If you ask a group of children what they want to be when they grow up, you tend to get the same catalog of answers. From dentists and doctors to the more ambitious dreams of being an astronaut, rarely do you hear a kid strive for the more niche professions. However, not everyone makes a living doing the traditional 9-to-5. In fact, there are some out there jobs that many people don’t realize exist.
While these jobs are certainly foreign to most people’s resumes, at the end of the day, someone’s got to do them.
There’s a select few may make you re-think your entire career path, but then there are others that take a very special person to want to do. Here are 24 of the weirdest jobs that actually exist.
1. Fortune cookie writer. It may be disillusioning to know that your favorite post-meal wisdom comes from a bunch of people sitting in an office writing fortune cookie quips, but someone’s got to write them. According to The New York Times, approximately 3 billion fortune cookies are made each year, which is a hefty amount of inspiring one-liners to conjure up.
2. Professional bridesmaid. Have unreliable best friends? There are actually services that exist to assist brides on their big day. These ‘undercover bridesmaids’ are actually professionals who serve as almost personal assistants to make sure the wedding and prior parties go according to plan. Being in a wedding party can sometimes feel like a job in itself so it makes sense that someone might actually make it one.
3. Water slide tester. Most of us will pay steep water park entrance fees just to ride a water slide, but there are a lucky few who actually get paid to ride them. Waterslide testers’ jobs are to ensure the safety of a newly constructed slide and also the overall fun factor. From hotels to amusement parks, this is one profession that would be hard to retire from.
4. Professional line stander. For those with patience to spare, becoming a professional line-stander may be a dream job. These people are hired to wait in line for things like product launches or concert tickets where queues can span for hours on end. It may not be the most stimulating job, but it’s a waiting game that pays!
5. Nude model. Any art school student will be familiar with the models that come in and bare all for the sake of learning. It’s a job that can pay fairly well if you’re comfortable enough to expose yourself in front of a classroom of people and stay posed for multiple hours at a time.
6. Worm picker. If you enjoy fishing then you are probably familiar with the many shops that sell worms to use as bait. Ever wonder how they get there? There are people who make money by going out, getting their hands dirty, and picking up worms to sell to shops and fishermen.
7. Professional Cuddler. Sometimes a good cuddle can go a long way, but not everyone has someone available to snuggle up to. Many people have taken on the role of professional cuddlers and will cozy on up to a stranger for an hourly rate. Almost as a form of therapy, these paid cuddlers offer the intimate one-on-one experience without the commitment of a relationship.
8. Professional mourner. Getting paid to attend a funeral service and weep accordingly is actually a tradition that has been long carried in parts of North Africa, the Middle East, and China. Even the United Kingdom has started a Rent-A-Mourner service to increase visitor numbers at funerals that may have a low expected turnout.
9. Snake milker. Snake venom is something most people will do anything to avoid, but it has proved to be incredibly useful in medical research and to produce “antivenom.” However, in order to acquire this venom, someone has to get it from the slithery source. Snake milkers bravely spend their days extracting venom into containers from dangerous serpents.
10. Chicken sexer. Chicken sexers distinguish the gender of chickens and other hatchlings. Commercial hatcheries have two gender-based feeding programs and will hire these people to differentiate the chicks. They distinguish the chick’s gender by examining the feathers or by gently squeezing the poop out of the chick so they can get a glimpse of their intestines.
11. Dog food taster. If you’ve ever felt a little jealous of what you’re serving your dog, you might want to consider becoming a professional dog food taster. Quality departments hire these people to taste test dog foods to make sure they meet a premium brand’s standards. Tasters will sample batches of dog food to judge it according to smell and taste.
12. Bicycle fisher. How many bikes end up underwater? More than you might imagine. Bicycle-friendly cities will often have to resort to hiring a bicycle fisher to clean canals and rivers of the discarded recreational vehicles. In Amsterdam alone, bicycle fishers will extract between 12,000 and 15,000 bicycles every year.
13. Gross stunt tester. You know those squirm-worthy stunts popular on reality competition shows? Well, those were already done by people who were just looking for a paycheck. Gross stunt testers are employed by the film and television industry to test the consumption of things like bugs and fluids to make sure it’s safe prior to the contestants’ turn.
14. Bed tester. Getting paid to lay in a bed? You’d think this job would have an infinite waiting list of hopefully lazy applicants, but there are many people who proudly own this title. There’s more to it than just taking a nap, bed testers check a variety of factors to make sure that mattresses and pillows are up to standard for brands and hotel chains.
15. Ostrich babysitter. An ostrich babysitter is someone who quite literally just watches baby ostriches do their thing. They can make up to $20 an hour and are primarily making sure that the baby flightless birds don’t peck each other or run off. Sounds like an easier gig than babysitting an actual baby!
16. Car plate blocker. Places like Iran have come up with strict policies for driving your car in order to help reduce road congestion. To combat this, many people resort to hiring people to simply walk behind their cars and block their license plates so that the cameras don’t pick them up.
17. Golf ball diver. Fore! Even the most skilled golfers have had their ball end up in one of the many scenic ponds throughout the course. Considering how many golf balls end up going for a swim, there are people whose job is solely to collect them. It may sound easy, but there can be a lot more lurking in those muddy waters than you might think.
18. Dice quality inspector. We’ve all played with dice at one point or another, but chances are, you never thought that someone had to inspect them first. A tiny imbalance in a dice can affect the outcome of a game, which is why dice go through a series of quality control tests by trained professionals.
19. Train stuffer. There have been many viral videos of railway station attendants literally shoving as many people as they can on trains in congested places like Tokyo. Well, that’s the job of the ‘pusher,’ a worker who helps cram commuters on the cars during the chaotic morning and evening rush hours.
20. Gumologist. Chewing gum as a profession may seem like something anyone could do, but apparently, only 10 percent of Americans have a palate discriminating enough to distinguish between the variety of flavors being tested. These gum testers play a crucial role in the surprisingly complex process of developing a new flavor.
21. Fountain pen doctor. Ever find yourself attached to a fountain pen to the point that you’d rather have it fixed than simply replace it? No? Well, apparently there’s a lot of people who feel the opposite. There are few people who actually make a living solely by fixing broken pens for people.
22. Professional apologizer. Are you good at getting people to forgive you? Well, you might want to consider becoming a professional apologizer. As bizarre as it might sound, many companies will hire and send professional apologizers to offended parties to avoid dealing with the task themselves, which doesn’t sound too remorseful.
23. Human scarecrow. Apparently, those hay-stuffed scarecrows are just not cutting it for some farmers or the birds have just caught on to the game because there have been people who have actually been hired to act as human scarecrows. The job entails spending your day in a field and flapping around or doing anything to deter approaching birds.
24. Professional theme park ride tester. If you’re a roller coaster enthusiast, this might be the dream job you never knew you had! Amusement parks will often resort to hiring professional theme park ride testers to guarantee that each attraction is safe, fun, and ready to ride. Requirements: one strong stomach.