A few weeks ago, Hubs announced that after almost 30 years as a contractor, he was thinking about changing careers because he’d “really like to do something else.”
I replied, ever-so-gently, that given his linear job experience, I couldn’t imagine what he would suddenly do that would help pay the bills. We were simply too old for entry-level incomes. He suggested a Google search.
We quickly discovered that huge numbers of men are responding to their midlife crises with abrupt and dramatic career changes. Apparently male boomers are waking up in droves every morning and realizing that if they’re ever going to pearl dive in the deep blue sea, it has to be now.
Great plan if you’ve got a buttload of money in the bank to support your new zen state. If not, like most of us still in our 50s, your bliss needs to produce an income. But if you’re willing to get a bit creative, it is possible to make a living while realigning your inner feng shui.
For those of you hankering to quit your job and live the dream, while still making your mortgage payment, here are some suggestions you probably won’t find in the Sunday Classifieds:
1. Shark Tank Cleaner. Yes, the sharks are in the tank at the time, so this one requires good reflexes and eyes in the back of your head. And forget life insurance from any recognized agency. But it pays really well. They only require that you record your next-of-kin so they know where to send the check.
2. Roadkill Cleaner. The picture in your head right now? Yeah, that. Well somebody has got to get that dead armadillo off the road.
3. Chicken Sexer. No, we’re not tarting the little fluff balls up in tiny thigh-highs. This process simply consists of upending the baby chicks to check for a willy, then segregating them like Amish preschoolers to separate sides of the room.
4. Breath Odor Evaluator. Not for weak stomachs. Odor evaluators smell nasty morning breath or breath after strong scents, like coffee or garlic, rating them from one to nine. Then you test odor-reducing products like mints, gum, or mouthwash by smelling the breath again after use and recording a new rating. All. Day. Long.
5. Flatulence Smell-Reduction Underwear Designer. If you’ve ever dreamed of a career in fashion design, this one’s for you. You help create underwear that protects against human gas, for use by people with gastrointestinal problems. The underwear is made with materials and filters to help conceal hydrogen sulfide gases (or farts, as we commonly know them). I’d so love to be there the next time someone asks you, “And what do you do?”
6. Stunt Tester. Shows like “Fear Factor” put contestants through gross and often dangerous exercises. The stunt tester does the preliminary dry runs to make sure the stunts are safe, to avoid expensive litigation when the contestants meet their untimely and premature demise while zip lining across the rainforest while naked.
7. Dog Sniffer. It seems we do love to sniff things. Once a week, you analyze the odor of a dog’s breath to test the effect of their diet on their teeth. Breath is rated and categorized as sweaty, salty, musty, fungal, or decaying. I have two Chihuahuas. I do this every day.
8. Mattress Jumper. Yep, you can get paid for jumping up and down like a toddler on Mom and Dad’s bed for hours on end. Although the pros tell us it’s not as easy or fun as it sounds. They claim it’s “really hard work, with a right way and a wrong way to do it.” The article continued, “We’re not going for the big ‘boing’ or somersaults in the air. This is not a game.” Well, way to suck the fun out of that activity.
9. Snuggler. They provide private snuggling sessions to pensioners, war veterans, or people “between relationships.” They claim that it doesn’t include sex and no touching of unclothed areas is allowed. One professional snuggler reports up to 30 clients per week. $60 an hour for, basically, a really long hug. This one could be worth some thought.
10. Urine Farmer. Hunters often use deer urine to attract their prey. (Yeah, this is news to me too.) But where do they get the magic “What’s up, big boy?” liquid? From professional urine farmers. Like vineyards, timing the harvest is the key. One pro stated, “It ain’t rocket science. You put a buck in there. When he starts riding the doe, you just wait. When they’re done, you collect their urine.” Oh, hell no.
11. Presidential Poison Taster. Not just for the ancient Egyptians and the Romans. Vladimir Putin reportedly uses several, and George Bush used two former FBI agents to taste his food during a trip to London. The key is to find a politician who packs a list of people probably wanting to arsenic his food and then offer yourself up to go first. I’m thinking the field’s wide open on this one.
12. Golf Ball Diver. If you like golf and diving, this could be your dream job. Yes, the water is cold, dark, and nasty, and there are snapping turtles, water moccasins, and even the occasional alligator. But golf ball divers claim that a bad day of golf is better than a good day at the office. I’m not telling Hubs about this one.
13. Zoo Animal Artificial Inseminator. Just what it sounds like. Although I’m not sure how you get the female rhinoceros to roll over and let you insert a giant turkey baster into her woo-hoo, but it’s probably easier than getting Bubba’s love juice in the first place.
14. Stand-in Bridesmaid. For those annoying times when Bridezilla doesn’t have any friends left. It seems money can buy a stranger to wear a poofy-sleeved, lime green taffeta dress and do the Chicken Dance in public. Just don’t count on her to make the toast.
15. Fortune Cookie Writer. Don’t laugh. This will probably be the pinnacle of my writing career. One successful fortune writer put an advertisement out after months of writers block and recycling of old material on his blog. He was hired by a company he now helps run. If it can happen to him…
You’re welcome, and good luck!