Not everybody can land their dream job — there are only so many openings for astronauts and pro athletes out there, after all. However, that doesn’t mean you have to spend your entire career inside a cubicle.
For a select few, there are some incredibly bizarre jobs out there. Some look like a blast while others are just downright gross, but hey, someone’s got to do it. Which ones would you be willing to apply for?
1. Body Painter: Finally, a use for your art degree! These talented painters create mind-boggling designs to turn the human body into a true work of art. Best of all, their subjects usually don’t even have to bother putting on clothes.
2. Panda Handler: Pandas are awesome, but they have a little bit of trouble when it comes to mating. So among other responsibilities, handlers have to, ahem, help out the critters before they feel ready for a night of romance. It’s like being nature’s third wheel.
3. Subway Pusher: As bad as your rush hour may be, it has nothing on peak times in Tokyo. Its subway system gets so crowded, that specialized workers called ‘Oshiya’ cram as many passengers into train cars as possible. But hey, at least they wear spiffy white gloves while they’re shoving you!
4. Professional Mourner: Worried that nobody will show up at your funeral? Don’t sweat it. Even if someone scares off all their friends and family in life, they can hire mourners to attend their memorials and make a very big show about how sad they are.
5. Professional Cuddler: Do you give the best hugs? If so, you might have a bright future ahead of you as a pro cuddler. People in need of affection hire these comforters to provide non-sexual contact for up to $80 per hour. Now that’s a pay rate worth embracing!
6. Pet Food Taster: All animals love eating, but unfortunately they can’t describe what they like about their food. That’s why pet food companies have humans on staff to sample the kibbles and bits and provide feedback. It might sound demeaning, but at least they’re allowed to use silverware — we hope.
YouTube / What’s Good at Trader Joe’s?
7. Rental Boyfriend: Dating is hard. So why bother finding a long-term significant other when you can just rent one? Japan offers multiple boyfriend rental services, which provide companionship at an hourly rate. Surprisingly, their main clientele are middle-aged housewives.
8. Armpit Sniffer: If you’re really low on dough, you can start a promising career in smelling strangers’ armpits. Deodorant and perfume companies pay sniffers good money to test out the effectiveness of their products.
9. Water Slide Tester: This position would make quite a splash on your resume. Waterpark manufacturer First Choice employs testers to try out their rides all over the world. Unfortunately, they only have one on staff at a time, so don’t hold your breath to land in this talent pool.
10. Alpaca Shaver: This one might get hairy. Expert barbers shear dozens of alpacas in a single day so that their fleece can be used for clothing and bedding. For an added bonus, the shaved alpacas look like they’re part of a 1990s grunge band.
Flickr / Selbe
11. Electric Shock Distributor: Drunk people will always do stupid things, so you might as well make some money off them. In Mexico, men called ‘Toques’ offer bar patrons a grip on a small box that sends an electrical shock up their arms. Some people believe it helps you sober up, but we wouldn’t recommend it.
12. Professional Stander-In-Line: If you have a lot of patience and free time, then this is the perfect job for you. For crowded events or big product releases, shoppers can hire proxies to hold a place in line for hours and hours.
13. Reality Show Stunt Tester: Before reality show contestants dig into any gross eating challenges, these events need to be thoroughly tested. That’s where these brave folks come in! The best part is, they never have to pack a lunch.
14. Personal Shopper: Need help spending your money? Many stores in China sell knockoff products, so consumers take assistants with them to determine what’s real and what’s fake. And let’s be honest, they probably do all the heavy lifting too.
15. Flavorist: This is the type of mad science we can get behind! These chemists spend their days in a laboratory creating both natural and artificial flavors to add to food. Imagine being able to taste a hamburger just by sipping a little bit of liquid.
YouTube / CBS News
16. Slot Machine Music Composer: Even though playing the slots rarely works out, they have a way of drawing us in with all the lights and sound effects. Because each type of machine has its own theme and music, dedicated composers write jingles to keep people distracted from all the money they’re losing.
17. Pick-Up Artist Coach: Having trouble with the ladies? For a fee — sometimes as high as $3,000 — there are pick-up instructors available for hire. They will teach you how to flirt, act cool, and dress like a movie star.
18. License Plate Blocker: When traffic became overwhelming, Iran implemented a policy where on certain days streets were only open to cars with license plate numbers ending in even or odd numbers. Busy businessmen, however, hired people to cover their plates so cameras couldn’t catch them breaking the new law.
19. Professional Sleeper: If you’re always getting in trouble for sleeping on the job, then you might want to fire off your resume to a nearby hospital. Doctors carry out various sleep studies, which require paid volunteers to do little more than snooze the workday away.
20. Bicycle Fisherman: Amsterdam is filled with bicycles and canals, and that often proves to be a bad combination. After cyclists enjoy too much of the local flavor and veer off the road, a crew will arrive to dredge up the bike. They rescue about 14,000 bicycles each year!
Flickr / Ernst Kers
It’s hard to believe that these strange jobs actually exist. Which one do you qualify for?
Share these bizarre career paths with your friends!