From examining pet behaviour to getting paid to taste food, there are plenty of roles out there that can provide a refreshing change from your average 9-5.
If you’re in the market for a new job, but you’re struggling to find something that really piques your interest, then one of these very different roles might be for you. And even if these individual roles don’t quite hit the spot, we hope that there’s plenty of inspiration here for different career areas that you could explore, to get you thinking outside the box…
Doulas usually work at one of two different ends of the spectrum of life – with people who are pregnant, labouring or with a new baby, or those who are coming to the end of their life.
While the day-to-day experience of being a doula can vary significantly based on where you decide to focus, both life stages are emotional and daunting times in people’s lives, and having someone there to offer practical assistance can make a huge difference.
Your job will essentially be to make someone feel safe and supported – whether that means holding a labouring woman’s hand, helping around the house with the cooking and cleaning, offering supportive words, or engaging in someone’s favourite hobby with them as they make the most of their last few months of life.
If you’re someone who has a lot of compassion and empathy, and enjoys acting as a rock for others, then a career as a Doula could be ideal for you.
You don’t need any formal academic qualifications to get started, but there are training courses available that’ll teach you everything you need to know about supporting people during such sensitive and critical times of their life.
Doulas tend to be self-employed and offer services to people in their local area, charging a price per hour.
Want to work with women and families during pregnancy, birth, or just after?
Or are you interested in becoming an end-of-life doula?
2. Fishmonger or butcher
Have you ever thought about becoming a fishmonger or a butcher – chances are, you haven’t, but there are a few reasons why it’s worth considering if you’re passionate about good food.
Fishmongers are responsible for preparing and selling raw fish to sell to the public and butchers do the same with raw meat. From learning how to skin, gut, and fillet a fish, to knowing how to cook a rack of pork ribs to tasty perfection, you’ll never stop learning in either of these two dynamic roles.
Butchers and fishmongers tend to become experts in their field, with the aim always being to create a top-quality product and give customers the advice they need.
You don’t need any formal qualifications to become a fishmonger or a butcher as training tends to take place on the job in assistant or trainee roles. Typically, all you need to get started are good communication skills, a willingness to learn, and to be comfortable handling raw fish and meat.
If you’re interested in finding out more, then it’s worth contacting your local butcher or fishmonger to see whether they have any trainee roles available or if they’d let you shadow them for a few days to see how you get on.
Already have experience working with meat or fish?
3. Prison officer
Fancy making a difference every day as a role model, negotiator, educator, and life changer?
As a prison officer, you could be responsible for the security, supervision, rehabilitation, and training of people living in prison – which includes motivating prisoners to make positive decisions for themselves and others around them.
This role can be challenging, but having the support of a strong team and receiving effective training makes a big difference. Plus, there’ll always be opportunities to push yourself and progress your career.
You don’t need any previous qualifications or experience to become a prison officer – but you do have to be reasonably fit with good eyesight and have basic maths and English skills.
Once you apply for a prison officer vacancy, you’ll be asked to complete a series of tests online and in-person to determine whether you have the right abilities, behaviours, strengths, and fitness for the role. If successful, you’ll be invited for a prison tour and a 12-week paid training programme before commencing the role as a qualified officer. Interested in finding out more?
4. Pet behaviourist
If you love animals, then becoming a pet behaviourist is a fantastic way to spend more time with the world’s furry friends whilst getting to know them from the inside out.
For many people, having a lovable companion is fun and problem-free, but it can become a worry if they start to exhibit strange behaviour. And because animals can’t speak to us and tell us what’s going on, it can be difficult to get to the bottom of what causes this behaviour – which is where a pet behaviourist comes in.
Pet behaviourists spend time with a pet, assessing their unusual behaviour (perhaps at home or out on a walk), to help the owners work on rectifying it. In doing so, they often strengthen the bond between pet and owner – making both much happier.
While some people prefer to study a degree in animal behaviour, others prefer to apply for a job working closely with animals (for example, in a dog kennel or animal rescue centre) and train on the job.
You could also start by gaining voluntary experience with an animal charity – which will give you a chance to talk to people in the industry and find out more about whether it’s the right career for you!
5. Film or TV Extra
Looking for an interesting and varied role that’ll allow you to see what goes on behind the production lines?
As a film or TV extra, you’ll be paid to simply be an extra body in film and/or TV shots. You could be a patient in the background at Holby City, or a random pedestrian strolling along Coronation Street.
You’ll get to see how film sets are run, as well as the chance to meet with people from all walks of life. You don’t need to look like a model for this role – casting agencies look for people of all ages and backgrounds to reflect real-life communities.
If you don’t want to appear on camera yourself, you can also try renting out your home to film or TV agencies who are always looking for new sets to film in. It can be fun seeing your home pop up on your favourite TV show!
