From panda hugger to chocolate taster, these are the world's best jobs

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Deborah Cicurel
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How much do you really like your job? Do you tolerate it, plodding through the week and waiting desperately for Friday night so you can climb into bed and reunite with your beloved Netflix? Or do you leap out of bed each morning, excited for the day ahead and incredulous that you've managed to wangle your dream job?

Chances are that you're nodding your head at the first option – but why not grab one of these amazing real-life jobs before someone else does? We promise we're not making them up.

With everything from a panda cuddler to a beach tester (yes, it's a real thing) on offer, we're drafting our resignation letters as we speak...

Images: iStock

  • Panda hugger

    It doesn't get much better than hanging out with pandas all day – and at China's Giant Panda Protection and Research Centre, you can apply to be a professional panda caretaker.

    As the spec goes, "your work has only one mission: spending 365 days with the pandas and sharing in their joys and sorrows."

    Hanging out with pandas AND earning a yearly salary of $32,000 (approximately £22,388)? Hey, we'd do the job for the rest of our lives for free. 

  • Chocolate taster

    It's every kid's dream job, but it can be a reality. We've never forgotten Green & Black's advert for a taste assistant (imagine having that on your business card?!) to help them come up with new products and travel the world sourcing ingredients for chocolate bars.

    Not only were no formal qualifications required, but they were also offering a salary of £35,000.

    £35,000 a year to taste fancy chocolate? Why are we not working there right now?

  • Beach tester

    It sounds like a joke, but it's a real job. A lifestyle magazine in Sweden really did advertise for a beach tester back in 2011, with duties involving resting "for long periods of time", receiving full-body massages and trying out local wine.

    Umm... sorry, how is this work?

    The editor explained that because the magazine didn't have enough reporters to try out the beaches for themselves, they decided to recruit their very own dedicated beach tester.

    We've set our Google Alerts in case that gig ever comes up again.

  • Cat nanny

    Do you bid a sad farewell to your cat each morning as you head off to work? Then we've got the perfect job for you: working as a nanny at Manchester's Cat Cafe.

    The role involves looking after the "general well-being of the Manchester Cat family", playing with the cats and to encourage customer and cat interaction. There are also some slightly less glamorous tasks such as cleaning litter trays – but we reckon that's still far more fun than a regular day in the office.

    Hanging out with kittens while being paid £8 an hour? Sounds like a dream. You can apply here.

  • Travel blogger

    Quitting your job, packing up your stuff and setting off for a round-the-world trip sounds like an unattainable dream.

    But, as countless bloggers and photographers have shown us over the years, it really can be done – just look at this couple, who travel the world in a mobile home while documenting their journey, or these bloggers, who manage to rake in a decent sum of money while living a nomadic lifestyle.

    Wanderlust or woeful office job? We know what we'd pick...

  • Tea taster

    Do you find yourself making yourself endless cups of tea all day and dreaming of a way in which drinking the delicious stuff could be considered work?

    Then you should consider becoming a tea taster. Typical responsibilities normally include refining your tasting palate (easy peasy, we reckon), travelling for extended periods of time to experience the taste of teas from different cultures, and of course, drinking lots of tea.

    Pick us, please?

  • Netflix tagger

    It really doesn't get much better than this for a couch potato. Netflix actually hires people to sit at home in their pants, watching shows from their bed and (the work part of it, if you can really call it that) 'tag' TV shows and films with the right genre, tone and type of content to determine what viewers might want to watch next.

    Yup, when you're sadly switching off Netflix to get a good night's sleep before your boring day job and you see that 'You might like...' button pop up, there's actually a paid person behind the screen choosing your new show and cackling about how great their life is.

    Can we swap lives, please, Netflix human?

  • Island caretaker

    Oh, to be picked for this incredible job: a few years ago, the tourist board of Queensland, Australia, advertised for a caretaker for a remote, beautiful island by the Great Barrier Reef – and the board even paid for the privilege. A whopping £73,000, by the way.

    We're sure the current caretaker must be fed up of the amazing white sands, clear water and incomparable wildlife by now, so we're keeping our eyes firmly fastened on the Queensland Tourism job board if he decides to move back to cold, rainy, far-from-exotic England.


  • Hedgehog officer

    In July, applications opened to become a full-time hedgehog officer in Ipswich, with the aim of making it the "most hedgehog-friendly town in the UK". 

    Not only does the job promise that you'll become "the face of hedgehog conservation in Ipswich", but you'd also get paid a yearly salary of £24,000 - and be able to hang out with the spiky bundles of cuteness every day.

    Um, please pick us?

  • Gintern

    Travelling and gin make a pretty good combination, so imagine if you could do both and call it work? 

    Working as a gintern for involves tasting new gins and mixers, visiting distilleries and “ginspiring us with their new-found knowledge. That's not even mentioning that the chosen intern will get to travel around Europe to attend to launch events, and – of course – drink lots of gin.

    Think that's amazing? There's more: you'll get a flexible working schedule, an intern salary, and the opportunity to become a full-time employee if the internship goes well. But with all the free-flowing gin to enjoy, why wouldn't it?



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Deborah Cicurel

Deborah Cicurel is a freelance journalist who writes about everything from lifestyle and travel to fashion and entertainment. She loves spicy maki rolls, cosy socks and visiting far-flung destinations, and is unable to walk past a dog on the street without stopping to befriend it.