What's in the perfect job? Money is important, of course, but profitability isn't the only measure of an awe-inspiring career. Creative opportunities, perks and intangible rewards, and a good challenge from time to time all count, too. These ten jobs have all these qualities in spades.

Flavorists literally serve as the tastemakers of the world. They combine chemicals to create flavors resembling their natural counterparts but with added appeal: stronger taste and longer shelf life, without the poisons and allergens of some naturally occurring flavors. Although flavorists are grounded in chemistry, their work involves a certain amount of art. Even if a flavor isn't entirely new, every chemical recipe leaves a unique stamp, much like your mother's homemade pie.

Salary range: $58,000-$76,000/year

How to get this job: Flavorists, who usually have degrees in chemistry, go through a five-year traineeship at a flavor house, followed by an oral exam. Passing the exam earns them the title of junior flavorist; they gain seniority through two more years of supervised work and another exam.

Brewmasters ensure that the process of beer making runs like clockwork. While tasks of the trade include shoveling the raw grain out of containers to prepare beer for fermentation, the journey from grain to ale offers ample opportunity for creativity -- including developing and testing new varieties of beer. You’re not going to be good at it unless you do some of that testing yourself.

Salary range: $41,000-$76,000/year

How to get this job: You may have to take a bottling position before earning a shot at brewing and working your way up. Graduating from a brewing program, like UC Davis's, can help you land a brewing job more quickly.

Exercising the same knack for holistic design as interior designers and architects, sensory branders move company identities past the visual into other underappreciated, but powerful, senses. They refine and bring purpose to features such as a car door's click or a store's aroma. Sensory branders must understand customer perceptions. Their research takes them far and wide to see how different cultures react to colors and smells.

Salary range: $51,000-$92,000/year

How to get this job: You'll need experience in marketing, plus a good knowledge of olfactory and sound design. Architecture and interior design work are good preparation.

While other areas of environmental management have established governmental regulations for companies, greenhouse gas management remains at the cutting edge of the green revolution. Carbon coaches combine branding skills with the nitty-gritty of calculating carbon footprints and offsetting them. The field's constant evolution, and the enormous demand from companies to enhance their public profiles, ensures that carbon coaches are always kept on their toes.

Salary range: $50,000-$100,000/year

How to get this job: Carbon coaches need specific expertise in greenhouse gas management, so seeking out the right classes is important, along with gaining experience in environmental consulting.

Sleep instructors help the overworked catch their zzz's with mind-body exercises, but their advice doesn't only apply at night. They also help clients boost productivity, alertness, and cognitive performance at work to reduce nighttime stress. They advise managers on how to create a "sleep-supportive" environment, including limiting work hours and helping employees avoid stressful commutes. Sleep instructors can often escape the traditional workplace altogether, leading retreats in calm and often exotic locations.

Salary range: $25,000-$60,000/year

How to get this job: Complete a training program in sleep instruction. Most sleep instructors have backgrounds in fitness or the healing arts, such as yoga.

As virtual worlds, or metaverses like Second Life, have surged in popularity, they've attracted interest well beyond computer geeks. The metaverse evangelists at IBM Hursley in the UK advise people on all the ways metaverses can enhance their personal and work lives. They've even developed an intranet metaverse for their company so that employees across the globe can communicate in one virtual space. Not a bad way to turn gaming into a full-time gig.

Salary range: $60,000-$80,000/year

How to get this job: You'll need a deep understanding of -- actually, a near obsession with -- metaverses like Second Life, plus be computer savvy enough to program and troubleshoot them.

Interaction designers don't just design. They work with executives to define goals for the products and systems they help develop. And they mix reporting, psychology, and anthropology to see how people actually use what they design. By creating "personas" -- hypothetical users with constructed life stories -- interaction designers predict how people might approach a product. With a healthy dose of fiction and regular hat changing, this job provides constant stimulation.

Salary range: $75,000-$100,000/year

How to get this job: All kinds of backgrounds, such as mathematics, computer programming, architecture, and the arts, will work. If you have a knack for sketching designs and solving problems, the next step is to land an apprenticeship at a design firm.

The experts behind a roller coaster's loops, drops, and turns bring several disciplines of engineering -- structural, civil, mechanical, and electrical -- to each design. Working in teams, the engineers maximize thrills by manipulating g-force through the track's structure, without compromising safety. They also configure the design of the cars and electrical systems for each ride. In addition to the challenge of building bigger and faster coasters, the engineers enjoy another perk: being first in line to ride.

Salary range: $45,000-$80,000/year

How to get this job: You'll need engineering knowledge and lots of imagination. Because roller coaster design companies are few in number, you might not get the gig right away, but persistence pays off.

Although films like Ratatouille immediately come to mind, animators also work on video game, television, and Internet projects. They collaborate to develop storyboards and work closely with their clients (directors, developers) and other creative team members (actors, sound artists) as their work undergoes heavy revision. Despite 2-D's near extinction, drawing skills -- and an active imagination -- remain invaluable. Regardless of the medium, seeing sketches come to life is a magical experience.

Salary range: $30,000-$70,000/year

How to get this job: In this competitive field, art school is a necessity. The next step is usually an internship or a job as an in-betweener, drawing intermediate images between frames to make movement appear smoothly.

Those who love wielding the pen will find constant adventure in this career. It isn't an easy ride, though: much of the travel writer's journeying occurs on his own dime, while the required research and fact checking often pose steep challenges. Freelancers (the majority of travel writers) can't expect a regular paycheck. Ultimately, however, the job offers chances to make a return on regularly pursuing experiences that many people can only imagine.

Salary/wage range: $20,000-$60,000/year

How to get this job: Take that dream vacation, and write a killer article about it for a local publication. Once you have published articles to your name, the going gets easier. You may land a staff position at a travel publication -- or even a book deal of your own.

Fast Company

Top Jobs 2008: Ten Jobs You Didn’t Know You Wanted

What's in the perfect job? Money is important, of course, but profitability isn't the only measure of an awe-inspiring career. Creative opportunities, perks and intangible rewards, and a good challenge from time to time all count, too. These ten jobs have all these qualities in spades.

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