man looking though a wine glass

There is an old adage: "Choose a job you love, and you’ll never have to work a day in your life." Try to imagine it … if work really were as fun as the activities we enjoy in our spare time. Wouldn’t life be wonderful? Wouldn’t you wake up each morning with a spring in your step, arrive at your workplace early, stay late, all in the knowledge that, because it’s fun, you’re definitely doing a great job?

But the reality is, for many of us, the idea work might be fun is the stuff of fantasy. Poor pay, long hours, and toxic workplace environments can make the world of work a lifelong chore. Luckily, though, it seems company culture and the way we talk about the work we do may finally be changing. In 2016, the business journalist Liz Ryan wrote in Forbes: "The worst business lie of all in my view is: ‘It’s not supposed to be fun — that’s why they call it work!’" and explained: "Fearful managers say "Work isn’t supposed to be fun!" because they want to assert their authority."

Hopefully, as attitudes to management evolve, more and more workplaces will come to understand that fun among employees — laughing, joking, and enjoying themselves on the job — can be beneficial to both employees’ mental health and, concurrently, the business’ bottom line. In the meantime, here are some jobs both modern and traditional that would make the working week just as fun as the weekends.

Meme curator

Visitors to the Museum of the Meme Exhibition in New York 2018

Many people out there would tell you that the internet has ruined our collective capacity to interact with culture. Do people still read the classics? Does anyone really have the patience to stand and study a great painting long enough for it to reveal itself?

But new forms of media have always attracted opposition. When novels took over from poetry as the major western literary form, books were thought to be hazardous to health, particularly that of women, whom, it was believed, would suffer from overactive imaginations and be unable to tell the difference between fantasy and reality (per The New York Times). When television become the norm for average households, parents were warned that the box would ruin children’s attention spans, that they would suffer from "square eyes," and that the television, which Pressbooks calls "perhaps the most culturally influential medium in human history," was inferior to all that came before it, such as printed material and the radio.

So too with the internet, which many critics have said offers an abundance of information with no depth, with content becoming shorter and shallower, and everything reducible to the form of a mere meme. But, for those of us who are "very online," the tide seems to finally have turned, to the point at which internet culture is finally becoming respectable. Vice reports on the plethora of academics studying memes in the same way they have works of literature or other artforms for generations, while a separate Vice report claims that memes have now become such a respectable medium that they have recently been exhibited in real-life museums. So now you don’t have to keep your favorite memes to Tumblr; you can curate them in the knowledge you’re making a major contribution to world culture.

Yeoman Warder Ravenmaster

Yeoman warder ravenmaster

If you’ve ever been to London and checked out the sights, you definitely would have seen a number of armed guards standing stock-still in oversized hats. Typically, these ceremonial guards are called Beefeaters, although their actual title is "Yeoman Warder," and while standing as still as possible outside a tourist spot for hours on end might not be everyone’s idea of a good time, some of these guards have some downright amazing duties to perform at the Queen’s behest.

Chief among them is the "Ravenmaster" of the Tower of London, whose responsibility lies with caring for the ravens who live in the tower. According to Historic Royal Palaces, the role was created during the reign of King Charles II, in response to the prophecy concerning the wild ravens that at the time inhabited the tower, which stated that "if the ravens leave the tower, the kingdom will fall…"

Since then, at least six ravens have been kept at the tower, with the ravenmaster supervising the birds as they fly free in the grounds and, today, interact with tourists. Part of the birds’ appeal is their incredible intelligence, with the current ravenmaster, Chris Skaife, claiming that the personality of the individual birds makes the job infinitely fascinating (via Historic UK).

Professional prison breaker

Prison behind fence

We, as humans, are natural escape artists: we practice escapism every time we immerse ourselves in a game for hours on end or binge-watch a whole show in one sitting. Even many of the movies and shows we love — from "The Shawshank Redemption" to "Prison Break" — have escape as a theme, while escape rooms have become a popular attraction in many cities around the world.

But imagine if your job involved breaking out of — or, often, into — some of the world’s most secure buildings (with the foreknowledge of the people running the place, of course). Wouldn’t that be something? Well, that job actually exists, and its title is "penetration tester." According to Wired, penetration testers are hired by organizations such as jails, secure units, banks, and so on, to see whether their own security systems are up to scratch. Per Vice, some organizations even invite parkour experts to see if with their skills they can get out of some of the world’s most secure buildings. Sounds fun, right?

