When engaging in small talk with somebody you’ve just met what you do for a living is a common enough question and normally the answer is predictably safe and at times verging on boring wishing you had never asked in the first place!

There are some weird and wacky jobs available out there, going from aweless to awesome, dangerous and disgusting and ones that could never be described as boring!

So if you’re stuck in a job you don’t like by the end of reading this it could be enough to have you reaching for your CV, but before you start hunting through the job ads, try to put things in perspective. What else could you do instead?.....

A new leash on life as a Dog Food Taster - Bon Appetit!

It’s a dog-eat-dog world or in this case it’s a human-eat-dog food world! 

This job is designed not for the faint hearted, but more like the strong stomached who love their food and are willing to try something new!

Dogs are well known to eat anything; however, it doesn’t mean they should!  We love our pets almost as much as our children (sometimes more) and therefore we want a good choice of flavourful, immune-boosting foods to be on offer.

Smell is also an important factor when choosing our pooches breakfast, lunch and dinner and that is why Dog Food Testers jobs will continue to exist.

Like a dog with two tails you could be paid for taste testing new dog food products coming onto the marketplace and become a connoisseur in pet delicacies.  Guaranteed a nice shiny coat, a strong pair of gnashers but perhaps you may need to invest in more toothbrushes and mouthwash! 

Not wanting our pets to have unhealthy or tasteless food, a Dog Food Tester evaluates the nutritional value whilst sampling a variety of edible items fit for a pampered pooch, (don’t worry, its on the principal of spit rather than swallow).

Most days, the job will consist report writing or thinking up new ideas on how to put a nutritional spin on a new line of food.

A salary ranging from 20k – 50k is both realistic and achievable, so pick the bones out of that one!

Teddy Bear Repair Technician – Pawistively a more than bearable career choice

If you always wanted to be a surgeon but didn't make it into medical school, why not consider become a teddy-bear technician instead? Its wild and wacky, but a beary real job especially fur all you big softies out there. Or are you overkoalafied?(couldnt help that one!)

Teddy bears have always been and continue to be big business and at Build-A-Bear Workshops you will find a Teddy Bear Repair Technician on the ready to repair those bear-loved teddys and get them back to their cuddly, intact, lovable selves. 

Customers who are invited to design and custom their own teddy bear makes each bear completely unique and irreplaceable, so the role of the Teddy-Bear Technician is beary important to be there for all the sick and poorly teddy bears.   

In addition to keen eyesight and attention to detail, a Teddy-Bear Technician must have an excellent bedside manner .  Also it must be noted that when a Teddy-Bear Technician operates, often the bear’s closest family member will be present to observe the repairs with baited breath. The slightest show of frustration or difficulty on the surgeon’s part may result in tears and tantrums (or worse; both!).  Teddy-Bear Technicians are there to support both the patient and its family and therefore empathy is a biggie.

Depending on where you are based and who you work for, you can earn between 30 & 40k per year.

Pining a new vocation?  For crying out loud, there’s a different way of earning some dosh!  Become a Professional Mourner

Professional mourners – or moirologists have been in practice for well over 2,000 years and now the number of bookings for professional mourners in the UK continues to increase year by year.

But crying on command isn't easy and attending funerals for strangers can require a serious selection of skills repeatedly demonstrating grief for people you have never even met!

It is a tradition in South East Asia that a loud funeral will assist the dead as they travel to the afterlife, so professional mourners are hired to cry and weep loudly throughout the service.  And now British mourners are renting "professional sobbers" to blub at funerals to make people believe the deceased was popular.

As a fake mourner, you will be briefed on the life of the deceased, so you can talk to any friends and relatives as if you had really known their loved one.

Now there’s not enough demand in any area to get you full-time work as a mourner.  You also have the issue of time and distance to get from one funeral to another.  However, it may be possible to attend two funerals a day, charging for four or five hours a day. This should amount to about £60-90 a day.

Watching Paint Dry – Paint your CV Red

Watching paint dry sounds like the most boring job in the world. But it’s a lot more fascinating than you’d think!

Companies hire people to carefully observe the changing colours and particles of paint as it dries – both on walls as well as under a microscope. It ensures that the paints are durable and do not fall off at the slightest touch.