Want to be on TV?
Want to rent out your home to film or TV agencies?
6. Funeral director
At least once in our lives, most of us will be grateful to a funeral director for helping us say goodbye to someone we love. Their job is to provide support and comfort to people during some of their toughest times by organising a loved one’s funeral from start to finish.
Someone who has just lost a family member or a friend will have a lot on their plate already, and trying to plan a funeral during this time can be difficult…which is where a funeral director steps in, to listen to their wishes and take care of it all for them.
If you have extensive experience in the customer service industry (but not necessarily in funeral care), you may be able to apply for a role as a funeral director straightaway. Or, with little or no experience at all, the fastest route to a career as a funeral director is to become a funeral arranger or a funeral care apprentice first, to build up knowledge and experience in the field.
Although the role can have its challenging moments, being such a great source of comfort to others can be incredibly rewarding and can provide a very humbling and gratifying experience.
7. Food taster
Do you like the sound of getting paid to taste and critique a range of different foods? Then a sensory career in food tasting could be just what you’ve been looking for.
From chocolate tasting for some of the world’s leading brands, to tasting a range of a supermarket’s own-brand products, there are plenty of opportunities to tantalise your taste buds.
There’s often no experience needed as full sensory training is provided. But companies offering opportunities will generally expect you to be allergy and intolerance-free, with a passion for experiencing new sensations, and a willingness to try a range of different foods that you may not have tried before.
You’ll also need excellent communication skills as you’ll have to learn to ‘speak taste’. This means describing food and drink in precise terms that can be useful to manufacturers when they’re trying to perfect the taste of a product.
Do you get a buzz from getting up close and personal with nature? If so, then why not consider a job as a beekeeper?
The role typically involves maintaining happy and healthy beehives, to help pollinate plants and produce honey. It’ll be your job to make sure that the bees have everything they need to do their jobs, which involves a lot of nurturing, dedication, and patience.
To succeed in this role, you’ll need to be fairly brave and have a passion for bees – it’ll also help if you can stay calm under pressure, as bees don’t respond well to erratic behaviour.
If you’re thinking about becoming a beekeeper, then it can help to take a short online course to give you some basic background knowledge on beekeeping first and help you decide whether it’s definitely something that you want to go into. Most people begin by keeping a small colony of bees as a hobby. It can also help to join the British Beekeeping Association (BBKA), who can give you advice and guidance on getting started.
Once you get going, you can start making a profit by selling honey, beeswax, and royal jelly. When you’re feeling confident enough, you can even offer a bee collection service – where you can safely remove bees nests from people’s homes and add them to your own bee farm.
Bee’s play an essential role in the natural ecosystem by pollinating plants and enabling crops to grow, but bee numbers have declined dramatically in the last few decades. For lovers of these beautiful, clever, and diligent creatures, it’s surely an un-bee-lievably exciting role to get into…
Is your job search driving you round the bend? Perhaps you haven’t considered a role as a chauffeur.
The role involves driving individuals or groups of people to different locations in a car, van, or limousine, making sure that their ride is as smooth and pleasant as possible.
Chauffeurs are expected to remain professional at all times; dressing smartly and being polite, reliable, and discreet when necessary. They’re typically hired by airports, organisations, and private households for a number of different reasons.
A day in the life of a chauffeur can vary, but it’s usually very interesting as you get to build relationships with clients who lead a range of different lifestyles – and you can end up driving some quite luxurious vehicles, provided by the agency or organisation that you work for.
Aside from having a clean full UK driving licence, you’ll need to be calm, confident, and experienced behind the wheel. It can also help to do some further training with the British Chauffeurs Guild to enhance your credibility and give you access to temporary and permanent chauffeur opportunities.
Many chauffeurs start by working for an organisation or an agency whilst they build up experience, with some then choosing to become self-employed later on.
10. Private investigator
Do you enjoy the idea of piecing together clues and helping to uncover the truth?
Private investigators work for clients on a freelance basis to discreetly collect evidence on a particular case. As a private investigator, every day will be different and potential cases could include anything from investigating a suspected theft to helping someone track down their biological parents.
Typical duties could involve anything from desk research and taking photos, to interviewing witnesses and conducting background checks. You’ll often track people’s movements for days or weeks on end, sometimes with very little going on during that time, so you need to have patience, the ability to concentrate, and be able to blend into the crowd.
Private investigation is an interesting job because you never know what you might find, and how you might help use your skills to make a real difference in people’s lives.
There’s no set path to entering the private investigation profession, although experience in the security, military, or police sector may be an advantage. As with many of these things, while it’s not essential, it can help to take a course. This will teach you the basics of investigating so you can decide if it’s the right career fit for you, while enhancing your credibility to potential employers in the industry.
The Association of British Investigators (ABI) also offers advice and guidance to members and will keep you up to date with the latest procedures and equipment being used in the field.