However, there is a downside: that, despite your professional qualifications, you can still end up in trouble with the law. Wired reports that penetration testers sometimes end up in being arrested and kept in jail for days before the truth of their identities are ascertained, which really is the last place anyone wants to end up after a long day at work.

Roller coaster tester

Stock image of a roller coaster

Every year, millions of us part with hundreds of dollars at a time and line up for hours to get an adrenaline kick from some of the loopiest looking machines mankind ever invented. But imagine if you got paid to do it?

Roller coasters have been around for more than 200 years at this point. The first, known as the "Promenades-Aériennes" or "Aerial Walk," opened in Paris, France, in 1817, and traveled an a leisurely 40mph, according to NPR. But as technology has evolved, thrill-seekers have been treated to faster and faster speeds and more dizzying and unbelievable tilts and turns; one of the most popular American roller coasters in Six Flags’ Kingda Ka, goes more than 450 feet in the air and launches passengers at a top speed of 128mph (per ShermansTravel).

Well, if getting thrown around at those kinds of speeds sound like your idea of fun, why not apply to become a roller coaster tester? Yes, that job really exists! Though, of course, the rides aren’t completely untested before you arrive — engineers first try them out using computer modeling and crash test dummies, according to personal finance expert Eric Hammer (via Every Way To Make Money). Caters News Agency reports that one such roller coaster tester takes more than 100 rides a day, and describes it as the "dream job." Well, of course it is: no lines!

Mount Rushmore maintenance technician

Maintenance technician under Lincoln's nose on mount rushmore

Rock climbing has become a mainstream activity in the 21st century, but imagine that it wasn’t only your job, but that you also do it on one of the world’s most iconic rock faces: Mount Rushmore.

According to Mitchell Republic, every year the Keystone sculpture requires a "concrete facelift," to preserve the faces of Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt, and Lincoln and repair any weather damage they may have suffered over the past 12 months. Abseiling down the presidents’ foreheads, noses, and chins, a team of ten Mount Rushmore staff are tasked with fixing cracks with Kevlar and silicone caulk, as well as assessing the condition of the rock face and testing for any structural issues the sculpture might face in the future.

More than two million people visit Mount Rushmore each year, according to the National Parks Service. But I don’t think a single one of their photos will be able to beat a selfie taken by a Mount Rushmore repair technician hanging from Lincoln’s nose.

Water slide tester

Man on inflatable ring going down water slide

In 2013, the British vacation firm First Choice Holidays made thousands of office-bound pleasure seekers fantasize about quitting their jobs and making a career of emulating those long golden summer days spent sliding and plunging to their heart’s content.

​​"Had your fill of 9-5? After a job that’s a little less ‘yawn’ and a little more ‘yeeaaahhh!’? Well, we’ve got something that’ll be right up your street," read the First Choice Holidays ad, as reported in The Metro. "It’s a job where ‘going to work’ means donning your swimming gear and hurtling down waterslides. Yep, we’re looking for a Slide Tester who’ll test our waterparks for a living. No two days will be the same, as you report back with your slide ratings and come up with new ideas for our customers."

And the reason that no two days would be the same was that the lucky applicant would be flown to various First Choice resorts throughout Europe and enjoy the perks of the job all year round. And the best part of the whole thing? Knowing that you’re not going to crash into the kid who went down before you but forgot to get out of the way. If only there were enough Slide Tester jobs for all of us, eh?

Internet-famous cat manager

Grumpy Cat in Las Vegas in 2016

There is an old rule among actors to "never work with children or animals," but when it comes to management, animals may in fact be the key to a joyful and wildly successful career. Sure, managing human talent might sound like nice work, but it also means that you encounter your fair share of prima donnas and egomaniacs. But the characteristics we rightly resent in humans we actively adore in the internet’s favorite animals: cats.

