Greeting Card Writer Do your friends tell you you always know just what to say? Do you thrive on updating your facebook and twitter status with succinct yet clever banter? Perfect, you’re hired! Do like Sandra Miller-Louden, and get your ass into the greeting card industry. Unlike that cutie in 500 Days Of Summer, it doesn’t have to involve an office and a cubicle (but may involve Zooey Deschanel look-a-likes, if you play your cards right).
Trivia writer Do you kick some serious ass at any trivia night you attend? Maybe you crush at Trivial Pursuit? Get on board with local quiz nights, online trivia sites, and larger scale competitions (Jeopardy!?) and show off your freaky knowledge while getting paid.
Who says there’s not a job to match your interests? Go out, have fun, and make money doing it. It’s sure beats cubicle hell.
Whiskey Maker Colum Egan has a degree from the University of Limerick in Southwestern Ireland and was developing quite a nice engineering career when he fell in love. He was living in London at the time and the woman who would later be his wife was from a town in Northern Ireland, 12 miles from the Bushmills distillery. He wound up moving there and got a job at Bushmills bottling and mixing whiskey for five years before he had the opportunity work with the master distiller, a job that ultimately became his. One of the most challenging parts of his job is that any new whiskey they create still has to have a Bushmills taste beneath it — smooth, fruity and vanilla, a little floral and slightly spicy. And then there's figuring out how much to produce. “The weird thing is, it just takes so long to make,” Egan said, explaining that whiskey stays in the barrel anywhere from three to 20 years or more. “You have to try to make an educated guess on how much we’ll be drinking in 20 years time!”
Fake Executive If you're a white guy in China and you own a suit — Congratulations! You're hired. There’s an odd trend brewing there, where companies hire fake executives from the U.S. and other Western nations to attend events, give speeches and generally just to give that appearance in the community and in the business world of that connection with the western world. “You’d be amazed how often this happens,” said Mitch Moxley, a freelance writer living in Beijing who was paid $1,000 a week to be a fake businessman for a high-tech company building a factory in Dongying, five hours south of Beijing. “After our company ‘director’ finished his speech and was posing for a photo with the mayor, I remember having this ‘I can’t believe they bought that’ sense of accomplishment — like a teenager who successfully lies to his parents about smoking,” Moxley said. “It was pretty funny.”
Fairly known to everybody. You watch movies all day and rate them. Nice and simple. Popcorn, nachos and drinks are company provided and unlimited. People with this job most likely don't have a TV set in their homes.
Luxury Car Tester
Somebody has to test these fancy cars before shipping and that could be you! Your task is to take luxury cars on test drives. If the company policy allows you to drive the car on the city roads, then giving the wrong impression is just perfect.
Not for the faint hearted but awesome job nonetheless. Getting paid for jumping at 10,000 ft while others have pay for it is not bad at all.
Bacon Entrepreneur Wesley Klein's great entrepreneurial "aha moment" struck one morning two years ago while he was pouring maple syrup over a plate of French Toast and bacon. "The mix of sweat and salty was overwhelming," he says. Klein, who at the time was making six-figures working at Best Buy—a company he had dropped out of college to work for 15 years before—decided to research bacon-centric offerings in New York and found there was none. That's when he got the idea to leverage his years of experience in retail to launch Baconery, a restaurant where, according to Klein, "It's all bacon all the time." "I've always loved bacon and breakfast and wanted to bring the two together," Klein says of the creative spark behind Baconery, which first launched online in 2011 and later opened its first brick and mortar store at 911 Columbus Avenue in November 2012. And the store, by his accouny , is doing well. With signature menu items like the Babe—bacon, egg and cheese—and the Wilbur—bacon, avocado, lettuce and tomato—the Baconery has attracted native New Yorkers and visiting tourists whose hankering for bacon knows no bounds. "Bacon's hot," says Klein. "It was hot two years ago, and it's even hotter today."
