Tuesday, August 26, 2014

10 Decent-Paying but Seriously Weird Jobs

The other day while I was laying in bed with a bowl of coffee, my favorite KTLA news reporter said something that semi-grabbed my attention.  She said, "blah blah blah professional eater blah blah blah."  Professional eater?  My eyes had been opened and it wasn't the coffee this time.  If there was a job title like that out there in the open, what else was there?  As someone who is clearly looking for another job, I had to investigate further.  Listed below are ten of the least talked about jobs in the US of A.  Stay weird, America.

1.  Professional Eater

Did you know that competitive eaters are considered professional athletes?  In fact, like baseball, competitive eating has two major leagues: the International Federation of Competitive Eaters and the Association of Independent Competitive Eaters.  The No. 1 ranked competitive eater is Joey "Jaws" Chestnut, who holds the record for eating 69 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes.  That's over 20,000 calories.  Gross.  But guess what?  That's equivalent to how much money he makes.  If you're tired of your desk job and wondering what it's like to make money by eating 80 chicken nuggets faster than anyone else, this career might just be perfect for you.  'Merica.

Average Pay:  $20,000 a year and the potential to be Subway's next Jared.
Yeah, those are twinkies.
Yeah, those are twinkies.

2.  Professional Snuggler

...or smuggler.
Have you ever considered yourself "the perfect spoon"?  Are you soft in all the right areas?   Wink, wink.  If so, you may want to work for Jacqueline, creator of The Snuggery.  Her company's motto:  "Take a Break.  Have a Snuggle."  According to her, the the world would be a better place if people took the time to be non-sexually touched by a stranger, I mean, professional snuggler.  Ultimately, Jacqueline believes in the healing power of touch.  While some people get enough healing power from a trip on the subway, others may benefit from private snuggle sessions.  Like a retired professional eater.

Average Pay: $90 per 90 minute snuggle sesh


3.  Pet Food Tester

I love my dog but I plug my nose when I feed him.  There's no way in hell I'm having what he's having. Did you know that there are people who willingly eat cat and dog food for money?  Simon Allison, one of the most highly paid pet food tasters, is clearly a different breed of human.  His upper-middle class status is entirely the result of his ability to thoroughly chew bits and kibbles like a pro.  Simon's favorite dish for a romantic night with the lady?  An organic luxury chicken dinner with vegetables for cats.

Average Pay:  Not enough


4.  Fortune Cookie Writer

Someone has to do it.  Could it be you?  Surprisingly, fortune cookies originated as an American tradition Therefore, they are typically written in the United States by white people.  This job is perfect for those who are creative, have excellent grammar skills, and a knack for sage advice.  You don't even need a bachelors degree.

Average Pay:  Your hard work will payoff today.  49 25 7 36 32 40


5.  Lipstick Reader

If you thought palm reading was crazy, think again.  A lipstick reading involves applying fresh lipstick and then kissing a "love card."  A lipstick reader then predicts the woman's past and future simply by reading her lip print.  Muah.

Average Pay: $25 per lip

red lips isolated in white

6.  Snake Milker

Did you know that OC Housewives love their lip gloss spiked with snake venom?  It creates a lip pumping effect that can last up to 12 hours if you apply it every 10 minutes.  But you can't make snake venom, you have to extract it.  That's where snake milkers come in.  A snake milker removes venom from sea snakes, vipers, rattlesnakes, and cobras so that it can be used for good (hospitals and laboratories) and evil (housewives).  This job requires brains just as much as balls, which is why most snake milkers have a Master's degree and a mullet.

Average pay: $2500/month


7.  Professional Binge Watcher

Have you ever binge watched five seasons of, say, The Walking Dead, in one week and thought, "I should have gotten paid for that"?  Is so, an elite team of binge watchers is waiting for you.  The job requires you to wear your pj's while you deconstruct TV shows until your eyeballs glaze over.   Netflix describes the job in further detail: "Successful applicants will analyze films and describe them using objective tags.  The tags work alongside advanced algorithms to generate highly personalized suggestions for every one of Netflix's nearly 50 million members."   Algorithms aside, let's be real, you get motha fuckin' paid to watch TV.

Average pay: $500/week


8.  Furniture Tester

If Netflix rejected your dream of becoming a paid TV watcher, a furniture tester might be the next best thing.  Did you know that before you bought your red leather love seat, it was tested for safety and comfort?  Yeah.  Many companies, such as Lazy Boy, hire furniture testers to sit in, lay on, and wiggle wiggle wiggle on potential merchandise.  The tester then gives it a grade based on comfort level.  If you like sitting, and then standing, and then sitting again for hours, it's not a bad gig.

Average pay: $31,000/year


9.  Odor Judge

Ew, what's that smell?  That's the smell of the armpit you're smelling for money.  An odor judge is responsible for testing the effectiveness of deodorant and more.  If you have a sensitive nose, you could make a living by evaluating animal breath or detecting halitosis for mouthwash companies!  The possibilities!

