People From Around The World Share 'I Can't Believe I Get Paid For This' Stories

People From Around The World Share 'I Can't Believe I Get Paid For This' Stories

Have you ever been tasked with something so weird, easy, or whimsical at work that you just have to stop and marvel that you're actually being paid for it? Or maybe (if you're lucky) that's how you feel about your entire job!

These employees from around the world recently went online to share their best 'I can't believe I get paid for this' stories. We hope you're not working too hard, wherever you are!

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32. Balloony

I swallowed a balloon. It was really weird.

In college I participated in a medical study where the investigators had me swallow a balloon like bladder connected to a tube; the balloon went down into my stomach with the tube up my esophagus and out my mouth, then connected to an instrument that recorded the pressure in my stomach. They recorded the pressure for a half hour then gave me an injection. They continued recording for an hour.

The truly weirdest part was the feeling when they retrieved the balloon by pulling out the tube. I then sat for another half hour, I guess so they could be sure I recovered from the procedure and the medication. They then gave me $200 and I went home. In those days $200 was a princely sum to a college student for only a couple of hours "work".

Ted Panofsky

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31. Must love horses

I work as a professional photo retoucher for a mid-sized e-commerce site that focuses on women's clothing.

So one day I was going through and editing lookbook images (meaning we outsourced a photographer, got a more expensive model, and shot on location), and in order to know which images we have a spread sheet which gives me an image number, a deadline, and editing notes which is something specific they want done to the image. This is where things getting interesting.

I'm working my way through all of my edits when I come to an image number with a single editing note, "Remove horse junk." Of course, I think its odd and kinda funny but only expect to maybe have to remove a couple equine testes. So I open the image, the model in a field sporting a yellow fluffy coat walking a horse by the reins, and a massive, fully unsheathed, red rocket hanging low.

As I spent the next 5 minutes gingerly, and artfully, making sure this monster doesn't make it to the public, I couldn't help but keep asking myself how in the world I'm being paid to photoshop away a horse's business...

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30. Why I otter

In a past job (albeit a low-paid one), I got to help raise a baby sea otter and one day I had the task of combing and fluffing up her fur to keep her waterproof and help her float. I was literally being paid to groom an adorable baby otter.

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29. Gene Hackman

I used to get paid to hack into companies' networks. For the longest time it was my 'I can't believe I get to do this legally and get paid stupid amounts of money for it' gig. Then it just started ticking me off when I realized all the companies network security suck, many were hiring me for a compliance check box, and when I'd come back the following year they hadn't done anything, in some cases not even change the bloody passwords I used from the year prior.

I now maintain a large list of companies I will never do business with using any type of credit card because I'm 110% positive it will be compromised if it hasn't been already.

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28. Sometimes it's really better to be busy

Right freaking now I work in a call centre for a government body here in the UK.

Since February, I've been paid £12 an hour to SIT HERE AND DO ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.

I have taken personally, myself, since February, 6 calls.


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27. A stickler for stickers

Worked retail and had to sticker hundreds of items of clothing with little black sale stickers. Just as I’m finishing up, I was told they changed their mind and wanted me to use red stickers instead. So I went back over every item with red stickers. It was also a public holiday in Australia so I was paid 2.5x my average pay, and spent six hours of my shift doing just that.

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26. Picture perfect

I was a photojournalist.

Getting paid to sit on the sidelines of major sporting events, at the sound desk or in the pit of bands from ACDC to ZZTop, meet all sorts of interesting people and create a photo to help tell their story.

I photographed John Cleese during a sound check - he went on a 20 minute rant about photographers - I had to ask him to stop as I was laughing so hard I couldn't take pictures; met Jackie Stewart and heard him speak about his time as a formula one driver.
It was an amazing job, and one I was very lucky to do for as long as I did - some days I would think “Some people would pay to be able to do this.”

There were crappy days too - sitting in the hot sun at a crime scene all day, watching police bag evidence sucks, as does attending car crashes in the middle of the night, in the rain. But I remember the good days better than the bad ones.

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25. Dungeons & Direct deposits

A positive one! I get to teach kids how to play Dungeons and Dragons for six weeks every summer. Rolling into work dressed in an elf princess costume and getting to play a game for seven hours a day it feels unreal. Am still incredulous every time that direct deposit hits.


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24. How to guard a life

I lifeguarded for 3 years, sooo a lot. When it gets rainy and everyone leaves the pool, they normally keep us around just in case it clears up. We watch TV and raid the snack bar. We play in the pool sometimes and blast music on the speakers. Having a party with a bunch of cute girl lifeguards while getting paid by the hour = not a bad gig.

