If you are still looking for that “dream job” where you do practically nothing, get paid well and enjoy a great life, keep buying those lottery tickets or hoping for that inheritance check. Every job has drawbacks and some tedious task involved, but if you find work that you enjoy, a job can seem easier. If you can turn a hobby or passion into a money-making business, it may not even seem like work. My friend is an auto mechanic and his hobby is fixing cars; another friend loves to travel the world and does it while working in the oil and gas industry; a relative loves to throw parties and became an event planner; and lastly, I love building things and helping people get the information they need to better their lives, so I build websites. For all of us, getting paid is just a bonus since we would have cheerfully enjoyed our hobbies anyway. Unfortunately, none of these jobs would be considered “easy” – making money online is tough, and the auto, oil and gas and event planning industries are all highly competitive.
The most interesting aspect of some of these easy jobs that pay well is that no one grew up saying “One day, I hope to become a …” I don’t think many of us, even now, realize how much these easy, but underappreciated careers pay. If you are considering a new job or wondering what direction your life is headed, consider looking into some of these unusual, weird, cool, easy, or fun jobs that pay well.
Video Game Player
Yes, you can get paid for playing the video games you love if you can find a sponsor. Major online game companies, like Blizzard in Southern California, hire expert players to talk to other players and assist them in achieving higher levels in the games. The downside to this job is that the hours can be long, you may have to play as many as 16 hours per day, and since you are acting as an independent contractor, there are no employee benefits. On the plus side, you get to work from home, you may get the newest versions of the game to test and you can make as much as $50,000 per year.
Although this may seem like a silly job reserved for teens or college students in the summer, it can pay as much as $50 per hour. Walking large dogs through congested city streets is not easy and people who are elderly, disabled, out of town or just lazy are willing to pay a premium to have someone else exercise their beloved pets. Since most cities require pet owners to clean up after their dogs, the pooper scooper is probably the worst part of the job, or maybe the worst part is trying to keep multiple leashes from tangling so you do not fall on your face.
Although legitimate mystery shopper jobs can be difficult to find, people who love to shop and eat at restaurants will adore this job. Mystery or secret shoppers are assigned to stores and restaurants to report on their shopping or dining experience from the merchandise or food to the quality of service provided by employees. Some employers provide cash for shopping or dining and allow shoppers to keep the merchandise. Some shoppers must return the merchandise but get paid a fee for each job. Emails offering secret shopper jobs are mostly scams so check through sources like employment agencies and department store human resource departments for the real deal.
In NYC, trash collectors have earned the title of sanitation engineer. Although it sounds better than garbage collector, the job is basically the same. No special training is required and salaries range from $35,000 to $100,000 per year; for instance, New York City offers $100,000 for this career, while Pensacola, Florida offers trash collects a starting salary of $35,000. However, since most of these jobs are in the public sector, benefits packages are usually generous, with full health and dental benefits, retirement and pension funds, and paid vacations. If you do not think this job is important, try visiting Manhattan three days into a garbage collectors’ strike. Trash removal and collection is vital to public health and safety.
The Toughest Job You’ll Ever Love?
Military careers today are about more than firing guns and having enemy troops shoot at you. Technology and communications are a big part of modern warfare and the military offers careers in telecommunications, computer programming, radar, sonar and more traditional fields like law and medicine. The Air Force, Army, Navy and Marines train many soldiers who go on to very successful corporate careers, especially in the defense industry or with a company that relies on government connections for contracts or lobbying. Pilots for the military are also shoe-ins with commercial airlines. Benefits include college tuition, free medical, dental and vision care for employees and their dependents, the opportunity for advancement and one of the best retirement packages available. Early retirement is available after 20 years so you can begin collecting a pension before your 50th birthday.
Independent Sales Rep
Companies like Avon, Mary Kay, Amway and Herbalife contract with independent sales representatives to distribute their products. There are usually no educational or training requirements and start-up costs are fairly low. Jobs are available with companies that sell everything from environmentally friendly cleaning products to lingerie and sexual aids. The contractor must buy supplies like samples and catalogs, but no inventory is needed. Income depends on the sales representative’s ability and the amount of time invested, but senior reps can make over $100,000 per year. There are no benefits, no social security or unemployment and no withholding of income tax. Reps are considered self-employed and are responsible for their own tax liability.
Gastroenterologist can earn as much as $275,000 per year for work such as a colonoscopy or invasive prostate exam. Though the job can become repetitive performing the same procedure and routine every day, especially one that most people despise and dread, a career as a gastroenterologist focusing on the digestive system can be worth it for an individual searching for an easy job that pays very well.
