Close a door, open a window…

After I “retired” in 2014 from my long medical lab career, I left the sweet bacterial scents behind and began looking for fun and captivating things to do.

No, it wasn’t out of boredom, or financial need, but in a spirit of adventure; a mini adrenaline shot maybe? SHOT! SHOT!!

But where would I bite?

The Menu: the first entree I took on was bartending, with a volunteer side dish of Soup Kitchen vegetable chopper, followed by a dessert of local college literacy and ESL tutor.

Next up came a post-prandial sip of a few hours weekly as a shipper at a local winery.

And now, here I am in almost-post-COVID mode and my mind is – in slow motion – seeking ideas for future stimulation…

Let’s step back for a second…

… you stare at yourself in the mirror (full-length nudity isn’t required here, but you can decide) and ask yourself: Who am I?

You’re bored or frustrated; an adrenaline junkie or an artist; perhaps recently retired, and hopefully not just Waiting For Godot.

You’ve worked in the same job, the same profession for 5, 10, 25 years and are looking for a change? Of course you are. Life is too short to be boxed into one vocation for decades. Carpe diem and all that…

If you’ve woken up with vivid dreams of taking on a brand new challenge, I have some juicy ideas for you.

Actually, these schemes are for me, but maybe it will fire up your own creative juices and dig up some exciting idea bubbles for you.

These are all real jobs, however, to be candid, some of them are Looney Tunes as hell, while others do have real merit… only you can decide which is which and move forward in your fun future.

Let’s explore:

1. CHOCOLATE TASTER – Heaven… I’m in heaven… sure, chocolate taster jobs don’t require any formal qualifications, but you do need to have an acute sense of taste and smell to do this job effectively. Large chocolate companies have several chocolate tasters they use to make sure their product is delicious. You can think of yourself as a Sommelier de Chocolat.

2. LIVING STATUE – Who knew you could be paid for standing still as well as laying down on the job? Performing as a living statue is one form of busking, especially in places with a high level of tourism. Living statue performers strategically choose a spot, preferably one with a high level of foot traffic, then create the illusion of complete stillness while standing. Sometimes, passers-by won’t realize you’re a real person, which can deliver a shocking surprise when the “statue” gives them a small gesture (such as a wink or nod). The objective is to create fun moments of interaction that result in a tip. In truth, I’ve actually done this “job” twice as a non-profit fundraiser – once as Jack Frost (below) and another time as The Grinch – it’s a blast and kids love the tease!

3. CUIDACARRO – yup, in Spanish this means “taking care of a car”… all you need to do is get thee to a city with sky-high theft crimes and let wealthy car owners pay you for standing watch over their car to make sure it isn’t stolen, or disassembled and put on blocks while they’re elsewhere, peacefully sipping scotch or Dom Perignon. How cool is that?

4. MUSIC THERAPIST – Ah hemmmmm… music therapy practice means establishing caring and professional relationships with people of all ages and abilities. Empathy, patience, creativity, imagination, an openness to new ideas, and understanding of oneself are important attributes. Music therapists are musicians as well as therapists, so a background in and love of music are essential. To get the inside track, individuals thinking of music therapy should consider gaining some experience through volunteer opportunities or summer work in nursing homes, camps for children with disabilities, and other settings which serve the needs of people… even animals. Doh re mi!

5. DEODORANT TESTER SNIFFER– almost as much fun as being a chocolate taster, but NOT at all! In order to test the effectiveness of new products, “odour judges” are hired to smell volunteers’ breath, feet, and armpits. To make sure their judgment is accurate, sniffers have their sense of smell tested monthly. This is one job that really does pass the sniff test.

6. AUDIO ENGINEER – Like to work the graveyard shift with narcissistic, ego-driven musicians? An audio engineer (or a sound engineer) works with the mechanics of recording, mixing, and reproducing sound. Audio engineers are not the same as sound producers, writers, or performers, as they deal specifically with the technical and mechanical aspects of music and sound — nothing else. If you like to hear the same song performed 100 times consecutively, this is your chair.

7. PERSONAL TRAINER – Are you jacked? Ripped? Look good in tight spandex? Share your secrets… a personal trainer works one-on-one with a client to develop and implement a fitness training regimen that helps them lose weight, get stronger, improve physical performance or invest in their health. Trainers introduce clients to individualized exercises that are based upon their personal goals, skill level and needs. Side benefit: all the protein bars and kale smoothies you can stomach.

