1. I work in QC (Quality Control) for media.
In one company they occasionally paid me to watch porn to make sure it was in sync and in good quality for video on demand distribution.
In another company I spent years watching movies before release in secure theater-like rooms, to make sure the files are ready for distribution (subtitles and audio in sync, no picture corruptions, stuff like that). I always got to watch the biggest movies of the year in a giant screen weeks before they were released (sometimes months!).
I got the job by going to film school.
2. I spend about 80% of my day designing those large overhead signs you see on the highway.
3. I design water parks. I went to college for Graphic Design and Advertising. In my last year I had to do an internship, so I took one at an aquatic engineering firm to help organize photos. 10 years later I am a project manager and create resort deck and water park programs.
4. My boyfriend is a high rise window cleaner. There are only 4 in our city. He loves his job! Sometimes when he is working, I will go to the city to the building he is cleaning and look up at him on the street. So cute.
5. I used to work on a lavender farm! It’s totally unrelated to my field of study and incredibly difficult in terms of manual labor, but man was it a beautiful place. I tended to the plants, took care of goats, and did processing for the herbs and honey. My grandparents are farmers and so I grew up with mediocre knowledge of field work and beekeeping and when a friend’s mom decided to start a business centered around lavender she asked me to help out for the summer.
6. You know when you’re watching a sports program and you see the little pop-graphic in the corner (ie. a baseball players stats, or an advertisement for easy-mac, or “stay tuned for Saved By the Bell @ 9!”)? Yeah. That was me.
7. I work in a lab where I raise moths! I got it by telling my lab partner that I love bugs and he hooked me up.
8. I’m a chyron operator. I trigger motion graphics on live TV. I was an art student and also was in stage crew in high school. These things got me jobs backstage in theater, which got me a job in TV doing normal stuff like cameraman and stuff like that. Since I was an art major I asked if I could do graphics and they let me on the weekends, and my specialty eventually turned to the chyron which ingests the graphics that artists make and plays them back through the switcher that controls the news broadcast. It’s not technically an art position but at my job specifically I could make the graphics in after effects and photoshop during the day (if I have a computer free) and in the afternoon I play the chyron. Usually you are one or the other, because chyron operators don’t need art skills, it’s just another tech job like audio operator or camera operator or stage manager or whatever. These kinds of jobs are getting rarer because they are being automated. But since I’m also an artist I get to keep my job because if someone leaves I can take their job.
9. I used to be a hand model.
Apparently I have really really good looking hands. Although they look completely normal to me.
People were always asking me how I got into it so it was fun to bullshit people I was “discovered” on the street, now I moisturize 15 times a day and sleep with my hands in plastic bags….
The money was great but I’d have to spend long days on set being careful not to wreck my manicure. (Which they paid for of course! Also paid for the time it took to get the manicure.)
Mostly did TV commercials.
Now I tell people at parties I’m a retired international hand model but gave up show business for the much more worthwhile and rewarding career of teaching kids to read….
10. I’m a Hostage Survival Trainer.
I was working in international development within IT, and was asked to go and sort out the finance system in Iraq back in 2007. The ministry I was working in got attacked by a militia and myself along with my 4 guards got captured.
Over time the guards were killed and I got released in an exchange deal after being held for over 2.5 years.
11. I spent a year on a team reclassifying the Duke University Library system from Dewey Decimal to Library of Congress. Had to learn like four different alphabets just to label them properly.
12. Official court stenographer. I type everything everyone says in court. I was told about it in high school and thought it sounded cool so I went for it. Took 5 1/2 years in college, but I’m nationally certified to type 260 WPM and regularly push above 300 WPM in court.
13. Cameraman for Live PD. Went to film school to make movies then slowly worked through Ice Road Truckers, Ax Men, Boston’s Finest, and Nightwatch. Found out I have a perfect blend of art and athleticism that can be hard to find.
14. I make whiskey. It took a shit load of time, luck, skill and perseverance to get where I am.
15. Stagehand. I set up everything from huge concerts and Broadway shows to small private events and interviews. It’s a wonderful job and I love the people I work with.
16. I was a puppeteer for many years and I actually got that job from an ad in the classifieds. It cracks me up that there is a scene in Being John Malkovich where he tries to find “puppeteer” in the classifieds and fails.
17. I have been an online Community Manager for over 20 years.
I started in video games and moved into technology companies. I’ve worked on everything from Star Wars to telecommunications networking equipment and software that help companies move data fast.
It started as a hobby. I was a web developer so very fluent with the web. Started a fan site and grew up it large. Moved on to volunteer for another game company who eventually hired me full time.
18. My parents are escape artists and escape consultants. My dad started as a magician doing birthday parties as a teen, then got really into escapes, then became the #1 guy designing and consulting on escapes for famous top magicians.
19. I have a job tracking rodents in restaurants. I set up cameras, movement sensors, IR sensors and other gear, and get an idea of the problem and how to fix it.
20. I used to cut pictures of weewees and hohas off packaging of adult toys. All day every day. I got the job by being able to pass a drug test.
21. I mix fire retardant for fighting wildfires. A lot of people know that airplanes drop retardant on fires but don’t think about the millions of dollars of infrastructure that is behind that operation. Everyone who works at my base started by working at the local ski resort. It’s a good way to earn enough money in the summer to coast all winter so we keep the jobs among fellow ski bums.
22. In the summer I guard and clean the toilet units (not the toilets) for festivals. I got the job trying to find a cheap way to go to the big festivals and this organization was looking for volunteers.
So all I have to do is stand in front of the units, make sure the ground stays clean, everyone had toilet paper and clear a block of units so the cleaning team can do their job.
Another part of the job is making sure no one dies or passes out in such a unit. You can’t imagine how many drunk (often naked) people we need to get out of these units and escort them to the First Aid.
23. I’m a potter. I used to be the manager for a museum art school, and began taking classes there years ago. Eventually transitioned into being a full time potter and pottery teacher.
24. I work as an Air Traffic Controller. Not weird but not many of us around.
I pretty much fell into it after passing an aptitude and it’s just been swell since.
Albeit, the classic phrase from strangers: isn’t that the job with the most suicides?
It might be, but I don’t know anyone. It’s actually super chill and rewarding when you get it right. (We always try get it right, but when you get it super right you’re dead pleased.)
25. I’m a welder. But what I do isn’t very common. I build Virginia Class Submarines.
26. Water Quality testing. I go around and collect samples for various testing to ensure the water meets the state standards. I got lucky and met someone who was volunteering at my previous job and she told me to apply. Was not the direction I saw my career going but it was definitely worth it.
27. I cleaned grills for super rich people in Palm Beach. Even got to clean Michael Jordan’s at one point. And it was recommended to me from a friend who was in sobriety with me after I got clean.
28. I’m a House Manager for a family of four, basically I’m a female butler. I’ve worked for them for 14 years starting as the kid’s Nanny, they’re my second family pretty much! I organize trades people, holidays, birthdays, daily meals, dinner parties, housekeeping, the list goes on… It’s challenging at times but keeps me on my toes and I enjoy that.
29. Concrete petrographer. I just started this month. I studied geology in college and now my job is to look at concrete using petrographic methods I learned at school and conduct ASTM tests to determine quality of concrete. Very interesting work because concrete is engineered rock and there’s A LOT more to it than you think.
30. I work in a clinical lab where I get to play with baby sweat for a bit of my day. We are testing for chloride level. Increased chloride in sweat is one of the diagnostic markers for cystic fibrosis. I am a clinical laboratory scientist. Not all clinical labs perform this test but I am lucky enough to work at a lab where we do a couple interesting low volume tests.