5 Unusual Jobs That Only Exist In A Single Country

Unique occupations from around the world

Group of People Lying on Studio Floor
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Regardless of culture or upbringing, all humans share many of the same basic needs and desires. Jobs across the world tend to look the same in purpose and practice for this reason. There are doctors, police officers, nurses, religious leaders, waiters collecting paychecks in every corner of the earth. But some occupations are a curious twist on the traditional or are wholly in their own league, reflecting the unique customs or geography of the countries that created them. With the help of a Quora thread on this very topic, AOL Jobs rounded up a few of the most distinct ones below.

Australia: Royal Flying Doctor Service

Royal Flying Doctor Service offloading patient
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While it's not the only aeromedical service in the world, it's certainly the first and largest of its kind. The Royal Flying Doctor Service, or simply The Flying Doctor, was conceived by Reverend John Flynn in 1928. The minister started the air ambulance to service people in the remote and rural Outback. The nonprofit organization continues to operate today.

Submitted by David Stewart:

"Here in Australia we have the Royal Flying Doctor Service. Our country is so large, and our population so small, that we have people living in far flung locations who are more than a full day's drive from any idea of a township. So in 1928 The Reverend John Flynn pioneered the idea of an aerial doctors service who could attend to patients in far flung locations."

India: Dabbawala

Dabbawala with tiffins at Churchgate railway station.
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These deliverymen pick up hot packed lunches from workers' homes and bring them to their workplaces around lunchtime. Dabbawalas make a second round to collect the empty boxes and bags and return them to their customers' homes. They typically collect the meals on boards, which they balance on their heads, and ride bicycles or trains to deliver the meals. The name "dabbawala" literally translates to "one who carries a box."

Submitted by Naveen Kumar G:

"They transport your lunch box made at your home to your office. After your having food, they return it to your home too."

Japan: Professional Cuddlers

These salaried spooners offer lonely strangers nothing more than a simple cuddle after a stressful day. No, really – nothing more. Some of the customers are young men that only want simple companionship, reported CNN.

Submitted by Susie Johnson:

"For as little as 6,000 Yen p/hr ($60 USD), you can go to one of a number of cute,cosy cafés in Japan & cuddle with and sleep next to a woman (usually aged 18-30). Yup, just sleeping NEXT to someone with perhaps the occasional cuddle and head rub.

This niche enterprise came about in response to the crippling loneliness ('hikikomori') that dominates Japan's modern day society, as young people refrain from getting into relationships due to strict societal conventions that are imposed upon young people once they become married."

China: Paid Internet Commenters

China Internet
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The Chinese government pays Internet commenters to write positive posts that advance the Communist party line on websites, bulletin board systems and chatrooms. Commenters are believed to be paid fifty Chinese cents for each submission, which is why they are sometimes referred to as the "50-Cent Party."

Submitted by Liqing Zhang:

"I'm a Chinese and it is the first answer I add in quora.The job o exist only in my country called "wu mao". That is such a group of people who hired by governments to beautify our government, each time some unharmony things occured in our coutry, they will occur in the Internet. Each people government will pay him 0.5 yuan, so we call them "wumao"

However, that's not a serious problem in our country, most of people talk about this just for fun~"

Taiwan: Betel Nut Girls

Betelnut girl Hsiao Chin, Taoyuan
Betel nut beauties are young women who sell betel nuts, cigarettes and drinks along city and country roadsides in Taiwan. The women typically wear revealing clothing and their storefronts are often brightly lit and neon colored to attract customers. Their revealing dress has led critics to question whether they are being exploited, although others argue that they are self-empowering.

Submitted by Tzuwei Chen:

The 10 Highest Paying Work-From-Home Jobs

Virtual skills are growing ever more important

Mid adult woman sitting on floor, leaning on sofa, talking on, using laptop, side view
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By Richard Feloni

It's natural to think that all work-from-home jobs would pay significantly less than their office counterparts, but a new joint study from online job resources FlexJobs and PayScale shows that it's a common misconception.

While the majority of American workers still go in to the office every day, telecommuting is on the rise. The number of people who work from home at least one day per week rose from 9.5 million in 1999 to 13.4 million in 2010, according to the U.S. Census. What's more, Global Analytics reports that over 75% of employees who work from home earn more than $65,000 per year.

