Monthly Archives: August 2016

Odd Jobs #10: Paint Drying Watchers to Professional Cuddlers

Betcha ya never thought ya’d see that kind of title one day…

watching paint dry

From beginning to end, this week’s line-up of weird jobs is filled with doozies; some of them are just downright bizarre, like watching paint dry.  Of all the odd job line-ups I’ve done so far however, this list is by far the most indicting against our modern culture:  The personal touch, the strong family ties and networks of close friends have, for many people, crumbled away, leaving a vacuum to be filled by others who:  Do the shopping for items as simple as groceries or as intimate as clothing or gifts for significant others; teach one how to communicate with others (granted, the pick-up artist – a narcissist at the core – obviously has ulterior motives); to apologize for others (rather than learning how to do so oneself; this is more common in Asian cultues, where saving face is essential, particularly in business sectors); to pose as a close friend (as bridesmaid); even to give someone the personal, physical touch they’re otherwise missing in their lives.  I wonder if our ancestors might just shake their heads in confusion, or roll in their graves…

  • Paint Drying Watcher (wherever paint is drying): Companies actually hire people to carefully observe the changing colors and particles of paint as it dries – both on walls as well as under a microscope. It ensures that the paints are durable and do not fall off at the slightest touch.
  • Paper Towel Sniffer
  • Personal Shopper
  • Pet Psychologist
  • Pick-up Artist Instructor: Single ladies, beware!
  • Porta-Potty Servicer: Like regular restrooms, portable toilets need maintenance, too. Once a week, service workers clean these single-stall facilities to achieve certain standards of sanitation.
  • Potato Chip Inspector: Search for over-cooked or clumped chips to discard as they come down the assembly line.
  • Professional Apologizer
  • Professional Bridesmaids: Hired to assist brides on their big day. Jen Glantz, the cofounder of Bridesmaid for Hire, a company that offers ‘undercover bridesmaid’ and personal assistant-type services to brides and their wedding parties, charges anywhere from $300 to $2,000 per wedding.
  • Professional Cuddlers: Charge up to $80 an hour to snuggle with strangers. The downside: This work comes with its share of emotional burdens, says Portland-based cuddler Samantha Hess.






Filed under Articles, Lists, Research

Odd Jobs #9: Lego Model-Maker to Oshiya (passenger shovers)

Once again, this odd job lineup has some gems!  Would you rather be paid to stand perfectly still for hours on end, or literally shove other people around all day, every day?  Some of these might not be so bad, such as a master distiller, or someone paid to come up with catchy nail polish names, while other jobs might have a certain prejudice or stigma attached to them – after all, how many of us haven’t had luggage damaged in transit at airports, and chosen a few special words, at least in our minds, for the people paid good money to do so?  I was once treated like a piece of luggage, and I wouldn’t wish it on my favourite enemy; however, it did give me a personal taste of just how luggage frequently comes out missing wheels, handles, or zippers.


Odd Job - Oshiya - Train Passenger Stuffers

Credit:  YouTube


  • Lego Model-Maker
  • Live Mannequin / Human Statue
  • London Dungeon Actor
  • Luggage Handler
  • Mascot
  • Master Distiller (This link also includes the job descriptions of several other jobs involved in the distilling process.)
  • Nail Polish Namer: Sometimes it’s a person, such as Essie Weingarten, and other times it’s a marketing department, or a freelance writer.
  • Nude Model
  • Ocularist: In short, they paint artificial eyes. It sounds easier than it is, since as with real eyes, no two are exactly the same.
  • Oil & Gas Diver
  • Online Book Seller
  • Online Reviewer: Often hired by a company to review a product; but, I then wonder how they could be unbiased in that review.  Such services are also offered for sale on sites such as  Finding an actual, legitimate, detailed job description for this one is nigh on impossible, as most jobs are offered online now, and the term “review” can be used by anyone with an opinion…
  • Orchestra Manager: While this link is for an orchestra managing director’s job description, an even more specialized niche within the “genre” is that of the orchestra event manager:  They are responsible for booking airline tickets, arranging luggage transport for all shapes and sizes of instruments, booking hotel rooms, organizing and the overseeing of the setting up of venues, and making certain that the even runs smoothly from venue to venue.  That may also include hiring the local sound, light, and stage hands, though these tasks may be handed on to someone else in the managing office.  A friend recently flew in the seat next to such a manager, and passed on the details to me for this odd list… it just proves that you never know where you’ll meet interesting people!
  • Oshiya (Japan): Paid to push people onto trains.


