Monday, April 30, 2012

What Some People Do For Money - A Look Into Some Bizarre and Odd Jobs

Photo credit: ngould
Have you ever thought about what extremes you would go to for money?  I mean, is there a particular sum of money that would make you do something a bit (or a lot) crazy?  I am not talking anything illegal like murder or selling yourself.  I'm talking about things that are legal and legitimately loony.

What if you really needed a job?  Does needing to provide for your family make you take a job that you wouldn't ordinarily consider?

Well here are some...let's say...interesting choices for employment that you might not have known were available:

1. Armpit Sniffer - Seriously.  You know how deodorant companies brag about how much odor their products eliminate and/or prevent?  Someone has to test those claims. Professional sniffers are well trained to understand everything about the human body and the role of the sweat glands. A single sniffer is said to sniff around 60 armpits an hour and they take three sniffs per pit to assess the intensity of the body odor, all the while using their clipboards to note down offensive odors on a scale of 1 to 10. (source)

2. Breath odor evaluator - Similar to the armpit sniffer, these people test the effects of products like toothpastes, gum, mouthwashes, and mints.

3. Beer Tester - These people littler taste and spit out beer all day long to examine new flavors and varieties.

4. Video Game Tester - Every little boy's dream.  These people sit around 8 hours a day, 5 days a week playing and replaying games testing for glitches in the game play.  I wonder if these people are at all interested in playing their own games when they get home.

5. Gold Ball Diver - Those water traps on the golf course would fill up quickly if someone didn't get in there and retrieve those balls from time to time.  So people suit up with a mask, tank and flippers and dive (not so) deep to reclaim those balls. Although this may sound like a dream job (some make between $50K-$100K a year), it doesn't come without hazards including broken glass, fishing lures, barbed wire, alligators, snakes, and deadly algae.

6. Furniture Tester - Did you know that there are professional couch potatoes? Yep - there are some people who get paid to sit on furniture and tell you just how comfortable is it.

7. Foley Artist - These people work for the entertainment industry. They take everyday products and create sound effects for film, radio, and TV.  You've seen those TV shows where in a recording studio someone is using a sheet of aluminum to make the sound of thunder or something similar - these people do that professionally. But they do much more.  They add in all of that ambient noise that really isn't there (or not clearly captured) during filming - the sound of rain, the wind, the street noise. 

8. Gum Buster - This is one that I did not realize had it's own name attached to it.  These are people who are contracted to remove gum from public settings - park benches, stadium bleachers, picnic tables, lamp posts, etc.  Although this sounds unappealing, with a pair of gloves, I bet you could get used to making money doing this pretty quickly.

9. Animal Reproduction Assistant - Okay, so this isn't the name of the two jobs that fall under this category, but I wasn't going to add the name of one of them to my search engine results.  Let's just say this: often in the world of farming you have to help animals mate when Mother Nature is not moving things along naturally.  You have to - um - handle the bulls in such a way to obtain their contribution to the process.  And then you have to add it to the cows so that little baby cows can result. That's the simplest way I can explain it - I think you get the idea. If not, go google it on your own because I'm not going into any further details.  Farming can be a rough job.

10. Chicken Sexer - Baby chicks are divided into males and females while they are still little and yellow and fuzzy.  This is because their diets are different depending of whether they will be used as egg-layers or dinner. So it takes someone some serious investigation that involves squeezing the poop out of the chicken and then looking for a bump inside their little booty to tell whether you have a little guy or a little girl chick. Sounds just strange.

I have to say that I've never had a particularly strange job, but during one assignment as an engineer intern I had to do a time study on a custodian. That means I had to follow him around his tasks for 8 hours timing how long it look him to do each task with a stop watch. It was completely mind-numbing.  I had a friend who, also as an engineer intern, had to measure length, width, and depth as well as the location of each pothole in a parking lot and plot them out in precise detail to determine the wear and tear of the asphalt in the company parking lot.

What about you?  Have you ever had any strange jobs?  Do you know of any not mentioned here?  Please share with us all!


  1. No strange jobs and I will give those you have listed a miss!! My job may not be quite as exciting, but I don't mind in the least after looking at that list!!

  2. I've heard of some of these although some are new to me also (beer tester!). My best friend just became a vet and she would tell me about a reproduction course they took where they had to "help" the dog when he was in heat or when she would have to help cows reproduce. It's definitely not something I ever, ever want to do.

  3. @Joluise - These make my job sound boring - yet comfortable. =)
    @YPF - Yeah, of all of the "yuck" factors in some of the others, I think "handling" a bull would be my last choice.