Dream Jobs: Fun Opportunities After a Layoff

Post by Katie Bardaro, Research Analyst, PayScale, Inc.

With thousands of lay-offs, and a hiring freeze at many employers over the last few years, now is a good time to consider concentrating your job search efforts on a "dream job."

Dream jobs require little or no formal training to get started, and are a way to pursue a hobby, enjoy more leisure time, and/or socialize with all types of people. The pay for these jobs is often lower, but you can be vastly rewarded with more fun, less stress, and shorter work weeks.

In this blog, I will look at a variety of dream jobs and what they pay.

Are you curious about the salary of your dream job? Find out using PayScale's Salary Calculator.

25 Dream Jobs

Below is a table listing 25 dream jobs and their national median hourly pay. We define pay as a combination of base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, and other forms of cash earnings as applicable. The majority of the people doing these jobs work on a part-time basis and for this reason we focus on hourly pay.

Dream Job National Median
Hourly Pay
Owner / Operator, Small Business $35.50
Winemaker $27.80
Fashion Designer $26.60
Musician or Singer $25.00
Actor / Actress $22.10
Fashion Stylist $21.10
Fine Artist, Including Painter, Sculptor, or Illustrator $20.30
Coach $19.40
Dancer $19.10
Brewing Manager $18.80
Fitness Trainer or Aerobics Instructor $18.50
Makeup Artist $18.50
Event Coordinator $18.50
Wedding Consultant $18.40
Dog Walker $16.80
Photographer $15.20
Bartender $14.90
Tour Guide $14.70
Ski Patroller $13.50
Hairdresser $13.40
Game Tester $12.80
Dog Groomer $12.60
Florist $12.50
Cake Decorator $12.10
Lifeguard $11.40

The above jobs generally break down into three categories: food/drink preparation, artistic/creative, and athletic/outdoors. Below is a listing of jobs under these categories.

There are four jobs that do not fall into these specific categories: small business owner, game tester, event coordinator, and wedding consultant.

A small business owner could be in any of these categories depending upon the product/service they produce. For example, the small business wwner could run a bakery, a dance studio, or a sports supply store.

Some of my friends say that game tester is an athletic job, at least if it is for a Wii :-)

Finally, while event coordinators and wedding consultants require extensive project planning, they are both appealing for the creativity and human interaction, in the same sense that being a movie producer is a creative position.

Food/Drink Preparation

  1. Winemaker
  2. Brewing Manager
  3. Bartender
  4. Cake Decorator

There is a wide range in tasks for food/drink preparation jobs. Winemakers and brewing managers help create wine and beer from the ground up, while bartenders take these products and serve them to the general public. There is a high degree of social interaction with bartenders, which can result in increased income from customers' tips. Cake decorators put their artistic talents to use by turning otherwise plain cakes into beautiful masterpieces. This is a job which takes a lot of skill and a steady hand.

Artistic/Creative

  1. Fashion Designer
  2. Musician or Singer
  3. Actor/Actress
  4. Fashion Stylist
  5. Fine Artist
  6. Dancer
  7. Make-up Artist
  8. Photographer
  9. Hairdresser
  10. Dog Groomer
  11. Florist

Several jobs within the artistic category include some degree of performance. Musicians, actors, and dancers share their art with an audience. Musicians can play as part of a symphony, a band, or a jazz group. Actors can be on screen, on stage, on TV, in commercials, or work as voice actors. Dancers can be part of a concert tour, a ballet troupe, on Broadway, or in the background of a music video.

Several other jobs within the category use artistic talent to improve the outward appearance of clients in a variety of settings. For example, a make-up artist may be helping a bride on her wedding day, or a troupe of stage actors before a big show.

Athletic/Outdoors

  1. Coach
  2. Fitness Trainer or Aerobic Instructor
  3. Dog Walker
  4. Tour Guide
  5. Ski Patroller
  6. Lifeguard

The majority of these jobs tend to be seasonal. Someone who works as a ski patroller during the winter might transfer to a lifeguard position in the summer. The work schedule of coaches will vary according to the sport and the level of competition. Fitness trainers and tour guides might be able to work year-round, but will certainly see fluctuations in their schedules over the course of the year. For example, a fitness trainer might have more customers during the summer months (swimsuit season) or after New Year's (resolutions).

What type of salary can you expect for your dream job? The PayScale Salary Calculator is a quick and easy way to compare positions. When you want powerful salary data and comparisons customized for your exact position or job offer, be sure to build a complete profile by taking PayScale's Full Salary Survey.

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