Remember the iconic YouTube sensation Keyboard Cat? Well, that jumper-wearing music maestro did indeed have his own manager: Ben Lashes, an ex-professional musician himself and friend of Keyboard Cat’s owner who realized that becoming a meme can generate a steady profit through licensing, as he explained in an interview with Kiro Radio. Lashes then went on to represent the interests of Nyan Cat and, the biggest internet cat sensation ever, Grumpy Cat.

"With Grumpy Cat alone, we’ve done the MTV Movie Awards, we’ve done two episodes of American Idol," Lashes said in 2015 (via the same source). "Grumpy Cat was the host of WWE Monday Night Raw. We were at the season finale of The Bachelorette with Grumpy Cat … It’s been one, big, crazy-long pinch-me moment."

Lego master builder

A Lego giraffe at Legoland Tokyo

Who wouldn’t want to while away their adulthood playing with the greatest children’s toy of all time, and realizing its possibilities on a massive scale? Well, a career as a "Lego master builder" is, pleasingly, a real-life thing at Legoland theme parks around the world. Your responsibilities would involve both the design and the actual build of countless oversize Lego projects, from life-size renderings of exotic animals to miniature replicas of iconic buildings and landmarks such as the Taj Mahal and the Empire State Building.

Although the job might seem intuitive or — say it quietly — easy, being a Lego master builder takes some considerable skill. As the master model builder and designer at Legoland Florida Luke Phillips told Fox 13 Tampa Bay, "there is no degree" that can set you on the right path towards your Lego-assembling dream. But his colleague, Jason Miller, added the caveat that the job does require technical skills, including good math knowledge (via YouTube).

Celebrity wardrobe stylist

Woman in a stylish outfit

If you have an eye for fashion, it’s a cert that you love putting outfits together, not only for yourself but for other people. Now imagine you got paid for it. Oh yeah, and you don’t actually have to pay for any of the clothes yourself. What more could you last for?

As reported by India Today, professional fashion stylists get to work with the biggest names in movies, TV, and music and be the brains behind those show-stopping outfits that grab headlines every awards season. However, as the celebrity stylist Ayesha Amin Nigam explains (via the same source), a stylist and designer are very different: "A designer is a person who conceptualizes the clothes, works on the line, and produces it. A fashion stylist is a person who styles the clothes produced by the designer. They put them together to create a full look, add the accessories, props, focus on hair and makeup, and give the creative direction to the concept which is created by the designer. It is like icing the cake."

Most stylists start out with an agency or as part of the editorial team of a magazine before finding their feet, after which they can become the permanent stylist of some of the world’s biggest stars and create the latest looks everyone is talking about.

Wildlife rehabilitator

A rabbit being nursed by an animal rehabilitator

Worthwhile and rewarding while at the same time fun and, well, wild, the job of a wildlife rehabilitator is a dream role for animal lovers the world over. As the Progressive Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) explains, the job involves caring for orphaned, sick, and injured animals of a wide variety of species, with the eventual aim of preparing them for release back into the wild and the chance to thrive in their natural habitat. Every day, wildlife rehabilitators nurse animals back to health with the hope of eventually seeing them flourish.

It’s a tear-jerker of a job, with the inevitability of having to say goodbye to the animals you’ve helped nurture for months or years on end, requiring a great deal of emotional strength. But the bond that some rehabilitators build with the animals they care for can be life-changing, while the work itself is vital for the promotion of biodiversity and the protection of the natural world at a time when it is seriously threatened.

Dive guide

Scuba divers on the Florida reef

If you’re a lover of marine life and of the sea in general, chances are you’ve given diving a try, or, at least, enjoy floating around the surface of the water with a snorkel on vacation, taking in the underwater scenery. Now imagine that hitting the underwater world day after day was your job. It would feel like you were on vacation every day, wouldn’t it?

The life of a dive guide is certainly a charmed one. Lawrence Watkins, a dive guide in Florida, gave Scuba Diving a summary of his working day, which he describes as "5 to 5," in that he starts each day super early. But once the paperwork’s done and the group is assembled, the hours are filled exploring the warm currents, pointing out flora and fauna of the reef.

And as Scuba Diver Life explains, the role of a dive guide isn’t to keep an eye on individual divers, but to ensure that "the dive," i.e. the route and conditions, are safe for the group as a whole — far more relaxing than having the responsibility of teaching beginners the ropes.