11. Specialist hygiene technician
This is a cleaning job like no other, where every day is totally different and you never know what kind of clean-up job you’ll be called to next.
Specialist hygiene technicians provide specialist and deep cleaning in a range of different scenarios; from deep cleaning a restaurant kitchen to mopping up a crime scene.
Cleaners in this field usually don’t need any experience as full training is given to make sure that cleaning is always done in a discreet, safe, and legally compliant manner. This job is definitely not for the faint-hearted as you could be cleaning anything from prison cells and ambulances to road traffic accidents.
However, the job does have a high level of reward knowing that you will have some very grateful clients who are relieved to have a space returned to its original condition – especially if something particularly gruesome has happened there.
If you have a strong stomach and a thirst for a truly unusual role where you’ll be given plenty of stories to tell, then why not find out more?
12. Dog Yoga (Doga) Instructor
The idea of becoming a dog yoga instructor may sound a little too pawfect to be true – but with a little training and perseverance, it’s a career path that can be highly rewarding.
Doga is a fun activity that’s all about strengthening the bond between a dog and its owner. Those who decide to take part don’t have to be good at yoga – as it’s mainly about getting both parties to relax and do something a bit different together.
Doga is still a fairly new practise, but it’s becoming increasingly popular – and people who train to become doga instructors tend to advertise their services locally on a self-employed basis.
The best way to get started is to take a doga instructor course which will teach you everything that you need to be able to host your own classes.
Becoming an acupuncturist is about more than sticking needles in people (gulp) – you really have to know what you’re doing if you want to help ease people’s aches and pains.
The role involves working with a range of different people – from those who have arthritis or high blood pressure, to those who have depression or regular migraines – to speed up the body’s healing process by stimulating the relevant nerves.
Acupuncture – although once an exotic curiosity originating from Chinese medicine – is now a widely accepted method of treatment within the medical community.
If you’d like to work in a profession where you can help people while learning plenty about the physiology of the human body, then acupuncture could be a great career choice for you (as long as you aren’t squeamish!). As you might expect, it’s a role that requires a great deal of knowledge and training before you’re allowed to start working with patients, with most practitioners taking years to qualify.
The best way to get started is to enrol on a course accredited by the British Acupuncture Accreditation Board (BAAB), where you’ll spend time learning the theory behind acupuncture while getting opportunities to put it into practice in a clinical setting.
Once qualified, most acupuncturists go self-employed, working from home or their own clinic, with earnings depending on how many patients you treat and how much you charge.
14. Food stylist
If you’re a foodie with a creative eye, then why not try your hand at food styling? Have you ever flicked through a magazine and paused when you’ve come to an article on breakfast foods that has a huge stack of fluffy looking pancakes, dripping with maple syrup and topped with some of the brightest and most juicy looking fruit you’ve ever seen? Chances are, that’s the work of a food stylist!
A food stylist’s job is to prepare food in a delicious and eye catching way for photographs or film, and they use a range of different skills and methods to achieve this.
The criteria for hiring food stylists varies but typically, you’ll need to have a strong knowledge of food and possibly some experience in a creative field.
The best thing you can do when you’re just starting out is to create an online portfolio of your irresistible food creations to show prospective employers, and start networking with people in the food industry.
When it comes to looking for your first role, food stylist and food stylist assistant roles are regularly advertised online. But it can also help to take the initiative and contact some magazines, restaurants, and hotels yourself to see whether they have any vacancies.
15. Professional cuddler
Believe it or not, professional cuddling is a real business that comes from the idea that touch has the potential to change lives – and is now seen as a legitimate mental health service. People are turning to cuddle therapy for all sorts of reasons, for example, to increase their confidence and happiness, reduce stress and anxiety, and lower blood pressure.
Many professional cuddlers say that they enjoy the amazing feeling that they get from bringing a sense of connection to someone’s life. If you’re interested in this cuddly career, then Cuddle Professionals International (CPI) offer an online training course that’ll enable you to practise cuddling as a holistic therapy in a safe, ethical, and responsible way.
Once you’ve successfully completed the course, you’ll be able to become a CPI member and arrange insurance for your cuddle therapy practise.
Professional cuddlers are typically self-employed and tend to charge around £60-£70 per hour. All you need to get started is an empathetic, non-judgemental attitude and an interest in holistic therapies and healing.
We hope that you’ve found some interesting job inspiration in this article. If not, or if you simply want more, then check out our article; Unique jobs you might not have considered (part two).
Alternatively, if you’re looking for more conventional career change ideas, you might want to have a look at our list of popular career change ideas for over 50s.
Do you have any ideas for less well-known career pathways you’d like to share? We’d love to hear from you! Join the conversation over on the Rest Less community forum, or leave a comment below.