What The Heck Is An Animal Packer?
I've done résumés for clients in all facets of employment from aerialist to zoologist and apple carver (she turns dried up apples into works of art) to zip-line attendant, but until a few weeks ago I never even knew the position of animal packer existed. Now that I've completed the résumé for a very nice man who has been working in national parks and game preserves throughout the United States, I know everything there is to know about the position and it has absolutely nothing to do with preparing an overnight bag for Paris Hilton's dog, Tinkerbell, or an oversized trunk for an elephant going on safari. Among other things, they are charged with loading mules and horses with all equipment and supplies (food, tools, etc.) necessary to haul adventure-seekers around on steep trails and back county wilderness outings assuring that the packs are in no way injurious to the animal or able to cause damage to the cargo. Whoda thunk it?
The following are definitely some of the most unusual jobs that people actually make a living doing. Some are dirty, some boring, and some just plain weird, but taking a look at an array of these wacky professions can make we "normal" employees respect the jobs we report to five days a week. The next time you wake to that dreaded alarm, remind yourself (and breathe a huge sigh of relief) that you don't have to work at a job like one of these. However, the next time you find yourself unemployed for an extended period of time, you may want to consider an unusual job; maybe you'll fall in love with trimming cow hooves, wrangling an alligator or scuba diving for golf balls.
1. Armpit Odor Tester: Hey, somebody has to make sure those anti-perspirants are working correctly to keep all of us fresh as the proverbial daisy.
2. Ostrich Babysitter: Apparently this guy gets to sit in a field full of giant birds and make sure they don't get stolen or, heaven forbid, peck each other to death. Any job where you can sit down, read a book and do absolutely no work is always a plus, but I have heard that the behavior of these creatures can get a little aggressive, so it may not be quite right for me.
3. Neck Skewerer: Basically this job involves skewering beef necks with a long steel rod after the head of the cow has been removed. 500 pound raw beef shish kabob anyone?
4. Dog/Cat Food Tester: Just like any other food product, pet food needs to be inspected too. Yum!
5. Weed Farmer: Don't get excited, it's not THAT kind of weed. These folks actually grow weeds rather than trying to get rid of them. And, yes, Virginia, there is a market for this with Horticulture schools and research labs presumably run by companies who make Weed-Be-Gone and the like.
6. Dice Inspector: With one roll of a single die a person can win or lose quite a bit of money. The dice inspector checks for proportionality and blemishes on each plastic cube so there's no chance you or I can accidentally walk away with the casinos money.
7. Brain Picker: A brain picker is the person in a slaughterhouse who places an animal's head on a table, then splits the skull to pick out every part of it. Why, I just don't know?
8. Ant Picker: Don't relish the idea of poking around in a dead animal carcass? Then this slightly less disturbing job might be for you. An ant picker has the privilege of digging up ants in order to place then into the plastic ant farms kids purchase from those ads in the backs of magazines.
9. Cowpuncher: Herds, castrates, and brands cattle. Enough said.
10. Hair Boiler: This lucky staffer gets to boil various kinds of animal hair until it curls for later use. Later use? What later use is their for curly boiled animal hair? Yuk!
11. Fountain Pen Repairer: Haven't used a fountain pen since 1965, but I suppose if you really love your pen.......
12. Icky Stunt Producer: You've seen shows like Survivor and the now (thankfully) defunct Fear Factor who use stunts involving all sorts of disgusting eating competitions meant to gross out the contestants (and viewers.) If you find yourself in this job, you'll spend your day researching creepy crawlies and (hopefully) dead animal parts to assure the stunts are safe and appropriate (really?) Gigantic hissing cockroach, anyone? Bon appétit.
If you've ever had an "unusual," extraordinary, distasteful or just plain weird job or know someone who has, I'd love to hear about it. Comment about it here or email it to me a firstname.lastname@example.org. And, if you need your résumé done to find that new position as a chicken sexer or rodeo clown, I'm up to the challenge!
By the way, my animal packer client got the job he wanted, based heavily on the résumé I prepared for him (his words, not mine) at a very famous American National Park, so if you're ever a visitor to Grand Teton and want to take a ride deep into the mountains on horseback (or mule) just ask for Jett and tell him Ginnie sent ya.