> Find a work-from-home job

From FlexJobs' database of work-from-home job listings, PayScale examined the average salaries the positions command at small and midsize businesses (those with fewer than 1,000 employees). These are the executive-level at-home jobs that pay the most:

1. Medical Director: $219,100

> Find a job as a medical director

2. Chief Executive Officer: $199,300

> Find a job as a chief executive officer

3. Vice President of Marketing: $164,200

> Find a job as a vice president of marketing

4. Chief Operations Officer: $152,800

> Find a job as a chief operations officer

5. Regional Vice President: $149,500

> Find a job as a regional vice president

6. Chief Financial Officer: $139,200

> Find a job as a chief financial officer

7. Government Affairs Director: $112,300

> Find a job as a government affairs director

8. Director of Business Operations: $109,100

> Find a job as a director of business operations

9. Senior Business Analyst: $92,000

> Find a job as a senior business analyst

10. Director of Education: $68,300

> Find a job as a director of education

"The increased importance of email, video conferencing, and other forms of virtual communication means that once a worker has gained the experience and skill levels required for the jobs on this list, their location often becomes less important," said Katie Bardaro, director of analytics for PayScale, in the report.    

16 Respectable Jobs That Pay $90K Or More

In-demand professions that offer great pay

Manager and two manual workers looking at plans in factory
Getty ImagesConstruction manager with two workers.

By Jada A. Graves

In some professions, making ends meet will be easier. From our list of the 100 Best Jobs, here are occupations that offer an average salary of $90,000 or more.

Average Salary: $191,520
Not all M.D.s are rolling in dough, but most aren't strapped for cash, either. Pay varies by specialty, experience, location and even personality, and the seesaw stretches from orthopedic surgeons (at the high end with a median salary of $428,361 in 2012, according to salary.com), down to pediatricians (who the BLS reports earned a median salary of $154,650 in 2012). Internists, doctors who diagnose and provide nonsurgical treatment for internal organs, earned an average salary of $191,520, according to the BLS.

Average Salary: $163,240
Dentist consistently ranks well among our Best Jobs. Partly due to a low unemployment rate. Partly due to projected growth this decade. And definitely due to an impressive salary. The BLS reports those who diagnose and treat oral problems earned an average salary of $163,240 in 2012, but pay fluctuates based on experience, location, specialty and hours worked. The highest-paid work in Nashua, N.H., and Tyler, Texas.

3. Lawyer
Average Salary: $130,880
As kids we simplify our career aspirations into generic terms: doctor, fireman, policewoman, lawyer. We're socialized to respect those professions for their assumed security, for how they serve the greater good and also, for the cushy salaries they provide. This is certainly the case for lawyers, who made an average salary of $130,880 in 2012. Specializations affect compensation, as can experience.

Average Salary: $129,870
On television, "Mad Men" shows focus groups convened to determine how women use cold cream or how pet owners would feel feeding their dogs horse meat. In the real world, marketing managers conduct research of this nature – though hopefully less grotesque – for the purpose of formulating successful advertising campaigns. In 2012, they earned an average salary of $129,870.

Average Salary: $129,130
Technology influences how we work and what we work on, and if it fails, so do we. So it's understandable that the person who triages an organization's technical and network problems would be well-paid. In 2012, IT managers earned an average salary that was not only above $90,000, but above $120,000.

Average Salary: $123,260
It's fitting that those who supervise the financial health of a company would be flush themselves. To do their job, which includes preparing financial statements and forecasts, studying market trends and approving budgets, financial managers must have exceptional organizational and analytical skills. A knack for numbers also helps. In 2012, managers earned an average salary of $123,260.

Average Salary: $119,980
Sales managers don't usually sell products, but they become qualified for their positions after taking their lumps meeting a quota in the field. The BLS reports employers often look for applicants who have spent up to five years working in a related occupation, such as sales representative or purchasing agent, and rising to a managerial position usually means less time on the road and more money in the bank: Average salaries eclipsed $119,000 in 2012.

Average Salary: $114,950
Understanding how medicines mingle and affect a patient is a tall task that's tuned through technical study and experience. However, a lot of being a pharmacist is about the interpersonal. Strong communication skills are a plus, and leadership and conflict resolution chops ensure longevity. In 2012, the average salary for pharmacists was nearly $115,000. Cities in California pay particularly well, with Pharm. D.s in El Centro and Chico earning more than $140,000.

Average Salary: $114,850
Working as a business operations manager means supervising both projects and people, and the best are super-organized. Being super-educated also helps, as the BLS reports operations managers often have a master's degree in business administration. Being super-patient is also necessary: Most ascended to this position from a lower-level job. In 2012, the average salary for an operations manager was $114,850, with the highest-paid working in finance.

