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Five jobs you won’t believe someone gets paid to do

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If you woke up with dread in your tummy and had to drag yourself off to work, then it is probably time to take a good look at your life; you can do it today while sitting at your office desk pretending to be busy.

While we can’t help you find your one true passion, we can help you look busy with this look at five of the strangest, grossest, saddest and coolest jobs people actually get paid to do. We have not heard of many of these positions available in South Africa just yet, so should it turn out to be your passion there are definitely exciting travel opportunities available. Alternatively you might consider capitalising on the idea and starting your own business locally.

LEGO sculptor

Lego sculpture

You know the giant Lego sculptures that are occasionally on display in toy shops? Somebody has to build them. This is, however, reportedly a very tough career path to get into, with only a few sculptors worldwide. No wonder we think it’s a dream job – being paid to build amazing stuff with Lego.

Social media butler

Obsessed with social media

Yip, this is not a joke. If the next big thing on Twitter or Instagram is feeling overwhelmed by constant connectivity they can pay you to take their photos for them, post it to Instagram and follow them around checking in on Facebook whenever they do something check-in-worthy – being unplugged without actually losing any followers due to inactivity.

Professional cuddler


Get a job doing exactly what it says you’ll be doing, cuddle strangers. It shouldn’t be a surprise that there are people out there longing for the feel-good hormone released by cuddling, holding hands, or just looking into someone else’s eyes deeply and for extended periods. If you think this is something you’d be good at prepare yourself for about ten days of training and then be ready to get out there and cuddle.

Street ear cleaners

Indian ear wax cleaner

An ancient profession that is still practiced in some parts of India today, although it seems to be dying out now. If you fancy yourself as having a strong stomach and high tolerance to handle … uhm … unconventional scenarios, you could become South Africa’s first ear cleaner. Or why not offer a combined service of ear wax cleaner, nose hair tweezer, and pimple popper on your CBD’s streets?

Ash portrait artist

Ash portrait

Bereaved individuals approach these artists to make one-of-a-kind artworks from the ashes of their loved ones or pets. An American artist, Adam Brown, makes quite a respectable living as an ash portrait artist. “I mix the ashes with paint, you only need six ounces (170 grams) so the rest can be carefully returned to the loved ones,” explains Brown. “It’s a good way to remember your loved one lived.” People reportedly pay between R3,900 and R9,250 for Brown’s work.

It is a cliché, but life really goes by too fast to be caught doing anything you do not enjoy. So make the changes you need to make, approach your manager for more responsibility or sign up for the course you’ve always wanted to.


Mariette Steynberg is a qualified economist with a post-graduate diploma in financial planning. She has enjoyed working on holistic financial plans for clients in various stages of life, as well as a development economist assessing the socioeconomic impacts of new developments. When she is not working, Mariette enjoys parenting her quirky, delightful toddler girl. Cloth diapering, Eskimo kisses and the importance of reading to your child are all causes close to her heart. Mariette is passionate about financial education and hopes to use the experience she has gained to share knowledge with HomeTimes’ readership. Her goal is to provide information that is implementable by everyone.

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