Underwater Photographer Since he was a boy living in Rio de Janeiro, Daniel Botelho enjoyed going out on the water. But it wasn't until he was out diving one day at 17 that he discovered his sense of amazement at what he found beneath the surface. "What moved me to pick up a camera was the desire to share those images with people," he says. While Botelho studied photojournalism at PUC in Brazil, he says that his true education was going out on the water and trying to take new and interesting photographs each time. "I learned much more from life than I ever did at university," he says. "There are no universities teaching what I do." What he has done for the past 15 years is establish himself as one of the most sought-after nature photographers in the world. He regularly works for National Geographic and Walt Disney, and has had his work published in publications from the Telegraph in London to the New York Times. While he says he enjoys the challenge of capturing images that have never been taken before, Botelho says it's the communion with the animals of the deep he most savors. "What I love in my job is the contact I have with sharks, whales, being out at sea," he says.Advertisement
Vacation Tester Something happened when Noelani Schilling-Wheeler enrolled at the University of Hawaii over two decades ago that's often happens when outsiders discover the beauty of Hawaii and its people for the first time: she didn't want to leave. Originally from Malaysia, Schilling-Wheeler, who studied finance and marketing before switching over to marketing and tourism management exclusively, hasn't looked back since. "Where better to get into that industry than here in Hawaii?" she says. As the Senior Director of Sales and Marketing for the O'ahu Visitors Bureau, Schilling-Wheeler and her staff are responsible for test-driving some of the island's most desirable offerings, vetting them for prospective visitors from all over the world. "To do my job well, I definitely need to be able to walk the talk," she says. "I've got to go out and experience the destinations." Still, while the opportunities her job affords her to take advantage of a place she calls "paradise," Schilling-Wheeler says the most fulfilling part of her job is building bonds with the community and leveraging her connections to craft vacation experiences that are pleasing to visitors as well as respectful of the island's rich traditions. "It's hard not to love a job like this," she says.Advertisement
Ice Cream Taster One of the sweetest jobs around, for which John Harrison -- Official Taster for Edy's Grand Ice Cream -- is living proof. And if you think this work is all fun and games, guess again because his taste buds are insured for one million dollars. And when asked if he actually gets paid to taste ice cream, he answers, "Yes, I really do! It's a great job, from Vanilla all the way through to Spumoni..." Dig in!
Mystery Shopper Break out your plastic and start spending other people's money. You may not even realize it, but the guy next to you trying on those new Nike Prestos might be a so-called mystery shopper. If your girlfriend spends all her free time shopping and drags you along every time, then why not make some money in the process? Click here for more info.
Club Med G.O. Basking in the sun in exotic locations like Turks & Caicos islands, Playa Blanca and Varadero can sound like a dream job to many, and it actually is for the thousands of G.O.'s (Gentils Organisateurs, in French) in the many Club Med resorts worldwide. Although you will likely follow non-conventional working hours and you must always have your happy face on, it makes for a great vacation at work. You won't get rich by doing this, but you'll meet scores of interesting people and get a nice roast in the meantime.
Note taker for college courses Love being in school, but always wished you could get paid to go to class? Now you can. Get your education on their dime. Brilliant.
Stand-in bridesmaid Is your favorite month August because it’s the month when all your friends decide to tie the knot? You know it means tons of open bar, pickup opportunities, and time to reflect on exactly what why you never got married in the first place? Do you look great all gussied up and love meeting new people? Pimp yourself out as a stand-in bridesmaid, and you’ll be laughing (though hopefully not at the bride, who didn’t have enough real friends to do the job – she is your boss, afterall).
Pyrotechnician Setting off fireworks is usually something little boys get in trouble for, but Jim Souza is one of the lucky few adults who gets paid to detonate explosives. Souza is actually a fourth-generation pyrotechnician and his family business, Pyro Spectaculars, puts on the Macy’s Fourth of July fireworks and about 400 other shows throughout the country. He gets to travel all over the world looking for new and exciting fireworks and says he still gets goosebumps when he hears the crowd’s reaction. “I’ve designed the show to go off a certain way to create certain moments and feelings. When you hear the oohs and ahhs from the crowd — you know you’ve nailed it,” Souza said. He’s got a degree in small business administration and marketing from the University of Portland. He trains others in the art of pyrotechnics at Pyro University.
Director of Golf It sounds like a made-up title — like chief television officer or domestic beer engineer — but Jerramy Hainline (left, high-fiving pro golfer Se Ri Pak) is proof that “director of golf” is a real job. He works for Hilton Worldwide and his job is to oversee all of the sales and marketing for the company's nearly two dozen golf courses. And that means he gets to play golf at these resorts, located all over the world — be it with journalists, famous golfers or sponsors. “You have to play the product,” Hainline explains. How did he land this dream job? He played golf professionally for three years and met a general manager from Hilton who convinced him to teach golf at one of their resorts. It was so successful they started to create other schools under the “Hilton Golf Academy” brand. He moved up the ladder and now he's the "Director of Golf." He has a degree in finance from the University of San Diego.