Average Salary: $94,260
Those responsible for conceptualizing and actualizing the style and image of a publication and product made nearly $94,260 in 2012, according to the BLS. The job's assorted duties include spearheading the overall look of a publication, advertising campaign or theatrical production, determining a budget and project plan, communicating with clients and hiring and supervising design teams.

Average Salary: $93,280
Our No. 1 job isn't just well-paying; it's also fast-growing: The BLS predicts employment should sprout 22.8 percent by 2022 to meet burgeoning demand for more computer systems and applications across various industries. The field is competitive and requires specialized training, but the reward is a salary that escalates well into six figures. In 2012, software developers made an average salary of $93,280.

Average Salary: $93,250
Perhaps you have more of an affinity for animals than people and would rather pursue a D.V.M. than an M.D. or D.D.S.? Veterinarians, or Doctors of Veterinary Medicine, don't usually earn as much as physicians or dentists, but they're still well compensated. In 2012, the average salary was $93,250, with the highest-earners working in Cape Coral, Fla., and Visalia, Calif.

Average Salary: $92,460
It's a boon for a great-paying job to grow at a furious clip: Physician assistants work under the supervision of doctors, reviewing patient histories, conducting exams, ordering tests and making diagnoses, and employment could swell 38.4 percent for this job by 2022. The BLS reports physician assistants earned $92,460 in 2012.

Average Salary: $91,450
This is a great time to be a nurse practitioner, with the increased number of insured persons who might seek medical care. And the salary isn't half bad, either. In 2012, nurse practitioners earned an average salary of $91,450. For the best pay potential, go west – to San Jose, Calif., specifically, where the practitioners made an average salary of $125,450.

Average Salary: $90,960
So-called "blue-collar professions" don't equate to the bill-paying blues. For example, the managers who coordinate, budget and supervise a construction project earn between $49,680 and $144,520, according to the BLS. The average salary for a construction manager was $90,960 in 2012.

Average Salary: $90,820
One would hope that the person who advises on how to invest, save and spend your money would be in good fiscal shape, right? In 2012, financial advisors earned nearly $91,000. Surprisingly, the highest-paid don't work in the big cities, but in the metropolitan areas of Fayetteville, Ark., and Bridgeport, Conn.

13 Coolest Company Perks

Google's Cambridge Offices
Getty ImagesGoogle office in Cambridge, Mass.

By Alison Griswold

Startup culture and the Internet Age have inspired dozens of cool new corporate perks. We've picked out 13 of the most exciting:

A budget for taking actions to overcome your fears.
It may sound vague, but customer experience company Medallia in Palo Alto actually does this. Employees get cash to do something that helps them overcome a fear or weak spot. For example, someone who's afraid of public speaking can take a class on stand-up comedy and performing.

A decorating allowance.
To brighten up office spaces and help people feel at home, Google gives its employees a small budget to decorate and personalize their cubes. People buy everything from colorful lights to stuffed animals with the funds. 

An all-expenses paid change of pace.
Prestigious law firm Quinn Emanuel recently announced the launch of a new perk it's calling "QE Work Away Week." Above The Law reports that the firm will give associates $2,000 to go work anywhere in the world they want for one week, provided they stay connected 24/7.

No late-night or weekend email.
What if you could really, truly unplug? At health-care consulting firm Vynamic, they can. In an effort to reduce stress, the company's CEO discourages employees from sending what he calls "Zmail" - any emails sent between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., according to the DailyWorth.

Time to explore the outdoors.
Well, not quite. But employees at World Wildlife Fund do get every other Friday off to spend time with their families and do outdoors activities.

Friday fun day.
At Justin.tv, the office allocates $300 every Friday for the staff to buy whatever they want at the liquor store. They call it "Fine Liquor Friday."

An on-site masseuse.
Wouldn't it be great to stroll upstairs at the end of your day and get a free massage? Health-related perks are big at Hyland Software, a developer and professional services company. Employees have access to a gym, fitness classes, and a masseuse.

Physical therapy and acupuncture.
At Cisco Systems, the LifeConnections Health Center offers primary care options such as physical therapy and acupuncture to help support healthy employee lifestyles.

Dance classes, chocolate-making lessons, and improv seminars.
Discovery wants its employees to stay creative, so it offers a whole host of wacky and interesting classes to them. Other options include watercoloring and fly-fishing.

A bike-buying stipend.
As a way of contributing to healthier commutes, organic food maker Clif Bar gives its workers a $500 stipend for buying a bicycle after their first year on the job. Clif Bar also reimburses up to $350 in race fees, in case people want to get competitive with their exercise, and has a rock climbing wall, gym, and yoga room.