Average pay: $19,000 to $52,000, based on experience.
Odour judge

10.  Chicken Sexer

Wanna stand out on your Match.com profile?  Become a chicken sexer.
"Chick sexing" is the method of distinguishing the sex of a chicken.  Because female chickens provide eggs and male chickens provide meat, it's important to know who is what.  A "chicken sexer" has the glamorous job of figuring that out, helping get eggs on grocery store shelves and chicken breasts on the dinner table.  There's a worldwide chicken sexing competition if you're interested in learning more about the sex of chicks.

Average pay: $1,200/month


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Five Things That Are Difficult Now but Pay Off Later

[[Also featured on Thought Catalog]]

Building a structured life as a twenty or thirty-something is challenging to say the least.  Despite the fact that you may be doing all the right things, you might be so overwhelmed that you can't imagine when things are finally going to get easier.  If you're feeling more hopeless than hopeful, you are not alone.  However, I guarantee that when you take a moment in a couple years to reflect on this time of your life, you will absolutely notice the transformation that has occurred as a result of your dedication to change.  Your hard work will pay off.

Sometimes things just suck before they get better.

Oily face now, younger looking skin later.

Does your face look like it's been rubbed with a generous serving of McDonald's fries?  Do you shine like a greasy star?  If your face constantly needs to be blotted by a Clearasil Oil Absorbent, I feel you.  In fact, I've probably shared my pack with you.  While those of us with oily skin may have had more breakouts than the rest of the kids on the playground, there is a silver lining.  Oily skin delays the onset of wrinkles better than dry skin because the oils keep skin smooth and moist.  In 30 years when your peers who never had to subscribe to Proactiv put the grand in grandma, you'll look like you haven't aged a day.  Therefore, people with oily skin have a better future.  You can quote me on that.

Save money now, stress less later.

This one is more of a "note to self."  I'm no Suze Orman.  While I thankfully have no debt, my savings account is pathetic.  Let's be honest, putting money aside is hard when you want to travel everywhere.  However, I have a feeling that life in the future will be a whole lot easier (and the adventures much more frequent) with some savings in the bank.  Before you distribute part of your next paycheck to a savings account, start saving money today by: forgetting Starbucks happened, rolling your car windows down, ditching cable for Netflix, and using coupons like a boss.  You got this.

Get up early now, feel like superman later.

The other day, I tripped over my alarm clock.  It was on the floor of my bathroom because I had thrown it across my bedroom.  I am not a morning person.  However, I have heard that waking up early is pretty crucial for success.  I mean, it does make sense.  We all have as many hours in a day as Beyoncé.  It's up to us to use them.

Eat your vegetables now, look hot and healthy later.

I love kale.  I do.  But sometimes a girl just wants to eat like it's the last day on earth.  And who the fuck would eat kale on their last day of existence?  I want a cronut in my mouth on a constant basis.  However, pastries and the like tend to cause weight gain which tends to cause depression which tends to cause...you get it.  The benefits of eating healthy are endless, from anti-aging superpowers to killing off cancerous cells.  While eggplant might see like a boring food option now, your body with thank you for it later.  It is okay to splurge on sugar every now and then, but moderation is always key.  Unless you're eating vegetables.  No one ever said you could eat too many peas.

Face your fears now, rule the world later.

Perhaps you're afraid of rejection.  Gosh, who isn't?  Being told "no" is a daunting prospect to consider but not putting yourself out there at all is so much scarier.  Is there a job on your radar that you feel is a little bit out of your reach?  Go for it anyway.  Do you have a crush on someone that, quite frankly, makes you weak at the knees?  Ask the human out.  Don't wait another month of your one life waiting to ask for a raise, sign up for that marathon, or apply for the job of your dreams.  Being told "no" sucks but never truly knowing what you're capable of is so much worse.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The 10 Commandments All Girls Should Follow

Girl Code:  An unofficial set of guidelines that all girls are encouraged to follow unless they want their weave pulled out.

It's a tough world out there, ladies.  We need to stick together.

Gentlemen, you can go.  Girls, let's break it down.

The 10 Commandments All Girls Should Follow

1.  Thou shalt not covet a dude who has a girlfriend. 

Respect.  It doesn't matter if the dude looks like George Clooney.  If he's taken, back off.  It's not going to happen.  And if it does happen, you just joined forces with a cheater who, guess what, is probably going to cheat on you too.

2.  Thou shalt not kill another woman unless she slept with your man.

I don't usually encourage murder, but...one less bitch in the world can't be a bad thing.

3.  Thou shalt not hook-up with your friend's ex-boyfriend unless your friend gives you permission, which she won't.

Just because your friend isn't in a relationship with him anymore, she was intimate with him and probably definitely doesn't want to think about him with another woman--especially her own friend.  I mean, get real.

4.  Thou shalt carry an extra tampon in one's purse in case you run into a bleeding woman in need.

It's called bathroom etiquette, ladies.  Has your Aunt Flow ever come to town a little too early?  Of course she has.   If you ever run into a woman struggling with this situation, be the period hero and restore her faith in womanhood.

5.  Thou shalt never make a man a priority if he only makes you an option.

We are woman.  WE GIVE LIFE.  Therefore, we're fucking amazing.  Never settle for less than you deserve.

