Growing up often means prioritizing work over fun stuff. Unless, of course, your job involves nothing but fun stuff. Take a look at these seven occupations that require a bachelor’s in arrested development.
1. Mattress Jumper
Beds are not trampolines, but that never stopped kids from treating them like one. Today’s smaller mattress companies actually employ people to jump on their mattresses to compress the cotton material and make sure there are no imperfections or bumps in the layers. Reuben Reynoso, a professional jumper out of San Francisco, tests three a day and often reaches 100 bounces per mattress—side to side, corner to corner. Sure, a machine could do the same thing, but Reynoso’s small talk at parties would be a lot less interesting.
2. Professional RC Vehicle Racer
Radio-controlled (RC) vehicles are more than just an aisle filler at Toys ‘R Us: They’re the center of an entire subculture, where “drivers” travel the world racing their customized vehicles on tiny tracks for prize money. If that sounds too good to be true, it isn’t—just make sure you’re one of the top racers in the world to attract sponsorships, which make up the majority of a driver’s income, and don’t mind traveling up to 46 weeks out of the year.
3. Professional LEGO Builder
Architecture too intimidating? Try reducing the scale. Sean Kenney is one of many “certified” LEGO building professionals—artists who use the multicolored blocks to construct an array of projects. Major companies like Google and Mazda have commissioned Kenney’s work, which can range from a Homer Simpson bust to sports stadium replicas.
LEGO has at least nine pro builders registered. Just be prepared for some initial material investment: Kenney has over a million bricks to aid in assembly.
4. Amusement Park Ride Tester
The PC term might be “forensic ride engineer,” but in the end, these theme park scouts are paid to test-drive rides, point out any faults in the experience, and check for anything that might be a potential hazard. Companies like ATA Associates can even recreate accidents to make sure the ride doesn’t repeat any engineering mistakes.
If you’re not much of a full-time puker, at least be thankful for those who are: One company tested a new ride, London’s The Swarm, and watched as the gravity-defying track ripped the limbs right off their test dummies.
5. Ice Cream Taster
Enjoy ice cream? Partial to elastic waistbands? Food companies have a job for you: a professional taster samples up to a pint of the frozen stuff a day in addition to brainstorming ideas for new flavors and taste combinations. Tasters often have a food science or dairy science degree. And if you have a particularly fine palate, you might consider what Nestle tester John Harrison did: insure his taste buds for one million dollars.
6. Treehouse Designer
While most of us have probably fantasized about a wooded refuge from parents, few ever had the resources to construct one. Artist Roderick Romero designed a treehouse in 2003 for a community garden in Seattle; he has since created dozens of elaborate forts for the likes of Val Kilmer and Sting, with an emphasis on green and sustainable materials. No two are quite alike, and each is customized for the client’s preferences—many of whom want the designs for themselves, not their children.
7. Comic Book Inspector
For decades, comic collectors often had to rely on very subjective terms: one seller’s “near mint” may be a buyer’s “not worth the price.” That changed in 2000, when the Comics Guaranty Corporation (CGC) began offering third-party grading on a numerical scale: books flirting with a vaunted 10.0 score could fetch hundreds or thousands more than an uninspected copy.
Naturally, comics selling for five or six figures need to be carefully evaluated, which is where a CGC Grader comes in. All day long, they pore over classic comics and inspect them for damage. Upon completion, the book is “slabbed” in a tamper-proof plastic case to seal the condition. Top Graders with the CGC enjoy health benefits and a 401(k), as well as bragging rights: what could be better than getting paid to rifle through priceless comics all day?