16 Weird Jobs That Make You Wonder Why They Have High Salaries

Rebecca Holcomb

Food Stylist

If you're over 21, you've probably done a job you hated. For me, the job I always said I couldn't get paid enough to do is juvenile corrections. Imagine fifteen teenagers caged up with nothing better to do than cause more trouble than they're already in. No, thanks. 

However, occasionally, you might encounter a job that isn't horrible; it's just weird. You might wonder why someone would get paid to perform that job or why a company would pay someone to do it. For all you strange job seekers out there, we've curated a list you'll probably love. I'd take the professional sleeper job myself. 

1. Professional Sleeper

Man sleeping on bed
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I have always needed sleep. In kindergarten, I'd ride the bus home in the afternoon, and my mama would put me down for a nap after lunch. To this day, many moons later, I can still sleep like my five-year-old self. 

However, for this job, you'll need to be proficient in sleep and psychological studies. Your sleep will often be monitored or restricted for testing purposes. If you can meet the specified criteria, though, you can earn an average of $43,000 a year for the trouble. That's not a bad chunk of change. 

2. Professional Cuddler 

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This one is for people who don't mind close contact with people. It especially means you have to be good at setting and keeping boundaries, and, in general, you need to be cool with strangers. Hugging is also big on the to-do list for this unique money-maker. 

You can rake in the dough as a professional cuddler if you don't mind physical, platonic touch. You set the boundaries and make your terms clear to your client. They get the physical affection they desire, and you get a nice paycheck (up to $60 or more an hour). If you work for yourself, your rate is whatever you and the client agree on. 

3. Hair Boiler

Pet Hair cut
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Believe it or not, you can make good side money working with huge vats of animal hair. Your job consists of boiling up these large containers until the hair curls up. Still, $33,000 annually is a good side hustle for a unique job that seems manageable.

If you're wondering how to use animal hair, some choice applications exist. It will add nitrogen to your compost for your potted plants or garden. You can also use it to keep rodents and rabbits out of your garden once you plant your vegetables. Animal hair is also great at absorbing oily spills, helping to create new vaccines, and has several odd uses

4. Genetic Counselor 

Student counselor
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Being a genetic counselor might not be the strangest job, but it has a downside. You have to inform people about genetic testing, the results of those tests, and what those results mean. Often, this concerns a couple who are having trouble conceiving or suffering a complicated pregnancy. This job can also mean dealing with children who are diagnosed with genetic issues during pregnancy or shortly after birth. Breaking the news to loved ones can be challenging. 

While the pay is decent, holding a median income of $95,770 in May 2023, you'll need a Master's degree and may also need to retain licensure or certification in the state you wish to practice. If you're considering becoming a genetic counselor, a bachelor's degree in a related field like biology or chemistry is often a good starting point. 

5. Bingo or Casino Manager 

Casino dealer
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If you think running the bingo hall at your Grandmother's retirement home will be easy money, think again. A bingo manager usually works the bingo circuit at a casino and oversees the operation. The job duties may include maintaining bingo equipment and supplies, supervising a paraprofessional group, and interacting with staff, supervisors, department heads, and, often, customers. 

Managing the bingo section of a casino or resort is not to be taken lightly. You'll also likely be responsible for setting up guest interactions, giveaways, discounts, casino-related deals, and managerial responsibilities. This job requires a high school diploma and three to five years of related experience to earn a median salary of $71,614 as of 2023. 

6. Drying Paint Watcher

Crowd looking at Vincent Van Gogh painting
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When I was growing up, my mother used to tell me that whenever I got into trouble, I could always sit on the couch and watch the paint dry. It's a threat I've carried on in tradition for my children. 

However, you can make a decent living if you enjoy watching paint dry. Professional paint watchers can earn up to $60,554 for the effort. However, it's more complex than just watching paint until it's dry. You'll pay attention to how the paint changes, the nuances of color, and the dryness rate as the paint cures and sets. You'll likely have to write up reports as evidence of your observations and may even need to make recommendations on changes if necessary.  

7. Professional Mourner

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If you like the idea of acting but aren't into the traditional path most actors take, you might enjoy a job as a professional mourner. Often hired to enhance a funeral procession and add depth and feeling to the grieving process, these actors must be able to express genuine grief and sorrow. 

Professional mourners, which date back to Ancient Egypt and China, can still be found in Indian and Chinese culture and even some in the US, although not as widely. By attending funerals as a moirologist, another name for the profession, you open a way for others to openly express their grief, and discretion is critical. Your ability to genuinely mourn is essential in this role and can significantly affect your pay. With an average rate of $30 to $120 per funeral or wake, a moirologist can make a decent side income. 

