US$75,000 to taste pet food: The weird and interesting jobs that pay well

interesting jobs that pay well

Some people love the charm of a good old nine-to-five job. Whether it’s the prospect of climbing the corporate ladder and earning six or seven figures a year or finding stability in the mundane, repetitiveness of things, it’s a solid way to spend the next decades of your career. 

But that life isn’t for everyone. 

Instead, you may be drawn to interesting jobs that pay well despite their peculiarities. 

This Reddit post mentions less common jobs, such as professional ice sculptors, beer tasters, scented candle testers, a picture-hanging specialist, and even someone who worked on Oprah Winfrey’s private plane. 

But perhaps this begs the question – would you need a corresponding degree to have an interesting job that pays well?

Stuntmen probably don’t need degrees, but they definitely need to be physically fit and willing to put themselves in dangerous situations over and over again.

Do these weird, interesting jobs need degrees? 

Naturally, having a degree will help propel your career to greater heights.

That statement holds some truth in it — many corporate or professional jobs require specific degrees or doctorates to qualify for them. Someone who doesn’t have a medical degree certainly cannot become a heart surgeon. 

On the other hand, some may say that possessing a degree doesn’t matter at all, especially those who are in industries completely unrelated to their college degree. Someone with an economics degree could end up in media and communications, or a lawyer may become a journalist. 

There are various reasons for this change, such as personal interests or monetary reasons. But what’s most important is that a degree will provide you with the transferable skills needed to thrive in your career, even if it doesn’t align with your future industry. For example, problem-solving, communication, teamwork, and time management are all valuable skills every industry needs. 

Then there are those who say you don’t need a degree at all and that university is a scam. Rather, they encourage others to apply for apprenticeships, take long and short-term courses and build connections via events or LinkedIn. 

Of course, some jobs don’t necessarily require degrees and rely mostly on training.

Flight attendants may benefit from a hospitality degree, but for the most part, all their training is done upon induction — serving refreshments, operating emergency systems, and performing first aid, for example. 

On the topic of interesting jobs that pay well, maybe you wouldn’t need a degree to taste-test pet food or carve dates of death into headstones. But you would still benefit from the right training

A Reddit user says that “A four-year university degree is not now, nor was it ever intended to be ‘job training.’” For obvious reasons, this can apply to more general degrees such as communications, marketing, or business–specialised fields like law, medicine, architecture, and more, which still provide the knowledge and skills needed to kickstart your career

Of course, despite multiple different views on this subject, it can’t be denied that entering an industry that’s completely different can be difficult at first. But once you have basic experience, it’s all about selling your skills well and proving yourself to be competent at your job. 

Remember, a degree is supposed to open doors for you, not get you shut out. But perhaps if all else fails, a communications degree will never go wrong.

interesting jobs that pay well

Getting paid to hack into some of the more secure systems in the world sounds fun. Source: AFP

Interesting jobs that pay well

All salary information was taken from the latest updates at Indeed and Glassdoor

Ethical hacker

Annual salary: US$107,000

You’ve heard of hackers, but have you heard of ethical hackers?

They have full authority to hack into systems and databases that are usually unauthorised. But don’t think of them as the “guy in the chair” or “Steve from IT downstairs” – they actually play a much larger role. 

These ethical hackers are usually tasked with attempting to gain access to systems using the strategies and actions of actual malicious hackers. This helps corporations and businesses identify security vulnerabilities that can be resolved before an actual malicious hacker attempts to exploit them. 

It goes without saying that you have to know scripting languages, operating system proficiencies, a solid foundation in information security and so on. If you’re passionate about these, opt for some courses or certifications such as:

interesting jobs that pay well

Traditionally, the word “sommelier” means “wine steward” – but the former definitely sounds more classy. Source: AFP


Annual salary: US$65,000

An interesting job that pays well is taking up the role of a sommelier. This person chooses wines served at a restaurant or bar, creates specific pairings with dishes, develops and curates the wine list, and even trains staff on everything they need to know about the decadent drink. 

There’s more to the job too. Common tasks include running or consulting on beverage programmes for hospitality operations such as hotels, resorts or restaurants, and some sommeliers even choose to run their own restaurants or bistros. There are even corporate wine educator positions that pay up to US$100,000 a year. 