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23. A break out role

I lucked my way into a test for a soon to open psychiatric hospital for criminals. Basically we had to make as much trouble as we could and try to break out. Then report back the flaws we found. Man that was a fun day. Being a bad guy for a bit with no consequences is so nice. And getting paid is a lovely bonus.

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22. This is the opposite of paying rent

My friend is a caretaker of a very successful doctor's lake house, which is really more like a compound. There are 3 buildings, each with bedrooms, kitchens, etc. The doc uses it maybe a month out of the year. Friend gets a good salary to basically just live there and keep the place clean and do yard work. When the owners do show up, he just makes himself scarce in one of the guest houses. He's been doing that for the last 15 years and plans to until he retires. Lucky S.O.B.

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21. Get stuffed

Oh hey I can answer this one. I'm a dog trainer and we help dogs that are reactive to other dogs when on leash (i.e., barking/lunge at dogs when on walks). One of the ways we do this is to drag a stuffed dog around (looks realistic) at a distance. You even talk to the stuffed dog, pet it, and pretend to feed it. All of this is happening while another trainer feeds the real dog any time they see the fake dog.

I've legit been asked if I'm crazy before until people figure out we are training a dog.

For those wondering what this is, it is a form of behavior modification. To find trainers who do stuff like this, try searching for trainers (remote or in person) certified through the Academy for Dog Trainers. I am certified through this organization and we get a very heavy dose of behavior modification for this stuff. Make sure the trainers are force-free and positive and that they never punish a dog for reacting. The latter will never help and will only make things worse.

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20. A private viewing

I used to make video content for social media to drive ticket sales for a major arts festival. I would go to the tech rehearsal for major operas, plays, ballet etc. There would be the full cast and orchestra performing as if they were playing to a full house but it was just me and my camera. I could move around to get the right shot. I could go backstage and interview the performers and whoever else was in my brief to talk to. I got to tour around with an opera once.

I have no background in this. I’m completely self taught and had only done really pedestrian jobs before this. It was amazing, I never would have wanted to go to an opera or ballet before this came along. If you ever have the chance to see something like this go. It’s not as boring as you think it will be.

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19. What am I doing with my life?

I'm the sole worker at a medical records office in an incredibly small town of only about 1,700 people.

I have to file maybe 2 things per hour, they take 2 minutes to do each. The rest of the time I just sitting there listening to music, playing video games, watching Netflix, browsing the web, studying things that interest me, creating things, etc.

I'm only 19 and I make more money than I ever thought I'd make at any job ever. Because it's a government funded job I can basically work here forever unless I willingly choose to leave. That's fine by me, just as long as I get to listen to music all day.

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18. Work smarter, not harder

My friend got hired to work from home for a company that was transitioning from some ancient business software that hadn't been supported in years to a newer system. They had previously been doing this manually, record by record and assumed that she would do the same.

They'd send her enough records to keep her busy for a week doing them manually. She did it manually for a couple of weeks, then she automated the process and a week's worth of records was completed in less than 30 seconds on Monday morning with the results uploaded Friday afternoon. She did NOT inform her employer who was super happy with her accurate and timely work.

She worked ~2 minutes/week for a full time salary because she automated her job.

It went on for over two years. 

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17. A hole-y man

I used to be a construction site inspector. Got paid to watch people dig holes, and then make sure the holes they dug were extra hole-y

I actually had a pretty good relationship with a couple of crews. I pretty much stayed back, let the guys work, checked stuff periodically and if something was wrong I said something so it got fixed. I worked under the assumption these guys knew what they were doing and just got enough to write my reports.

A few crews got to know me pretty well. One time a crew bought me breakfast because I drove out and picked it up for them. Another time a different crew gave me dilly bars from Dairy Queen. There was this one carpenter who whenever he saw me on site asked if I knew what he was gonna do when he got off work, and then he'd say he was going to go home and rip the panties off his wife.

Oh, employment!

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16. Do a bad job or we'll be disappointed

I once worked as a graphic designer for a well known website/Facebook page about movies/series/video games/music, and sometimes I had to do very poor photo edits, like pasting a famous actor's head on the body of a cartoon character to illustrate the fact that this character will have this famous actor's voice in this movie... Or things like that. I was asked to do the crappiest edit possible to make the post funny.

