Bored at work?
Many Americans can relate to the daily dullness of drifting out of bed and into an office of caffeine and chaos. But if you want to add some spice to your life, there is no shortage of, well, "odd" occupations.
“We live in interesting times,” said Clayton Warholm, marketing director of fabjob.com, a site that offers guidance for people pursuing their dream careers. “There have always been some strange ways to make a living, but with the advent of TV and the Internet, we are seeing and learning more every day about ways to make money that would have years ago been considered ludicrous.”
For example: If you spend most of your day daydreaming, then wake up and start sleeping on the job. Yes, you can actually get paid to be a professional sleeper.
“This has to be the most wonderful of all wacky careers,” said Warholm. “Paid to sleep? It sounds like the perfect way for a sullen teen to make some pocket money.”
This job usually involves participating in sleep research projects at local hospitals. So contact your local university and see if you can get between the sheets.
If you have a soft spot for the sack but would prefer to be wide awake, then you can earn money simply by having sex. Legally.
“I’ve been a condom tester for over a year now,” said David Wynter, a 23-year-old British engineering student. “I give the company feedback on the condom's comfort, durability and all-round performance. The job sounds ideal, but sometimes it feels like too much work and too little play."
Or maybe you'd rather just whistle at the ladies ... as a professional whistler.
"A whistler is an artist just like an actor or musician,” said Henry Brady, a 58-year-old Welsh whistling whiz. “I mostly perform classical selections from Mozart and Liszt. My profession has taken me across the world and allowed me to touch people’s hearts.”
To be a professional whistler, not only do you have to have a flair for air, but Brady warns that you have to be able to promote yourself and your skills to succeed.
And while many people spend a fortune trying to reduce their wrinkles, you can give weight to your wallet by chasing them away without surgery or skincare.
“A wrinkle chaser removes wrinkles from shoes using a special iron,” said 25-year-old Californian shoe designer, Jaime Adams. “There is quite a demand for them in high-profile shoe companies. After all, somebody has to ensure that those stilettos are as perfect as the person parading them.”
But a good pair of shoes means nothing if you stink. So who makes sure your deodorant does its job?
Get a whiff of this: You can earn your keep by becoming an odor tester. Deodorant companies hire people to make sure that their products will keep users free of funk.
And while the likes of Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton are quite often paid to party, you too can boost your bank balance by going on a "bender" in Sin City.
But before you take off on a voyage to Vegas, this job isn’t as easy as it sounds. Being a neon light bender takes years of training and a great deal of precision and proficiency. If the lights don’t have the perfect thickness and shaping, they will quickly go from brilliant to broken.
“So many jobs out there these days at first glance seem so simple,” said Warholm. “But in reality they can be quite difficult and college degrees are necessary.”
So let’s look at a job everybody wants to scoop up. Do you need qualifications just to be able to lick a cone?
“There are many universities that offer a dairy or food science degree that would provide a path toward becoming an ice-cream taster,” advised John Harrison, Dreyer’s official ice-cream taster.
“For me, ice cream is in the genes. For four generations my family has worked in the dairy and ice cream industry. Growing up, I worked at my uncle's ice cream company in Memphis and learned how to formulate ice cream mixes. It was then that I began perfecting my taste buds for ice cream.”
But it’s not all spoons and sugary swirls. When you’re in an industry as sweet as this one, the quality of the product must be exceptional, and it’s a tough responsibility.
“I look for the balance between the dairy ingredients, sugars and the flavoring material (such as vanilla),” said Harrison. "The 'Official Taster' tastes and approves or rejects every flavor produced by sampling three cartons from each run on a daily basis."
If animals animate your interest, you could make a buck as an ostrich sitter — a person who simply hangs out in a field full of ostriches to stop them from pecking each other to death.
Alternatively, you could pursue your passions as a chicken sexer. This doesn’t involve any illegal inclinations toward zoophilia; rather, one must thumb through batches of baby chicks and separate them according to sex.
Or maybe snake milking is your calling.
“Animal care specialists are employed to extract venom by 'milking' a snake’s fangs,” explained 31-year-old Australian vet nurse Sandra Smith.
“Believe it or not, snake venom is the primary ingredient in the serums that cure snakebites. Several companies around the world specifically breed snakes just to collect their venom.”
But be warned: juicing such a reptile is a dangerous duty, and has resulted in several fatalities over the years.
On a happier note, if you have a gift for giggling, then it’s time you got rich by roaring.
“A laughter therapist is an ideal occupation,” chuckled Warholm. “The world's a funny place; if more of us spent time laughing instead of fighting, just think of what we could accomplish.”
But is such a job really necessary?
“Laughter is essential to our well-being and our survival because it releases feeling and it helps us cope,” said Enda Junkins, director of Laughter Therapy Enterprises in Colorado. “Laughter brings healing and a sense of fun to everybody.”
Junkins trains aspiring amusers, and recommends that all chuckling candidates read up on the art of healthy humor.
So if you think you’ve found your forte in one of these strange yet specialized ways of piling up the pennies, how should you get started?
“Like any career, learn all you can about it. Do your homework and be willing to take a risk,” advised Warholm.