8. Pet Food Tester

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My husband missed his calling with this job, as he is well known for tasting any new food or treats that come into our home for our pets. It's easy money for one with the right qualifications and skills. However, it isn't an easy application process. This job often requires a doctoral degree and is much more complicated than it sounds. 

Your primary responsibilities require you to evaluate the smell, flavor, texture, and consistency of foods that are in current development. Thankfully, after nibbling on each new pet food version, you get to spit it out like other food or wine tasters. This job usually pays around $34,000 but can pay as high as $100,000, given the proper certifications and experience. You can also couple it with a much larger job, which pays a higher salary. 

9. Crime Scene Cleaner 

crime scene cleaner
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If blood, gore, and grime don't turn your stomach, working as a crime scene cleaner might be the job for you. You'll spend your days or nights using special cleaning agents to not just clean but sanitize criminal scenes from everything from robberies and shootings to full-on homicides. Businesses, family homes, warehouses, abandoned buildings; wherever the crime takes place is where you'll work. 

This job has much to offer those who like doing something different daily. You'll also earn your keep with a salary of $15.09 an hour, which is around $29000 before taxes. If you add educational certification, you can claim a higher hourly rate for this demanding job. 

10. Elevator Mechanic 

Elevator Repairer
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Being inclined toward fixing mechanical equipment could serve you well if you wanted to work as an elevator mechanic. Depending on where you live, your experience level, and your education, you can earn significantly more than the national average of $79,797 per year. 

As an elevator mechanic, you'll need to be proficient in installing new elevator systems and performing routine maintenance, inspections, and service. Being on-call during odd hours may also be a big part of your duties. However, you'll be well compensated at the rate mentioned above. 

11. Golf Ball Diver

miniature golf courses

This unique job might sound like a walk in the park, but it's not for everyone. First, you'll need to be a proficient scuba diver with an eye for detail. You'll also need to be physically fit and able to dive for extended periods, as well as have all the right equipment. 

As a golf ball diver, you'll be responsible for fishing golf balls out of waterways that might not always be beautiful. If you'd rather keep the balls you recover, you can negotiate with the golf course or venue, as they may want a fee for the possible resale value of the balls you collect.

12. Ethical Hacker 

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In general, hackers get a bad rap. However, there are ethical hackers. These cybersecurity professionals offer security support for the organizations they work for to keep their computer systems, networks, and applications running smoothly without interference from malicious hackers, malware, spyware, and other business-destroying entities. 

An ethical hacker may also use vulnerability assessments and social engineering techniques to identify weaknesses in an organization's security framework. As you can imagine, hackers in this category make serious money, netting an average income of $106,198 annually. 

13. Professional Boyfriend/Girlfriend

frugal date ideas
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There may be several reasons why someone wants or needs to rent a girl or boyfriend. They may have a family gathering to attend, and they don't want their parents nagging them about when they're going to “settle down.” 

Whatever their reasoning, working as a rental girl or boyfriend can be fun if you know how to act the part. Along with being friendly, kind, and possessing good manners, you'll also need to go over potential boundary breakers with your potential weekend or night-out significant other. Topics to cover could include when, where, and how much physical contact you'll allow, whether or not kissing is permitted, alcohol limitations, and the like. For a median pay of $55/hour, it's an excellent way to make some money. 

14. Food Stylist 

French Breakfast
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If you've ever wondered why food commercials and restaurant menus look so mouthwatering, you can thank a food stylist. In the US, food stylists can expect a median income of $48,220. Depending on where you live, your salary as a freelance food stylist could go as high as $220,000 a year if you put in the hours of a full-time job for 52 weeks. 

As a food stylist, you'll work with professional chefs, kitchen staff, and photo editors to create platters and dishes that are aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Once the dish is set, you'll place other props, and the photographer will create the photo shoot. 

15. Professional Bridesmaid 

Bride and guest at wedding reception eating food
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Much like being a rental friend for the day, being a professional means you know how to throw a great party and liven things up. With proper boundaries in place, you can add comfort and peace of mind to a bride who may need an extra attendant at her wedding to match the number of groomsmen her new husband will have. 

As a professional bridesmaid, you can earn up to $22.84 an hour, helping brides create their perfect day. As such, you'll usually pay for your bridal outfit, whether it's a glam dress you'll only wear once, a cocktail gown you can repurpose, or beachy shorts and t-shirt suitable for any nice day. 

16. Ice Cream Taster 

Italian Gelato
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Being an ice cream taster might sound like the best job ever. However, it's more complicated than it seems. To qualify for this job, you may need a degree in food science—or equivalent experience. 

You'll need patience, creativity, adaptability, and a phenomenal set of tastebuds to excel in this job. For your considerable efforts to bring new sweet treats to market, you can earn an average income of $68,970. 

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