There are a lot of different ways to make money. Most of us have jobs that are fairly straightforward. Conventional, traditional, 9-to-5 type jobs we’ve all heard of and are all content with doing if need be. However, someone has to do the jobs that no one thinks about. The ones that keep the system going behind the scenes. No one really questions how X comes to be X, you just enjoy X and can’t imagine life without it. You’ve probably seen at least some of the show Dirty Jobs on the Discovery channel. If you haven’t, check it out, as you’ll find some particularly disgusting occupations.
But what about a different category of “weird” jobs? This article is going to focus on some jobs that you may never have heard of that are exceptionally awkward. Most of us settle into a fairly consistent routine in our jobs, but many of these workers are having to do uncomfortable things on a case-by-case basis and we can’t imagine it’s always enjoyable. Still, you have to make a living. If you’re interested in any of these jobs, you’re going to have to throw your shame out the window. We certainly don’t think we could do them.
15. Professional Deodorant Odor Tester
Remember how bad it is to smell people’s armpits on the train? Some people do it for a living. Deodorant companies have to have a way to test their product’s effectiveness, so people come in and try it on and then other people sniff those people’s armpits. Sometimes the deodorant smells really nice and eliminates that sweaty body odor, other times not so much.
The thing is, to do this job you have to have a sensitive nose, but you can’t be too sensitive about smelling really bad things. It seems like a lose-lose to us, but some people can pull it off. There’s actually a lot of odor testing jobs out there if armpits aren’t your thing. All these jobs make us squirm just thinking about them, but maybe you’re someone who’s just never embarrassed and up for any task. If you are, look around. Evidently, there are lot of options out there.
An oshiya, or “pusher,” is a person who helps to stuff people into trains during morning and evening rush hours. If you live in a city like New York or Chicago, you probably know that taking the train during the busiest times can be pretty awkward. You’re packed in there like sardines and just pressed right up against complete strangers. And if you happen to be shorter, it’s likely going to be armpit city.
As crowded as things can get here in the States, we’ve got nothing on Japan. Tokyo has the highest population of any city by a long shot, and everyone’s clamoring to get onto the incredibly effective high-speed rail. More than anywhere else, pushers have to be aggressive and pack people into trains most of us would think are at absolutely full capacity. If you’re comfortable roughly stuffing strangers into trains, this is the right job for you. If that sounds a bit intense, you might want to stay away.
13. Face Feeler
Ever wonder how they test the quality of things like lotions and face scrubs? You have face feelers to thank. Sometimes they prefer to be called “sensory scientists.” Basically, subjects will use a facial product and then the scientists will feel their face, checking for changes in skin texture, effectiveness of the product, and other things only the scientists really know. All joking aside, much like the pet food tester, these people really do have to have an attention to detail and a good amount of knowledge about the products and the human face.
Still, rubbing people’s faces all day and taking notes doesn’t sound that great to us. The face is just an area that doesn’t get touched much, especially by people we don’t know. A lot of people don’t like getting their faces touched much at all actually. As with a lot of these jobs, we have to give props to the people getting their faces felt, not only because it’s probably uncomfortable but also because they’re testing imperfect products.
Urologists actually specialize in the urinary tracts of both men and women, but they’re most known for, and most often deal with, the male reproductive organ. Like most doctors, their specialty requires a wealth of knowledge about the body as a whole, and in fact the urinary and reproductive tracts are highly interconnected, as you may have guessed.
You should definitely visit a urologist if necessary, but it might be a bit awkward. Most people don’t really go into the details of their genitalia with anyone they’re not intimate with, and even then, people can be shy. We’re not really sure what makes some doctors interested in specializing in things like this, but it’s very good that they do. We’d tell you not to go into this job lightly, but there’s that whole medical school thing. Plus, we’re pretty sure you just know your calling in this case.
11. Pet Food Tester
We’re not sure if this one is awkward or just plain gross. But yes, human taste testers are used to ensure things like quality control, taste, and honest ingredient lists in pet food. We’re sure you’ve smelled your pet’s food and your friend has even probably eaten some on a dare— has it ever sounded appealing?
It might sound like an embarrassing thing to tell people you do for a living, but pet food tasters can make an average of $40K a year, so who cares? Pet food has also greatly increased in quality over time, so these people are actually doing a huge service to our four-legged friends. Although it sounds gross to us, it needs to be done. If it sounds all bad, most pet food testers (except for the ones that just really like it, we guess?) spit out the product after tasting it, much like a wine taster. But instead of avoiding getting drunk, they’re avoiding some potentially terrible stomach aches.
10. Professional Urine Farmer
Did you know the deer urine industry is incredibly lucrative? Neither did we. Urine farmers actively collect urine from deer to be sold as an effective luring tool for hunters. To do this job, you simply need to be very comfortable with urine. Too easy.
Farmers often have dozens of deer on their land and they sell a large, undisclosed amount of urine. The market is good and business is booming. One source estimates that a urine farmer can make up to $300K from the urine of one deer. The man above seems to have snuck up on the deer using camouflage and stealthily snuck a cup under its body to collect the pee. Actually, the most effective farms use systems where the deer will pee in a collection barn and it drips through tracts into larger containers. We know that someone reading this has just found their calling. On behalf of all hunters, thank you.
9. “Pleasure” Toy Tester
This one sounds great, right? You get to pleasure yourself AND make money? Well, when something’s a job, it can quickly become less enjoyable, and we would imagine having to evaluate orgasms for money would get a little tiring. Even when you’re not in the mood, you’ve got a job to do.
