If you spend 40 hours a week doing something, shouldn’t you make sure that it’s something you love? New jobs are created every day, and some of the most popular jobs in our current time didn’t exist 20 years ago–some of them will even have you asking: “they actually pay people to do that?” Here are 10 interesting jobs you’ve probably never considered.
10. Professional Gamer
Roll your eyes–this one seems to be on every kid’s list of things they want to be when they grow up (it was definitely on mine!). However, back when I was young, the career options seemed limited to video game tester and reviewer. Nowadays, though, you can get paid to play. Most people automatically think of pro gaming and e-sports in this context, and with the highest-paid professional gamers in the world earning between $226,776 and $454,544 in 2013, it’s easy to see why. What’s not kept in mind, unfortunately, is that like most pro sports, you have to be damn good.
The good news is that you can completely suck and still make money gaming. Twitch has allowed for monetized streaming of live gaming, and many like Imaqtpie or Scarra make good money off of it. While it probably wouldn’t fit the lifestyle of the casual gamer, diehard acolytes can make a living doing what they love.
- White Hat Hacker
Maybe you’re into the tech side of things, but you’re not a gamer. Perhaps you watched The Matrix one too many times as a kid and wish you could spend your life as a hacker in a dark room with lines of code spilling down your multiple screens–and perhaps you’ve always been morally conflicted because hacking is illegal. Good news: real hackers actually spend their time in well-lit rooms! Oh, also, you can get a legal job as a hacker.
White hat hackers, also known as ethical hackers, get hired to hack their client’s sites and then show them how they did it. Imagine hiring somebody to break into your house, and then having them tell you what you need to do to bolster your security. White hat hackers basically do this, but with websites. According to Payscale they make a median annual salary of $71,221, so if you fancy yourself a modern day Neo, follow the white rabbit–er, I mean your dreams.
- Freelance Coding, Writing, Singing… Everything!
This was a hard one to pin down, but the world economy’s digitization means that if you have a skill–coding and writing are the first examples that come to mind–you can market it. You don’t have to be a writer or coder to freelance, though. Websites like Fiverr mean that you can you can make money with graphics and design, video and animation, music and audio, and they even have a “fun & lifestyle” section.
There are plenty of online marketplaces where contractors and clients come together, but the ease with which one can build a website and social presence nowadays makes the digital market accessible to all. In fact, freelancing has become so popular that in most countries they make more than the average worker at a median annual pre-tax salary of more than $39,000. By maximizing returns and adhering to the right freelance tips, they can keep a good chunk of that change after taxes too.
- Professional Photographer
Perhaps this is one of those that fits well under “freelance anything,” but I wanted to make the point of bringing it up to highlight just how many ways you can dabble in photography. This is because anybody with a smartphone and an Instagram account is essentially a photographer, and able to make money at it if they so choose! Drone photography is big now too, and if you’re a drone operator with a good eye you can charge between $150 to $450 hourly.
Lastly, if you’re not the creative type but you still like capturing images, you might consider donning the lab coat and taking pictures through a microscope or x-ray generator. These types of jobs are more practically in demand and boast higher payscales, with electron microscope technologist and radiologic technologist, making an annual median salary of $86,704 and $57,510 respectively.
- Professional Crowd Participant
Some people would rather be part of the crowd than photographing it–but getting a job just to be “part of crowd”? Who knew such a profession existed!
The idea of “crowd-for-hire” made headlines in 2015 when it was revealed that then-presidential candidate Donald Trump had offered actors $50 a piece to cheer for him on the day of his announcement. The darker side of politics shows that these types of crowds are more commonplace than you’d think, with firms dedicated wholly to making gatherings appear bigger and more energetic.
On the flip side, for those who like to be part of a more somber crowd, there’s always Rent-A-Mourner, a U.K.-based business that will send “professional, polite, well-dressed individuals” to a funeral to make the deceased appear more popular. If it sounds in poor taste, just remember that professional mourners have been around for a long time in other countries.
- Disneyland Character Actor
If acting as a political participant or a public mourner isn’t really your style, maybe an acting gig at “The Happiest Place on Earth” is more your style. Working as a Disney Princess or Prince at Disneyland or Disneyworld is a legitimate job, full of shenanigans and all (reference this Reddit AMA for all of the dirty deets!). It’s important to remember the harsh realities of the job: you have to have the right body type, meaning that if you’re a 5’ nothing” that weighs a buck 30 sopping wet, you probably won’t be getting cast as Hercules, and that you’ll have to spend a lot of time in makeup everyday. Still, if you’re gravy with all that, you can work in a temperate climate with crowds of happy families earning around $27,000 a year!
The only place to see volcano deity Te Ká from Disney’s “Moana” up close and personal is probably at Disney Land–but if you’re looking to see the real Te Ká up close and personal, you’d probably be interested in becoming a vulcanologist!
This is type of profession for more thrill-seeking careerists, as vulcanologists study the formation and activity of volcanoes in their current and historic states. These brave individuals are regularly gathering rock and lava samples and often find themselves on the mouths of both active and inactive volcanos. Fortunately, all of that risk pays off, with this profession netting an average of $90,890 a year.
While studying molten lava flow and rock formation on the mouth of a volcano might sound awesome to some, others might prefer a less… harrowing profession. Glassblowers might not work with molten lava or rock formation, but they do experience the heat while creating wondrous pieces of work from molten glass.
The history of glassmaking and glass blowing runs deep–all the way back to the 16th century B.C.–and the practice is used to create everything from artwork to manufactured goods like wine-glasses, vases, and other vessels. Glass makers operate in a variety of different industries, but the standard glass blower, molder, bender, or finisher can look at an average median salary of $29,630.
- Feng Shui Consultant
Not everybody has the skills to make the decorations that fill up your room, but some know how to arrange them juuuuuust right. Feng shui is an ancient Chinese philosophical system of harmony, and is referred to popularly when judging the flow of energy through a room based on how it is organized.
Feng shui consultants refer to ancient charts and ask pointed questions about their subjects’ personal lives before determining how best to organize a room, meaning that this job requires you be one part interior decorator, one part personable interviewer, and one part historian philosopher. While some might consider this profession nonsensical woo woo, the national average that US homeowners spend on feng shui consultations is between $609 and $1,084. Even on the low end, you could do one consultation a week and still be making more than $24,000 a year.
- Professional Cleaner
Arranging rooms to optimize natural energy flow isn’t everybody’s jam, but once that room is set up just right, some people have a knack for keeping them that way. This might sound weird, but some people love to clean. Personally, I hate it–but if you think of all of the things you hate to do and could imagine you liked doing them, you’d realize you can make a lot of money doing things other people don’t wanna do.
Whether it’s cleaning windows on the outside or dusting up on the inside, you can make a good chunk of change if you run your business right. If you love cleaning but the standard mess doesn’t sound exciting enough for you, you could always get into the crime scene cleanup business. CNN money says that you can end up making between $75,000 and $80,000 in bigger markets, but remind the reader: “No guts, no glory… but don’t expect much in the way of glory.”