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10 Odd Jobs that Might Even Pay More Than Yours

Updated on August 26, 2015

If you have ever asked someone what it is they do for a living, the most common responses that you have probably heard are: "I spent eight years in medical school studying to be a doctor", or "I went to law school to become a criminal defense attorney". A lot of people are lawyers, engineers and teachers. But what if somebody told you that they made over $50,000 working as a "BINGO manager" or a "golf ball diver". While the doctor and the lawyer should still make more money, in some parts of the country "professional snugglers" and "pet food tasters" are making more money than people who spent four years of their life in college pursuing a degree. Here are 10 of the strangest jobs that might actually pay more than yours.

1. Bereavement coordinator (a.k.a professional bad news breaker)

Bereavement coordinators spend four years in college studying the fine art of breaking the bad news to families and friends of soldiers, terminally ill patients and other loved ones. While they may not always be center stage, bereavement coordinators are often the ones standing behind the curtain coaching others on how to deliver terrible news. It is a bereavement coordinators job to make impossibly painful situations as easy as can be for those in grieving and help minimize the anguish of losing a loved one. For an average paycheck of over $50,000 a year, these professional bad news breakers may even make more than you do, and for a job you probably did not even realize existed. However, being a bereavement coordinator is no easy task as it is a job that comes with a lot of stress and time spent working in hospitals, nursing homes and hospices.

2. BINGO manager

When you hear the title "BINGO manager", what is your first thought? If you are anything like me, you are probably remembering all those times you got to play BINGO in grade school and at school events. Or perhaps you are thinking about a room full of elderly people with one of those golden mixing balls like they use to call the lottery numbers. Well, this type of BINGO manager does not spend his days working in elementary schools or nursing homes. A BINGO manager makes over $50,000 median salary working in casinos. While this job does not require an official college degree, it does entail skills in money management and five years of "experience"--whatever that means. As a BINGO manager, your job is to maintain total compliance with gaming regulations, approve jackpots and payouts, as well as maintain budgets. BINGO managers are in charge of the staff and must answer to any customer complaints; however, for the pay and freedom from college debt, this odd job just might be worth it.

3. Golf ball diver

If you have ever gone golfing or--perhaps--just watched a movie about golfing, then you have probably noticed: A lot of people hit golf balls into the water. What do you think happens to the golf balls once they are in the water? Do you think they just stay there? The answer is no. Golf ball divers are paid anywhere from $50,000-$100,000 per year to go underwater and collect all of those unfortunate golf balls from the bottom of the pond. It may seem like an easy job, but it most certainly is not. Golf ball divers spend hours swimming through murky ponds and digging through silt, branches and soggy leaves to locate smelly golf balls. Let's not forget all of the water snakes and alligators that may be lurking in the water, depending on the location. While this job can be dangerous at times and certainly is not the most desirable, golf ball retrieval and recycling has grown to become a multimillion-dollar industry. Golf ball divers contract themselves with golf courses in return for a per-ball payment that adds up to accumulate more wealth than many people see in a year.

4. Professional cuddler

Before we go any further, it should be clarified: This is NOT prostitution. Being a professional cuddler entails no sexual favors but--rather--pays you $60 per hour to stay in your pajamas. Wouldn't you like to earn over $400 a night spooning with strangers? "Cuddlers-for-hire" offers platonic cuddling purely for therapeutic purposes. Cuddling offers physical and emotional comfort in the form of increased oxytocin--a bonding hormone--lowered stress and a reduced heart rate. Measures are put in place to ensure the safety of the cuddler, such as cameras, and all of the cuddling is done in chairs rather than beds so that there is no confusion. Despite the perceived risks of being a professional cuddler, there are both websites and mobile apps offering cuddling services that have been used by over 10,000 people. As creepy and unlikely as this profession may seem, those who are willing to take the risk get paid almost three times what some people make coming out of college.

5. Pet food tester

Believe it or not, someone has to taste test pet food. As gross as it may sound, pet food taste testers make between $34,000 and $117,000 a year for eating pet food, but there is a lot more to the job that just taste testing Friskies and Fancy Feast. Pet food testers are in charge of evaluating the nutritional value of pet food. Other tasks these workers are in charge of include writing up reports and thinking of better ways to improve both the taste and nutritional value of pet food. Animals cannot voice their opinions when taste testing food, so this is why pet food testers taste food to judge its texture, flavor and consistency. Chances are if a human cannot stomach the food, neither can the pet. Odor testing is another important part of this job as most people do not want their home to smell like trout or tuna fish. All in all, pet food testers are doing animals around the world a great service.