Training and licensing is required for plumbers in most states. While the job has a few downsides, like unclogging toilets and sewer lines, the upside is the pay. The average journeyman plumber makes about $40,000 per year and master plumbers can make more than twice that amount. Many plumbers own their own businesses and this can be another big plus. Plumbers are needed for new construction, remodeling in kitchens and bathrooms, for running water lines for heating systems, checking gas lines and installing appliances like dishwashers, washers, gas dryers and ranges.
Food Service Professionals
Short order cooks, dishwashers and professional servers are always in demand. While these jobs do not pay as well as some others, most employers are willing to adjust work schedules to fit the employee’s needs. This is the reason many aspiring actors and actresses choose to work in restaurants. In most states (the exceptions are Oregon, Washington and California) restaurants are not required to pay servers state minimum wage since they receive tips. Minimum wage for servers varies from $2.13 per hour to $4.00 per hour and tips must be reported for tax purposes. Flexibility and free meals are the biggest plus for food service professionals.
Child Care Providers
Training and licensing requirements for child care providers vary between states and are often dependent on the number and ages of the children for whom care is provided. Generally, no training or license is required for providers who keep one or two children. Facilities that provide child care in the evening or nighttime hours often charge more since night care is harder to find than day care. Since child care is a tax deductible expense, providers must report their income to the IRS or risk tax penalties. Income depends on geographical area and services offered by the provider.
Many elderly people do not require medical or personal care assistance but need help with household chores, shopping and transportation. Eldercare companions may read to their clients, play games or assemble puzzles, or simply provide companionship and conversation. No special training is required for housekeeper/companion jobs. In some cases companions may liaise with family members and discuss ways to make the client’s life easier or more comfortable. Pay for these jobs are usually around $10.00 per hour.
Crime Scene Cleaning Specialist or Hazmat Technician
These jobs are similar and both require training. While crime scene cleaners deal with potentially hazardous biological materials like blood, urine and feces, hazmat technicians clean up and dispose of hazardous, sometimes explosive, chemicals and materials like asbestos. Workers are required to wear special protective clothing and job sites may be inspected by government agencies. While hazmat technicians are in demand everywhere, crime scene cleaners usually find more employment opportunities in urban areas.
Test Subject, Lab Rat
If you like to live on the edge, this job may be for you. Test subjects are also known as lab rats and their job is to act as guinea pigs for drugs and other products that have not yet been approved for use by humans. The drugs can have serious side effects and can adversely affect health and longevity. However it pays well, about $3000 per month and there is almost no work involved. It may not have the thrill of sky diving, but risk takers could find this job appealing.
Romance Novelist or Online eBook Publisher
It can be difficult for writers to get their work published, but romance novels are easier to sell than other types of books. The plot lines are formulaic, and if you can write about steamy sexual encounters (without getting too graphic) this may be the perfect way to start a career writing fiction. Publishers of romance novels, like Harlequin and Silhouette, usually pay an advance against royalties of up to $5,000 if you work is accepted. Since these companies publish dozens of novels each month you can earn a nice, steady income.
The other option is to become a writer who self-publishes online. Amanda Hocking made her novels available online as eBooks, selling them for $.99, $1.99, or $2.99. Due to her natural talent and great story lines, Amanda eventually developed a huge following and has made millions selling 1.5 million books via online platforms like Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other eBook sites. She now has two deals with major publishing houses – St Martin’s Press in the US and Pan Macmillan in the UK.
While newspaper and magazine jobs are becoming harder to find, internet marketers, bloggers and advertisers constantly need fresh copy content and articles. Websites like Freelancer.com, Elance.com, and Fiverr.com post jobs that are being outsourced to writers and writers bid on the jobs. There are no special qualifications for this job except a PC, a high speed internet connection and language skills, but getting work can be tough for newcomers. Once a writer becomes established he or she can make a decent, regular paycheck. Some jobs pay royalties or bonuses which can add a little extra incentive.
Credit and Collections Specialist
If you think any job where you sit at a desk, talk on the phone and enter data into a computer is easy, this might be for you. The downside is that no one likes collection specialists and you will probably want to lie about how you make your living. For those who can manage to bully or threaten debtors into paying up, the salary is decent. There are opportunities for advancement but this job is extremely stressful because there is constant pressure to perform.
Everyone knows that hacking is illegal, but if you are a proficient hacker, government agencies and private computer security firms want your knowledge. The theory is that if you can break into secure intranets and websites, you can help design ways to keep hackers out. Hackers are also used to test new computer security protocols. If you just love virtual B&E and have mad skills, this could be the right career choice. Salaries are usually generous and government agencies may offer other incentives, especially to hackers who have been caught.
