7 Weird Jobs That Pay Well

Man with falcon on his arm

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Want to spend the day taste-testing dog food? How about giving haunted city tours or pretending to be a statue? If the nine-to-five grind has never appealed to you, don’t worry — there are countless unconventional jobs out there, many of which offer surprisingly hefty salaries. Here are seven weird jobs that pay well and will never let you get bored. 

1. Pest Abatement Falconer

Picture this — it’s early autumn in California. Walking through a field of wine grapes with a glove on your hand, you swing a lure through the air, calling your aplomado falcon to your fist. She comes tearing through the sky with a force only a raptor could possess to eat the piece of meat you offer her. 

Together, your job is to make the lives of pest birds like starlings and robins a living nightmare, scaring them away from crops they would otherwise devour. You’ll work from sunup to sundown during the fruit growing season. It’s hard work, but peaceful, since you’ll spend most of the day strolling the fields with your birds and possibly a dog for company. This seasonal job is often a contract gig that lasts a few weeks per farm. 

You could earn: $100 per hour during the working season

2. Nuclear Power Reactor Operator

Homer Simpson’s salary allowed him to buy a house and support three kids. It’s not just because The Simpsons first aired in 1989 when housing prices were low — many nuclear power plant jobs really do pay well, although you might not be allowed to eat donuts all day.

A nuclear power reactor operator’s job is just like it sounds. You’ll adjust control rods, keep an eye on turbines and generators, record data in logs and start and stop equipment. Safety is paramount in this job, and you’ll need to adhere to strict protocols. Most nuclear power reactor operators have at least a high school diploma. 

You could earn: $50 an hour

3. Human Statue

Do you pride yourself on your ability to keep still? Want a job where you can work around people but not have to talk to anybody? Consider becoming a human statue, also called a living statue. These art performers often dress up and paint themselves to look like marble sculptures or even topiary designs. 

As a performer pretending to be a work of art, your job is to lend an element of surprise to events at country clubs, wineries, retreats and other venues where parties take place. You might also serve drinks or put on a performance. Make no mistake — you won’t be standing still the whole time, or else the host might as well buy a real statue! 

You could earn: $80 an hour

4. Paranormal Guide

People love haunted history. If you’ve got a knack for storytelling, cracking jokes and leading tours, consider becoming a paranormal guide. You’ll get to take people around the spookiest parts of your city, giving them the ghoulish details of strange disappearances, unsolved mysteries and things that go bump in the night. 

You’ll need to be comfortable walking or driving a bus for this job. Ghost tours often include history lessons, photo ops and stories. If you’re lucky, they can even involve food!

You could earn: $60 per hour

5. Pet Food Tester

Among all the weird jobs that pay well, this one might take the cake. Have you ever wondered what your dog’s liver-flavored pupcorn actually tastes like? Be honest — have you snuck a little sample of it yourself?

If so, you might be cut out to be a professional pet food tester. Perhaps disappointingly, you won’t spend the day pigging out on cat chow — although you will actually have to taste the food now and then. Instead, most of your job will entail testing pet food, evaluating its nutritional content and determining how you could improve it. 

There are two main groups of people who work in this field. The first is consumers who work on an as-needed basis to perform taste tests. The other consists of professionals who usually have a degree in food science, nutrition or culinary arts — and their salary is nothing to sniff at.

You could earn: $55 an hour

6. Equine Massage Therapist

Horse racing isn’t all fun and games. Just like human athletes, horses can suffer from muscle soreness, tension and stiffness after a run. Treating an injury is much more expensive than preventing one in the first place. 

That’s where you’ll come in — as an equine massage therapist, your job will be to massage horses to keep them in peak physical condition. Massage may also help horses with behavioral problems to calm down. 

To get this unconventional job, you’ll likely need a certification from the National Board of Certification for Animal Acupressure and Massage or the International Association of Animal Massage and Bodywork. And, it goes without saying that you’ll need to be very comfortable working with horses and their owners, alike. 

You could earn: $100 per hour

7. Escalator Mechanic

Another weird job that pays well lets you take things one step at a time. As an escalator mechanic, your job will be to assemble, install, repair and maintain escalators. You might install escalators in new buildings and perform repairs on existing ones in places like airports, convention centers and malls. 

And, of course, this job always gives you opportunities to move up. In fact, you might be doing it several times a day!

You could earn: $60 per hour

Weird Jobs That Pay Well: Never Have a Boring Day at Work

Who says work has to be your least favorite part of life? Many people have made careers out of doing things they absolutely love, whether that’s giving tours, fixing escalators, working with horses or strolling through an orchard, hawk in hand. 

Don’t settle for boring. Find a weird job that pays well so you can support yourself and your family while still making the most of life. At the end of the day, if being a living statue isn’t your thing, you can always go back to the office. 

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