6. Ethical computer hacker

If you are well versed in the art of coding and hacking, you can get paid to try and hack companies' systems for an upwards of $132,000 per year. With hackers becoming smarter and more prominent, there is a high demand for skilled ethical hackers who are willing to catch any possible breaches in security. These ethical computer hackers generally come from government agencies and high-profile research and development laboratories to help companies avoid any attempted breaches to their security in an effort to keep confidential information private. In order to get into this line of work, ethical computer hackers must earn their certified ethical hacking (CEH) certification. In 2015, this was ranked 9th amongst the top 15 highest paying certifications. This job is ideal for those who enjoy thinking outside of the box, are highly versatile and have a good eye for solving problems in new ways.

7. Personal shopper

Personal shoppers are exactly what they sound like: People who are paid to design your wardrobe for you. They are in charge of picking out stylish outfits, while all you have to do is put the clothes on and decide if you want to buy them. Personal shoppers can make as little as $33,000 a year, or as much as $300,000 a year, though the latter is unlikely. The great part is that it does not take much to become a personal shopper. While some have an education in fashion studies, other do not even possess a degree. As a personal shopper, you make money on the hour by verbally persuading your client to purchase a new dress or a business ensemble. In fact, in some cases the personal shopper is just made to be a human gopher, running around crowded stores grabbing pre-selected outfits so that the client does not have to lift a finger beyond trying the outfits on in the fitting room. All in all, for the amount of work required to complete the task, the pay is more than reasonable; it's a steal.

8. Water slide tester

Water slide testers might just have the most envious job in the world. Who doesn't want to get paid to travel around the country recapturing your childhood riding down hundreds of water slides. Of course, being a water slide tester is more than just flying and having fun. Water slide testers are in charge of testing and reporting both the enjoyment and safety of each water slide they take a trip down. Details water slide testers are required to note include the amount of water, how fast they traveled down the slide and whether or not it was safe. Any concerns must be reported to the hotel manager. In fact, water slide testers are even required to write up reports on their findings. While the salary for this job is on the lower end, with payments ranging from $17,000 to a little over $50,000 per year, you cannot really put a price on all of the fun you will have.

9. Sex toy tester

America as a country is big on sex. Sex and sexuality is everywhere: On primetime television, in advertisements and all over the internet. Who do you think tests all of the toys sold in adult sex shops? There are actual people who get paid $39,000 per year for testing out thousands of sex toys. Each week, a box of sex toys is delivered to the sex toy tester's door step. He or she is then in charge of testing these sex toys and writing daily and weekly reports on each one. With sex and sexuality becoming less and less taboo, this job is taken quite seriously, though the qualifications are unclear. Despite the fact that the sale of sex toys is still illegal in some states in the U.S., sex toy testers are still prominent throughout the country. While this job may not pay enough to live off of, it makes for a great side job to "work" at the end of the day and comes with thousands of free "toys".

10. Furniture tester

Did you know that you can make around $26,000 per year by working a side job as a furniture tester? Being a furniture tester is exactly what it sounds like: A furniture tester gets paid for sitting in lots of chairs, lying on couches, "test driving" beds, and using tables. Furniture testers are in charge of rating furniture based on a scoring system. This job is best suited for those who pay keen attention to details and share a special kind of love for sitting in nice chairs. Of course, this is a freelance self-employed line of work, so furniture testers must be great communicators and form numerous connections with potential clients. For a payment of $10-15 per hour, furniture testing can be a great side job, though it will not likely suffice as one's full income as work can be slow at times. Furniture testers should be well versed on the current furniture market, be certified, and read furniture testing books. Despite being a very strange line of working, testing furniture is not quite as simple as it sounds.


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    • Marisa Lahm profile image

      Marisa 2 years ago from Lawrence, KS

      @alekdo, I got the idea because my roommate and I were wondering if there are people paid to eat pet food. When I looked it up I found tons of strange jobs on Forbes and other business sites. Some were quite strange, as you can see.

    • alekdo profile image

      Aleksey Donets 2 years ago from Cherkassy, Ukraine

      Awesome article! How did you manage to find all those odd professions? I haven't even heard about some of them. Although, I can't add such professions of my own, I will eagerly tell my friends and acquaintances about them. Thanks a lot for the hub!

    • Marisa Lahm profile image

      Marisa 2 years ago from Lawrence, KS

      @misty103 Typically, to find job openings, you run a Google search to find the company's website. For example, I searched "professional snuggler" and found: Then, you can apply directly through the website.

    • misty103 profile image

      misty103 2 years ago

      Interesting hub. How do you find job openings for these jobs?