A litre of paint consists of a million billion tiny particles, more than the number of stars in the Milky Way. Some of the largest particles have similar dimensions to the human hair, while others are about a hundred times smaller. To understand how quickly and well the paints dry, images have to be magnified as much as 25,000 times.

Patience therefore is a must, as well as appreciating that paint plays a major role in affecting our emotions.

Is it dry yet? … No… Is it dry yet? …

Salary: still wet!

Nothing really mattress when you’re a Professional sleeper

Believe it or not, some people make a huge amount of money by simply sleeping!

Maybe this is for you!  A job as a professional sleeper and there are lots out there; a Scientific Research Subject/Bed and Mattress Tester/Exhibitionist Sleeper.

To be successful it’s not just a case of having forty winks and getting paid for the pleasure!  You should be able to sleep even with wires attached all over your body and people staring at you, noting down every movement, bad dream and passing of wind!

You could be part of experiments that may force you to sleep for many hours at a stretch or even days, so researchers and doctors can monitor your body for changes that may happen.

You may have to fill many forms and jot down your deepest feeling about the comfort and other things associated with sleeping or test beds, mattresses and beddings for companies and then tell them what you think.

The salary of a professional sleeper is not fixed as each job and role differ.

Is this real life or just a Fanta Sea?  Be a Waterslide Tester

The usual set-up is you would be employed by a chain of hotels, holiday resorts or theme parks and travel to each of their locations to test their waterslides. A

Water Slide Tester’s job description requires a water slide tester to rate two key factors - “biggest splash” and “adrenalin factor” and this may be the single most enviable job you’ll ever hold.

Other criteria for you to rate the ride against, would be speed, water use, fun factor and health and safety.

Another task involved might be to write up experiences and your findings for travel magazines and online reviews to promote the company’s facilities.

This is an incredibly competitive role and the personal spec requires someone who loves water (no surprise), loves waterslides (still no surprise), and since the position requires extensive travel, some companies may prefer to hire individuals who have a flexible schedule and the freedom to travel.  Preferably 18 and over who can travel without needing adult supervision.  

All the training is done on the job, and no official qualifications are required – although some, for example lifeguard training, would obviously be an advantage (no surprise once again!).

Starting salary 20K plus extensive travel all paid for

Will you be the early worm or is it just a can of worms being a Worm Picker?

A Worm Picker gathers worms to be used as fish bait.  It consists of walking about grassy areas, such as gardens, parks, and golf courses, after dark and picking up earthworms. Sprinkling chlorinated water on lawns to cause worms to come to surface and locate the worms by use of lantern or flashlight.  Then you have to sort them and pack them into cans.

Can you see this on your CV or is it the sort of job you want to wriggle out of?

About 15 quid per can of good quality worms

What cookie can make you rich?

A Fortune Cookie - if you become a Fortune Cookie Writer

With over 20,000 Chinese restaurants in the UK, and every year a mind-boggling 1.5bn fortune cookies manufactured and consumed, lets not forget each cookie needs a fortune line buried in its crispy shell.

Have you ever wondered how companies produce the seemingly endless fortunes found in these free cookies?  The answer is struggling writers and this wild and wacky job only requires one or two sentences per publication, so its a short (very short to the point of stupid short) story writer’s dream job.

Each pearl of wisdom or advice should offer insightful statements like “You will soon be asked to pay” or “You will be hungry again very soon”.  These and other gems could be yours if you persuade fortune cookie manufacturers of your incredible knack of clairvoyance.

While it may seem easy to write one-line predictions, but there’s a lot more to fortune-writing than meets the eye. Each must be general enough to make sense for any kind of customer, but at the same time, they can’t offend anyone – which means a lot of the more fun or risque fortunes fall by the wayside. 

The sheer number of fortunes needed is another obstacle. Companies keep databases of thousands of fortunes accumulated over years that they rotate on a regular basis to keep people from getting the same ones over and over. Coming up with original ideas is a real challenge!

Salary approx. 28k pa F/T

Love it or Hate it – You could be a Marmite Taster

As part of a team of Marmite Tasters, you could be responsible for checking each batch of Marmite making sure its the correct texture, consistency and flavour. 

There is a tasting exam and you must be able to distinguish between the different flavours and pass a taste test to qualify for the job to officially check the spread.  Out of 24 points, you must get 19 points to be able to be a taster.

