Top ten weirdest jobs

The work of work can be a strange and mysterious place - especially when you do one of these quirky jobs.

by Rachel Savage
Last Updated: 21 Oct 2014

These jobs are no joke. Could you do them?

1.    Smell Mapper

Required: Love of sniffing around.

A job for those with a more refined sense of smell. Probably people who miss a childhood spent scribbling on Spirograph, sensory-mappers follow their nose around cities to record their olfactory profiles. No contours for these guys, it’s all about pungency and putridity.

2.    Skywriter

Required: Fan of outrageous marriage proposals.

You don’t necessarily need to be a brown-eyed blonde, like Suzanne Asbury-Oliver, America’s only female professional skywriter, but you probably do need to be pretty nifty in a small plane. You might not fall in ‘love at first flight’, like Suzanne and her skywriting hubby Steve, but everyone you propose to with a message in the sky will probably say yes.

3.    Ski Resort Map Painter

Required: Knowing your crevasses from your ridges.

If you’ve skied in the US or Canada and pored over a resort map to convince yourself that you can definitely do that squiggly little black run, chances are it’s the work of James Niehues. The artist flies over resorts to take photos, painstakingly paints each tree and snow-covered peak by hand, and gets to carve plenty of fresh powder in his spare time.

4.    Cow Hoof Trimmer

Required: Hands of steel.

Cows’ hooves grow, just like nails, and they can’t do the trimming themselves. Apparently the professionals sandwich the cows in steel cages, so you’ll probably avoid being kicked or stampeded. You will be dodging cow pats and tongues though (our bovine friends think humans are salt licks), so this job ain’t for city slickers.

5.    Renaissance Man Tutor

Required: Erudition, at all hours of the day (and most of the night)

Are you a jazz piano-playing, opera-loving Shakespeare buff, with an in-depth knowledge of ‘international etiquette’ and ‘Western dialectic’? No, us neither. If perchance you are, an Arab businessman in his late 30s wants to learn how to speak like an English gentleman and get into Oxford, with you at his beck and call from 8am until 11pm. Just think - for a tasty six-figure sum, you could be Professor Higgins to his Eliza Doolittle.

6.    Stock-shot model

Required: Comfortable with fantasising about sex with old, obese men

If you’re a stock model, your photo could be used for anything. Like a Guardian agony aunt column trying to solve a lust for aged, morbidly-overweight men. If you can laugh it off like lesbian model Samantha Ovens, who gave the definitive masterclass in how to sail effortlessly through a twitter storm, then you too could have your malleable expressions plastered across the internet.

7.    Fake Bank Robber

Required: Wannabe Butch Cassidy

Cyber-security may be the new hot crime on the block, but some criminals still come in the front door, so banks literally pay people to rob them. Jim Stickley has hacked over 1,000 banks and never been caught, walking unchallenged through the front door dressed as a fireman or cleaner to plant dongles or keyloggers on computers to steal data, and then being so kind as to come back and explain exactly how he fooled them. It’s like all your computer game wet dreams come true.

8.    Chocolate Taste Tester

Required: Love of chocolate. Form an orderly queue…

Who on earth would want to spend their working life being paid to taste melt-in the mouth, creamy, sweet deliciousness? MT reckons there’ll be a drooling riot outside Cadbury’s before you can say Twix when the next role opens up. Or you could open your own shop, and play Willie Wonka all day, every day.

9.    Skyscraper Cleaner

Required: Head for heights

You get some pretty spectacular views scrubbing windows a gazillion floors up, but if you get woozy at the top of a flight of stairs this isn’t the job for you. If you fancy some extreme abseiling, and can handle the possibility of swaying in a tiny cradle at the pinnacle of the Shard, then the sky-scraper’s the limit.

10.    Fatberg Dislodger

Required: Strong disposition

The country retched collectively when a 15 ton, double-decker size fatberg was discovered lurking under Kingston’s leafy streets in August. Someone’s gotta roll up their sleeves and deal with it though, so if you’ve always dreamt of playing with a fireman’s hose, but aren’t too keen on flames, you can spend your days blasting away congealed fat and wet wipes. Nice.

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