As kids we dream of being professional video gamer testers and Lego builders. But usually by the time it comes time to choose a career path, reality sets in and we choose something more realistic like sales.
But there are some out there that have carved out careers for themselves that only our inner kids could dream up, and they’re proving that you can actually have fun making your living.
So if you’re searching for inspiration to go for that career move super-serious folks would wag their fingers at, here are some jobs that will make your inner child jealous:
Playing with Legos for a living is a real, covetable, and extremely rare job, but it does exist. If you are lucky to be one of the 40 Lego master builders in the world, then you already have the innate ability to really think outside the box–you immediately throw out the instructions on the box and create what’s in your head, master builder Paul Chrzan tells Yahoo.
Master builders, who often have backgrounds in some area of three-dimensional design like sculpture or architecture, most often have the complex task of building larger-than-life models or designing the official LegoLand sets. Past creations have ranged from a scene from one of Laurent de Brunhoff’s “Babar” books to the U.S. Capitol building.
Chrzan, who has been a Master Builder for more than 20 years now, says he still can’t believe he holds one of the coolest jobs ever. “Every day I get to come here and I’ve been doing it for a very long time and I still love it after all of these years.” Our inner kids are seething with envy.
Imagine a labyrinth full of tchotchkes and cool stuff, from jars of fake eyeballs to electric chairs. As prop master, this kingdom is your domain.
Other than the actors themselves and the clothes they wear, a prop master is responsible for virtually everything else you see onstage or on-screen. Prop masters liaise with production designers and art directors to determine a production’s prop needs and procure everything either by hunting them down in various places like eBay, estate sales and flea markets, and prop warehouses, or by commissioning them. Then they store, transport, and place the props, ensuring continuity between scenes.
As one can imagine, having a kid-like sense of wonderment isn’t all you need to do this job. Being obsessed with collecting odds and ends, having a good eye for detail, and being impeccably organized will take you far in this profession. It also helps if you’ve worked in the art department of a production company and are well-acquainted with the entertainment biz.
What kid–or adult for that matter–doesn’t love snuggling up to a little bundle of cuteness? Japan’s cat cafés have recognized this idea’s marketability, not to mention the many therapeutic and health benefits our furry friends provide, and allow visitors to have lunch or tea with some cats.
There have been few iterations of this idea in the U.S. so far: PurinaONE recently created a pop-up cat café centered on finding homes for New York’s strays, and another, more permanent cat café called KitTea is in the works in San Francisco.
The limited supply of U.S. cat cafés might make this a great opportunity to get in on the ground floor, but there are a few considerations to take into account first. For one thing, KitTea plans to serve tea in a space separate from its cats since health inspectors would surely shut down the operation otherwise. An entrepreneurial spirit and a background in restaurants or past work with pets and the public will serve you well for this job.
Playing video games all day may sound like a fun way to earn some money, but the role of game tester is not without its caveats. As with any sought-after job, simply loving video games won’t get you the gig.
Applying to such a position requires you to track down open positions at gaming companies searching for titles more akin to “quality assurance tester” or “QA tester.” This is also considered an entry-level position in the gaming industry, so having a desire to move up in the industry certainly helps.
According to Jason W. Bay, a senior product manager at Bonanza and GameIndustryCareerGuide.com blog owner, testers are expected to have a long attention span, since you’ll likely be testing the same game for a long time, be detail oriented so you can spot bugs and how to fix them, and come in with a good attitude and great communication skills, since you’ll be working a lot with the development team and other testers.
“Testing is hard work and can often be tedious,” Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 QA project lead Jeff Roper tells G4TV. “Someone who expects to just play video games all day will be disappointed. Someone who realizes that testing is a serious job, with high expectations, will be much more successful.”
We’re not sure how much chocolate tasting you’ll be doing on the job, but touting your role as a “chocolate scientist” will almost certainly get you a lot of wide-eyed stares from your little niece or nephew.
The University of Cambridge recently posted a job looking for a doctoral student willing to get down and dirty with chocolate. The end goal of this 3.5-year stint is to figure out what would allow chocolate to remain solid and delicious in warm climates.
Sadly, the job posting has been taken down, which leads us to believe the role has been filled. But we can at least still glean the hope that we don’t actually have to draw the line between having fun and doing work.