8 unique jobs around the world

All around the world there are people in careers that don't exist in any other country but their own. (Shutterstock.com)

We bet that your job could never be as interesting as these. And each is only available in one country in the world...

It’s no secret that each country has its own quirks and unique attractions. For example, America has the Kardashians, Japan (apparently) has their rugby and South Africa has load-shedding and a public holiday dedicated to braaing.

Similarly, each country has one-of-a-kind (and particularly interesting) local jobs that you’d never believe. For example, have you ever run in to these chaps at an intersection...? Because chances are, no one in any other country ever has.

So, just like we have Windscreen Washers and Sliding Door Operators (also known as guardtjies in Cape Town), 8 other countries have exclusive career options too.

1. England’s Swan Uppers

unique jobs around the world

Middlesex, Surrey, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, and Oxfordshire in England all have an established tradition that requires some people to count swans. It is the swan upper’s job to find, count and note whether any swans in the region have injuries.

2. Bolivia’s Traffic Zebras

unique jobs around the world

Employees (paid for by the city) are dressed up in zebra costumes and help enforce traffic laws. It is also part of their job to regulate traffic and assist pedestrians with crossing roads. We have zebra crossings - they have zebra costumes. Many young people become traffic zebras to earn money to study further.

3. Switzerland’s Trash Detectives

Switzerland has a law that requires people to use a specific kind of trash bag. And it's the trash detective's job to find people that use illegal bags. Citizens have to pay for these bags and some soon realised that the more trash you have, the more you'll have to fork out for these special bags. So, they try to 'save money' by using non-compliant bags.

4. Amsterdam’s Bike Dredgers

unique jobs around the world

People get around on bikes in The Netherlands: to work, to school, to visit friends. Bicycle lanes and bicycle parking spots are just about everywhere in the country. As such, many of these bikes happen to end up in the water. It is therefore the duty of Professional Bike Dredgers to scrape the river clean and pull out of the water. Every year, about 15 000 bikes are removed from the river bed.

5. Japan’s Oshiya

unique jobs around the world

Train operators employ oshiya (train pushers) to push people onto a crowded train. It is their job to get every single person into a carriage so that no one is caught in the train's doors. 

6. Kenya’s Seat Warmer

Transportation businessmen employ people to trick passengers into thinking the bus is about to leave. By making the bus appear to be full, potential passengers are fooled into thinking that the bus is close to leaving since busses only depart once full.

As soon as a legit passenger gets in, a seat warmer makes like he’s fetching something and then just doesn't return. And the bus keeps waiting for the next real passenger.

7. India’s Coin sellers:

unique jobs around the world

There are people in India that sell change for a living. Since bus conductors don’t always have coins to give passengers the proper change, people sell coins to bus drivers at 5-10% profit.

8. China’s Eye Cleaners (xi yanjing)

unique jobs around the world

In the southwestern Chinese province Sichuan, you can pay a barber to wash your eye - with a blade. The barber takes a knife and scrapes your eyeball clean. An eye cleaner charges RMB5 (about R10) for a head and face shave plus eye cleaning.

(And a home grown bonus) South Africa’s Ostrich Babysitters

Basically, you are in charge of making sure that young ostriches don’t fight with each other. Ostrich Babysitters usually work on ostrich farms with the sole task of keeping ostriches out of trouble. Apparently, ostriches are aggressive and territorial (and prone to dish out defensive kicks) and therefore frequently get into fights with each other. If you really want to get away from your 9-5 without travelling too far, make this Option One.

These are all great options for those of us who hate our current jobs and bosses and are bored and unhappy. For those who think it's a little too out there, we suggest you look for the perfect job by browsing Careers24 jobs. With thousands of vacancies, you're sure to find a career you can be proud of. (Or you choose one of 5 more unique jobs around the world.)