Second Chances: Twelve Well Paying Jobs No One Wants

According to the National Employment Law Project (NELP) one in four Americans has a criminal record. Think of your four closest friends. At least one of them is probably some kind of criminal, unless you are the one who has spent some time in the pokey, upstate, in the Big House. You get the idea.

Ex-cons need second chances, otherwise they are likely to return to the activities that got them in trouble in the first place. But sometimes it is harder for them to re-enter the workplace than for Milli Vanilli to restart their music career. Many employers have an automatic exclusion policy for ex-cons, especially in times of high unemployment, when they can be pickier about who they hire, even though technically denying them employment across the board isn’t legal in most cases according to Ann K Buchholtz, a professor at Rutgers University. You could even say it’s… <lowers sunglasses> criminal.

Ex cons are not the only ones who struggle finding employment these days. Employers often have exclusive policies against hiring other individuals as well. For example:

  • Ex-boy band singers
  • Aspiring musicians, drummers especially
  • Successful musicians looking for a second job, bass players especially
  • Aspiring artists
  • Successful artists, expressionists especially
  • Aspiring writers, specifically poets
  • Successful writers, especially novelists who also write for humor blogs looking for a second job to supplement their income after their divorce when they have their son pretty much full time, and need more people to buy their novels so they can just eat.

Okay, I made that last one up. There are choices of course. As I talked about in my previous article about Going Back to School the Write Way one can seek continued education. WIth the upcoming election, political management might be a good choice. In the meantime, here are twelve jobs almost anyone can get, because demand is high and the number of people willing to do them is small.

  1. Crab Fisherman So the fatality rate is about 80 times that of the average worker, this job pays well, and the season is short, usually two to four weeks. You might have to do something else the rest of the year, provided you don’t end up with some kind of crippling injury.

oil rigs

  1. Roughneck (Oil Drilling Rig Worker) This is a tough field to penetrate, but if you drill your way past the initial testing, you can make good money in lovely places like Middle of Nowhere, Colorado and Desolate, South Dakota. There are several jobs that fall into this category, but even the lowliest worker in this dangerous field averages around $45K annually, and skilled workers make even more.
  1. Commissioned (vacuum) Salesperson Most people pass up commissioned sales jobs that don’t pay at least a base salary. Though you might think this job would suck, a good commissioned salesperson can pull in nearly $100K a year, even selling vacuums, cars, or TV;s at an electronics store.

nearsighted pilot

  1. Crop Duster Pilot (dones even) Most people with a pilot’s license aspire to something a little higher, but being a crop duster pilot pays pretty well. As drones become more popular, you can even buy one of those and crop dust without having to ever leave the ground.
  1. Private Security Contractor Willing to be a human shield? Protecting people and places in Iraq or Afghanistan pays incredibly well, and despite several recent fatal incidents, people are still lining up for the $10K a month salary. Taking a bullet for someone else never paid so much, or felt so good.
  1. Trash Collector Feeling down in the dumps about your job prospects? Might as well use that to your advantage. No matter where you live, this job starts at around $30K annually, and in places like New York, you can earn up to $80K. You just have to approach work with a “can do” attitude, don’t show up wasted, and you’re in.
  1. Crime Scene Cleaner Is crime high in your city? This job might be for you, even if you are an ex-con. After all, with a little training, maybe you could have avoided that whole prison stint in the first place. But when a crime is committed, someone has to clean up, especially if the perpetrator did a really poor job. No college degree needed, and the pay is pretty good too.


  1. Sewer Inspector: While some people just naturally drop into this field, if you are ambitious you can make a big splash along with a bit of cash. While the locations often stink, those who gain experience can make a good living, provided they are good at completing paperwork properly.
  1. Embalmer Many would tell you this is a dead end career, but the competition isn’t as stiff as the clientele in this fluid position. While you might find the work environment cold at first, give it time and you might even enjoy how quiet many of your days are.
  1. Dog Walker looking for exercise while on the job, and love animals pulling you around? Don’t mind picking up poo like the horse followers at a parade? This is the job for you. Surprisingly, dog walkers and dog sitters, especially in larger cities, can make a decent living.

lab rat

  1. Lab Rat Around the country, there are labs who want your body. Okay, they want to experiment on your body. Depending on your age and health concerns you can make good money trying new drugs, kind of like college with doctor supervisions. If you’re lucky, the side effects from one study will make you a candidate for another one.

Last, but not least: Colorectal Surgeon Okay, this one takes some commitment to education. Although this is not what normal doctors have in mind when they talk about 18 holes a day, the pay can be pretty phenomenal, and there are always openings in this field, although you may have to endure wisecracks about your profession. There has even been a song created about it.


So no matter where you fit in the categories of job seekers above. there is hope. With a little persistence, and maybe a little education, you can re-enter the workforce, even if you have done time. If you already have a good job, pass this on to at least four of your friends.

One of them is probably struggling because of their criminal past.


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4 thoughts on “Second Chances: Twelve Well Paying Jobs No One Wants”

  1. Enjoyed it. I love all the puns, and the Bowser and Blue song is hilarious.

    P.S. In my youth a door-to-door Hoover saleswoman broke my heart, and when she left, there was a vacuum in my life.

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