The only way to really get into this is to be an authority that companies want to pay, which means you’re probably going to have to gain a following with your reviews and be very, very open about your sexual life. This isn’t something many people are comfortable doing. Furthermore, you’re using products that might need some tweaking, so they might not always deliver the way you want. Still, this information is invaluable to the companies producing the products so if you feel like you’ve got what it takes, more power to you.
8. Bull Semen Collector
If you don’t mind bull penises or semen, what are you waiting for? The cattle industry is extremely profitable, and the seed of bulls is like gold. As pictured above, the bull is usually made to mount an apparatus (sometimes even colored to look like a cow) and the bull semen collector proceeds to ‘help’ him accomplish his business.
A gallon of bull semen can fetch tens of thousands of dollars. A gallon is a lot, but bulls are also really large creatures. A lot of bull semen is collected and then frozen to be later used to inseminate cows. This equals a lot of money because more cows equals more milk and meat. We can’t imagine anyone that would want to do this job, but someone has to, and you will be handsomely rewarded.
Okay, this is one you’ve probably heard of. Getting a massage often feels amazing, but it’s a different story being the person doing the work. And even though massages feel really good, it’s often awkward for the person getting it too. Some people get massages regularly, and we’re sure that helps after a time. This one boils down to the fact that physical contact with a stranger is an understandably uncomfortable experience. Massages regularly cover every part of the body except the most private, and we assume accidentally breaking that rule would be incredibly awkward. And sometimes people get completely naked? That’s not something everyone would be a fan of.
6. Professional Cuddler
This job has gained some notoriety because it sounds ridiculous but the market for it is surprisingly strong. Professional cuddlers can really charge as much as they want, with some of good standing making up to $80 per hour.
Cuddling is a pretty intimate thing, usually done by people as a strong form of affection. So doing it with a stranger seems pretty weird. Still, in a world where people are feeling increasingly isolated, this is a lucrative job. The most effective sense for affection humans have is touch, so it makes sense (it’s this way for a lot of mammals). You might have also heard of people paying hourly to have friends. People just aren’t getting certain essential needs met naturally anymore. It sounds sad, but if the customer and cuddler both feel comfortable and happy, we don’t really see a problem.
5. Stand-In Bridesmaid
Some people pick up extra cash by being stand-in bridesmaids at the weddings of strangers. Whether people don’t have enough friends to fill the spots or they simply want to make their wedding more ostentatious, this is another job where you can set your price and potentially make a lot of money.
In a way, this is kind of a nice thing as you’re supporting someone on their special day. Still, it must be awkward to be at such an important event and not know anyone. A lot of times, it’s awkward to be at such an event even when you do know people. We assume the people hiring bridesmaids aren’t having a small, nature-y ceremony. If you’re the kind of person that is super outgoing and you think you can make any wedding better, you should try this out. We think most people will pass.
4. Professional Mourner
Being paid to be in a stranger’s wedding not enough? Kick it up a notch and attend a stranger’s funeral. Professional mourners are hired to populate people’s funerals and be sad. If you want this job, you need to be good at crying.
Professional mourning actually has rich historical and cultural roots. In certain cultures and at certain times it’s been seen as a very important occupation. Think about it though, a funeral is such an intense event. It’s easy to get a bit sad when you hear someone dies (whether you knew them or not), but to enter another family’s personal ceremony and cry alongside them? That sounds like a lot. Still, we guess if that’s what people want and it makes them feel better, it’s for a good cause. We just can’t imagine many people who would want to do it.
3. Chicken Sexer
This job tops the list for best title. A “chicken sexer” is someone who sorts chicks into male and female as soon as they’re born. They can make a decent amount of money as most work for huge commercial hatcheries. If you know anything about poultry, it might be that a few large companies control the bulk of chicken distribution and prize profit over everything. Unfortunately, this means that a lot of male chicks are tossed aside and killed immediately to reduce cost. Many hatcheries only value hens, who not only provide meat but also lay eggs.
But who are we kidding, chicken tastes really good. This job sounds awkward to us, but if examining a tiny animal right after it’s born to see if it’s a boy or girl and then throwing some away sounds good, it’s a job that needs to be done.
2. Funeral Clown
You’ve become an effective professional mourner and you’re looking for a bigger challenge. Want to be paid to really master the atmosphere of a funeral? Try becoming a funeral clown. This is not to be confused with clown funerals, which are funny, sad, and ironic all at the same time. But this job would probably be all of those things too.
Although this occupation was much more common historically, it is still practiced in some parts of the world. During the Roman empire, funeral clowns would make jokes during the ceremony and impersonate the dead. They were actually quite respected and well paid. In a modern sense, you’d be someone hired to come to a stranger’s funeral and cheer people up— making jokes and helping them to look on the “bright” side. We can’t imagine a more awkward situation or a tougher crowd.
Seeing a dead body must be a strange experience. Now imagine seeing them all the time. Sure, a desensitization would occur, but it’s not something most people would enjoy. You probably know that embalmers are people who prepare bodies for open casket funerals. The process involves draining the body of blood and replacing it with embalming fluid, which effectively preserves the body.
It’s an art, really. Sometimes people look pretty awful dead and the best embalmers can perform amazing body reconstruction. This is an especially important job, as many people want to see their loved one in the best light before laying them to rest.
These people are usually alone in a room with dead bodies having to mess around with them a lot. Disgusting? To most. Awkward? We’re sure. Existentially terrifying? Absolutely.