What Can They Teach You About Your Aspirations?
Customer service representative... technical support specialist... administrative assistant... snore! Are you tired of empty job titles that just don't get you out of bed in the morning? From banana gassing to wrinkle chasing, check out 10 of the most unusual jobs you've never heard of, and stimulate some fascinating career field exploration.
Unusual Job #1: Ice Cream Taster
John Harrison has the most delicious job in the business. As Official Ice Cream Taster for Dreyers Ice Cream (not to be confused with Breyers), John gets paid to sample three cartons of each flavor daily to check product quality. He claims the gig isn't all fun and games since he must maintain a strict, spice-free diet; however, being surrounded by Rocky Road sounds like a sweet deal nonetheless.
Unusual Job #2: Hair Simulation Supervisor
Believe it or not, those proficient in the art of creating 3-D hair are hot commodities in the world of animation. Just ask Mark Thomas Henne, the man responsible for every follicle flip in Pixar's CGI blockbuster, 'The Incredibles.' According to Nathan Pieratt, Director of the Online Animation Program at Westwood College, the industry has shifted from 2-D design to 3-D digital media, giving rise to highly specific jobs. "This industry is huge," Pieratt says. "Students are blown away by how hard it is and how exciting it is, too."
Unusual Job #3: Palliative Care Technician
A cross between M.D.s and hospice workers, palliative care technicians ameliorate symptoms, but don't cure disease for terminally ill patients. On top of medical training, technicians must be prepared to handle the legal, psychological, and ethical issues associated with death. Online courses like the End of Life Issues Program at the University of South Florida provide medical professionals with background to help patients and families cope with grief.
Unusual Job #4: Banana Gasser
Less flatulent than it sounds, banana gassers finish off what Mother Nature started. To make sure the bottom of your split is tasty, bananas are shipped while they're still green to prevent bruising. Gassers for the JFC Fruit Company are in charge of moving new shipments into hermetically sealed chambers where the fruit is sprayed with an ethylene gas to catalyze ripening. According to the company Web site, trained gassers use the computer program "Probe" to determine how much gas should be applied and for how long. The process can take anywhere from three to eight days, after which bananas hit grocery store shelves yellow and ready to be eaten. Bon appetite!
Unusual Job #: Fire Scientist
Specializing in experiments involving flame, fire scientists do everything from checking gas pipe leaks to blowing things up. Grads from the University of Maryland's University College online fire science program not only learn the science behind smithereens, but are also trained in emergency management and arson investigation.
Unusual Job #6: Independent Duty Corpsman
Dedicated to providing health care services to military personnel, IDCs are recruits trained to administer treatment to victims of injury and sickness. They're not exactly physicians; however, they're often the only available medical personnel. Touro University International offers specially-tailored online programs designed to provide IDCs with health care credentials. These programs aren't the same as medical residencies, but if you ever need IDC services, you'll have no problem calling them "Doc."
Unusual Job #7: Wrinkle Chaser
This profession has nothing to do with beauty products or the elderly. Wrinkle chasers are in charge of removing, you guessed it, wrinkles, from shoes using specialty irons. Chasers can be assigned to a whole shoe or just a small part, such as the heel, and are in high demand at such companies as Shoemakers, England and Dr. Martens. After all, somebody's got to make sure those Manolos are as smooth as the person wearing them.
Unusual Job #8: Knowledge Facilitator
Knowledge facilitators examine what employees need to know and the best ways to distribute that information. Online business students should prick up their ears. Corporate knowledge facilitators are using e learning to make businesses more streamlined. "Training is no longer a discrete, formal event," states Dr. David Shoemaker, vice president of learning solutions for eCornell. "The ability to deliver knowledge in increasingly granular bits enables learning to be integrated seamlessly into the work flow."
Unusual Job #9: Snake Milker
You've heard the phrase: "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger." In this case, what doesn't kill you may prove to be a life-saving substance. Snake venom is at once a bodily poison and the primary ingredient in serums that cure snakebites. In areas where poisonous snakes are commonplace, animal care specialists employed to extract venom by "milking" the reptile's fangs are crucial.
Unusual Job #10: Laughter Therapist
If laughter truly is the best medicine, then Dr. Steven Wilson, certified a href="http://aol.careerbuilder.com/jobs/keyword/psychologist?siteid=cbaol95odd">psychologist and Laughter Leader/Joyologist is the doctor for you. Built on the philosophy that giggles, chuckles and belly laughs do a body good, laughter therapists such as Wilson work with clients to help incorporate a smile into patients' daily lives. So how exactly does it work? "We don't use jokes, we don't use comedy," Wilson reports. "You're really going inside yourself to connect with the joyful, zestful, exuberant laughter we all had as babies... We not only show people laughter exercises that allow people to lighten up and release that laughter, but we teach how to prevent hardening of the attitudes." Regular doses of laughter are proven to alleviate stress, boost the body's immune system, and reduce the signs of aging. Here's one therapy session you don't have to take seriously.