To earn a lot of money, you typically need a good job. Some people manage to get by living off of an inheritance or by other strokes of good fortune. But for the average person? We need to work, and usually, our goal is to earn the most by putting in the least amount of effort. You can manage to do that, in some cases, by working weird, strange, or unusual jobs.
We’re not just talking about odd jobs or things you might do here and there to earn some beer money. Instead, we’re talking about jobs that are completely unorthodox, that you can actually make a career of. But you probably don’t want to just scrape by, right? You want to earn some serious cash, especially if you’re going to be doing something that’s dangerous or incredibly uncomfortable.
You want to be earning at least six-figures, in some cases. After all, you wouldn’t become a professional cuddler, or try to repossess a Gulf Stream without getting paid well, right?
There are an innumerable number of ways to earn a living, including the unorthodox. But not all of those career paths or jobs necessarily pay well. We’ve scoured the economy high and low to find some of the most unusual jobs that pay at least $100,000. Some of these are salaried positions while others are more gig-based, meaning that people take individual jobs on a per-case basis.
If you want to earn a good living and do it in a very unusual way, these jobs may be for you.
1. Bed warmer
You won’t find a more unusual job than a human bed warmer. And yes, this job is exactly what it sounds like — someone pays you to get in a bed and warm it up for them. Evidently, some people hate the idea of jumping into a nice, clean, fresh bed and having to withstand 30 seconds or so of being cold. The pay for a human bed warmer can top $200,000.
Next: A high-paying — and totally legal — job.
2. Computer hacker
If you’ve seen House of Cards, you know that computer hackers can be turned around and used by the “good guys.” Not all hackers are malicious, and many work in the security industry. The pay is pretty good, too. Salaries for “ethical” computer hackers can top $100,000.
Next: A crazy job for tough people
3. Plane repossession
Want to steal planes, or even yachts for a living? You can do so as a high-end repo man/woman. The salary or pay for these types of positions can vary wildly, as you end up essentially chasing a bounty, or reselling the asset. So, you can make an absolute fortune, or take one job per year and still cover your living expenses. It’s extremely dangerous, too.
Next: A seriously unusual job
4. Body for-hire
This isn’t a specific job per se, but rather, is the act of renting out your body for the short-term. No, not like a prostitute. Two examples? You can be a mourner at a funeral or be a stand-in bridesmaid at a wedding. Pay can vary, but if you can string enough gigs together, you’ll put yourself into the six-figure range for the year.
Next: A high-paying job for those who love the water
You’re not going to earn a ton of money to merely scuba. You’ll need to work while you’re down there, and the ability to perform certain tasks underwater is fetching high salaries. Welders, for example, can earn huge salaries. Also, the extraction industry is in need of divers to build and repair platforms and pipelines.
Next: Yes, this next job is real.
You’ve probably seen this on many other lists of odd or unusual jobs — professional snugglers. Yes, you can get paid quite a bit to snuggle with a stranger. That may be a pleasurable experience or an absolute nightmare. As with many other jobs on this list, the pay can vary. But if you snuggle hard enough, you can make a sizable salary.
Next: This next job requires you to reach for the stars
Wouldn’t you want to get paid six figures to stare at stars and planets? Astronomy isn’t an easy field to get into, as it requires a lot of credentials, but if you can climb the ladder, the salaries are pretty hefty. An astronomer on the government payroll can easily make $100,000 per year.
Next: Why you should go back to the kitchen
8. Cook or chef
A cook or chef isn’t an unusual job. But depending on where you do it, it can get unusual, fast. Cooks that work in fairly wild surroundings — like submarines, for example, can break the six-figure threshold. Of course, there isn’t really a ton of demand for them, but it beats making $10 per hour on the line at Applebee’s.
Next: A high-paying job that requires you dress the part
9. Decoy executives
In certain parts of the world, acting as a fake businessman or executive is an actual job. There are stories from China in which white men are paid thousands to pose for acts of corporate theater. It’s bizarre, but if you fit the role, it can pay well.
Next: For the love of golf
10. Golf ball retrieval
Would you make a career out of diving into ponds and retrieving golf balls that missed their marks? If you’re willing, it can evidently be pretty lucrative. Some even earn enough to break the six-figure mark.
Next: Wanna work with pot?
11. Master marijuana extractor
Those looking to cash in on the booming marijuana industry should consider becoming a master marijuana extractor. In addition to boasting a totally righteous job title, these extractors make up to $250,000 per year. Students with related degrees can earn $70,000 in their first year as what one would only imagine is the marijuana industry’s version of the beer industry’s brewmaster. In reality, these people process marijuana and hemp components to make oils, concentrates, edibles, and more.
Next: Making money with hot dogs.
12. Hot dog cart vendor
Just about anything sounds more glamorous than wandering the streets of New York City, Chicago, or any other bustling cityscape as a hot dog vendor. But these questionably hygienic carts scouring the nation are earning an average of $100,000 per year. In this case, hard work pays off. Vendors in high-traffic areas easily pull $1,150 in a single weekend.
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13. Online dating ghostwriter
Ever look at an online dating profile and think, “Wow, that was witty.” Maybe the dater is truly a funny person. Or it could be that they paid a ghostwriter to curate the profile for them. Online dating ghostwriters, like this one in New York, charges $900 per month to manage your online dating profile. She’s not the only writer entrepreneur dabbling in the business lucrative dating business. Match, E-Harmony, Tinder, you name it, they’ll craft it … to the tune of an easy six-figure salary.
Next: You could be halfway to a millionaire with this next gig
14. Shot girl
If you’re willing to embrace the nightlife and club scene beyond your college years, it could be a pretty lucrative career. Waitresses and servers can earn thousands per night, but bottle girls and shot girls at prominent nightclubs earn well over $500,000 in tips and salary, according to one girl’s day-in-the-life confession.
Next: A lucrative job at sea
15. Cruise ship captain
Becoming a cruise ship captain isn’t usually a boat-lovers first choice for employment. But it should be. Most charter captains enjoy a 10 weeks on, 10 weeks off schedule. And while other cruise ship staff are busy corralling kids and cleaning pools, captains are watching dolphins jump from behind the wheel and collecting a salary that tops $150,000 per year.
Additional reporting by Lauren Hamer.