Filed under Articles, Lists, Nuts & Bolts, Research

On Summer Holidays

Have you ever felt that you needed a holiday from holidays?  We’ve crammed more activities into one week that we’d previously done all year!  Gondolas (cable cars), waterfalls, mountains, waterfalls inside mountains, overnight in a hotel at the top of a mountain, international guests for a few days in between (take a deep breath), scenery galore, giant outdoor museums, a glass-blowing facility & its hands-on museum, a Benedictine abbey with a cheese factory, medieval castles, restaurants, a mammoth museum, more gondolas, late nights to stay up with the telescope to see Mars, Saturn and the Moon, and to watch for the Perseid meteor showers, and a car that decided it needed to go overnight for repairs (so we travelled partly in an uncomfortable replacement car) – this also included passengers getting out and pushing the car to jump-start it while up in the mountains, and delays waiting for the touring club mechanic twice… and that’s not including the plans for the coming week (fortunately the car’s problem was easily repaired, and we’re all happy again now).  Even though we thoroughly enjoyed the time our international guest was here for a visit, and are enjoying more quality time with our exchange student, my body is tired and my mind is full; I need time to process all of the impressions and experiences.  I don’t know about you, but this introvert needs a break… as in, “Don’t talk to me for a week…”  Later on I’ll say it was worth it, but right now, all I can say, “Stop the holidays, I want to get off!”

Here’s some photographic evidence:

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Filed under Articles, History, Images, Lists, Musings

Odd Jobs #8: Hippotherapists to Spatial Designers

The next line-up of odd jobs begins with one that can lead to all kinds of interpretations; no, it’s not therapy for hippos, nor is it accusing hippos of being convicted criminals (break it down…)!  It is in fact a specialised form of therapy for humans involving horses.

There are a few on this list that sound on the surface like cushy jobs; but as with all careers, they have their downsides too, I’m sure:  It’s just creepy to hire someone else to lie down in your hotel bed to warm it up for you, but someone’s got to earn money; and how’d you like to live in a spotless mansion as a living mannequin… never to feel at home, and forced to leave at the drop of a hat?  Being an ice cream taster doesn’t sound bad on a hot day, but 60 kinds a day, every day, without swallowing?  No, thanks!  I’d rather enjoy mine one flavour at a time, or three.

Odd Job - Iceberg Mover

Iceberg Mover.  Original photo source, unknown (if known, please let me know!)

  • Hippotherapist
  • Horse Rider / Exerciser
  • Horticultural Therapist
  • Hot Dog Vendor
  • Human Bed-Warmer (UK): Some hotels offer a service to clients, in which a willing staffer dresses in an all-in-one fleece jumpsuit, and lays in the bed to warm it before the guest arrives.
  • Human Bullet Impact Tester
  • Human Prop: Hired to live in for-sale luxury homes at dirt cheap prices; but of course, there’s a catch – the house must always be in squeaky clean, in case it gets purchased, and they have to be ready to move out immediately. According to real estate companies, houses sell better when they’re being lived in; the props lend an unmistakable energy to an otherwise empty home.
  • Human Scarecrow (UK) – A variation is that of a human scarecrow for airports – Officially, you’d be called a “specialist for biological aviation safety.”
  • Iceberg Mover: Became a profession after the disastrous sinking of the Titanic in 1912. The International Ice Patrol (IIP), which was founded a year later, is operated by the US Coast Guard and tracks the location of icebergs and provides safe routes around them. If necessary, the iceberg will be towed out of the area.
  • Ice Cream Taster (Food Scientist)
  • IMAX Screen Cleaner
  • Interior / Spatial Designer


Filed under Lists, Mistranslations, Research