How'd you like to get paid to play video games? Or watch TV? Or just eat?
You hear about these mythical jobs now and then, and maybe even run into somebody who has one of them. These people seem to be living in a magical land where a man can make a nice paycheck doing the things he would be doing if he had no job at all.
But before you go tell your boss to piss off and devote your life to getting one of these careers, know that there is a downside to each.
#6. Video Game Play Tester
This is the job every boy wants when he's 13, and it is, in fact, real. Video game developers and companies will actually pay people to play video games all day, as that's the only way to track down bugs before release. And yes, "before release" means not only do you get paid to play, you get to play the games months or years before anyone else.
Did we say we dreamed of it when we were 13? Hell, this is the job we want now.
It's sort of like getting a job testing various sex lubrication formulas, only to realize that the goal is finding out which ones make your dick break out in an angry rash. The entire point of play testing is to find the parts of the game that are horrible, frustrating and broken, and play them over and over and over and over.
The life of a games tester is ruled by strict guidelines from the developers which condemns you to playing the same small section of the same game for your entire eight hour shift. Each time you hit a glitche, you write up a small treatise describing exactly how you found it. They'll try to fix it, you'll go back the same spot and play it over and over again to make sure. This goes on for weeks.
Also keep in mind that sometimes you won't even get to play games, but, rather, will be asked to test the hardware itself which includes such life-affirming assignments as turning the console on and off hundreds of times while carefully timing and documenting how long it takes to power-up each time.
Also, the "perk" of being able to play games long before their commercial releases is quickly corrupted when the realization hits that the further ahead of the release date you are, the more unfinished and irritating the product is to play.
Unfinished levels, features that are only halfway implemented, rampant bugs and glitches mean that by the time the game actually makes it to shelves, the very thought of it will make you break into a cold sweat and scream "FUCK YOU!" every time you pass an EBGames (if you don't do that already).
Brewmasters are the head honchos of the beer making world. They create and decide which recipes to use, which beers to brew and bring to the market and strictly oversee the entire production process from grain to bottle. They also have the definite perk of often tasting the fruits of their labor as it's produced to ensure "quality control," or as we like to think of it, the ability to drink beer on the job without having to create a secret compartment under your desk to store it in.
As we mentioned, brewmasters are responsible for every step of the brewing process, at all times, to make sure that every bottle of beer is produced equally and without fault. Because of this, they often work 10 hour days, seven days a week, year round, constantly monitoring the brew and adjusting the recipes when needed.
Because brewmasters are working with unpredictable, natural ingredients like barley, yeast and hops, any slight variation of each has to be compensated for at each step of the brewing process so that the finished product always tastes the same to consumers. That means the brewmaster must keep an eye, and tongue, on each batch of beer at all times during it's production making the job extremely tedious and foul tasting, especially when you consider what a half-brewed beer tastes like.
Brewmasters and brewers work in factory-like conditions that often exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit, are potentially dangerous and, because of the malted barley and roasting of hops, a stench not unlike the odor of urine continually hangs in the air.
Also, much of being a brewmaster is spent keeping the gigantic tanks and intricate pipe systems spotlessly clean of any dirt or grease build-up so as not to contaminate the beer. And to top it all off, malting of the barley produces rootlets that drip off and create a heavy, dense paste; a byproduct that is often sold as animal feed, which must be scooped out and stored away by, you guessed it, the brewmaster.
But after all of your hard work, drenched in sweat and body crevices lined with itchy malt waste, you get the distinct pleasure of tasting the sweet, ice cold beer that you produced for the final time, as it's bottled. Except, when it's bottled, it's noticeably warm and if there is even a slight variation of the taste from normal, the entire batch must be thrown away, dooming you to start the whole process all over again. Cheers!
#4. Concert Promoter
Concert, or event, promoters are completely responsible for every aspect of staging a great concert from it's initial planning, to final production. That means they get to work out how big and flashy the show will be, what cities it will take place in, how much money to sink into it and exactly which bands will play. All of that gives them an inside view of the music business and allows them to dictate exactly how and when a concert will be staged.
They also enjoy the enviable perks of experiencing tons of concerts from backstage, partying with the bands themselves after the show and getting lots of those cool placards that VIPs get to wear around their necks.
How about this: During the concert season from March to October, the job typically requires 70 hour work weeks with absolutely no guarantee of any kind of paycheck. See, a promoter's salary is entirely based on how well the show they put on does, and whether or not it makes any profit. In the same league as being a professional gambler, a promoter can make as little as minimum wage (or less) depending on the concert's success after spending hundreds of hours planning and executing it. Also, because the occupation is very competitive and job openings are sparse, only the very few, absolute cream of the crop actually succeed and end up making any money.
As if that wasn't bad enough, that enviable perk of being able to meet and party with the bands we mentioned earlier is actually kind of a curse. It turns out that a lot of bands have very specific tastes and demands that must be met before they agree to go out on stage. These lists of requests are called "riders" and can involve tedious tasks such as sorting the band's M&Ms by color. Even after fulfilling all of bizarre stipulations on the list, concert promoters are responsible for the band's needs during and after the show as well.
So you end up not really hanging out with Aerosmith so much as acting as their servant by delivering their chicken tikka and Indian rugs, and pointing them to a local chiropractor. As if they'd really want to hang out with you anyway.