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15. Write and wrong

I write smut for a living. Every now and then, I write a line or get an idea for a story that's so ridiculously over-the-top that I genuinely have to take a step away from my laptop for a second and question exactly how it is this became my life.

My personal favourite is the very nice email I got from someone who wanted me to commission me to write a story about him being intimate with a Hot Wheels car. He wanted the first half of the story to be about the car stretching him out as it went in, in great detail... and the second half to be about the damage the car's wing mirrors did to him as it came out.

I politely declined.

(I also love my job, don't get me wrong. I wouldn't want to do anything else. It's just freaking odd sometimes.)

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14. "What do you do here?"

I don't have this job anymore but I one time was hired by a company as an assistant to somebody to help him handle social media, do some basic web design, some graphic design, various bits of writing that needed doing for the company, etc. Marketing stuff. About a month after they hired me, this guy I was supposed to be assisting got recalled to the head office. He said just finish the work you have and when I get set up I'll send more for you. But he didn't. Ever. I never heard from him again.

The office was above the warehouse where everything got shipped from, it was a third party retailer. My office was way in the corner of the upper story, far from any other occupied office. They didn't even have the hallway between my office and the rest of the offices lit up. The guy I was hired to assist liked working back there for some reason. I'd see someone back there maybe once a month, and usually they'd be lost. It was right next to a back entrance that nobody ever used. The entrance, like all the other ones, had a keypad for clocking in and out.

It was also next to a bathroom that nobody ever used but that the janitors kept stocked and clean. So every day I would show up with my laptop, clock in, play Starcraft 2 or surf Reddit for 4 hours, clock out for lunch, clock back in, another 4 hours of fooling around, then I'd clock out for the day. At the end of the week I'd go and see the HR lady and pick up a check. I got in the habit of working like 11am-7pm because that's just what I felt like, so I'd swing by her office when most everyone else was gone.

So I did this for a year. I hit Master League in Starcraft. I wrote a screenplay. I read a lot of books.

It came to an end when the HR lady insisted that I go to the Christmas party, like she would not leave me alone about it and reserved me a spot for two kind of without my permission. It was at a really fancy restaurant, and I mentioned it offhandedly to this girl at a party that was way out of my league, and it turned out to be her favorite restaurant, and she agreed to go with me.

It was a great night, I ate great food and hooked up with probably the best looking girl I've ever had sex with. However, the owner had spotted me. And asked who I was and what I did. And nobody except the HR lady and a couple warehouse workers had ever talked to me, and they couldn't tell him what I did there.

I got the call a week or so later. No regrets.

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13. Take that to the bank

My friend works for a bank to fix and monitor servers, but it’s all remotely done, so he is able to stay at home and do whatever he wants all the while making a six-figure salary!

The only downside is that the system that he monitors the servers through track his activity and sends it to his boss, but they only check every hour, so all he has to do is click a few things every hour to trick it. So naturally, on day we go to beach on his work day, he brings his laptop and has to just click it a few times every so often! Getting paid to go to the beach is my dream life...


12. Made in Manhattan

Five years ago, I was working a field rep job in NYC going from customer to customer. My boss needed emergency surgery and was out 6 months. No one covered for her. I woke up everyday at 9am, worked out, ate lunch, walked the dog, ran some errands, and then answered an email or two and that was my “work” day for 6 months until she came back. This was for a huge multi-billion dollar company and I was making $30 an hour.

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11. A working vacation

I used to install cell phone systems internationally back when the wireless boom was happening in the late 1990s.

I was rather amused I got “hazard pay” on one assignment and at our “work requirements.” We were put up in a $250/night beach front resort (and this is 20 years ago) in a cruise port town. Because of cost overruns, we were required to only work a 40 hour, 5 day workweek but they still payed for our hotel, meals, and car during the weekends and after hours. We did a ton of sightseeing, partied way to hard, and had an unreal time. I took up boogie boarding and 22 year old me was hanging out with the ladies waiting to get on the cruise ships.

The only hazard on that assignment was to our livers.

I’m not sure who did the math and decided paying for all of us to be idle rather then paying the OT (which was just straight time, not 1.5x) would be cheaper but that was a fun assignment.

I was there about 5 months if I recall.

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10. A room with a view

Astronomer here! Back in June, I got to what I jokingly refer to as my first NASA mission! Specifically, I got to fly on SOFIA, which is an old Boeing 747 that has a giant infrared telescope in the back of it, and flies around taking observations that are better than any you can get from the ground due to the lack of water vapor at 40,000 feet. (A satellite would obviously be even better, but it's of course far cheaper to just fly around, even though they estimate it's $1 million per flight to run SOFIA.)