The yeast is taken from breweries that brew all different types of beer which means there will be some difference in the yeast extract collected and to minimise that by blending, the tasters are the people who are trained to taste accurately.

Salary; very tasty package but not disclosed

Are we nearly there yet? - Professional Queuer

Queuing is part of British culture where we are taught and conditioned to wait in various lines in all walks of our lives.

The big question is could you do this for a living?  Do you have the uncanny ability to simply switch off your mind for hours at a time, reaching a Zen-like state where you’re entirely detached from the world?

No experience is needed, and no special skills are required, only the ability to deal with unrelenting boredom for hours, even days, on end.

What you’re queueing for could be anything, it doesn’t really matter, the job’s always the same.

It’s easy to see how the market for professional queuers could be lucrative, with the sort of in-store release events that tech companies and fashion labels are using now to build the hype around the products they’re selling i.e; occasions such as Apple releases and Black Friday you can earn around £100 a day.

Salary £10-£20/hr

Don’t roll your eyes!  You need deadication to be a Zombie

From posts advertised on Facebook via casting sites looking for zombies for The Walking Dead to shuffling around and drooling at the London Bridge Experience each day, there are plenty of opportunities to become a zombie or a corpse and get paid for it!

For all those wannabe actors who perhaps weren’t born to tread the boards with either the confidence required and a voice like Morgan Freeman, playing dead could be a suitable option and the opportunity to play the role of a corpse could be just the ticket! 

But it’s not easy playing dead for a living as you could be slumped for hours, covered in a gooey mix with medical latex made to look like a messy chest wound.  Known as "corpse duty," in a shrinking market for jobs in scripted TV, dead-body roles are on the rise.

In the past few years, TV dramas have responded to feature-film trends and HDTV, which shows everything in more realistic detail, by upping the violence and delivering more shock value on the autopsy table.

A body that is "morgue dead" requires the ability to be still for three hours or more to get into chalky-white full-body makeup and a "Y incision" across the chest.  Not everyone can do it. "The dead work hard for their money!

Some actors don't like putting corpse roles on their résumés as playing dead on a TV show makes it hard to return to the living in another part and it is seen as the bottom of the acting totem pole.  However, for those not bothered about becoming the next Laurence Olivier then this may be a great way of having fun whilst earning some serious cash!

Salary; Depends on the assignment – F/T up to 30k

Any Fin Goes – Absolutely Jawsome! Be a Shark Tank Cleaner

Working with sharks may sound glamorous and exciting, but being a shark tank cleaner is anything but glamorous!

Fancy a broom, a wetsuit and make sure you have never watched jaws? 

Cleaning out any tank isn’t the most fun job in the world but when you throw into the mix that it’s a shark tank, it makes it that bit more risky (well a lot more- really - just trying to play it down) although intense training for shark tank cleaning does reduce getting hurt. 

In aquariums where life size fish tanks showcase the sharks and it is big revenue the tank cleaning and person doing it is very important and therefore immediate kudos is attached with this role.

This could be a rare sight to the public and while it’s an amazing sight for visitors, it could be nerve wrecking experience from inside, surrounded by not one but many sharks in close proximity.

An Aquarist’s role is not just diving with the sharks, you also have to look after the displays, be responsible for the welfare of the sharks by ensuring the maintenance of the tanks.

Responsibilities also include removing shark excrement you can also spend your day in a scuba costume picking off bits of chewed fish and faeces from the tanks of everything from killer whales and dolphins to walruses and stingrays. I cant imagine how much poo a whale produces.

Also inspecting/repairing the filtration system, and of course cleaning the aquarium glass (from the inside) to keep it clear of algae. 

Salary approx. 35k

Clean up your Act - Hygiene technician

The job involves disinfecting areas that have potentially been exposed to bio-hazardous situations. So, you could be cleaning up crime scenes, road accidents and suicides or clearing hoarders’ houses full of rubbish, rats and excrement … Probably the worst part of the job must be cleaning up after suicides although none of the above sounds that appealing!

This is a job where positive mental attitude is always needed as I am sure some days can and will be tough, so no good for those with bad gag reflexes or weak stomachs!

Salary: The entry level salary is usually around £14k up to £22k.

A not so exclusive Member ship - Professional Sex Toy Tester

Perhaps call it ultimate job satisfaction if and when you become a Professional Sex Toy Tester getting to try out and review different sex toys up to four or five times a week!

