When you take a break at work today, think of ways you would've rather spent your morning; perhaps you wanted to play video games all day, eat ice cream, or lounge around on a beach in a tropical paradise. Or maybe you aren't looking for a job so seemingly laid-back, and instead would've preferred to express your opinions for cash.
Well, you could do any of these things--and get paid for them. That's right, you can get paid to watch TV, play video games, and eat junk food--it's like a 12-year-old's dream job. That being said, the pay for these jobs usually fits the expertise needed to perform them--except in one case. We'll look at some of these jobs, and find out how you get them (and what they pay once you've gotten there).
Professional TV watcher
Yes, this is a job where you get paid to watch television, just like it says in the description. However, there's a lot more work involved than just passively watching your favorite show. Pro TV watchers usually scan through different shows and news clips, and find the right clips that can be used on a television show or news program. Television shows like "The Daily Show" and "Jimmy Kimmel Live" have these positions in which people find entertaining or important TV clips to be used throughout the show.
When Jimmy Kimmel was looking for a TV watcher in 2005, his show was offering $500 to $600 per week. More recently, Gawker.com put up an ad looking for pro TV watchers, and advertised that the watcher would be getting paid "less than minimal." A recent online job posting on entertainmentcareers.com claims that the starting pay is $8 per hour part-time, listing "close attention to details" as one of the necessary skills, along with being familiar with the technology of TiVo and DVD players.
Professional video game tester
When we talk about professional video game testers, we don't mean that you get paid to sit there and play a game until you've completed it. For this job, you are required to go through the game and look for errors, which can sometimes involve playing the same section of a game over and over and reporting on the exact properties of the error.
Game testers usually get paid hourly, and the pay increases by how much experience you have testing (not just playing). There may also be bonuses related to how many bugs you find in the game you're testing. A starting hourly wage for this job is between $8 and $15.
Do you have something to say? Can you say it in a way that's entertaining and that people will actually want to read? Well, you can get paid to do it. To start, you'll need to do some light research: What do you know most about? Are there other blogs already like that? Is it going to draw people into the site? Once you've figured this out, you're free to make your writing available for all to read.
You can make money by putting up ads via Google Adwords or Adsense, and when you gain popularity, other publications may want to hire you to write for them. Once you've established your presence, you can make anywhere from $25 to $200 writing for newspaper and magazine blogs.
Professional taste tester
Professional taste testing can run the gamut from a food scientist, who would be involved in the preparation of the food and have a degree, to someone who serves as part of a food focus group. For the taste-testing job, you could be eating ice cream all day, describing how different samples compare to one another, and characterizing the overall taste of the ice cream.
John D. Harrison is a professional ice cream taster for Dryers; the Salt Lake Tribune reported that the ice cream company has insured Harrison's taste buds for $1 million. So when you get good at tasting, it can mean a lot to a company. However, if you're just getting started, we found a job opening in Barrington, Ill., that offers $9.50 an hour for four months of training, followed by $12.50 afterwards. You may not always be taste-testing ice cream, though; it could be a new chocolate bar or it could be a microwave meatloaf.
In 2009, the Australian government had a brilliant tourism marketing idea: offer one lucky candidate a chance at the world's best job. This job is being an island caretaker on Hamilton Island, which is in the Great Barrier Reef, exploring the island and blogging about it. Ben Southall of England won the $111,000 (!) six-month contract. This job has the added perks of living in a three-bedroom seaside house with a private swimming pool. It may only be a temporary job, but you really can't beat it.
So now when you're daydreaming about what you could be doing instead of your normal job, you should realize that they're not all as good as they first appear. Aside from the island caretaker gig, there are downsides, whether in job duties or pay, to all of the other jobs. And hey, maybe it's not your ideal job to be out in the tropical sun all day. Check out your "dream job" in its totality before you decide that it's what you want to do.
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