A private concierge service.
Household products company SC Johnson offers employees access to a private concierge service that helps with anything from returning overdue library books to picking up dry cleaning.

Free laundry service.
JibJab Media gives its employees access to a free laundry service if they arrive by 10 a.m. on Mondays. Each person gets a laundry bag that they can stuff with clothing to be washed and folded by the next day, the DailyWorth reports.

Unlimited vacation policies.
Netflix, Best Buy, and Evernote are among the big-name companies that are tossing out traditional vacation policies for unlimited ones. Fans of unlimited vacation say it helps employees take long breaks to recharge and gives them added trust and flexibility.

10 Cool Jobs: Calling All Cheese Masters

Feeling bleu? Check out these hot new listings


Last week, we rounded up the ten coolest jobs now hiring. And while there's still time to apply for that elephant vet internship, we've compiled another set of job openings that will make you the envy of your friends and scourge of your enemies. Assuming that professional birthday party hosts have enemies, of course. At any rate, take a gander at the ten coolest, weirdest, and, um, explosive ordnance disposal-est jobs now hiring.
Preemie Music Therapy
1. Music Therapist

What it is: No, not like that scene in Zero Dark Thirty where they blast death metal until a POW reveals mission-critical information. Your mission here, rather, is to use music to help patients improve their health. This could mean simply discussing music, or initiating free improvisation sessions to improve motor skills. Or, you know, blasting death metal, if your patient is into that kind of thing.

Who it's for: Good listeners

> Apply for a job as a music therapist
Six Flags - Great Adventure

2. Costume Character

What it is: Like Disney World and other themed resorts, one of the touchstones of the Six Flags experience is the hoard of costumed characters who walk the park posing for pictures and dispensing hugs and high-fives. Sure, there's that creepy shrunken guy from the commercials, but the franchise is also home to the Looney Toons gang and myriad other icons. In addition to competitive pay, you'll also receive unlimited free admission for yourself and a friend.

Who it's for: Hug-dispensers, caped crusaders

> Apply for a job as a costume character
AFP/Getty Images

3. Explosive Ordnance Disposal Instructor

What it is: As long as we're doling out movie references, we might as well also mention The Hurt Locker, that other great modern war film. That one dealt with the deactivation of IEDs, and as an explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) instructor, you'll be training U.S. military personnel for similar high-risk positions. The job will require travel to Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan, and involves "humanitarian and commercial mine action and ordnance disposal, security assistance, and canine detection services." So, fun with dogs!

Who it's for: Um, explosive ordnance disposal experts. That's pretty much it.

> Apply for a job as an ordnance disposal instructor
Panda Cub Bao Bao Makes Her Debut At Washington's National Zoo
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4. Zoo Director

What it is: Kansas's Hutchinson Zoo hosts approximately 65,000 visitors a year and features over 200 animals, including mammals, reptiles, birds, and amphibians. As Zoo Director, you'll preside over this eclectic kingdom, and take charge of the zoo's planning, direction, and operation. You'll also ensure the proper care of all animals, so make sure you have a good grasp of what makes a black-footed ferret feel comfortable.

Who it's for: Birdmen, big cat ladies

> Apply for a job as a zoo director
Birthday party!

5. Birthday Party Host

What it is: The title "birthday party host" might bring to mind one of the creepy clowns your parents hired when you turned four, but this is actually a demanding, logistics-heavy job that requires strong customer services skills and an ability to defuse tense situations. Okay, it might not be as stressful as the bomb disposal job above, but it's close. That's why the team hiring is known as "special birthday operations."

Who it's for: Explosive human-defusing experts

> Apply for a job as a birthday party host
Life Guard - Plage du Lido - Venise

6. Life Guard

What it is: When you were a kid and went to the pool, the life guards were like the kings and queens of the court. They presided over us, ready to swoop into action at a moment's notice. They also got to sit in those cool high-up chairs. Well, now's your chance to take the chair for yourself. Working as a life guard can be great for high school grads looking to pick up a few extra bucks, and serves as a point of entry for anyone interested in exploring a career in healthcare.

Who it's for: Pool sharks

> Apply for a job as a life guard
Pets Swimming

7. Doggy Day Camp Counselor

What it is: There are plenty of jobs out there suited to Alpha-type figures, but only a few that require it in the literal, canine sense. If you're comfortable working with (and cleaning up after) large packs of dogs, this may be the job for you. They might be silly, they might be messy, they might treat your ankle as their personal chew toy. Whatever the case, as a doggy day camp counselor you'll be tasked with handling them with care, attention, and superhuman patience.

