By Isabella Woods
As many of us are only too aware, we spend a lot of time at work. According to the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development, the average Brit spends 1,530 hours a year working, while the average American spends even longer – a back-breaking, finger-hurting 1,896 hours every year.
Things are not going to get better either, according to Paul Macro of the actuaries Watson Wyatt. ‘For a long time, it was a common belief that rising prosperity would allow each generation to retire earlier than their parents,’ he says. But reality has now bitten. It means saving more or working longer.
With these sobering thoughts in mind, perhaps it’s time that we started considering how we make all those years of slog a little more interesting. Do a little digging, and it’s easy to discover some unusual, if not downright bizarre, employment opportunities.
Not quite as Nazi as it appears, banana gassing is a process to help ripen the fruit ready for sale. After being picked, bananas are shipped while they are still green to help reduce the potential for bruising. On arrival, they are taken to hermetically sealed chambers where they are surrounded with an ethylene gas to encourage their ripening. The process can take three to eight days, with the gasser using a computer program to determine the volume and amount of exposure needed.
Good for those with a sweet tooth, hell for those without. The job involves sampling ingredients and developing new flavours. Candidates will have a well-developed palette for appreciating how differing amounts of air or sugar in ice-cream can change a flavour. The best time for taste test is mid-morning and things to look out for are the immediate flavours and the amount of time they last. Colour and texture are also important factors. If this sounds like just the ticket, Häagen-Dazs are currently looking for a new taster – applications close on Thursday 24 November 2011.
Smokejumpers are fire-fighters who parachute into remote areas to combat wildfires. A well-developed training program that has been more than seven decades in the making ensures that fatalities are rare. Smokejumpers reach wildfires shortly after ignition, when they are still small and relatively easy to extinguish. Employment opportunities for smokejumpers exist in the US, Russia, Canada and Mongolia – or anywhere else where there are large swathes of forest.
Not someone who prefers an older man/woman, a wrinkle chaser is, in fact, concerned with the wrinkles in shoes. More accurately, they are tasked with removing said wrinkles. Wrinkle chasers use special heated irons and inspect the inside and outside of shoes to find suitable subjects to use them on.
An admittedly difficult job to snag, the Ravenmaster looks after Tower of London’s ravens. A royal decree issued by Charles II stated that there must always be six ravens at the Tower. The Yeoman Warder Ravenmaster is tasked with ensuring the decree is obeyed. To even be considered as a Yeoman Warder, candidates must have at least 22 years experience in the Armed Forces, with a good conduct record. They must also have reached the rank of warrant officer. An additional bonus would be sufficient public liability insurance as the ravens aren’t especially tame.
Snake milkers have the unenviable task of obtaining venom from the fangs of live snakes. They do this by forcing the snake to bite into a membrane placed over a collecting vessel. The venom can then be used to develop antivenin to help people who have been bitten by one of the 600 species of poisonous snake. Perhaps unsurprisingly, employment opportunities are highest in Australia, the home of most venomous snakes.
‘Foley’ sound effects aim to replicate the natural, everyday sounds that we hear during daily life. Obvious examples are footsteps or the rustling of clothes. Foley artists work in the film industry and produce the background noises that make scenes feel realistic. The job takes its name from ‘Jack Foley’, who began working with Universal Studios in 1914. Modern foley artists require high levels of technical ability in electronics and increasingly in computers. While experience in sound operation is a good start, a HND, BS or even Graduate degree or its equivalent in electronics will help but an apprenticeship may prove far more useful in opening doors.
Social Media Manager
A Social Media Manager monitors facebook and Twitter and other “Social Media” looking for people discussing a certain topic or company and then joins the conversation or notifies management of a potential customer relations problem brewing. For more information on becoming a Social Media Manager see how you can become a Social Media Manager.
Although these positions may not be your cup of tea you can still take control of your own life. See: Take Control of Your Life
See Also: 10 Awesome Jobs You Can Do From Home
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