirdest jobs in the world, should you ever consider giving up your 9-to-5 for something a little less conventional.

The strangest jobs in the world

1. Paranormal guide

Paranormal Guide strange job

Earning potential: $30–$40 per hour

So, it turns out that Ghostbusters isn’t just a Halloween movie hit, after all. It’s a real job that people have. As a ghost hunter, or paranormal guide, you earn your living guiding groups of people around abandoned mansions, castles, hospitals and prisons, and seeking out paranormal activity.

2. Snake milker

Earning potential: $2,000–$5,000 per month

Snakes obviously aren’t mammals, so that’s not the kind of milking we’re talking about here. Snake milking refers to collecting venom from these fearsome, limbless reptiles, so that antidotes may be developed, saving thousands of lives every year.

3. Pet psychologist

Earning potential: $52,000

Although there’s a lot that we don’t know about the millions of species that cohabitate the planet with us, scientists (and non-scientists!) generally agree that animals can and do experience emotions like we do.

House pets, in particular, who have evolved to trust and live alongside us, do sometimes show signs of depression and anxiety, manifesting in unusual behaviors such as the loss of interest in their favorite activities. Pet psychologists are there to diagnose that and offer suggestions as to how to make things better.

4. Dog food taster

Weird dog food testing job

Earning potential: $45,000 per year

There are approximately 90 million pet dogs in America. And, as far as we know, none of them can speak — so the only way to know whether or not they like their food is to, well, sample it ourselves.

We jest; as any pet owner will tell you, a cat or a dog won’t hesitate to show their distaste for a meal. Instead, pet food testers are primarily there to evaluate the nutritional value of pet food. Sometimes, sadly, that also entails tasting it.

5. Feng shui consultant

Earning potential: $50–$400 per hour

For anyone who doesn’t know, “feng” means wind and “shui” means water. And so the art of feng shui refers to the interconnectedness of human life and its synchronicity with the environment that surrounds it.

Experts in feng shui base their practice on this principle, guiding people on how to arrange their homes, gardens or even offices so that the energy forces in that space exist in harmony.

6. Odor sniffer

Earning potential: $48 per hour

Imagine arriving at your job interview only to discover that the antiperspirant you bought recently is utterly useless, and you’ve now got big sweat patches on your shirt as well as a mild smell to you.

If you’re lucky, the team of scientists (and odor sniffers!) behind your products won’t do you dirty like that. They’re tasked with ensuring that deodorants, perfumes and other cosmetic products smell nice and last for as long as they claim to last.

7. Professional cuddler

Earning potential: $40–$80 per hour

Studies have shown that physical touch and intimacy can boost our wellbeing, since they lead to the release of oxytocin, a hormone that regulates stress and promotes feelings of wellness.

However, some people are so lonely that they don’t get to experience that closeness in their day-to-day life — unless they hire someone to cuddle with. Thus the demand for professional cuddlers arose, offering a sort of pick-me-up to people who are lonely…

8. Intimacy coordinator

Strange Intimacy Coordinator job

Earning potential: $1,100 per day

Have you ever gone on a date so awkward that you still think about it years later? Wouldn’t it be great if a deux ex machina could come out of nowhere and rearrange the whole scene, making it better?

That’s sort of what intimacy coordinators do, but for movies, series and advertisements. (Sorry, no one can come to the rescue on your real dates yet!) They offer advice so that love scenes and romantic moments are filmed in a way that makes them powerful and keep the actors safe.

9. Movie watcher

Earning potential: Variable

It’s true: some people get paid to watch movies and series. Though somewhat rare to come by, Netflix has a role titled “editorial analyst”, which entails watching, rating, tagging and annotating their shows. Dream job, or what?

10. Professional mourner

Earning potential: $30–$120 per event

Also known as moirologists, professional mourners originated in Egyptian, Mediterranean, Chinese and Near Eastern cultures. They are people who get paid to lament the loss of a life, provide comfort to the family of the deceased, or deliver eulogies.

11. Professional bridesmaid

Earning potential: $21 per hour

You might want to mentally prepare for this: professional bridesmaids make an average of $21 per hour… And up to $2,500 per wedding. That’s right.

Their responsibilities include helping the bride pick out the perfect dress, arranging the bachelorette party, creating a wedding registry, and working with the venue and vendors to ensure everything is as perfect as can be.

12. Iceberg mover

Earning potential: $25 per hour

This job is just what it sounds like: you get paid to play Tetris with icebergs.

When an iceberg is in the way of a shipping route, these professionals come in and relocate it using tugboats and cranes to keep ship passengers and crew members safe.

13. Dog surfing instructor

Weird dog surfing instructor job

Earning potential: Variable

If you’re not a dog owner yourself, you’ve probably met plenty of them by now; you know they want to do everything with their furry friends! So, it should come as no surprise that some pet owners want to teach their dogs how to surf and catch some waves together.