#3. Stay-at-Home Dad
Stay-at-home dads, otherwise known as "househusbands," are becoming increasingly more common and accepted in Western society as more women eschew traditional gender roles and obtain independent and lucrative jobs.
Compared to stuffy office work or hard labor, the seemingly faux responsibilities of keeping the house tidy, and the kids fed, seems like it'd be a breeze that leaves lots of time for relaxation, masturbation and catching up on our soaps.
The first perceived perk of leaving a traditional job to be a househusband is that there is no longer a boss to deal with and you are now able to dictate your own schedule and tasks, on your own time. But in reality, the exact opposite is true. A stay-at-home dad has the most demanding, most obnoxious, rudest boss possible: a child. Babies and toddlers make unreasonable demands and give out impossible deadlines to meet at all hours of the day (and night). In fact, the job never ends. There is no time clock, no shift whistle and no drinks with the guys after work.
"Sorry guys, can't go out. Old Man Baby is being a real ball-buster, again."
This is an occupation that requires 13 hour days, for every single day of the year, and includes the necessity of being on call at all times, much like an emergency surgeon. Except surgeons make over $300,000 a year while househusbands only make what is essentially free room and board.
Although, even if you do manage to keep the job of househusband and turn it into a career, your wife is likely to fire you anyway... from the relationship. Apparently traditional gender roles exist for a reason, as many women instinctually lose respect for and attraction to their husbands because of the still deep-seated belief that men should be the protectors and supporters of the family. Shockingly, a grown man wearing an apron, holding a dustbuster in one hand and a dirty diaper in the other just ain't sexy.
#2. Professional TV Watcher
You might be calling bullshit on this job, but we assure you, it does exist, and it just might be the greatest occupation ever. What other job allows, nay, requires you to watch TV all day while paying up to $12 an hour to do so? This "too good to be true" job is required by certain television productions including late night talk shows, news satire programs like The Daily Show, and other productions that focus on using clips and quotes from the world of television for comedic purposes.
Even companies like the Neilsen Service that keeps track of the ratings for every single television show hire professional couch potatoes to ruin their eyes for money.
The problem with watching TV all day, every day, is that you have to watch TV all day, every day. While eight straight hours of television every day for seven days a week may sound great if you're assuming you'll be tuned into shows you actually like, the reality is far harsher. With so many TV shows currently roaming the air waves, the odds of you being assigned to watch a show you enjoy are miniscule, especially if you're working for a comedy-centric clip show.
As with the video game tester, you're specifically watching horrible, grating TV as part of the job (since the best clips to make jokes about come from the worst, most horrible television shows ever broadcast--we're looking at you Tyra Banks). It's your job to watch every excruciating minute of them. We hope you really like LA based reality soap operas.
Say hi to your new best friends.
But it gets worse. It turns out those guys watching Oprah for eight hours a day have it good compared to the poor schmucks that work for the Nielsen Product Placement service. What is that? Well, you know when you spot a can of Coke or the Nike swoosh in your favorite TV show and curse underhanded corporate marketing techniques? Some people do that for a living.
They go to work to sit in front of a TV and literally count how many instances of product placement there are in various network TV Shows. How much of that could you stand before you were unable to watch TV at home without muttering "Toyota... Ford... Toyota again... " during every car chase on 24.
#1. Food Taster
This isn't the job they had back in the old days, when a food taster was a person employed by rulers and other powerful leaders to screen meals for poisons (though some are paranoid enough to demand that even now). Food tasters today are most likely found working for food manufacturers to help them develop new products, or make sure existing foods taste as they should.
Almost every company in the food industry employs tasters who are paid to sample anything from wine to chocolate on a daily basis to ensure proper consistency. Some companies even allow the tasters to suggest and influence new recipes, essentially turning them into chefs who also get to eat the gourmet meals they create instead of having to serve them to the loud, non-tipping douchebags at table eight.
Modern food tasting is a science first and foremost, and is treated as such. All tasting takes place, not at a cozy intimate table for two, but in a sterile booth flooded with only red light, where meat is shoved through a hole in the wall.
Some tasters are more fortunate than having to taste underdone meat for a living and are able to enjoy making love to cheese and chocolate with their tongues for science. However, even when dealing with such delectable treats, tasting fatigue sets in quickly (essentially the tongue gets "fried" and can't taste anything anymore for a little while), especially when one considers the large sample sizes some tasters have to work through which can sometimes number into the hundreds of morsels.
And then there are the alternative foods and food projects that aren't so mainstream, but need testing as well. Companies have employed tasters to sample various types of mushrooms, measure escalating levels of "rancidity" in expired foods and even ingest flavored birth control pills.
Some people even make a living eating pet food. Yes that's right. Since dogs and cats evidently can't discuss the finer aspects of their palates well enough, it falls to borderline lunatics to give the stamps of approval before the kibble is served. One such taster, Simon Allison, even has a favorite dish: "organic luxury chicken dinner with vegetables for cats".
If you're not suitably grossed out by that, keep in mind that many of these foods include "animal by-products", which can include feathers, animal fur and diseased, cancerous organs determined to be unfit for human consumption.
"Hey, you've got some good fur in this batch."
And visit Cracked.com's Top Picks so we can give our "link tester" a break from his depressing job.