10 Most Fun Jobs

MSN Careers

10 Most Fun Jobs

By Mary Lorenz / CareerBuilder.com

No job comes without some grunt work, but some occupations seem to have considerably less than their fair shares.

Hollywood Wardrobe Stylist

It's fun because: The world is your closet. You get to shop for a living, pick out clothes and accessories for film studios or individual artists, and spend someone else's money. It's the ultimate form of retail therapy.

The not-so-fun side: Because the job is freelance, there's no job security, wardrobe stylists can go for weeks between gigs, and they aren't always entitled to benefits like health insurance and retirement.

The payoff: According to Salary.com, day rates for one job can range from $600 to $1000.

Proposition Player

It's fun because: Poker night with the guys or gals is just another day at the office. Employed as regular casino employees, "props" start games, fill chairs when the tables get short and keep the action moving. Best of all, they get to keep all their winnings.

The not-so-fun side: Props don't get to pick and choose their own games, gamble with their own money, and do not get reimbursed for their losses.

The payoff: An article in Los Angeles CityBeat reports that prop players cash in at up to $30 an hour (the average salary of most regular casino workers) and get health benefits in return for a regular working week.

Film or Restaurant Reviewer

It's fun because: You have the opportunity to watch movies before they even come out in the theater or eat gourmet meals for free and make a little money in the meantime. Plus, you get to say things like, "Tara Reid is surprisingly convincing as a neurosurgeon-turned-environmental activist," or "Frankly, the steak tartar could've used another 'tar.'"

The not-so-fun side: Chances are you'll have to sit through a lot of ridiculous films or eat a lot of unpleasant food... and then spend another few hours reliving the experiences as you write about them.

The payoff: Most critics work on a freelance or part-time basis and some publications pay more than others. According to Salary.com, current freelance rates are often less than $1 a word. Critics may have to work additional jobs to supplement their incomes.

Cruise Line Worker

It's fun because: Working on a cruise ship offers the unique opportunity to travel to exotic destinations for free and meet a variety of interesting people along the way. Plus, free room and board sweetens the deal.

The not-so-fun side: The work week is long (it can entail 12 or 14 hours of work a day, seven days a week), staff accommodations are very modest, and if you're prone to sea sickness, this gig will be the job from hell.

The payoff: Waiters, busboys and bartenders on cruise lines have a modest base income and depend on tips for the majority of their income. Crew members and those who do not work for tips usually make about $350 to $500 per week, according to cruiselinesjobs.com.

Video Game Programmer

It's fun because: As a software designer, you're surrounded by video games and earning enough money to move out of your parents' house: It's the best of both worlds. Video game programmers are essentially computer software engineers, who design, develop, test and evaluate software programs and systems.

The not-so-fun side: Employees who work at video terminals for extended periods may experience musculoskeletal strain, eye problems, stress or repetitive motion illnesses, such as carpal tunnel syndrome. For some professionals, evening or weekend work may be necessary to meet deadlines or solve problems.

The payoff: As in most industries, education and experience influence earnings. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, annual earnings of computer software engineers ranged from less than $50,270 for the lowest 10 percent to more than $116,340 for the highest 10 percent in May 2004.

Radio Disc Jockey

It's fun because: As an on-air deejay, you get paid to listen to music all day (which you pretty much do anyway) or spout your opinion to whomever that will listen (again... ). Plus, the prospect of interviewing celebrities on occasion means that only fate can stop you from meeting Beyoncé now.

The not-so-fun side: A modest income for most deejays means the need to supplement their radio station play with outside earnings. Furthermore, they tend to work unconventional hours, including nights and weekends.

The payoff: Salaries in broadcasting generally are relatively low, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (median hourly earnings for radio and television announcers in May 2004 were $10.64). Those who work for large stations in major markets tend to earn a little bit more.

Whitewater Rafting Guide

It's fun because: With free river trips and endless kayaking opportunities, every day is like vacation, and you can leave the suit and tie or dress pumps at home.

The not-so-fun side: The rafting season ends in October, forcing many guides to find work during the fall and winter. Plus, the work can be strenuous, guides may be away from home for long periods of time and work hours are often unpredictable.

The payoff: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, recreation workers earn an average of $16.47 an hour.

Wine Taster

It's fun because: Employed by restaurants to recommend wines for their wine lists, wine tasters (also known as sommeliers or wine stewards) not only get to spend the day tasting the finest reds and whites around, but they can actually answer any question about their job with, "You know that movie Sideways?"

The not-so-fun side: It's not enough to have "likes to drink" or "can hold my liquor" on one's résumé. The job of a steward is to taste -- not actually drink -- wine; it requires extensive practice and training about making wine and judging its color, aroma, flavor and body.

The payoff: According to a 2005 starchefs.com survey of sommeliers, the average reported salary was $52,700.

Skydiving Instructor

It's fun because: How many other people can honestly describe their jobs as "thrilling?" There's a reason people pay up to hundreds of dollars a pop to do the very thing you're getting paid to do day after day: there's little that compares to the adrenaline rush of free-falling.

The not-so-fun side: Jumping from an aircraft going 175 miles per hour and falling to the ground at a rate of 130 miles per hour doesn't come without its risks. And imagine trying to do all of the above with a screaming skydiving student strapped to your torso.

The payoff: Experts say professional skydiving instructors can make anywhere from $25,000 to $80,000 per year depending on their experience and willingness to take risks.

Rodeo Clown

It's fun because: You've prepared your entire life for a job that pays to goof off. Rodeo clowns -- also known as bull fighters or barrelmen -- keep the crowd amused by bantering with the rodeo announcers or performing comedic skits in between rides.

The not-so-fun side: The job of distracting an angry, charging bull long enough for the fallen cowboy to get back up and back to safety falls on you, and a temperamental 3,000-pound beast with sharp horns is not going to stop in his tracks for a good knock-knock joke. Thus, barrelmen must be able to think fast, move faster and be willing to risk their own safety for the welfare of someone else.

The payoff: Rodeo clowns make between $100 to $225 per show, according to Salary.com, and can make even more money at the national freestyle bullfighting competitions.