Dog surfing trainers begin by improving the pet’s obedience, and training their balance and strength on land first, slowly moving into the water.

14. Professional mermaid

Earning potential: Variable

Wait a minute. Do mermaids really exist? Well, perhaps professionally. These professional mermaids typically perform at parties and events, and create experiences to keep their audiences engaged and entertained.

As self-employed individuals, mermaids can set their own hourly rates; take Linden Wolbert who would charge up to $6,000 per appearance!

15. Face feelers

Earning potential: $25 per hour

Also referred to as sensory scientists, these professionals use their hands to judge the effectiveness of products like lotions, cleansers and razors. It requires some training, but it can be a great way to make some extra cash on the side.

16. Professional cat trapper

Earning potential: Variable

Not everyone likes cats. But, usually, those who do are completely smitten with the creatures. So, if you consider yourself a cat lover, this could be a great job for you.

Essentially, you’ll be called to trap feral cats who don’t seem to think much of humans and like to cause trouble in people’s gardens, sheds or garages. (More than domesticated ones, that is.) Typically, these cats will be taken to a vet, neutered and rereleased if they can’t (or don’t wish to) be taken in.

17. Professional queuer

Professional line stander strange work

Earning potential: $25 per hour

A professional line stander will do exactly what the job title states: wait in line for other people.

As our routines get busier and more demanding, many working professionals (and particularly working parents) no longer have the time to wait in line at the bank or the post office. This is all the more true during major events like Black Friday or new product launches, such as iPhone releases.

18. Fortune cookie writer

Earning potential: $55,000 per year

If you’re a writer you can choose the “starving artist” path, the unglamorous “I write for a marketing agency” path, or something more lucrative: a career as a fortune cookie writer. These are in-house or freelance writers who come up with those cryptic, faux-wisdom type of messages that go inside fortune cookies.

19. Reindeer minder

Earning potential: Variable

Many outdoor Christmas-themed events, from markets to fairs, have a corner dedicated to reindeer. But these fabulous herbivores obviously don’t travel there by themselves; their herders have to load them onto massive trucks and travel long distances with them, keeping an eye on them during the day as well as the night, to ensure they’re safe and sound. (And behaving!)

20. Human statue

Earning potential: Variable

Though you might not expect it, performing as a human statue is a job that pays quite well! Indeed, posing as a live mannequin draped in paint or garments can pay handsomely: $60–$100 per hour for standing very, very still.

21. Golf ball diver

Golf ball diver weird job

Earning potential: $200 per day

Have you ever wondered where all the golf balls go when they land in water? Because they certainly don’t stay there forever. Golf ball divers are hired to retrieve these golf balls, and return them to the grounds to be cleaned and used again at a later date. So, if you enjoy swimming, this is a strange job that could be great for you.

22. Dinkey operator

Earning potential: $45,000 per year

You may be wondering what on Earth a dinkey operator is. Well, their job is to work with dinkey engines — mostly within the rail industry — operating power controls and levers to transport timber, coal and rock.

23. Airplane painter

Earning potential: $45,000 per year

An airplane painter is responsible for refreshing the paintwork of old aircraft with new designs, and also polishing airplanes. People can make around $45,000 per year doing this, and yet it’s no easy job: you stand on your feet a lot, carrying heavy equipment and tools all the while.

24. Bounty hunter

Earning potential: $44,000 per year

Although you might associate bounty hunters with the Old West, they still exist. These days, they’re known as bail enforcement agents, and their job is to capture and return fugitives or wanted criminals for a bounty.

25. Ice rink hand holder

Ice Skating

Earning potential: $35,000 per year

During the winter months, and around the holidays especially, ice rinks get an influx of visitors. To keep everyone safe, ice rink attendants are hired to monitor the ice skating crowds and, in some cases, hold people’s hands. That’s right: if you choose this job as an additional source of income this Christmas, expect a lot of hand-holding.

26. Online dating ghostwriter

Earning potential: Variable

According to Statista, there were 366 million online dating users worldwide in 2022 — a number that’s projected to grow to 440 million by 2027.

Given the staggering amount of people looking for love on the internet, it’s no surprise that some people noticed the great potential in that. The potential for business, that is.

Indeed, online dating ghostwriters help users create profiles that present them in the most interesting and favorable way possible. The salary, of course, depends on the individual’s marketing and writing skills, but you can make as much as $2,000 per client.

27. Professional drying paint watcher

Earning potential: $27 per hour

Have you ever had a job that was about as fun as watching paint dry? Well, there is a profession out there that actually involves watching paint dry. You might want to remember that next time you complain about your job being boring!

This job basically requires you to paint walls and other surfaces, and observe closely what happens to the color and texture of the paint while it dries, and how long that takes. It takes exceptional attention to detail and focus!

