Great Jobs in California – I Get to Do This for a Living?


Pictured are divers at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach. While this group is mostly volunteers that go into to the tanks to feed the fish and help “keep house”, some have become paid staff, and many work in diving careers either in research or providing services to boaters.

California, the land of sunshine and over 32 million people, offers unusual opportunities that not everyone is lucky enough to grab onto, and not everyone would want. Among the unusual jobs and careers we’ve run across lately are a blacksmith, a gunfighting actor at a theme park; scuba divers at an aquarium; and the man who predicted waves.

Talent, skill, luck and good connections often help in snagging the dream job. Sometime you have to volunteer and hang around a place to get leads or breaks. Other times companies are looking for people, especially in popular tourist destinations where guides are needed.

Here are a few jobs in California we’ve seen lately and thought were pretty cool:

  • SURFER – California is filled with unusual and unique professions. Surfers who come from California and make it big can actually do quite well, but they must be willing to travel to compete in contests globally. Their salary comes in several ways–from sponsorship offered through popular brands, and from earnings in contests.
  • TOUR GUIDE – There are a variety of unusual jobs in the themes parks and tour attractions throughout California. Maybe you just want to be a tour guide taking groups through a mountain cave, on a kayak through bays, or showing people around San Diego, San Francisco or L.A. Tour guides are one of the most interesting jobs and you’ll find these jobs throughout California. Check the various tours companies and theme parks for job listings. Tours can range from bus rides to walking tours and tours with themes such as food tours.
  • CARTOON CHARACTER – Unusual jobs to be had at Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm and Six Flags theme parks include being Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Snoopy and Bugs Bunny. Size often matters during these assignments as you must fit the suit.
  • STUNT ACTOR – For those who seek more excitement, we met up last week with a gunfighter at Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park. He grew up on a farm and always loved the Old West. He is living out his dream as part of the daily shows that include a band of outlaws wandering through park, holding up the train, or taking to the streets in a showdown. The job requires ability to perform stunts.
  • PIRATE – At Pirates Dinner Adventure or Medieval Times, you can swing through the air on ropes or ride horses in battles if you have special skills in acting, singing or horsemanship. You can also freelance as a pirate for special events and street fairs. People actually make a living at this!
  • RODEO COWBOY – California has its share of cowboys and some award-winners on the rodeo circuit. Most got their training on farms, but who would think they could turn a lifestyle into a job?
  • STAGER – From staging a house for sale to staging a film set, there are people who come in and set up the scene for a variety of purposes where appearance matters.
  • EYEBROW SHAPER – The most talented eyebrow-ists are sought out and well paid for their ability to make eyebrows look great.
  • BLACKSMITH – With hundreds of thousands of horses in California, there are people who make a living plying their trade making horseshoes.
  • STAGE PARENT – You don’t think mom & dad work for free do you? There are rules about the money their kids make in acting and commercials, but parents need to pay the bills, and being a stage parent has its perks.
  • ANIMAL HANDLER – Zoos and aquariums abound in California, employing thousands of people. You may want to get a little education before you apply for the coveted jobs. However, there are many less exciting jobs around zoos and aquariums, and some offer career paths.
  • FOOD CHEMIST – A lady I met on Balboa Island in Newport Beach creates tests foods for taste. You didn’t know that chemicals are added to make people want more? Look at the package and read the label.

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