The saying ‘choose a job you love, and you’ll never have to work for a day in your life’ is often attributed to Confucius. There are, however, some jobs that have to be done and that nobody dreams about while growing up. Some of them can get you serious cash, too.


Snake Milker

There are people out there that consider handling a hair dryer is dangerous, and then there are people that handle deadly snakes for a living. Snake milkers spend their working days extracting venom from poisonous snakes like rattlesnakes or cobras. This venom is used by laboratories for research purposes and to produce “antivenom” – an antidote against venomous snake bites.

Snakes are “milked” using two methods. The first one is the most common and requires the snake milker to hold the snake’s head over a latex covered container.

The snake is then prompted to bite the latex, injecting venom which is collected in the receptacle. The second method requires holding the snake’s mouth open and then stimulating the muscles around the venom glands using electrodes. Clearly not a job for the faint-hearted.


Worm Picker

Definitely a job for the outdoorsy type, worm pickers mostly come out at night looking for wet, grassy spots (parks, gardens, golf courses) with lots of worms coming up to the surface. A full can of good quality worms is very appreciated by passionate anglers who know nothing compares to live bait.

It may sound like an easy enough job, but it can get dangerous: worm pickers are pretty competitive and territorial. So much so that there was a fight in Canada in 1993 involving steel pipes and setting a van on fire.

Golf Ball Diver

Playing golf isn’t cheap. It’s one of the most glamorous, expensive sports out there and only a few golfers would actually venture in the pond where they accidentally knocked a ball. That’s where golf ball divers come in: they dive and retrieve these balls.

The job isn’t as easy as it sounds, many golf courses aren’t very well maintained, and these divers have to sort through mud, algae and even snakes in their quest for lost golf balls.


Professional hitchhiker

If you find yourself in Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta, you can make an extra dollar or so (literally, as it isn’t one of the best-paid jobs you can find) just by riding a car with other people.

Traffic in Jakarta is so bad there is a law in place which says that during rush hour cars can be on the road only if there are three people in each vehicle. This is how professional hired passengers appeared: they just wait along crowded streets to be picked up by drivers thus helping them not to break the law, and they get paid for it.


Human Scarecrow

This is an easy one: it basically involves working at an airport and scaring birds away. Officially, the job is called “specialist for biologic aviation safety,” but all human scarecrows have to do is disperse birds or prevent them from entering the airport’s grounds.

Bicycle fisher

Amsterdam is famous, among other things, for its canals, and for its environmentally friendly bicycles. Residents of Amsterdam would rather use a bike to move about, and with around two million of these bikes roaming the city, it’s no surprise many of them end up in the elegant waterways of the Dutch capital.

Bike fishers use hydraulic claws to pull the bicycles out of the water and apparently every year they fish up to 15 000 rusty bikes out of the canals. Yes, it’s a full-time job, and these professionals will probably have work to do for a long time to come.


Dog Food Taster

What about man’s best friend? Every dog owner has to make sure their pet is well fed and happy. Delivering tasty and nutritious meals to our dogs is a pet food tester’s job.

Dog food testers eat dog food for a living because these products have to be tested for consistency, flavor, and texture. That includes bones, tinned meat, and biscuits and only if the testers consider them suitable for our dog’s palate, they will go on the store shelves.


Professional train pusher

Punctuality is so important in Japan that when a train leaves seconds earlier or later, they feel the need to issue public apologies. To almost reach perfection in terms of train punctuality, everything needs to run smoothly. Professional train pushers or ‘oshiyas’ are a small part of this well-oiled mechanism: they are hired to push people from the outside until the doors close.

Needless to say that if you value your personal space, it’s not a good idea to ride a train in Japan during rush hour. It’s insanely crowded, and the professional pushers will make sure to cram as many people as possible onto a train.


Vomit cleaner

It’s inevitable that some people, as adventurous as they want to be, can’t handle the twists and turns of a roller coaster at such crazy angles. Hence they end up losing their last meal. Someone has to clean that up, and amusement park owners hire vomit cleaners or ‘chunder cleaners’ as the British put it.

Albeit no one’s dream job and possibly in need of a nose peg while at work, this particular job comes with a pretty decent perk: free roller coaster rides.


Armpit sniffer

Supermarket shelves are full of deodorants, each one promising to deliver fabulous results and keep us fresh all day or at least stop us from, well, stinking. These deodorants don’t just magically appear on the shelves; they must be checked for quality first.

This quality check is performed by people whose job requires them to sniff armpits. Basically, armpit sniffers have to determine if the deodorant is effective by smelling up to 60 armpits an hour. These people might not be real heroes, but they definitely help us live in a nicer smelling world.