So how does this work?  Namely, the sex toy tester will review these g spot gadgets on their strong points and their not-so-strong points, pointing out how they could possibly be improved. Sounds easy enough, right?

However, the internet has given rise to a whole army of sex toy bloggers, who manufacturers give new products to try. Therefore, the reality is your salary will likely come in the form of silicone; batteries not included.

Where will the work be taking place? Well, the climax-seeking employee will be able to work home two days a week, with the other three days being spent in the office. 

Salary 15k

Conger to work? Sur eel ordeal as an Eel Ecologist

Do you fancy monitoring the size of the endangered eels? 

If so, get your galoshes to the ready as you will have to get used to wading into the Thames and other London rivers and marshes full of eels, sometimes up to your armpits, reaching into nets filled with up to 20 adult eels, grabbing them with your bare hands.

Adult eels are slippery suckers and can be up to a metre long or larger weighing up to 2kg.  They are almost pure muscle and can be a little bit slimy (thats being kind!).  They have to be weighed and measured and at times due to the amount of wriggling it can be challenging to remain looking professional whilst crawling on the ground chasing an eel across the grass.

Eels are tricky creatures to work with.  You also have to be ready to jump from one project to the next.

From dissecting dead eel guts to examining parasites living in their swim bladders.  The plus side of the job is working outdoors you get to see British wildlife up close and working with eels doesn’t just benefit the eel, it helps whole river systems, estuaries and coastal habitats.

Outside the UK

Keeping Track of your Career – Become a Train Pusher

In Japan during rush hours, railway station attendants are called “pushers” or “oshiya” and it must be said they do one of the craziest jobs in the world; as they literally push passengers into the trains.

Due to large number of commuters who arrive at their desired locations they then have to endure the pain in squeezing themselves inside the train and if they can’t then the Oshiyas’ help cram as many people on as possible by pushing them from the outside until the doors close causing the people inside to play sardines for the rest of their journeys, with some pushed up against windows and doors, with people’s faces contorted and distorted from being so squashed. 

It makes a trip on London Underground look positively spacious!

Also, in Japan, if you commit suicide by jumping into an oncoming train, the train company can/will sue your family for the clean-up fee, loss of income and negative publicity brought on by your suicide. 

Finally, another interesting fact whilst on the subject (but going a little off track!) is if the train is delayed for 5 minutes, the train attendant will bow personally to every passenger in the train and issue a delay certificate for the passengers to show to work or school if they get late. And if it is later than that, the train may even get into the news!

Can you imagine if we adopted the same procedures in the UK – we would never have time for any other news!

Pandemonium for a Panda Fluffer

Pandas are an endangered species and notoriously difficult to breed.

To get these shy animals in the mood, China's Panda Fluffers use feather dusters and extreme caution to help them perform.

Pandas do not like company, even when it comes in the form of other pandas. They live alone until it's that 2-3-day slot a year when the females ovulate and instinctively holler at males in the area to let them know sex is finally on the table.

Considering the elusive nature of breeding in their natural habitat, you can imagine how difficult it is to encourage them get it on in the zoo. Another massive stumbling block is the sad truth that male Pandas born in captivity don’t know what to do when it's that special grown-up bear time.

So, enter stage left, the fluffers. With little prospect of success, they will try to help their confused charges get going by showing them how it's done in the wild. Donning costumes and playing out the scene themselves is seen as way beyond the call of vocation so the fluffers rely on ready filmed panda porn.

The fluffers are keepers at the zoo and for the other 362 days of the year it's presumed they're looking after the animals rather than hunting down more stimulating footage for the mating season.

At the China Giant Panda Protection and Research Centre in Ya’an, Sichuan Province, a Panda Fluffer (£22,900) per year.

A new career hatched as a Chicken Sexer

Your off to a new career where you will be ‘surrounded by hot chicks’. Welcome to the world of chicken sexing!

A chicken sexer’s sole job is to distinguish whether new hatchlings are male or female.

The females go off for egg production and the males can be used for breeding purposes.

Special training is given to be able to identify the right chick gender because at hatching all the chicks’ reproductive organs are inside their body.

So how do you get a look at them you may well ask?

That’s right, imagine a day spent looking up chickens’ behinds and suddenly that desk job doesn’t seem so bad!