Demolition expert

Demolition of a building in Istanbul

In 2016, The New York Times reported on the relatively new trend of "anger rooms," which were popping up across the U.S. allowing stressed-out people to pay for the opportunity to willfully destroy a roomful of objects with the intention of letting off some stream and giving themselves an endorphin boost. The truth is, it is very likely that you take at least some pleasure in destruction, whether watching explosions on the big screen or popping bubble wrap. It’s nothing to be shy about; in fact, it’s perfectly normal. So why shouldn’t we take that impulse and go professional with it? The life of a demolition expert is for you!

But according to the careers website Learn.org demolition experts aren’t just in charge of demolition, oh no. In fact, their responsibilities also extend to "razing" and "wrecking … any structure or any part thereof." Wrecking. Razing. Can’t you feel the stress just slip away?

There is some bad news: unfortunately, everyone’s favorite piece of demolition tech, the trusty wrecking ball, is apparently being phased out, and its use is now considered a "dying art" according to Atlas Obscura. But with a little imagination, a destructively-minded soul like you can surely work around it.

Food critic

Woman eating rice and tempura with chopsticks

It doesn’t take much explaining why a job that involves getting paid to eat is fun; sure, eating is a basic human need, but it is also one of life’s greatest pleasures, and it doesn’t take a devoted hedonist to realize that receiving a paycheck for consuming food makes being a food critic one of the most desirable jobs out there.

The British food critic Jay Rayner reviews everything from top-notch Michelin starred restaurants to street food stands, and is aware of his privileged position thanks in part to the great deal of correspondence he receives from fans asking how to become a food critic just like him, according to Business Insider. Rayner receives so many of these contacts that he eventually decided to write a cookie-cutter response, explaining that to become a food critic one has to spend years as a journalist first; that the success of a food critic relies on the quality of their writing. "The editor offered me the restaurant column not because he thought I knew a lot about the subject but because he thought I would write entertainingly," Rayner explains.

But whether we care about the quality of writing or not, the multitude of amateur reviews out there on both review platforms and private blogs attests to the fact that sharing our opinions about the food we eat is just as fun as eating it, whether we’re paid for it or not.

Pro gamer

Fans watching pro gamers play Counter-Strike in 2019

The childhood dream of so many of us in the final years of the twentieth century has become an undeniable reality in recent years, with a number of ways emerging through which dedicated gamers can make big money.

The rise of eSports has replicated that of traditional sports like football and baseball in that it now attracts huge crowds of fans and enormous cash prizes for elite players. According to Statista, the prize money for "Counter-Strike: Global Offensive" alone stood at nearly $8 million in the first half of 2021, with a number of other titles such as "Fortnite" and "DOTA 2" not far behind. As the figures show, the best in the business can make a serious amount of money doing what they love.

But the fact is you don’t have to have superhuman reflexes to make money from video games in 2021. Platforms such as Twitch, Mixer, and Facebook now offer the chance for entertaining streamers to amass huge, dedicated audiences, whether their appeal lies in their gaming ability or their personality on camera. The most successful video game streamer is Tyler "Ninja" Blevins, whose income at one point stood at more than $500,000 a month, according to Business Insider.

Master Sommelier

Sommelier tasting bouquet of white wine

Look, this last one is a little fancy, but it’s on the list for a reason. The fact is, there are a great number of things of which it would be brilliant to be an expert taster. Ice cream expert? What a life. Professional chocolate taster? Heaven. But really, is there anything really approaching wine — the master sommelier’s stock-in-trade — for range of flavor, history, and cultural cachet?

It’s a classy and desirable role, but getting up to the level of knowledge required is a daunting challenge, with the title protected by the Court of Master Sommeliers, whose four levels of grueling tests gained wider exposure following the release of the documentary "Somm: Into The Bottle," which charts the efforts of four wine lovers on their separate paths towards viticultural greatness.

Jack Mason was just 27 when he became a Master Sommelier, a journey which took him six years, according to Business Insider. "After working for so many years to achieve the shiny gold pin I still don’t quite believe that I can now call myself a Master Sommelier," he said; at the time of writing, just 269 people in the whole world hold the coveted title (via Binwise).