High paying jobs for people who don’t want to grow up or work in an office
When I was little, I wanted to be a ballerina.
Well, I’m not ballerina. It turned out that being a ballerina is very, very difficult, and that the gig pays next to nothing unless you’re at the very, very top end, which even then pays pretty badly compared to other entertainment gigs. Reality is harsh.
A lot of little boys wanted to be firemen. I hate to use gender-stereotypical examples but the reality is that most little girls wanted to be ballerinas when I was in kindergarten, and boys wanted to be firemen. It’s not my fault. Take it up with our younger selves.
Anyway, Firemen generally fare monetarily better on average than ballerinas, but that is one dangerous job. Not a lot of boys grew up to be firemen either.
Here I looked at some other jobs that would appeal to the kid you once were, and to those of you who still don’t want to grow up, focusing on those that pay the best, but mostly avoiding the obvious but unobtainable like pro athlete and movie/rock star.
The list turned out to be focused on adventure, fashion and food. Most of these, I believe, aren’t done in an office. On the downside, because they’re so awesome, the competition for almost all of them is pretty fierce. And if you’re wondering why I didn’t include the old standbys like video game tester, it’s because the pay for those is apparently usually terrible.
Tell me, if your dream job doesn’t make the list, what job does?
(A few of these also feature on our list of 10 jobs you won’t believe actually exist.)
Astronaut: A lot of kids want to be astronauts. You get to go to space! But you have to work really hard too. According to the Globe and Mail, a master’s degree in a technical area such as engineering or science is the minimum education requirement. Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield is a trained fighter pilot, has a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering and a master of science in aviation systems. You also have to be in great physical shape. But the prospects are terrible. Hadfield says you have a way better chance of getting into the NHL.
Salary: CA$89,100 – CA$174,000
Island caretaker: In 2009 Ben Southall of the UK, beat out over 35,000 applicants to serve as a caretaker in the Great Barrier Reef for six months, living in a luxury villa, swimming, kayaking, being generally sporty, and having fun in the sun while blogging and posting videos and photo diaries. The job was appropriately dubbed “The Best Job In The World.” What overgrown kid wouldn’t love a gig like that?
Salary: $150,000 for six months
Adventure tourism guide: Adventure guides lead tourists on expeditions like mountain climbing, hunting, or fishing trips, working independently or with an agency. The pay information available online varies widely from minimum wage to upwards of $500 a day if you’re working in certain areas of Africa. Closer to home, a helicopter skiing guide working from “Remote Mountain Lodges in British Columbia” with Intrawest earns $190 – $280 a day.
Salary: about $30,000 – >$130,000
Toy designer: Not one of the highest paying gigs on the list salary-wise, but if you design something that sells amazingly well for which you have negotiated royalties, you can hit the jackpot. Anyway, toy designers not only design toys, they get to play with them too. Stephanie Lemoine, a toy designer with Spin Master told Torontoist, “We play with a lot of toys—so we’re playing with our competition’s toys, and we’re learning from them—and we’re also sharing ideas and inspiration from other things. It’s a very creative, thought-based, dynamic environment. That makes it super-fun to come into work every day.” A toy designer is technically an industrial designer, so that’s something you might have to study.
Salary (for an industrial designer): $35,188 – $71,186
Doll fashion designer: Yes. Dolls have to wear clothes too. According to Payscale, big toy companies like Mattel and Hasbro hire doll fashion designers to create fashions for their dolls, which include Barbie and the My Little Pony Equestria Girls. The requirements are the same as those for designing people clothes – a bachelor’s degree in design – plus the ability to design on a small scale. Doll fashion designer Kim Culmone reportedly says doll fashion designers can make six figures.
Salary: about $30,000 – >$100,000
Personal shopper: For so called “shopaholics.” According to entrepreneur.com, some personal shoppers make less than $20K a year, but those who call themselves “image consultants” charge from $150 an hour for individuals, to $750 an hour for corporations. A personal “stylist,” meanwhile, can make over $300K. And it’s not just a job for fashion lovers. Marcel Massini is a personal Ferrari shopper who, according to CNN, travels the world choosing luxury cars for his clients. I have no idea what he makes but I bet it’s a lot. And, of course, there are personal real estate shoppers.
Salary: <$20,000 – a lot
Gumologist” Sue McNamara chews gum for a living as a gum taster at Cadbury Schweppes Science and Technology Center. You must have an extremely discerning palate for this job “discriminating enough to distinguish between strawberry flavors that are, say, green, gritty or jammy and nearly 70 other ingredients in a typical piece of Bubblicious, Dentyne or Trident,” says the New York Times. It’s probably not as fun as it sounds. Oh, no. Not mint again! And your jaw might get sore. But you do get to chew gum for a living, which is a kid’s idea of awesome. So, there’s that.
Salary: $74,000 – $107,500
Chocolate/Ice cream taster:These people spend their working days tasting chocolate or ice cream to test for things like quality, flavour, and consistency. Godiva’s “Senior Vice President of Global Research” studied science and has an MBA. The most famous ice cream taster is John Harrison for Dreyer’s. It helps to have a degree in food science and/or chemistry, plus a sensitive palate. Downsides include possible weight gain and having days where you never want to see another sweet dessert again. Again, these jobs are not actually that high paying, compared to others on this list.
Salary: $24,000 – $70,000
Stuntperson: The stuntperson on a film does anything dangerous that the actor can’t do, from fighting, falling, and driving, to flying and crashing. The average salary is reportedly about $70,000 but those at the top of their game can make a lot more. In the 1979, Dar Robinson was paid $150,000 to jump off the CN Tower for the 1982 movie Highpoint, and in 1993 Simon Crane was paid $1 million to transfer between two flying jet airplanes for the movie Cliffhanger. It’s worth noting that Robinson later died while performing a stunt. Meanwhile, I’m told stunt drivers can make $100K a day for very dangerous jobs.
Salary: Average $70,000 – millions
NASCAR driver: I know I said I was avoiding entertainment and athletes but this one is in a class all its own, no? Stunt drivers are often former pro race car drivers, by the way. While this would appear to be the ideal gig for daredevils and speed demons, it seems that the “pay-to-peril ratio” is actually not great in general. Driver pay is tied to sponsor revenue, which, according to IndyCar champ Dario Franchitti, isn’t what it once was (reports Road and Track). Still, Dale Earnhardt Jr. made $25.6 million last year, according to Forbes, and that’s more than I make. I wasn’t able to find the lowest pay point. Job requirements include being a very good driver and, I’m guessing, a wee bit crazy.
Salary: ??? – a lot