Perfect job for food lovers. Your task is to dine in the city's classiest restaurants and report your findings in terms of food quality and service. Not only you will be eating for free, but you can also forget about those annoying family dinner gatherings.
Hotel Bed Warmer
This is not a joke. Recently a hotel in London offered a unique service to its guests by which one their staff will lie down on the bed for five minutes to warm it up before the guest goes to his/her room.
Comic Book Publisher Josh Blaylock's been a fan of comic books since he was 8-years-old and his father had a subscription to Conan. Today, Blaylock, the founder of Chicago-based Devil's Due Entertainment, may no longer be staying up late at night paging through issues of Conan, but he's no less excited about comics. A graduate of the Cincinnati Academy of Design, Blaylock worked as an art director for a t-shirt company before leaping head first into comics full-time, using credit card debt to acquire the rights to stories like G.I. Joe and Voltron. "The key," he says, "is to find something that the people who own the rights to don't really understand the value of." But Devil's Due soon expanded from licensing to creating new and interesting characters of its own. For this, Blaylock credits crowd-funding with changing the face of comics in a digital age. Crowd-funding, according to Blaylock, has given artists the ability to "monetize their fan base." Indeed, Devil's Due has already sponsored three comic book projects through Kickstarter that have raised close to $100,000.
Wildlife Rescuer Damen Hurd's parents could always count on their son to bring home injured animals for them to help. The Port Huron, Michigan, native, who spent most of his childhood hiking and bird watching, always possessed a sense of wonderment about nature. That's why he skipped out on college and moved from Michigan to Florida at age 22 to apprentice at Pelican Man's Bird Sanctuary. There, he was able to learn from veterinarians and wildlife rehabilitators who seemed capable of working miracles on even the most seemingly debilitated of animals.
"I've always had a passion for wildlife but wasn't really able to pursue it until I moved to Florida," he says. "Now I deal with everything from bobcats to bald eagles to deer to snakes." For the past several years, Hurd has been a wildlife rescuer at the Wildlife Education and Rehabilitation Center—or Wildlife Inc.—where he works to first capture and then rehabilitate a host of species, helping them recover from their injuries or illnesses before returning them to the wild. "There's no better feeling than helping an animal that is injured and has nowhere else to go," he says.
Barbecue Editor Daniel Vaughn had always liked barbecue, but the Wooster, Ohio, native first fell in love with smoked meat in 2001, when a good friend welcomed him to Texas by taking him to Peggy Sue BBQ in Dallas. "The smoked flavor was intense and something that I constantly craved afterward," Vaughn says. That craving stuck with him, sparking his own blog, Full Custom Gospel BBQ, and securing a book deal. It wasn't long after starting his blog that Vaughn became a must-read for Texas's "barbecue nerds." In March, the Tulane University-educated architect, who by his own account was spending close to 40 hours a week researching and writing about barbecue anyway, was wooed away from architecture firm Good Fulton & Farrell to become the first ever barbecue editor at Texas Monthly magazine, where he blogs about everything from cuts of meat to grades of briquette. Originally brought on by the magazine as a freelance barbecue expert in 2011 after the success of his blog came to Texas Monthly's attention, Vaughn was soon made an offer he couldn't refuse.
"I tell my editor my ultimate goal is to have the name changed from Texas Monthly to Texas Barbecue Monthly," he says. Vaughn's book, "The Prophets of Smoked Meat," was published in May.Advertisement
Image Consultant Have you ever seen the Disney movie The Kid , with Bruce Willis and a child version of him? If you did, forget about the fact that it turned out to be a fairly decent flick (for a fairytale); focus instead on Bruce's career as an image consultant. It's somewhat a PR-related job, in which you're in charge of making a person look their best. From the clothes and the haircut to the cologne and watch they adorn, it's your call. "Don't judge a book by its cover?" These people make a living hoping people do. Why else do you think Madonna always looks so damn tasty?
Lifeguard Although the reality of a beach is not one with bouncing babes in red bathing suits, you have to admit that this is a nice job to have, if you can get it. Put aside the occasional mouth to mouth resuscitation, and your job basically consists of sitting ten feet above sun bathers and constantly looking for bikini-clad beauties, or swimmers in distress, whichever comes first.
Entrepreneur If being your own boss sounds appealing, then take all those great ideas you've had over the years and make something of them. Although this avenue is not for people who enjoy the 9 to 5 routine, it can make for a very rewarding career. Don't expect to cash out like all those Internet innovators, but setting up something like a specialty clothing store might be enough to secure your children's college funds.