06262017Lun
Last updateVie, 02 Jun 2017 7am

Strange jobs

Aaron M. Cohen / World Future Society

Futurist

ESP is not a prerequisite for being a futurist. But an enhanced knowledge of philosophy, social science, and trend-spotting will help you predict the inventions that we will all need, want, and eventually buy in the years to come. Some businesses are willing to pay big bucks for predictions that might give them an edge in planning for a few years down the road. Here, attendees at the World Future Society's annual conference in Washington, D.C., wear 3-D glasses during a presentation.

Eric Risberg / AP

Ethical Hacker

The tech world's vigilantes, ethical hackers (a k a white-hat hackers), make the electronic world a safer place for all of us. Their work uses the same methods as destructive hackers, but they do it not to wreak havoc or steal identities but rather to help companies find the flaws in their own cybersecurity systems. As contract or staff employees, they simulate attacks on clients' networks. Others, like freelancer Chris Paget (pictured), find the weaknesses in government-mandated use of hackable systems like radio-frequency identification tags. There's now even an exam, offered by the International Council of Electronic Commerce Consultants that certifies ethical hackers.

Dan Trevan / AP-pool

Forensic Dentist

The average salary for regular dentists is well over $100,000. But listening to someone talk about a career in typical dentistry can be as painful as, well, pulling teeth. For D.M.D.s with an interest in the macabre, high salaries can be had as a forensic dentist. Those in the field identify human remains using teeth and fragments of bones from the jaw and face, analyze bite marks, and often testify as expert witnesses in court, such as Dr. Norman Sperber, shown here testifying in a 2002 murder trial. Just don't expect to sit in an office all day. Work sites can include plane crashes and crime scenes.

Photos: Forest W.S. Rothchild / Golf Ball Diving

Golf-Ball Diver

It's a job that pretty much sounds exactly like what it is. Divers strap on scuba gear and wetsuits go where every duffer tries not to: the water traps. The income varies--many divers work on commission, so the more wicked the course, the better the pay. Top professionals bring them in by the skiff-load. Here, diver George H. Keller lies on his catch of retrieved balls, and diver Forest W.S. Rothchild sits in a shed full of balls. Both work for the Golf Ball Diving firm of central Massachusetts.

Al Behrman / AP

Flavorist

An ever-more-complicated food industry demands workers with a mind for science and a tongue for fine cuisine. Flavor chemists, or flavorists, analyze natural flavors and work to re-create them in a laboratory, as well as synthesizing new ones. Some universities and colleges have begun offering degree programs specifically designed to prepare students for this tasty career.

Courtesy Tetra Tech

Carbon-Management Consultant

Going green is one way to earn green. Carbon-management consultants bring expertise in environmental policy and technology to clients. They use a range of tools to help companies reduce their carbon footprints, implement green technology solutions, save money, and comply with environmental rules. Here, a carbon manager for Pasadena, Calif.-based Tetra Tech inspects a system that automates a building’s energy optimization.

 

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