"Almost No One Knows We Exist": 20 Weird And Surprising Jobs That People Are Saying Pay Really Well

There's plenty of jobs out there — and sometimes the gigs you least expect can be the most satisfying. Redditor u/Rynoop recently asked the people of Reddit, "What are weird jobs nobody knows about but they pay well?" If you're out on the hunt for a new career, take a look at these:

1."My aunt and her daughter both do seasonal work as hand pollinators and harvesters. Certain types of plants (saffron, vanilla orchids) have very small windows of time when you can pollinate or harvest from them (a couple of hours to a half day) so the growers need people who can work fast and delicately to hand pollinate or harvest whatever plant they are growing. If the plant is small and they grow in the ground, it's a lot of bending to get down and do whatever has to be done, especially if they have a whole field of tiny flowers and you are using tweezers or a tiny paint brush. My aunt and cousin have been doing it for years now; they always get called back and make a lot of money for one to two days work."


Closeup of someone pollinating a flower
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2."I had a boyfriend in Oklahoma who got state wages for going into back woods and down dirt roads to find trash people dumped. His job was to report the trash for others to clean up, but most importantly, he had to sift through the trash to find anything that would identify who dumped the trash. I went with him a few times, and I felt like a detective; it was quite fun."


3."I once met a professional ice sculptor who made a killing at corporate events and weddings. It's a niche skill, but the pay is pretty impressive!"


Closeup of someone using a saw on ice
Dorann Weber / Getty Images

4."My sister-in-law is 'the nose' for Yankee Candle. When a vat of scented wax is ready, she sniffs it."


Candles on a shelf
Jeff Greenberg / Universal Images Group via Getty Images

5."I make teeth on a computer. I use a CAD/CAM program to design crowns and bridges for dental laboratories. I work remotely and do pretty well."


6."In New York City, you can be a professional wait-in-line person. You wait in line for a theater ticket or a seat at a famous restaurant — lines that take hours. A tourist who doesn't want to wait and has a full itinerary will happily pay you to stand in for them so that they can see the show or eat at the famous restaurant later that day."


People standing in line
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7."My dad was a master flavorist. He made artificial flavors for candy, beverages, and lots of other things. He made a LOT of money during his career."


8."When you work as a government employee or contractor with a top-secret clearance, after you retire or get laid off, you can work as an escort within classified facilities called SCIFs. Escorts are needed when an uncleared person needs to work in the SCIF. For example, it might be a top secret data center that needs an air conditioner repair. All the escort has to do is watch the repairman and stay with them throughout the visit. They usually just drag a chair over and sit there while getting paid damn good money."


9."You know how they have 'repo men' to repossess cars of borrowers not keeping up with payments? Well they also have repo men for yachts and private jets. I talked to an older guy with a pilot's license who was getting a lot of calls to join an outfit that does this, but he said he wasn’t crazy about finding out what kind of security a guy in possession of a $10-million plane would have, and what they would do to keep it."


a private plane
Jupiterimages / Getty Images

10."You ever heard of an urban bat tracker? That's me. My job is a blend of science and solitude. Armed with detectors that translate bat echolocation into something audible, I map their flight, study their behavior, and contribute to research that's vital for urban ecosystem conservation. It's not just a job — it's a commitment to understanding these misunderstood creatures of the night. The experience is surreal. Each night is a lesson in patience and awe. The pay is decent, surprisingly. It's a niche field, and expertise in urban wildlife ecology can be hard to come by. But it's not the money that keeps me here. It's the moments of connection, the feeling of being a part of something bigger and wilder, right in the heart of the city. Sometimes the most extraordinary things are hidden in plain sight, waiting to be discovered in the quiet symphony of the night."


Bats in the sky
Funky-data / Getty Images

11."An old neighbor of mine was a picture-hanging specialist contracted by many museums. He made $75K a year at the time (about $150K, adjusted for inflation)."


a man hanging a picture on the wall
Tetra Images / Getty Images/Tetra images RF

12."Pet food companies have a staff of human people to taste test the food. For obvious reasons, this pays pretty well, I hear."


a bowl of dog food
Lew Robertson / Getty Images

13."I'm a focus group moderator, which means I sit in a conference room with a group of about eight people and lead a discussion about whatever product or brand I'm working for. The groups are usually 90 minutes, two hours tops, and in-person I get paid $2K per group. Virtual groups are a little less, but still excellent rates."


14."Cardiovascular Perfusionist. Can’t have open heart surgery without us, but almost no one knows we exist!"


15."I was once a pinecone harvester. A helicopter would cut off the tops of trees and bring them to us to pick off the pinecones, which would then go to tree planters to germinate and plant. $35 to fill a five-gallon bucket, experienced pickers would fill two and a half an hour, but the sap getting all over your clothes, skin, and hair is very annoying and a big deterrent for most."


Pinecones on a tree
Getty Images

16."Air traffic control doesn’t need a degree and does pretty well. There are downsides, but with the extra pay, I do almost $200K. If I worked more overtime, it would be significantly higher. Also, I can retire with a pension at 50."


An air traffic control tower
Rafael Cordero / Getty Images/500px Prime

17."I play trumpet for a touring Broadway show. Not that weird, but it’s amazing how few people know there are real musicians playing live below the stage."


18."Ship pilot, especially ice pilots. You need a decent amount of experience, but it’s not unheard of for people’s day rates to be in the multiple thousands. And if anything goes wrong, technically and legally, it’s the captain’s fault."


19."A friend takes care of rich people's cars for a living. He picks up the car for maintenance, takes the car from point A to point B, etc. He doesn’t actually work on the cars; he just works for rich people that don’t have time to take care of the car. He's super well paid and is on first-name basis with some of the richest people in the country. Apparently, it isn’t easy to find trustworthy people to take care of your cars."


And finally...

20."I'm a trash man. I get paid well to work out."


Men loading garbage into a truck
Visoot Uthairam / Getty Images

Got your own suggestions? See you in the comments!

These entries have been edited for length and clarity.