People on a Rollercoaster Ride
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Taco Expert, Lego Builder, and Other Jobs You Won’t Believe Exist

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People on a Rollercoaster Ride
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person eating tacos
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Director of Taco Relations

Just imagine putting this title on your LinkedIn profile. Spice maker McCormick launched a nationwide search this year to fill the $25,000-a-month job. That’s a pretty hefty paycheck considering the position was billed as a part-time consulting gig, which included duties including recipe development, taco-related travel, and creating taco-tastic content for social media.


Related: Extreme and Out-of-the-Ordinary Tacos You Have to Try

Infant Panda In Incubator - China
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Panda Nanny

Who doesn’t love pandas? Turns out those furry balls of cuteness need a helping hand from a small army of caretakers at research centers in China. The money isn’t great — in 2014, the position was advertised at just $32,000 a year — but, hey, did we mention that part of your job would be cuddling with baby pandas? (Remember, money isn’t everything.)


Related: Best Zoo and Aquarium Live Streams

Ice Cream Sundae With Chocolate Sauce And Cookie
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Man hold game pad in front of tv screen
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Video Game Counselor/Tester

From the late 1980s through the mid-2000s, Nintendo employed several dozen game counselors. Their task: helping frustrated gamers who called a hotline in search of tips and tricks to help them beat a particularly challenging boss or level. Similar gaming gigs still exist, such as one from FrontierBundles.com that offered $2,000 for a pair of friends to veg out with their favorite games for 21 hours. The job even included a free Nintendo Switch Lite and, more importantly, snacks. 


Related: Gifts for Old School Gamers Who Miss the ‘80s

This is what weekends were made for
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Mattress Tester

Getting paid to sleep sounds a little too good to be true, but mattress testers exist — and yes, they make a living from evaluating slabs of foam and springs. One recent example: Sleep Junkie, a mattress review site, sought applications for a “Sleeping Beauty” role that would pay $3,000 for testing three mattresses over the course of two months. Bonus: The lucky, sleepy soul would get to keep whichever mattress they liked the best. 


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Oscar Mayer Wienermobile
Oscar Mayer Wienermobile by Roadsidepictures (CC BY-NC)

Oscar Meyer Hotdogger

Who makes a living by driving around in a giant hot dog? Every year, Oscar Mayer pays a new crop of “Hotdoggers,” typically recent college grads, to do just that. The job entails more than cruising the nation’s highways in the 27-foot Wienermobile (though that is a big part of it). Hotdoggers also act as brand ambassadors, representing Oscar Meyer at special events and media appearances across the country. The pay, according to the company? “Competitive.” 


Related: We Tried 11 Hot Dogs and You Won’t Believe Which One is Best

Computer programmer working on laptop
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Ethical Hacker

Not all hackers are shadowy figures taking others’ data hostage for ransom, or worse, wreaking havoc with important government systems. Instead, some are very much aboveboard — in fact, they’re paid to “hack” websites specifically so that vulnerabilities can be identified and fixed before someone with more sinister intentions happens upon them. There are ethical hacking certification programs, and those who can hack it as a career (har har) make an average base salary of just under $83,000 a year, according to PayScale

Harry Potter made of Lego bricks outside toy store
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Lego Master Builder

No, “Lego Masters” isn’t just a reality TV show — it’s a very real profession for a small group of lucky kids at heart. Legoland in Florida, for instance, employs several builders who construct and maintain the park’s elaborate Lego landscapes, and there are Lego Certified Professionals scattered around the globe. Still, the job won’t make you rich: One reported salary was just under $40,000 in 2014, according to Priceonomics.


Related: The Most Amazing Lego Sets of All Time

Loving african foster care parent single mother embrace teen daughter
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Professional Cuddler

There are certainly legitimate questions as to how the pandemic has affected this particular gig, but, yes, there are people out there who make a living cuddling. In fact, in 2019, the unusual profession earned one woman $40,000 while working only 25 hours a week. She used a website called Cuddlist to book clients who needed a little platonic affection — and were willing to pay her $80 an hour for some warm fuzzies. 

Minnie and Mickey Mouse ride Disney Parks float
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Disney Imagineer

The whimsical role of Imagineer may be among the most well-known on this list, but that makes it no less a dream job for any number of Disney lovers who grow up addicted to cartoons and fairy tales. Imagineers design practically everything in the Disney kingdom, from theme park rides to T-shirts to board games, and they represent more than 100 disciplines, from art to engineering. You can even filter Disney’s career site to see what Imagineering positions are open. Average pay: $91,000 a year, according to PayScale


Related: Cost of Disney Through the Years

Golf Resort Palm Springs
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Golf Ball Diver

For a golfer, there’s nothing worse than the sound of their ball making a splash in a nearby lake or pond, but for a golf ball diver, it sounds more like the ringing of a cash register. Indeed, golf ball divers — members of a profession recognized by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, no less — dive into the water on golf courses around the country to retrieve wayward balls. According to the BLS, they may earn about $200 a day retrieving the balls, which can easily be cleaned up and resold. 

