What do P. Diddy, Hugh Grant and Boy George have in common? Well, if you guessed that they all had mundane jobs (such as toilet cleaners) before hitting the big time, give yourself a hand. (Do you dream of ditching your long commute to work in the comfort of your home? These jobs could be for you. Find out more in Top 4 At-Home Financial Jobs.)
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Diddy, Grant and George aren't the only celebrities to list strange or unusual jobs on their resumes, however. According to the NY Post, Sandra Bullock was once a "dog beautician" and Warren Beatty held the title of official rat-catcher at the National Theater in Washington, DC (imagine that business card). Given Peter Biskind's new biography on Beatty, it's probably safe to assume that the future actor seduced the majority of the rats into voluntarily leaving the theatre with him.
Lest one think that outrageous occupations are the sole province of struggling entertainers, though, think again. Below is a list of real jobs that hard-working Americans perform everyday to bring home the bacon - or the rats. (If you want to switch careers, you may not have to go back to school to do it. Find out more in Sell Your Skills, Not Your Degree.)
- Snake Milker
Snake milkers collect venom from poisonous snakes, which is used to create antivenins (anti-venom). This is generally accomplished by inducing the slithery serpents to bite a membrane stretched over a glass container that collects the poison. While pay varies with the type of snake (low-venom snakes typically pay more), job seekers would doubtless be wise to ask about turnover rates before accepting such a job.
- Oyster Floater
This pearl (sorry) comes from careerplanner.com, which described an oyster floater's duties as: "Spreads freshly harvested oysters in shallow barge or float so constructed that water flows over oysters to afford temporary oyster storage."
For those interested, the site even offers a "Career Interest Test and Free Personality Test" designed to show whether or not a job as an oyster floater is a good fit for the would-be applicant. (With a few simple policy additions, you can protect your holiday plans from being ruined. Find out how in Ensure Your Vacation Is Insured.)
- Laughter Therapist
No, members of this profession are not clowns or comedians; they are actual doctors specializing in the medicine of laughter. The psychological approach teaches patients how to incorporate smiles and joyful feeling into their everyday life, leading to the frequent release of laughter. This type of therapy is often recommended to replace antidepressant medication.
- Chick Sexer
Chances are, if Beatty had known this job existed, there would still be rats scurrying about the National Theatre. But being a chick sexer is not everything the title implies.
"It's a delicate job, and part of it is messy," Mohamad Abdul Hamid told the New Sunday Times in August of 2005. At the time, Hamid was one of only six chicken sexers in Malaysia. Commercial hatcheries rely on identifying the sex of their residents early so they can tailor the hatchlings' meal plans accordingly and meet the needs of various chicken farms.
"Mohamad 'does' about 700 chicks a day, or three chicks every two minutes," the Times reported.
- Odor Tester
Ever been in a situation where something didn't smell right? Well, odor testers are in that situation all the time. Sniffing everything from foul breath to ferocious flatulence, OTs provide valuable insights to companies producing mints, perfumes, dog biscuits or even smell-reduction underwear (yes, they actually do exist… and they're quite comfortable too).
The average salary for odor tester jobs is $35,000 a year, though that can vary.
So, the next time you're on a crowded elevator, feeling pressured from all the oysters and chicken you ate at lunch - paid for with a credit card you can't really afford - relax. Let it go. After all, you're creating jobs…lots of 'em. (Certain careers can be prestigious and lucrative, but there are always costs. Find out if they're worth it, in Is Your High-Profile Job Worth The Price?)
Still feeling uninformed? Check out last week's business news highlights in Water Cooler Finance: Zombies File Taxes, Dead Bills Rise Again.