Who it's for: Top dogs

> Apply for a job as a doggy day camp counselor
A8100Y Coroner Examining Body in Morgue

8. Deputy Coroner

What it is: And now for something completely different. There are no puppies or rainbows in the world of the coroner, but it's truly necessary work (however grim) for those who vi it as a calling. Coroners confirm and certify the death of an individual, and can also order an investigation into the cause. As a deputy, you'll have room to grow; if you have the forensic experience requested here, you should already have a good sense of whether this is a job and life for you.

Who it's for: The decidedly un-squeamish

> Apply for a job as a deputy coroner
AFP/Getty Images

9. Team Lead, Cheese Production

What it is: While we're on the subject of callings: for the gourmands of the world, working as a cheese maker is one of the most noble professions there is. But working here takes more than just really, really liking cheese (although it can't hurt). You'll need to know how to prep a blue cheese vat as opposed to one that's scheduled for cheese curd, and oversee vat recipe functions using a specialized software interface. Yes, there is a dedicated computer program for monitoring cheese vats. If that's not cool, then I don't know what is.

Who it's for: Gods and muensters, big cheeses

> Apply for a job as a team lead in cheese production
Private investigator looking through magnifying glass

10. Private Investigator (Skip Tracer)

What it is: With decades of films, books, and television romanticizing the life of the private eye, it's easy to forget that it's a real job held by normal, non-fedora wearing people. You don't even have to be an expert in tailing suspects and sweet-talking femme fatales; you simply need to be an honest, self-motivated individual with experience tracking people down. And you can still wear a fedora if you really want to.

Who it's for: Modern-day Marlowes who know how to Google

> Apply for a job as a private investigator

6 jobs for romantics

Romantic jobs
Valentine’s Day is a very polarizing holiday. For some, they can’t wait to send valentines and celebrate with loved ones. For others, they want to get as far away as possible from anything red, love-themed or heart-shaped.

If you fall into the former category, you may very well be a romantic at heart. If you’re in love with love 365 days a year, why not consider working a job that allows you to be around romance all day long? Here are six jobs for all of you romantics out there (and apologies in advance to the Valentine’s Day haters).

Chocolate has long been said to be an aphrodisiac. Whether or not that’s scientifically true, it’s no surprise that it’s one of the most popular gifts given to loved ones on Valentine’s Day. As a chocolatier, you get to work with the delicious dessert, molding and sculpting it into various confections for lovebirds to enjoy.
Pay: According to the Chicago Tribune, the average starting salary for a chocolatier is $25,000.

What’s more romantic than being surrounded by the intoxicating smell of fresh flowers all day? And flowers are often purchased for love-related reasons, such as Valentine’s Day, birthdays, weddings and anniversaries, so you get to work with customers to design beautiful bouquets for their loved ones or for special events.
Pay: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, florists earn a median hourly pay of $11.45.

While the word “matchmaker” might evoke memories of watching “Fiddler on the Roof,” the job of matchmaker has actually become a thriving, modern-day business. Just look at the success of Patti Stanger from the hit Bravo show “The Millionaire Matchmaker.” While not everyone will rise to the heights that Patti has, if you possess the skills, network and intuition needed to make love matches, you could create a lucrative business as a matchmaker.
Pay: According to an article in the New York Post, a matchmaker in New York City can make more than $100,000 a year.

Portrait photographers are often hired to take pictures documenting life events, such as births and weddings. Snapping photos of new parents holding their newborn, or a newlywed couple gazing into each other’s eyes after just saying “I do,” is sure to bring out the romantic in anyone.
Pay: Photographers make a median hourly wage of $13.70, according to the BLS.

A romantic dinner at a restaurant usually involves a bottle of wine. And while a man might try to impress his date by taking charge of the wine order, he may be better off leaving it to the expertise of the restaurant’s sommelier. Sommeliers are wine aficionados, who are skilled in the art of pairing wine with food to enhance the food’s flavor, according to the BLS. Sommeliers know their stuff, because they often go through training that leads to wine-related certification. These programs involve courses in grape varieties and characteristics, wine production sensory evaluation, food and wine pairings and service techniques.
Pay: According to the Court of Master Sommeliers, earnings can vary widely — from about $28,000 for a sommelier with limited experience to $80,000 to $160,000 for a Master Sommelier.