Close-up of a happy Hispanic woman eating indulgence chocolate in a rustic kitchen
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Chocolate Tasters

The world’s leading makers of treats and sweets always need trusty taste buds to make sure their products are just right. While there are undoubtedly credentialed food scientists filling some of these roles, Cadbury recently hired a crop of part-time testers at $14 an hour, no experience required, simply asking prospective employees to have “a passion for confectionery” — a skill we’d happily put on our resume. 


Related: Candymakers With Treats Almost Too Pretty to Eat

Talk is cheap
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Gumologist

Not a chocolate person? Cadbury may have another opportunity for you: gumologist. The role, profiled in detail by The New York Times, is very serious indeed, requiring folks with “palates discriminating enough to distinguish between strawberry flavors that are, say, green, gritty, or jammy.” Gumologists undergo six months of training, learning how to rate tastes, proper terminology, and even how to participate in tasting panels without affecting others’ opinions. 


Related: Things You Didn’t Know About Chewing Gum

Home cinema entertainment: watching a film from a video projector in a room.
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Professional Binge Watcher

Perhaps it was inevitable that, in these pandemic times, some lucky couch potato would find a way to cash in on binge watching. As recently as July, a website called EduBirdie was looking for 20 people to watch at least three episodes of 10 series, an arduous gig for which it would pay a cool $1,000. Back in April 2020, when no one was leaving their homes anyway, CableTV.com paid five people $2,000 each to watch every episode of their favorite series — and even threw in a subscription to a streaming service, snacks, and other perks. More of a true crime fan? In April, MagellanTV paid three people $100 an hour to binge gory documentaries for 24 hours straight. 


Related: Gifts for Couch Potatoes

Distillery Boiler
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Master Whiskey Taster

About 50 people have the privilege of earning their paycheck by sipping Jack Daniel’s, and a smaller group among them are tasked with making sure the good stuff — the premium whiskey — is up to snuff for its discerning clientele, making sure barrels are as consistent as possible. Now, if your tastes aren’t quite so high-brow, fear not: beer also needs critical palates, and Move.org recently advertised for a “beer baron” to sample brews in some of the nation’s most beer-heavy cities. 


Related: Best Whiskeys Under $50

Bride and bridesmaids in pink dresses posing with bouquets at wedding day. Happy marriage and wedding party concept
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Professional Bridesmaid

Weddings can get overwhelming, but those trusty bridesmaids are supposed to help alleviate all the stress … right? Turns out that professional stand-ins are ready and willing to step in as an ad hoc wedding coordinator, confidante, speech writer, and much more. Bridesmaids for Hire deploys helpers as necessary, and founder Jen Glantz started off charging $2,000 a day as a base price — travel, dresses, and other services are all extra. 

arriving on tropical island resort
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Island Caretaker

There’s visiting paradise, and then there’s living in paradise — and getting paid for it. Remote destinations across the world still need full-time help. For instance, scenic Great Blasket Island off the Irish coast recently needed folks to run its hotel and coffee shop, while Australia’s Tourism Queensland offered a whopping $150,000 for six months of rent-free swimming, snorkeling, and relaxing on Hamilton Island. Even billionaires need help: Sir Richard Branson recently sought an assistant who would live on his private island in the Caribbean, helping with administrative duties and assisting the island’s general manager. 


Related: Private Islands You Can Rent on Airbnb and Vrbo

Doing the crossword puzzle
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Crossword Editor

There are editors, and then there is a much smaller, rarified group of puzzle masters: crossword editors. The king of the profession, Will Shortz, has been helping craft the famous New York Times crossword for nearly three decades. While the Times accepts and pays for crossword submissions, they are heavily edited by Shortz and his colleagues — so much so that half of the clues may be from Shortz. No word on his (likely impressive) salary, but the Times pays $500 to more than $2,000 for each of the crosswords it accepts. 

Wenskaarten te koop in Amersfoort, The Netherlands
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Greeting Card Writer

Not pedantic enough to churn out crosswords for a living? Witty or heartfelt writers may be able to find another niche as a greeting card writer. Hallmark employs at least two dozen card writers who not only write sentimental poems and pithy one-liners for cards, but copy for mugs, decor, and other gifts. Pay, according to Insider: roughly $50,000 to $70,000 a year.  

roller coaster
Haxortech / istockphoto

Theme Park Critic

Imagine spinning yourself silly in a giant teacup, riding a roller coaster, and downing a corn dog, all in a day’s work. One U.K.-based company recently offered $4,000 plus expenses for a three-week gig evaluating everything from rides and entertainment to food and souvenirs at Orlando’s iconic amusement parks. There are also websites and publications devoted to the industry, and journalists who specialize in the theme-park beat.