Teacher or Tutor
The demand for teachers is never constant, but now is a good time to get into the field, especially if you have a degree in mathematics or science. Perks are that your children can usually attend the school where you teach and teachers are off when their children are out of school so they do not have day care expenses. There is homework like grading papers and writing evaluations and the pay varies widely between school systems. A bachelor’s degree with a certification in education is required.
On the flip side, if you don’t want to become a certified teacher, think about tutoring students. Some students and graduates put themselves through school by tutoring other peers, which can also help them add great experience to their resume. Many well-qualified and prestigious tutors, especially ones with specialized knowledge for the MCATs, LSATs, SATs, and difficult subjects such as Calculus, Chemistry, or Physics, are paid up to $50/hour, depending on the client.
Get Paid To Read Email
While no one will get rich reading email (it pays about 2 cents per email), there is the opportunity to make bonuses by completing surveys and signing up for special offers. Most websites that offer paid email even pay readers for recruiting new people for their site. While this job may not pay very well, it can be done in your spare time and can provide extra funds for holiday shopping or a special event. And hey, you have to check your email anyway, right?
Grocery Store Clerk
Although this is not anyone’s idea of a dream job, grocery store workers make surprisingly good salaries, have job security and good opportunities for advancement, assuming you work for a big, financially-stable grocery chain. After a probationary period there are also generous benefits packages for full time workers. Most grocery store chains are unionized which is one reason this job is fairly attractive. Most employers require that clerks have a high school diploma or GED and provide on the job training.
Private Security Guard
Most employers require that unarmed, private security guards have a high school diploma or GED and no criminal record. On the job training is provided and duties may include watching security monitors, sitting in a guard shack at gated communities, patrolling gated communities in cars, or walking through stores looking for shoplifters. If security guards see a crime in progress, their job is to notify the police. These jobs usually pay between $12 and $20 per hour. The requirements and training for armed security guards are more stringent and the duties are different.
Other Easy, High Paying Jobs
Toll Booth Collector – up to $60,000; toll booth collectors sit in a cramped room and ensure drivers pay the appropriate toll.
Message Board Administrator – up to $50,000; online admins monitor and moderate forums to protect users and check spam.
House-Sitting – up to $100/day; watching and taking care of a person’s home while they are away is exceptionally easy and laid back. Chances are nothing bad will happen while you are monitoring the property
Baby-Sitting – up to $25/hour, depending on the number of children you need to watch; a babysitter needs to be responsible and good with children. Responsibilities include a child’s meal, entertainment, maintaining discipline and safety, possibly developing education learning activities, and the ability to put the kids to bed at bedtime. Although not the easiest, least stressful job out there since a small slip-up could end with the child endangering himself/herself or you, it can be rewarding to watch children grow-up. Babysitters should also probably know first aid techniques and CPR.
Crop Duster Pilot – up to $80,000; requires flying lessons to acquire a pilot’s license to spray insecticides on crops at low altitudes over a field.
Oil Field and Platform Operators – up to $250,000; although it can result in a lot of downtime, oil field and platform production can be dangerous with deep drilling machinery, heavy loads, and toxic fumes and chemicals.
Sewer Inspector – up to $80,000; the job can require inspecting sewers full of excrement, cockroaches, rats, and whatever else gets flushes, as well as repairing sanitation piping and passage ways.
Truck Driver – up to $80,000; despite what people think, truck drivers have incredibly difficult jobs that require them to sit in an upright position for long hours and endure days with little sleep. Though many begin the career excited to travel the country, the job does take its toll on an individual’s health and family relationships.
Construction Workers – up to $100,000; construction workers, especially for city governments, receive good salaries and exceptional benefits due to strong unions. Nonetheless, the work can be intense, physical, dangerous when heavy machinery is involved, and high risk in terms of injury.
Online Surveys – up to $20/survey; completing internet surveys is one of the easiest ways to make money online, and many stay-at-home parents use this method as a means for a second, side income stream.
Newspaper Delivery – up to $15/hour; previously reserved for kids, teens, and college students seeking a summer job, delivering newspapers or magazines is an easy way to make extra money and can be scheduled around your day job.
Department Store Greeter – up to $40,000; this job requires no real qualifications other than a friendly face and voice to greet people as they step into a store. A number of chains offer this position, and you may be entitled to benefits as well as discounts from your employer’s stores. Imagine an easy job with a decent salary that also gets you discounts and savings from your favorite store.
While every job involves work, most people can find low-stress, easy jobs that they enjoy and are good at if they use a little creative thinking and do some research. With unemployment rates over 7%, new college graduates, high school graduates and the recently unemployed may have to consider more unconventional options when looking for job or career options.