There are odd jobs, like beer taster, but then there are really odd jobs, like human bed warmer!
As odd as odd jobs can be, there's a certain beauty to them. "Knowing about very odd jobs inspires creativity," says photographer Nancy Rica Schiff , who has spent more than a decade documenting some of the nation's oddest jobs for her books, Odd Jobs and Odder Jobs.
If you can think of a service you can do that doesn't exist, that's fantastic, especially in this economy, says Schiff. If you have an original idea, you may want to try to transform it into your own successful business. With a good idea, a solid business plan, and some business know-how, you can be the boss of your ownsmall business.
Be inspired by this list of odd – and odder – jobs:
Bed Warmer - Last month a Holiday Inn in London added this service: A staffer outfitted in a white fleecy getup from head to toe rolls around in your bed for five minutes (by himself/herself) and leaves you with toasty sheets.
Breath Odor Evaluator – Take deep sniffs of morning breath and breath "insulted" with coffee and other known bad-breath makers to test how mints and mouthwashes work – or don't work.
Pollen Collector – Stand on very tall ladders to harvest the pollen-laden male sex organs of the blossoms of dozens of types of trees. The pollen is made into extracts to help allergy sufferers.
Leech Purveyor – Raise and distribute medicinal leeches which need very specific, chilly water temperatures to survive. The little suckers get shipped out to medical facilities famished and raring to do the job of taking excess blood from post-surgical wounds.
Mermaid – Swim, lip synch, and flipper around a giant "aquarium" in 72-degree spring water to entertain audiences with underwater versions of Disney musicals and other light fare. Mermaids require a year of on-the-job training and must have to be able to hold their breath for two and a half minutes while changing costumes.
Duck Master – Lead ducks in a parade into and out of hotel lobby ponds and look out for their health and well being.
Flatulence Smell Reduction Underwear Maker – Create special underwear to guard against the smell of human gas, especially designed for people with gastrointestinal problem.
Dog Breath Sniffer– Closely related to the Breath Odor Sniffer, only instead of testing the effectiveness of minty products on breath, they test how a dog's diet affects his breath. We're not sure which job is more appealing.
Gum Buster – Scrape gum from underneath restaurant tables and counters, theater seats and sidewalks.
Knife-Thrower's Assistant – Smile while a seemingly sane man throws hatchets and knives. Schiff says this is not a parlor trick. "Those hatchets and knives are absolutely real and flying through the air at the assistant."
Take a free career assessment test to discover jobs – odd or not! -- that are a good match for your unique career profile and will give you great job satisfaction.
And when you're ready to move towards a new career, continuing education can be an effective career move.