28. Paper towel sniffer

Earning potential: $52,000 per year

Let’s be honest: the deciding factor for you when purchasing rolls of paper towels probably isn’t their aroma. But there are still people out there who get paid to ensure that manufacturers produce high-quality products without a putrid smell.

29. Fake wedding guest

Fake Wedding Guest strange job

Earning potential: Variable

When a friend announces they’re getting married, your first instinct is typically to express joy. When that excitement subsides, however, you remember all the expenses that will come with it: getting to the venue, buying an outfit, giving the lovebirds a present…

Well, some people not only keep their savings intact when attending weddings, but also profit from doing so! We’re talking about paid wedding guests, who attend events to make the crowd seem bigger and livelier.

30. Adult toy tester

Earning potential: $25 per hour

Adult toy testers are hired to test prototypes and new products to determine whether they are effective, visually appealing and safe to use. They’re also often required to provide written reviews to encourage potential buyers to make a purchase.

31. Professional sleeper

Earning potential: Variable

Yes, you can get paid to catch Zs! Mattress manufacturers hire professional sleepers to test their products for comfort. In addition, many sleep-related studies will compensate you for sleeping on demand. Not only that, but hotels sometimes also need people to come in and ensure that their rooms provide the right conditions for relaxation and a good night’s sleep!

32. Fine dining chef for dogs

Earning potential: Variable

You’ve heard of fine dining chefs, but did you know some restauranteurs employ chefs to cook exquisite meals for pups? That’s right — places like Dogue, a San Francisco-based pawtisserie, are all about preparing delicious meals for dogs using fine ingredients.

33. Bereavement coordinator


Earning potential: $69,000 per year

Did you know you can make a full-time job out of helping people navigate the loss of a loved one? Indeed, bereavement coordinators take on a diverse range of tasks, from arranging funeral services to providing grief counseling. As a result, they work closely with professionals from many fields, including medical staff and insurance brokers.

34. Train pusher

Earning potential: Variable

This isn’t a person with superhuman strength who pushes a train along its tracks; rather, it’s a train station attendant that, during rush hour, has to shove people further into the (overly crowded) train so that the doors may close properly. Can you guess where in the world a job like this might be needed?

It’s Japan! Referred to as oshiya (literally meaning “pusher”), these train station attendants have to cram as many people as possible into the coach and ensure no limbs are sticking out the doors when the train is taking off.

35. Bicycle fisher

Earning potential: Variable

How’s this for an unusual job? Waternet, the agency responsible for keeping all 165 of Amsterdam’s canals clean, is often tasked with retrieving sunken bicycles from the water.

In a city that’s got some 800,000 bikes and very strong winds, you can see how bicycle fishing is a very real and very needed profession.

36. Algae scientist

Earning potential: $73,000 per year

You’ve heard of astronomers, who study celestial bodies, and of geneticists, who study heredity. But what about phycologists?

Of all the things on Earth and in the cosmos, phycologists study the minuscule organisms that go by the name algae. Though it looks like green goo to the average person, these organisms play a massive role in the food chain as well as the production of oxygen on a planet-wide scale.

37. Water slide tester

Water Slide Tester

Earning potential: $28 per hour

When a hotel or waterpark first installs a new slide or ride, someone has to ensure that it’s safe to use. Enter the water slide tester! The only typical requirements are that you’re 18 years of age, love a good adrenaline rush, and have great attention to detail so you can notice and report potential hazards.

38. Underwater pizza deliverer

Earning potential: $25 per hour

Have you ever heard of a scuba diving pizza delivery guy or gal? Because there is such a thing!

Jules’ Undersea Lodge, an underwater hotel in Key Largo, Florida, employs scuba divers to deliver pizza to its underwater patrons.

39. Ethical hacker

Earning potential: $107,000 per year

Many people associate hacking with crime. Hacking, however, can often be a good thing!

Ethical hackers are experts in cyber security that can be hired to uncover vulnerabilities in computer systems. To do this, they use the same techniques and tools that criminal hackers do — except they obviously have permission to exploit said vulnerabilities!

40. Chief listening officer

Earning potential: $77,000 per year

Although this role sounds like it should entail walking around the office asking people things and listening actively, maintaining strong eye contact and giving the occasional fist bump or elbow bump, that’s not what a listening officer does.

A chief listening officer is usually part of a company’s marketing department and their job is to “listen in” on conversations about the company on social media. That way, crucial information can be passed on to the company’s decision makers and enhanced customer support can be provided.

Watch our video about the world’s strangest jobs!

Final thoughts

So, are you interested in making a career change or earning a few extra dollars a month?

These may not be the most glamourous employment opportunities, but some of these weird jobs either remain in demand or are beginning to become lucrative endeavors, particularly for lazy people! Be it feeling faces or standing in queues, there is always some avenue to explore to earn a living.

Have you ever considered changing careers to something quite bizarre? Let’s see who has the weirdest job!

Originally published on November 22, 2017.