J. Lo played one in “The Wedding Planner,” and she ended up finding love (albeit with the fiancé of the person’s wedding she was planning). While this hopefully isn’t the goal of real-life wedding planners, it’s easy to fall in love with the idea of planning a wedding for a living. It can be a stressful, high-pressure job, but it can also be incredibly fulfilling when you turn your client’s ideas into reality, creating a beautiful, romantic event.
Pay: Event planners can earn an average annual salary of $49,830, according to the BLS.

7 companies, 7 creative ways to recruit technology candidates

Recruit tech
While companies like Google, Microsoft and Facebook are pretty much synonymous with the term “cool employee perks” (bocce ball, anyone? How about a stress-relieving massage at the on-campus spa?), they’re not the only technology companies where workers enjoy unique — and enviable — benefits on a daily basis.

From letting employees bring their dogs to work to offering unlimited paid vacation, tech companies of all sizes are finding cool new ways to lure top technology candidates. Check out some of the innovative recruiting tactics that make these companies an employer of choice for both current employees and job seekers.

1. Q2 hosts “arcade nights” for current and potential employees. Every quarter, interested candidates come to a local arcade to trade résumés and mingle with current employees. At the end of the day, it’s the culture that really sells candidates: For the past three years, the virtual banking solutions provider has been ranked as a Top Workplace in Austin, Texas.

2. MoneyDesktop keeps recruiting casual with “drink ups.” Like Q2′s arcade nights, MoneyDesktop’s drink ups enable current employees and prospects to learn about the culture in a relaxed environment — here, however, the meeting place is a local brewery.

3. RJMetrics lets workers design their dream job environments. ”One of the major draws of working at RJMetrics was the opportunity to design my ideal workspace, including my desired chair, desk and computer,” writes one employee on the company blog.

4. Autodesk welcomes employees’ dogs. The California-based business, a Fortune “Best Company to Work For,” also lets employees take six-week sabbaticals every four years.

5. Evernote offers unlimited paid vacation. The California-based company joins a growing list of companies — including Netflix, Best Buy and Akamai – offering employees unlimited paid vacation as a way to lower stress, minimize turnover and attract new workers.

6. Rackspace gives employees a “fun budget.” Over in its U.K. offices, every Rackspace employee enjoys a monthly “fun budget” of £25 per month. Employees in the U.S. get a pretty good deal, too. With 60-hour workweeks as the norm, management wants employees to play just as hard as they work, so “Rackers” (as employees are called) have access to an on-site gym, video games and pool tables – in addition to break rooms stocked with free food and drinks.

7. Enova’s “hackathons” lure innovative candidates. The Chicago-based tech firm invites local college students to compete in “hackathons” to get to know them, introduce them to the company and get them excited about the opportunity to work there. (No doubt, one of the selling points is Enova’s “chill hub,” where employees can get free haircuts, manicures and massages.) To top it off, Enova also offers new employees signing bonuses.

The Best Animal Jobs of All Time

Dog detective is on the case

Dolphin Tale
Remember when you were a kid, and somebody asked you what you wanted to be when you grew up? You probably said an astronaut, or the president, or something similarly ambitious and highly selective. But what if, now that you're an adult, someone asked you the same question? Would you say the same thing, or would you simply point to the dog sitting quietly at your feet and say, "I want to work with him."

Animal jobs--vets, trainers, technicians--may have a high cute factor, but the reality is that they're as demanding as any job behind a desk. Nevertheless, they're incredibly rewarding for the true animal lover--the kind that doesn't mind staring down a crazed chihuahua every now and then. Let's take a look at some of the finest, fluffiest animal jobs you can get.

1. Animal Behavior Trainer
Being a behavior trainer is one of those seemingly cuddly jobs that goes to show that simply loving animals isn't enough. It requires long and atypical hours, since people usually have time for pet issues on nights or weekends, and a session spent dealing with frayed human-pet dynamics can verge on group therapy. Still, it's one of the most rewarding jobs in the world--including the ones that don't involve border collies named Flossy.

2. Marine Mammal Program
Using dolphins to hunt underwater bombs might sound like something out of science fiction, but it's actually a real thing--and you can get college credit training them to do it! In the Navy's Marine Mammal Program, you'll work with dolphins, orcas, and pilot whales as they're prepared for a life of service. It's a great opportunity for veterinary students or budding marine biologists, but be prepared: at 16 weeks, 40 hours a week, it's rigorous.

