When Andy realized the gentle old horse had died quietly in the night, he was a little sad. Memories of times spent together flitted through his mind. The practical matters of the situation, however, soon distracted him, and he began to mentally go through the process of how to safely dispose of the carcass.
When your cat or dog died, you probably had a small, intimate ceremony and buried it in the garden under its favorite tree. While not strictly legal, most people quietly bury their beloved pets on their own property. When a much larger animal dies, however, logistics are vastly different. Burying a horse or cow is not only against the law, it’s dangerous to the water supply. Instead, Andy can call someone whose job it is to pick up the dead horse and take it for cremation.
There are many jobs that fill a niche, and sometimes those niches are small and odd. Being a circus performer is a very specialized niche job, and one in which only a very few are employed. But you’ve heard of circuses, so that doesn’t sound as odd as the guy who gasses bananas. Or someone who chases wrinkles on shoes.
How does one go about landing that sort of work? Mostly, they’re just like any other job, except they have a great-sounding title. For instance, here’s why someone would need a banana gasser: when bananas are shipped, they’re picked green so that they have time to make it to your supermarket produce section before turning black and attracting fruit flies. The banana shipping companies hire someone to calculate how much ethylene gas to spray on the green fruit while it sits quietly in a hermetically sealed chamber. The gas forces ripening, so it’s only a little green when it lands on table. Once you know what the job is, you can see that, though rare, the job isn’t so weird you would be worried about bringing it up in polite company.
When you think of conventional careers, you’re probably thinking of the corporate world. We use hundreds of different products from hundreds of different manufacturers every week, and each of those products is attached to a group of people who have invented, improved, or modified what you use. Even in this world, there is plenty of room for an unconventional career – one that isn’t obvious by looking at the facade of the company. That wrinkle chaser is making sure your lovely new heels are smooth and trim. Making shoes? Normal. Chasing wrinkles? Something to brag about.
If you’re in the market for an off-the-wall job, you’ll probably have to do some digging, even literally, if you’re a professional latrine builder. You might also need some previously acquired skills. If you’re lucky, you can get trained as a snake milker on the job.