Those interested in becoming sommeliers are required to obtain the right certifications, the highest one being the Master Sommelier Diploma. It was created nearly 50 years ago, and only 262 people have passed the exams since. A business course or degree may also come in handy, as sommeliers have to encourage customers to purchase wine and increase sales. 

interesting jobs that pay well

Some actors also lend their voices to animations, with the most recent being Maya Hawke starring as Anxiety in Disney’s Inside Out 2. Source: AFP

Voice actor

Annual salary: US$11,000-US$80,000

Being a voice actor can potentially be an interesting job that pays well. You use your voice to play as characters, provide narration, or present information to an audience. Projects commonly include animations, audiobooks, documentaries, commercials, video games, and more. 

The salary range is large, as some people take up voice acting as a hobby or a part-time gig rather than as a full-time job. A great example is Caleb Yen, who most people may know for voicing Caelus in Honkai Star Rail – he is actually a full-time marketing specialist and freelance writer. In his spare time, he provides his voiceover work to studios like FUNimation Entertainment and Netflix, dubbing over foreign language animations, films and series. 

While you probably don’t need fancy degrees to become a voice actor, having good recording equipment is a start, so take note of that. You will have to start out with auditioning and submitting voice reels to companies, while experienced voice actors will usually be invited to in-house studios to do their voice work. 

If you’re interested in knowing more about the life of a voice actor, check out L auren Choo, an up-and-coming professional voice actor with major roles in Final Fantasy and Diablo. Read her story here.

interesting jobs that pay well

It makes sense if you think about it – if you’re not going to eat it, would your pet want to? Source: AFP

Pet food taster

Annual salary: US$75,000

It seems like when the pet food labels say “new and improved taste” on those cans, they mean it. 

If you prefer the extraordinary to the ordinary and possess a strong jaw and an iron stomach, try being a pet food taster. These individuals ensure that your pet’s food is delicious enough that even humans would eat it. Everything from crunchy kibble to canned turkey and salmon in broth – pet food tasters try them all. 

The process is similar to wine tasting, where you would take small bites, let it swish around in your mouth, and then spit it out. So, no, you don’t get to chow down on free food. 

Surprisingly, this job is highly skilled, usually requiring degrees in food science or nutrition to enter the industry. Some even go into research and development, evaluating ways to enhance new kinds and flavours of pet food – these guys rake in about US$100,000 annually. So perhaps the job becomes a little more, uh, savoury?

Netflix tagger

Rate per hour: US$20-US$30 

Netflix taggers watch content and tag it with the right keywords so Netflix users have enhanced searchability and personalisation. For example, if a user frequently watches romantic comedies, the system will recommend similar shows with the help of these tags. Users can even input search queries like “strong female lead” or “period drama,” and Netflix will produce related results.

It largely involves watching shows and selecting tags from a predefined list. The list may include other elements, such as tone, themes, genres, character archetypes, and plot nuances. Every tag applied contributes to a vast network of data points that allow Netflix to deploy its sophisticated machine-learning models effectively, curating your “For You” and “More Like This” pages. 

It’s good to note that in certain countries like the UK and Ireland, Netflix prefers candidates with a background in film. While it’s not strictly required, it’s good as candidates will have a theoretical and practical understanding of cinematic techniques, genres and storytelling, which are all essential in effective content analysis and tagging.

interesting jobs that pay well

Get paid to yap online about everything under the sun. Source: AFP

Content writer

Annual salary: US$62,000

If you have strong language skills and a creative flair, perhaps the answer is to be a content writer. 

Content is king. It’s what runs the Internet – every word you read, every video you watch, and every podcast you listen to starts from the written word.

People make informed decisions, decide on purchases or are transported to different worlds purely just by reading. Such is the power of content writing. And with the existence of artificial intelligence platforms like ChatGPT and Gemini, there is a growing need for competent content writers who can research and fact-check their own work.

The best part? You won’t be confined to any one industry or niche. Being a content writer allows you to be versatile – if you like food but aren’t interested in being a chef, write content for a cookbook or food blog, for example. You hold the pen – well, in this case, the keyboard – and the power to craft creative narratives that captivate. 

While you don’t need fancy degrees for this, a communications or journalism degree may help you fine-tune your writing, or a marketing degree may help you better understand consumer intent and the purchasing process.