3. Amateur Animal Trainer
Actually, make that amateur animal trainer...to the stars. While most on-set trainers in the film industry supply their own animals (the ones you see "acting" in movies like Cats and Dogs), house pets are still occasionally used in commercials, TV shows, and independent films. Just be ready to find Fido an agent.

4. Veterinary Nurse
With more people seeking specialized care for their pets, the demand for veterinary nurses is expected to grow by more than 38 percent through 2018. In addition to working with animals, you'll receive great benefits and opportunities for advancement. That's nothing to bark at, even if the starting salary can be low.

5. Pet Industry
Whether you're a dog lover or fish fan, the pet industry, which grosses more than $45 billion annually, is rife with opportunity for creative job hunters. It's a business that welcomes innovation--groomers who set up in your driveway are the latest craze--and the earning opportunities are almost infinite. All you need is a love of animals and a bit of entrepreneurial spirit. Retail experience doesn't hurt, either.

6. Duck Master
Orlando's Peabody Hotel began its tradition of having ducks march through the lobby in 1932. Today they're still going strong with the help of the hotel's in-house duck master, who trains them to walk the red carpet in style. What, you thought they just did that on their own? The duck master is a showman who knows how to hook an audience, and develops a tight bond with his animals. "The ducks really love their master," says managing director Alan Villaverde. "You feed and care for them. They look at you as a parent." The hotel occasionally hires new duck masters, so get quackin'!

7. Dog Detective
If you live in New York City, hiring a dog-walker is risky business. What if they short you on time, or fob your pooch off on one of their friends? Enter the dog detective, who checks up on shady activity via surveillance camera (or simply trailing the walker under suspicion). So far, it's an industry of one--New Yorker Brock Schwartz serves as the city's sole pooch P.I.--but it serves as an intriguing sidebar of animal issues, a fast-growing legal specialty concerning pet custody and estate planning.

31 jobs that pay the national average

By Susan Ricker,

The American workforce is diverse -- made up of occupations that require varying levels of education, experience and hard and soft skills. However, one thing workers in all occupations have in common: their love for pay day.
A paycheck is one of the most rewarding parts of holding a job, and what you earn directly impacts your life. The more information you have about your pay and what other workers in the field and across the country are earning, the more empowered you are to make smart decisions about what paycheck is best for you.
That being said, it's rarely appropriate to ask your friends and colleagues how much money they make. But you can still get insider information into what workers earn across the country.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, average hourly earnings of all employees on private nonfarm payrolls in December 2013 was $24.17. The following 31 jobs all pay about the national average hourly wage, according to earnings data from Economic Modeling Specialists International. While pay for these jobs will always vary based on any number of factors, including location, job level and company size, this list gives you a glimpse into the occupations that will get you a paycheck close to what the average U.S. worker earns.  
1. Computer user support specialist: $24.09
2. Meeting, convention and event planner: $24.09
3. Occupational health and safety technician: $24.09
4. Executive secretary and executive administrative assistant: $24.12
5. Architectural and civil drafter: $24.15
6. Media and communications worker: $24.16
7. Railroad brake, signal and switch operator: $24.16
8. Airfield operations specialist: $24.17
9. Paralegal and legal assistant: $24.25
10. Postal service clerk: $24.26
11. Appraiser and assessor of real estate: $24.30
12. Mine shuttle car operator: $24.32
13. Plumber, pipefitter and steamfitter: $24.32
14. Aircraft cargo handling supervisor: $24.33
15. Crane and tower operator: $24.33
16. Survey researcher: $24.36
17. Millwright: $24.39
18. Electrician: $24.41
19. Archivist: $24.43
20. Adult basic and secondary education and literacy teacher: $24.45
21. Continuous mining machine operator: $24.49
22. Hearing aid specialist: $24.49
23. Reinforcing iron and rebar worker: $24.59
24. Health care social worker: $24.68
25. Telecommunications line installer and repairer: $24.78
26. Court reporter: $24.86
27. Precision instrument and equipment repairer: $24.86
28. Musician and singer: $24.92
29. Set and exhibit designer: $24.96
30. Control and valve installer and repairer: $24.97
31. Gas compressor and gas pumping station operator: $24.98

20 Companies Hiring In February

These employers are offering a variety of positions

Solar City Investing in Solar
APSolarCity employees install a solar panel on a home in south Denver.

By Susan Ricker

Although it's the shortest month of the year, February manages to pack in a lot. Groundhog Day brings news of spring approaching. Valentine's Day is a source of anxiety no matter your relationship status. Black History Month is a time to remember an important part of our nation's culture. And the Super Bowl and award shows dominate our Sunday night plans.

