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The Oddest Odd Jobs of the Recession

New Positions Created This Year (With or Without Stimulus Money)


Pundits and politicians are still arguing over how many jobs have actually been “saved or created” this year thanks to the stimulus.  But many businesses have managed to create a few new kinds of positions during the economic downturn with or without any government backing.

Here is our list of some brand new American jobs that you may have missed. Some hint at the new directions many companies are moving in, while others are just plain weird. These may not be as glamorous as being the caretaker of a paradise island (a position created this year in Australia). Still, if you’ve had little or no luck job hunting in the past, maybe the problem was just that your dream job just didn’t exist until now.

Photo Credit: TenSafeFrogs

Online Community Manager


This position was first created in late 2007, but over the last two years, community managers have become essential for many companies It’s sort of like a community organizer, but the difference is you operate strictly online. The community manager engages the company’s consumer base through social media platforms like Facebook, essentially working as a liaison between the two.

Schools, big businesses and entertainment groups have all been hiring people to fill this position. The ideal candidates for this position show an uncanny ability to promote themselves and others, and should be personable and communicative, since you will essentially be both the voice of the company and the voice of the consumers.

Estimated Salary: $56,000.

Photo Credit: totalAldo

Social Media Editor


This position is similar to a community manager, but specifically for publications. Earlier this year, both the New York Times and the BBC announced that they were hiring their first ever Social Media Editors. The editor is responsible for searching through the various social media platforms for news as well as engaging with readers through these Web sites.

The position is so new that the publications hiring are a bit unsure what their qualifications should be. For instance, the New York Times hired a woman who never really used Twitter before.

Salary: Unknown

Photo Credit: jaycameron

Personal Assistant...to A College Student


A sophomore at Georgetown University put up a job listing calling for a personal assistant to help him with all his college tasks. "As my PA you will receive an email once a day by 9:00 am with a task list for that day and a time estimate for each task. Important tasks will be bolded on the list and must be done that day (even though everything on the list should theoretically be finished on a daily basis).”

Anyone who has been to college probably has the same thought right now: Really? Just suck it up and learn to multitask. But given how many rich college students there are in the world, this could be a profitable new job sector for any recently unemployed person looking for part-time work.

Estimated Salary: $10-12 per hour

Photo Credit: hugochisholm

The Family Room Specialist


This year, Apple decided to take customer service to a whole new level. The Family Room Specialist is a new position created earlier this year to help alleviate the strain placed on the famous Genius Bar, the customer service station in Apple’s retail stores. These employees will specialize in one-on-one customer training sessions and “build long-term relationships with iPhone and iPod customers.”

As of right now, it’s been mostly people who already work at Apple that have been hired, but the plan is to eventually make this an entry level position open to anyone who is tech savvy and personable.

Estimated Salary: $12 per hour

Photo Credit: The Pug Father

Chief Sustainability Officer


Few other positions show as much growth and promise as this one.  The job of the Chief Sustainability Officer is to ensure that a company has a diverse and productive workforce and they are also responsible for implementing environmental initiatives. These positions are being offered at big companies around the country, such as Dupont, Sun Microsystems and AT&T.

Estimated Salary: $100,000+

Photo Credit: greenforall.org

Marijuana Critic


No, that’s not a joke. While most newspapers in this country are downsizing, one Colorado paper decided to add a new position this year: the Marijuana Critic. Westword, a newspaper based in Denver, decided that the upswing in medical marijuana dispensaries across the state was worthy of becoming a journalist’s unique beat.

Some have argued that the publicity created by this job posting alone paid for the position. But tell that to the editor at the paper in charge of the application process. CBS reports that many of the candidates cited their years of smoking pot as experience that qualified them for the position. “The longer they've been smoking pot, the less they use punctuation," the editor said. "It will make my job always harder. We still use periods."

Salary: Unknown (apart from the free samples).

Photo Credit: Torben Bjorn Hansen

Wii Therapist


Before you send your children off to medical school, be sure to buy them a Wii.

It may sound counter-intuitive, but the Wii, a popular video game system that requires players to actually move around in order to move their characters on screen, is now being used for rehabilitation purposes. Occupational therapists use it to help Parkison’s patients and the elderly, doctors use it to help disabled military vets, and it has proved useful to speed up the rehabilitation process for those who have been in car crashes.

Estimated Salary: The average physical therapist makes about $90,000 a year.

Photo Credit: ricardodiaz11

Professional Twitterer


Tired of being forced to type 100 words a minute for a stressful office job? Why not become a professional Twitterer.  The main responsibility of this job is to respond to customers and get the message out there 140 characters at a time, thus building a stronger following for your company.

Big businesses like Ford and Coca Cola are hiring people to twitter, publications have hired full-time Twitter correspondents, and politicians have brought on Twitterers to help reach out to the press. And of course, no one needs Twitterers more than celebrities.  So get out there and become a celebrity ghostwriter.

Salary: Unknown

Photo Credit: keiyac

Great Lakes Czar


Even without the stimulus, Obama has created some interesting jobs by inaugurating dozens of czars with unique missions to better America. (See the full list of Obama’s Czars here.)

While some of these, like the God Czar and the Pay Czar, have gotten some attention in the news, others are relatively unknown. The Great Lakes Czar, in particular, has the all important duty of cleaning up the Great Lakes. According to one description, this Czar “will coordinate efforts of about a dozen federal agencies working on the administration's Great Lakes project, which deals with issues such as invasive species, polluted harbors, sewage overflows and degraded wildlife habitat.” Invasive species and sewage overflows? I’m holding out for the video game Czar position.

Salary: Unknown, but the salaries for other czars that have been reported are in the $100,000-$200,000 range.

Photo Credit: HeroicLife

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