8. HOMICIDE DETECTIVE – Law & Order… Bum bum… If you faint at the sight of blood, jump forward to #9. Beginning at a crime scene, a homicide detective works alongside forensic specialists to examine evidence. Detectives also spend a significant amount of time interviewing witnesses to form an educated guess about how a homicide happened and who may be responsible. After identifying suspects, a detective makes arrests and performs interrogations to gather further information about a murder. If a case goes to trial, they may assist the prosecution by testifying in court. Prepare yourself for vivid dreams until the day you die.

9. VOICE ACTOR – my brother has, later in life, taken acting classes, and picks up acting gigs here and there. He does the full physical job of acting, but for the less “camera-inclined”, there are speaking roles where your face never gets a chance to entice paparazzi… ie. the voice actor. Voice acting is a performance art where actors use their own voices to entertain or market to an audience. But lending just your voice to a cartoon or a goofy commercial can be more difficult than physical acting on a TV series, so be prepared to prepare and work hard. “Alexa, find me a voice acting job!”

10. SPEECH WRITER – ever since I watched the first episodes of The West Wing, I wanted to be a speech writer like Sam Seaborn (Rob Lowe). I love the art of oration, but lack the gravitas in my own voice to become Barack Obama or Walter Cronkite (who?). The next best thing? Write eloquent and memorable speeches for Barack or Walter, Kamala or Justin, Pierre or JFK. Ask not what you can do for your next job… If this job bores you, maybe try this next one…

11. PROFESSIONAL SLEEPER – just like it sounds, the professional sleeper is someone who gets paid to sleep. REALLY! They generally do this as part of scientific research where scientists analyze their sleep patterns or to evaluate the quality of various sleep-related products. I’ve worked with more than a few colleagues over my career that I know are perfectly suited to this position… it’s definitely not your average 9 to 5 job…

12. PROFESSIONAL MOURNER – Do you really want your funeral to look like the crowd at the Olympic Opening Ceremony? It is a tradition in South East Asia that a loud funeral will assist the dead as they travel to the afterlife, so professional mourners are hired to cry and weep loudly throughout the service. This is almost the equivalent of being a voice actor, and most certainly is not a dying profession.

13. BIKE COURIER – riding slalom on busy car-clogged streets… yes! Adrenaline jockeys… bike couriers are most common in large cities with downtown cores and business districts where vehicle deliveries can be costly and hard to schedule due to traffic jams, construction, parking availability, and other factors. Enter the bike courier: often hired to deliver items such as food, clothing and articles for photo shoots, digital files on flash drives or hard discs, legal, financial, or other sensitive documents, corporate gifts, medical samples. You gotta have strong legs, and a strong heart to deliver hearts for transplant.

14. DEAD BODY REMOVER or CRIME SCENE CLEANER – OK, simple really, but not always really simple. You never know what you’re going to run into during a home body removal or post-death clean-up. Some people with predisposed conditions, or ugly homicides or messy accidents that ultimately cause their death may die days or weeks before they are found. You have to remove them and it can get downright gross. Skin slip, purge, faeces, urine, insects, odour. This is bloody haunted house stuff for the bravest of souls.

15. GOLF BALL DIVER– are you tired of standing in the blazing summer sun, salty-sweat stinging your eyes… waiting to take your Tee shot, knowing that it’s sure-as-hell gonna land in the stupid water hazard? Simple answer: put your Calloway Big Bertha back in its bag and find a cool job on the other side. Summer is sweet when you dive into those cool ponds to collect the balls all the other suckers have wasted in futile attempts to be the next Tiger or Annika. Keep in mind, not all ponds are pristine, sand-lined, leech-free, swimmer’s itch clear delights. Murk and mayhem may await!

16. AMUSEMENT PARK VOMIT CLEANER – Whoa, that roller coaster ride was more than you bargained for.. and so is the disgusting mess you left behind in the car you were riding. Did you think all that stomach churning effluent just magically disappears when the coaster comes to a stop? Hardly! Take on the “Chunker Challenge” and make the ride squeaky clean and sweet-smelling for the next inhabitant – discreetly and quick as a wink!

So, there you go, a few ideas to stimulate your creative juices. The good news is there are a ton of other fabulous jobs out there that will kindle your fires, amuse, excite, animate, scintillate… and… repulse.

I’m still tossing around some other first-class opportunities like professional whistling, fortune cookie writing, snake milker, water slide tester and professional snuggler.

So many choices, so little time…