Finding and exploring crazy, strange or dirty jobs that people actually do around the world has become such a prevalent pastime that the practice turned into a popular television show. There are a lot of outlandish ways people can make a living or pull in a few bucks. Everything from professional funeral mourners and wedding celebrators to deodorant, furniture, and water slide testers. If you can think of the job, there’s a good chance someone’s getting paid to do it.

Here’s a quick look at a handful of strange jobs that people do for a living.

Professional pet food taster

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Professional pet food tasters taste pet food. Professionally. Sure, there’s more to the job description, but essentially pet food taste-testers do for pet food what human food taste-testers do for the food we buy from the grocery store.

Professional pet food tasters take their jobs seriously, and the intent is to sample products for our pet friends, take nutritional content notes, and help refine tastes before new pet foods are sold on shelves. Taste-testers often nibble and lightly sample flavors before spitting out whichever brand they’re testing. Believe it or not, the average yearly income for pet food taste-testers is around $40,000.

Professional boyfriend/girlfriend

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The next time you need a date for a company outing, a quiet weekend, or to impress family at a wedding or reunion, you might consider renting a professional boyfriend or girlfriend.

“Let’s face it. Dating is tough,” explains one girlfriend rental company in Las Vegas. “In addition, having a girlfriend is tough and requires work, a lot of work, in fact … when you rent a girlfriend, you eliminate all of [the] negative features and replace them with only the positive aspects of having a girlfriend.”

It’s not surprising that the notion of renting a beau—or even just a friend—has international appeal. In Japan, it’s increasingly common for working women to rent a boyfriend for a few hours, and being a rental boyfriend/girlfriend can be a pretty lucrative job.

Professional line-stander

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Want to attend an event or be first in line for a product release but can’t stand (get it?) waiting in line for hours at a time? Hire a professional line-stander to do the work for you.

There’s really not much to it. Someone, or even established companies with teams of line-standers, will take your money and stand, sit or sleep in line so you don’t have to. People use professional line-standers to secure a spot near the front of the line for things like smartphone releases or even to attend arguments before the Supreme Court.

Professional sleeper

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Believe it or not, there are a number of markets that make use of professional sleepers. One such market sees research participants (who get paid for their time) dotted with sensors taking part in sleep studies to examine what happens to the brain and body when a person slumbers. These kinds of studies, and the people who get paid to participate, help us understand different types of sleep patterns as well as the benefits and detriments of sleep (or lack thereof).

Another professional sleeper job pays people to sleep more comfortably without being attached to monitoring equipment. These sleepers are bed testers for companies that make sleeping products, and they get paid to test how comfortable mattresses and pillows are when used for extended periods of time.

Professional pusher

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Japan is renowned for its public transportation efficiency, going so far as to apologize when a train departs the station 20 seconds early. The downside to this kind of efficiency is that many trains are packed to the brim, literally, in order to keep people moving. This is where oshiya—professional pushers—work their magic.

What does a professional pusher do? Push people. Professionally. Oshiya (train pushers) often wear white fabric gloves and do what they do best when a train is getting ready to depart. Their job is to push, shove, wiggle, and squeeze train passengers through the doors of the train in order to pack people in like human sardines in a high-speed can.

Professional hacker

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Businesses, especially large corporations, often hire what are known as “white hat” hackers to test cybersecurity and ensure safeguards are in place that protect against “black hat” hackers causing any damage. White hat hackers are the good guys, and black hat hackers are the bad guys.

White hat/professional hackers are paid to purposefully try to break through a company’s safety systems to expose weaknesses and assess new features in order to improve online security.

The future promises more crazy jobs

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As old crazy jobs are outmoded by technology, new crazy jobs arise. One day, professional pushers may be robots, and there’s probably already an app for your smartphone that helps save your spot in line. There will always be outlandish jobs as long as someone, somewhere, is paying people to do them. Crazy jobs of the future will likely include things like drone traffic controllers, virtual reality engineers, and even robot counselors.

Cover image credit: Feng Yu /