5 Odd Jobs You Probably Haven’t Heard Of

by Alyssa Oursler | September 30, 2013 11:08 am

Jobs Newspaper Classified WantedFor most of us, going to work every morning means pulling ourselves out of bed and beginning the daily grind that will eventually turn into a paycheck.

For others, staying in bed is actually the job.

NASA is rounding up participants for a study on the long-term effects of weightlessness on astronauts bodies. What does that mean? Well, subjects will get a whopping $18,000 to remain on a special stilted bed for 70 straight days, according to ABC News[1].

Regardless of whether lying still for over two months sounds like your cup of tea, the job has definitely gotten people’s attention and made headline after headline. And it definitely falls into the “odd jobs” category.

But there are plenty of other odd jobs that don’t get quite as much attention. With that in mind, let’s take a look at five other odd jobs — some that sound awesome, others that are awful and some that are just plain weird — that you probably haven’t heard of.

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Dog Food Tester

dogfood185If you ask me, this first odd job definitely skews toward awful. While it’d be great if Rufus could nibble on his dinner and give feedback, that’s just not the way it works — and that’s why dog food testers exist.

Lucy Postin[3], for example, was recently profiled in The Daily Mail. She samples every ingredient that goes into The Honest Kitchen’s pet food, and “even chows down on the final product — to make sure it tastes just right.”

Granted, The Honest Kitchen at least has a “human grade” rating, meaning ingredients are sourced from the human food chain and produced alongside foods you and I eat.

But even other kinds of dog food need to be tasted in order to make sure unwanted ingredients haven’t slipped in and to assess quality. Just ask Mark Gooley[4]. He is the owner of a pet food manufacturer and tests doggy dental sticks, chewy bones and liver mixture.


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Line Waiter

Apple iPhoneOf all the odd jobs, this one seems to have gained popularity the most recently and most quickly. With the release of hot new gadgets from companies like Apple (AAPL[5]) have come  long lines for folks waiting to get their hands on the newest product — and naturally, the new, weird job of line waiter.

According to CNN Money[6], odd-jobs hiring service TaskRabbit was advertising for such jobs in its recent “Skip the Line” campaign centered around the recent iPhone 5S and 5C release[7]. The suggested rate was $14 per hour.

In some cases, though, this new jobs has caused controversy. In California[8], for example, a man recruited dozens of homeless folks to buy iPhones for him — a move that not only fell through and ended in fistfights, but that many advocacy groups said took advantage of people already struggling.

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Golf Ball Diver

golfball185When a golfer yells “Fore!” … golf ball divers hear money being made.

That’s because a golf ball diver does exactly what you would expect — dives into the water hazards of golf courses, and pulls up all the white, dimpled spheres that can be found.

Golf ball divers work around four days a week, collect an average of 4,000 golf balls each day and get between 7 and 12 cents for every ball, according to Alert Diver[9]. Plus, all it takes is at least entry-level certification and the proper insurance.

But insurance is a requirement for a good reason. As a Golf.com[10] profile of diver Wes Stanfield explained, there are lots of hazards within the hazards — including chemicals, bacteria and wild animals like alligators often lurking in the water.

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Human Scarecrow

scarecrow185If alligators deter you from diving for golf balls, the animals in this next odd job are a little more manageable. All you have to do is keep an eye on the birds, and then chase them away.

That’s the basic job description for human scarecrows — and it sounds a whole lot better than being paid to be a tin man.

Jamie Fox[11], for example, finished college last year and after graduation was hired to wear an orange coat and use an accordion and cowbell to chase off partridges from a farmer’s field.

According to The Huffington Post[12], workers at the Beijing Capital International Airport also work to keep birds away from the runways — although there’s no cowbell involved for that version of this odd job.

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Pet Detective

dog185If you’re looking for a good talking point, pet detective is probably your best choice of these odd jobs — all because Ace Ventura made the profession famous, of course.

But seriously, there are folks who investigate and save lost pets, beyond rescuing the Miami Dolphins mascot like Jim Carrey did. The Missing Pet Partnership[13], for example, has a team of technicians “trained in the science of how, when, and where to search for lost pets,” trained with the same techniques used to solve actual people.

Plus, there are several folks floating around in the Internet, claiming to be America’s top pet detective, including Karin TarQwyn[14] and, my personal favorite, John Keane[15] … who goes by “Sherlock Bones.”

It’s hardly surprising that this is a relatively popular profession when you consider that, beyond the fact that pets wander off and get lost, dog thefts[16] have been marching upward in recent years.

Have no fear, though — Sherlock Bones is sure to save the day.

  1. according to ABC News: http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/technology/2013/09/want-18000-to-stay-in-bed-try-nasa/
  2. Compare Brokers: https://investorplace.com/options-trading/broker-center/
  3. Lucy Postin: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2411008/The-woman-eats-dog-food-living-Female-taster-gives-dogs-dinners-human-grade-seal-approval.html
  4. Mark Gooley: http://www.news.com.au/business/worklife/people-with-the-wackiest-jobs-tasting-dog-food-sniffing-armpits-watching-paint-dry/story-e6frfm9r-1226645810509
  5. AAPL: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=AAPL
  6. According to CNN Money: http://money.cnn.com/2013/09/19/technology/mobile/taskrabbit-iphone/
  7. recent iPhone 5S and 5C release: https://investorplace.com/2013/09/apples-iphone-launch-weekend-wasnt-what-it-seems/
  8. In California: http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-using-homeless-to-buy-new-iphones-sparks-outrage-20130921,0,5069855.story
  9. Alert Diver: http://www.alertdiver.com/default.aspx?articleNo=459
  10. Golf.com: http://www.golf.com/tour-and-news/divers-make-living-diving-used-golf-balls-golf-courses?page=2
  11. Jamie Fox: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/9591140/Music-graduate-gets-job-as-human-scarecrow.html
  12. The Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/05/jamie-fox-recent-college-graduate-human-scarecrow-birds-farm_n_1943916.html
  13. The Missing Pet Partnership: http://www.missingpetpartnership.org/petdetective.php
  14. Karin TarQwyn: http://www.petdetectivesinc.com/
  15. John Keane: http://www.sherlockbones.com/
  16. dog thefts: https://investorplace.com/2013/08/5-weird-thefts/6/

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