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Penguin Flipper & Parmesan Cheese Listener: 8 Non-Typical Vacancies That Used to Seem Like a Joke (But They Actually Exist)

This kind of work seems simple only at first glance, but not everyone can land these roles.

Jobs are a fundamental part of life. If you're seeking a change from the monotony, why not explore the role of an underwater pizza delivery man?

We've identified some of the most unconventional yet real job opportunities, complete with average salaries. Although these roles might not suit everyone's taste, they indeed exist and are performed by real people. Dive into these vacancies for a glimpse of the extraordinary – you're unlikely to encounter anything as fascinating today.

#1. Professional sleeper

Average salary: $45,542/year

Finally, your dream of sleeping at work can become a reality, and you can even earn a salary for it. Professional Sleepers are primarily employed by research institutions and healthcare professionals to study sleep's impact on brain function and heart rate. Additionally, brands specializing in mattresses, pillows, and quilts, as well as hotels, hire Professional Sleepers to assess the guest experience firsthand.

This role may involve creating reports or providing detailed feedback on various factors affecting sleep quality, including comfort, room lighting, and noise levels. Occasionally, Professional Sleepers may participate in medical studies requiring the use of sleep aids.

Candidates must be adaptable to different sleeping conditions and schedules, possess keen attention to detail, and maintain good physical and mental health, as these factors significantly influence research outcomes.

#2. Scuba Diving Pizza Delivery Man

Average salary: up to $25/hour

Imagine lodging at a hotel accessible only by scuba diving 21 feet underwater. The existence of an underwater hotel is intriguing enough, but the addition of a scuba diving pizza delivery service is truly remarkable. The journey begins at Jules' Undersea Lodge in Florida, a transformed research laboratory in Key Largo now serving as a cozy accommodation for two, complete with amenities and an underwater view.

The highlight? Guests can order pizza delivered directly to their door, courtesy of a local pizza shop that employs a diver to transport the pizzas in a specially designed, watertight briefcase, ensuring they remain hot and dry upon delivery. This diver, a certified PADI Scuba Instructor, is adept at navigating the underwater environment.

#3. Pet Food Taster 

Average salary: $34,139/year

With an estimated 600 million to 900 million dogs globally, understanding their food preferences poses a challenge, as they cannot communicate their likes and dislikes. Enter Pet Food Tasters, who evaluate pet food's nutritional content and, yes, taste. Despite what you might think, the role involves more than just tasting; these professionals assess the food's flavor, texture, and aroma, ensuring safety and regulatory compliance.

This job requires an exceptional palate, the ability to discern minor differences in food products, and comprehensive knowledge of ingredients and nutrition. Sounds appetizing, doesn't it?

*Feeling stuck in a mundane office job and craving a more exciting career path? While we can't guarantee lessons on becoming a Parmesan Cheese Listener or a Scuba Diving Pizza Delivery Man, ELVTR offers a variety of live online courses designed to match your interests and ignite your passion.

#4. Penguin Flipper

Average salary: $48,000/year

Prepare to bundle up because the penguins need your help. Penguin Flipping is a unique profession practiced by a select few who work in regions inhabited by penguins, particularly near Antarctic research stations.

Penguins living close to these stations often become disoriented by passing helicopters, leading them to fall onto their backs – a position from which they cannot recover without assistance. After each helicopter landing or takeoff, specialists are deployed to help these birds back on their feet, ensuring their survival. Monitoring the penguins' health and behavioral changes is also part of the job.

#5. Iceberg Mover

Average salary: from $48,000/year

The significance of safe maritime navigation became all too clear following the Titanic disaster in 1912, leading to the emergence of the Iceberg Mover profession. The International Ice Patrol, established by the US Coast Guard, monitors icebergs using satellite imagery and direct observation, guiding ships away from potential hazards.

In instances where icebergs block shipping lanes, experts utilize tugboats and other equipment to relocate them, ensuring safe passage for vessels. This role demands physical fitness, analytical thinking, teamwork, and a deep understanding of environmental factors influencing iceberg movement.

#6. Train Pusher

Average salary: from $30,000–40,000/year

Japan is celebrated worldwide for its exceptional train network. In Tokyo, the heart of its transportation system, nearly half of all commuters rely on trains.

During peak hours, Tokyo's subways see a significant surge in passenger traffic, making it challenging for everyone to board. To address this, Train Pushers, known in Japan as Oshiya, play a vital role. These professionals help organize and direct passengers, ensuring the efficient use of space in train cars. 

Their efforts allow doors to close safely without obstruction. Remarkably, during the busiest times, passengers may find themselves so tightly packed that their feet do not touch the ground, thanks to the strategic efforts of these 'Pushy' staff.

In addition to their primary role, these station attendants offer assistance and direction to passengers. They contribute to crowd control and respond to inquiries about train services, ensuring a smoother travel experience for millions.

#7. Parmesan Cheese Listener

Average salary: variable

In Northern Italy, the art of Parmesan cheese production is taken to an extraordinary level with the role of the Parmesan Cheese Listener. These professionals use a silver hammer to tap the cheese wheels, listening to the sound produced to gauge the cheese's quality.

This unique position requires a musical background and perfect pitch, as the resonance of the cheese provides insights into its ripening stage and overall quality. Candidates may even be tested on their musical abilities during the selection process, underscoring the blend of culinary art and science.

#8. Professional Mermaid

Average salary: variable

Dive into the role of a Professional Mermaid, where childhood fantasies swim into reality. These performers enchant audiences with underwater ballet, diving with marine life at events to weave captivating tales. Self-employed, mermaids typically earn $300 per hour at parties. However, the path includes costs like the $3,800 for a 5-day training course offered by Aqua Mermaid, plus the investment in custom tails ranging from $2,000 to $5,000.

Becoming a mermaid is not just about the allure; it demands athletic prowess, excellent cardiovascular health, and the psychological strength to remain calm and maintain breath control underwater. Certifications from recognized bodies like PADI or NAUI in Scuba or Freediving, alongside Lifeguard, CPR, and first aid are crucial.

Behind the scenes, the mermaid life can be challenging, dealing with the physical demands and environmental factors like pool chemicals. Yet, for those drawn to this unique career, resources and training are increasingly accessible, offering a plunge into the magical world of professional mermaiding.

For mermaid enthusiasts, Netflix unveils the half-billion dollar mermaid industry in its intriguing four-part docuseries "MerPeople."