6.  Thou shalt refrain oneself from hating on other women.

Two words: Lena Dunham.  It still blows my mind that women try to body-shame this incredibly multi-talented human from behind their computer screens.  We should be encouraging one another, not tearing each other apart.

7.  Thou shalt not let a girlfriend out in public if she has kale in between her teeth.

She's not going to be embarrassed if you call her out on having something stuck in her teeth.  But she WILL be embarrassed if she runs into her what-could-have-been future husband when she has something stuck in her teeth.  Don't mess with her fate like that.  Wanna go the extra mile?  Give her a toothpick.

8.  Thou shalt not hang out one-on-one with the boyfriend of a woman who isn't you.  

Especially at sunset.  It's weird and inappropriate.  Boundaries, both of you.

9.  Thou shalt be available and present when your girlfriend just got dumped.

When your friend is in need, particularly after getting her heart stomped on, you need to be available like a doctor on call.

10.  Thou shalt not repeat words spoken to you in confidence.

Unless you're looking for some drama, don't be a gossip girl.  Have you ever seen Real Housewives of OC?  It just never ends well.

Bonus Commandment: Thou shalt stop getting relationship advice from Cosmopolitan Magazine.

It's a trap.  

Got it?  Good.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Sugar Addiction and The Remedy

Alcoholism rocked my early 20s.  Typically of the white wine variety, it was an hourly obsession that could have destroyed my life if I had let it.  Spoiler alert: I'm almost two years sober.  It's not always easy though, especially during holidays like Fourth of July when I have to pretend that O'Doul's is really doing it for me.  If I'm ever feeling envious enough of my normal-drinking peers to fantasize about picking up, I just have to remind myself that, well, I can't.  "Elin, honey, you poured a bottle of chardonnay on your laptop.  You stopped going to class, drowned in depression, and kissed a lot of idiots.  Remember your drunken Facebook statuses?  You couldn't hold a job and you ordered way too much fucking take-out.  Your life was falling apart."  Oh, right.

So, yes, I'm familiar with addiction and the damage it can do.  Which is why, when I woke up with a constellation of acne on my forehead and a craving for cronuts, I realized I'd fallen for a new drug: sugar.  Besides the fact that a sugar overdose cannot actually kill you (or can it?), sugar and alcohol have a lot in common.  They're both addictive.

True Life: I'm addicted to sugar.

Are you?


Five Signs You Should Join SAA (Sugar Addicts Anonymous)

1.  You tried to cut back on sugar once but failed so hard.

If you've ever told yourself you wouldn't eat chocolate cake every night for a week but in fact ate chocolate cake every night for a week, you have a problem.  You're a sugar addict.

The remedy:  Stop being a sugar slut and get a food journal.  Hold yourself accountable for what you're putting in your mouth-hole and you'll be amazed by the results.

2.  You often feel sluggish and rely on sweet snacks to keep you going.

Do macaroons gives you a "high" that you need throughout the day?  Welcome to SAA.

The remedy:  Get your shit together.  Literally.  Get all of the sugar products in your house together in a big sugary pile, and give it to your worst enemy.  A sugar addict keeping sugar in the house is like an alcoholic keeping booze in the fridge.  Bad idea.  Instead, fill your kitchen with whole foods.  You'll be amazed at how easy it will be to grab an apple instead of a chocolate bar.

3.  You daydream about donuts on the daily.

This is bad.  If you find yourself seeing sweets when they're not there, it's a good thing you're reading this because you are dangerously close to tattooing "Actually, I'm pretty sure chocolate tastes as good as skinny feels" down the center of your protruding belly.

The remedy:  Daydream about men in soccer shorts instead.  You need to reprogram your brain.  When you find yourself focusing on sugar snacks and how bad you want to binge, hit yourself in the face.  Soon, you'll equate sugar with pain.

4.  You're having an affair with the ice cream man.

Your cravings for sugar have become dangerous.  There is nothing, and I mean nothing, you won't do for a Klondike bar.

The remedy:  First of all, put earplugs in so you cannot hear the ice cream truck.  He's bad news for you, babe.  Next, find a healthy replacement for your craving.  Make running, for example, your new "afternoon delight."  Eat balanced meals and drink all the water.

5.  Your skin is starting to look like the pepperoni pizza you ate for breakfast.

Babe, your skin will look so much sweeter without all that sugar.  If you're a true sugar addict, you've probably noticed that sugar is just as bad for your skin as it is for your waistline.  Run from simple carbohydrates like you're running from the police because they rapidly break down into glucose.  This will result in insulin spikes, added stress, and bonus breakouts.  Ew.

The remedy:  Invest in Biore strips and cucumber masks ASAP.  Get plenty of sleep to keep your cortisol levels in check.  Replace soda with water.  And don't eat pizza for breakfast, silly.

If you're tired of feeling like you're drowning in a swamp of molasses, #payattention and do something about it.  I'm a firm believer in the expression, "everything in moderation."  However, if you're starting to feel like sugar is interfering with your pursuit of happiness, take a break and see if you feel better without it.  Guess what?  You will.  Just like any addiction, it is possible to give it up in order to change the rocky road you're on.  Pun intended.