But what will you make this February known for? We may be in the second month of the year already, but if finding a new job is part of your plans for the year, you can make serious progress this month by checking out these 20 companies hiring right now. 

1. Acceptance Auto Insurance
Industry: Insurance, retail
Sample job titles: Insurance agent, customer service representative
Location: Nationwide

> Find a job at Acceptance Auto Insurance

2. Altaquip
Industry: Small engine repair
Sample job titles: Small engine mechanic, service center manager
Location: Nationwide

> Find a job at Altaquip

3. Appen
Industry: Computer software, translation services
Sample job titles: Web search evaluator, crowd sourcing, translator
Location: Work from home

> Find a job at Appen

4. Bed Bath & Beyond
Industry: Retail
Sample job titles: Store associate, human resources director, district manager, marketing manager
Location: Miami; Dallas; Union, N.J.

> Find a job at Bed Bath & Beyond

5. Benihana
Industry: Restaurant
Sample job titles: General manager, restaurant manager, facilities manager, head sushi chef
Location: Tucson, Ariz.; Arcadia and Encino, Calif.; Orlando and West Palm Beach, Fla.; Chicago; Bloomington, Minn.

> Find a job at Benihana

6. Cerner
Industry: Software, technology, health care
Sample job titles: Software architect, software engineer, system engineer, database administrator, clinician, consultant, business analyst, support analyst, project manager
Location: Nationwide

> Find a job at Cerner

7. EHD Technologies
Industry: Staffing and recruiting, engineering
Sample job titles: Manufacturing engineer, Java developer, quality engineer, data analyst, controls engineer
Location: Alabama, Missouri, South Carolina, Tennessee

> Find a job at EHD Technologies

8. Firestone Complete Auto Care
Industry: Automotive retail
Sample job titles: Manager in training, retail sales teammate, automotive technician
Location: Nationwide

> Find a job at Firestone Complete Auto Care

9. JM Family Enterprises
Industry: Automotive
Sample job titles: Finance and insurance manager, systems programmer
Location: Nationwide

> Find a job at JM Family Enterprises

10. Lacoste
Industry: Retail
Sample job titles: Regional visual manager, senior manager of training, sales supervisor, sales manager, district manager, director of buying
Location: Carl Fisher and Estero, Fla.; Scottsdale, Ariz.; Chicago; Greenwich and New York, N.Y.

> Find a job at Lacoste

11. Lincare
Industry: Health care
Sample job titles: Respiratory therapist, center manager
Location: Nationwide

> Find a job at Lincare

12. MCR Federal
Industry: Aerospace and defense
Sample job titles: Senior financial analyst, program manager, acquisition analyst, cost analyst, project scheduler
Location: El Segundo, Calif.; College Park, Md.; Washington, D.C.; Arlington, Va.

> Find a job at MCR Federal

13. Panera Bread
Industry: Restaurant
Sample job titles: Bakery-café associate, restaurant manager, baker, catering manager, shift supervisor, route delivery driver
Location: Nationwide

> Find a job at Panera Bread

14. Power Home Remodeling Group
Industry: Home improvement
Sample job titles: Sales representative, entry-level sales representative
Location: Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Detroit, New York, Philadelphia

> Find a job at Power Home Remodeling Group

15. Scotts LawnService
Industry: Lawn service
Sample job titles: Outside sales representative, lawn technician, territory service representative
Location: Nationwide

> Find a job at Scotts LawnService

16. SolarCity
Industry: Energy
Sample job titles: Field energy consultant, sales, certified electrician
Location: Nationwide

> Find a job at SolarCity

17. Sports Authority
Industry: Retail
Sample job titles: Sales associate, store manager, buyer, cashier, merchandiser
Location: Nationwide

> Find a job at Sports Authority

18. Sterling Jewelers
Industry: Retail
Sample job titles: Sales, assistant retail manager, store manager
Location: Nationwide

> Find a job at Sterling Jewelers

19. TekPartners
Industry: IT staffing
Sample job titles: Ethical hacker, SharePoint developer, .NET developer, Java lead, project manager
Location: Santa Ana, Calif.; Ft. Lauderdale and Orlando, Fla.; Chicago; Charlotte, N.C.; Bothell, Wash.; Washington, D.C.

> Find a job at TekPartners

20. TitleMax
Industry: Financial services
Sample job titles: Call center representative, store manager, district manager, general manager, customer service representative, bilingual customer service representative
Location: Nationwide

> Find a job at TitleMax

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