Now, SOFIA is a pretty incredible instrument- they literally cut a hole into the side of the 747 and fly around on trajectories planned to the minute, as the plane is used to track objects in the sky. What's more, you have two dozen dedicated people devoted to making this telescope work, between operating it and flying it. (Also super nice- the pilots let me sit in the jump seat for takeoff in a freaking Boeing 747!)

And even more crazy, in winter for two months they fly out of the Antarctic Center in Christchurch, New Zealand to observe those southern skies, so our path that night took us far enough south that not only did we see incredible southern lights, we crossed the Antarctic Circle and saw islands considered part of Antarctica. So I can say I have seen Antarctica...

All of this, by the way, was not for my research but for a paid piece I am writing for Scientific American. (Infrared wavelengths where SOFIA works is best for studying dust, which is important but little to do with my regular research.) It blows my mind that this was all actually part of a job, and it's an experience I'm going to treasure forever.

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9. Pardon me

I work recording and mixing anime. One day my job was to record and edit burps. Everyone was laughing in the studio. I love my job.

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8. The sound of silence

I had to broadcast two minutes of silence on Armistice day (I worked in local radio). The presenter sent me out in the radio car as he wanted silence from the locality. In fact he wanted silence from the highest point in the county. I drove up the highest hill and unwound my cable to the peak. Sadly - the silence was too quiet and the transmitters started shutting down... so he had to mix in more silence from another radio station. That was the stupidest job I ever did (and I did plenty).

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7. The hat is really what sells it

Freelance videographer. I charge a fair amount for my time, and I do a bit of travel. I get a call from a client I've done some previous work for that represents pot growers and entrepreneurs in a particularly red state. He asks me if I can be at this one location from 1-5 on a Tuesday afternoon. No idea what I'm supposed to cover or what this location is as he simply told me a time and a place. No problem, just looks like it's a warehouse and some offices. The location is like 2 hours away from me, so I charge travel rates which is like $.25/mile on top of my normal rate.

I get there, and realize just by the smell and extensive security that it's clearly a grow facility and sure enough it turns out to be the largest facility in the state. I had no idea. I get there, and the client isn't ready for me, but they offer for me to take a tour with them. Video and photography isn't allowed, so it's literally just a tour of the facility for almost an hour.

I've never seen so much pot in my life, and the vast engineering that went into that place was so amazing. We finally get to work and essentially all they needed me for was to record the a conference call so they can have that as video proof of what they discussed. Literally like 20 minutes of work that could have been done on an iPhone, but I'm not complaining because we had previously agreed on the rates so they paid me what we agreed upon. On top of that, they gave me a free hat with the facility's logo on it.

So essentially I got a paid a half day rate for 20 minutes of work, a free tour and a hat. That was a nice day.

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6. Dumplings for the win

I am the "marketing director" for a Chinese dumpling shop in the Southeast USA, which is really a pretentious way of saying that I am a liaison between an adorable, kind-hearted tiny Chinese lady that works 70 hours a week making hand-made food and the American internet (she handles most of our advertising efforts in Mandarin, she handles Chinese apps/marketing services). Our Yelp and Google rating places us among the best restaurants in our area, bloggers and food writers reach out to us on a regular basis, and there's enough trust built that I can essentially do whatever I feel like to advance her goals without her caring to know many details.

Part of the advertising budget I created for her includes creating content. I posted a few topical memes on our instagram story, and got a noticeable boost in followers. One late night when I couldn't sleep, I cranked out a stack of dank dumpling memes at my usual hourly rate. Honestly, most aren't fit for public consumption, but there have been a few number that made the cut and get posted on our social media outlets, usually accompanied by some favorable metrics.

So, I get paid to make memes, my employer gets a good ROI, and the whole thing feels extremely wholesome.

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5. Paid out, made out

I used to work as a personal assistant for a singer who fronted a band that was popular in the 80’s. She now makes a living doing “reunion” shows (lots of them!) in which she’s the only original, yeah not really a reunion.

Her guitarist was hot, like crazy super hot. Always had a crush on him but never thought he’d want anything to do with the likes of lil ol’ me.

It was hot guitarists birthday, and they had a show that night, and boss wanted to surprise him on stage at the end of their set.

She asked me to wear my naughtiest outfit and walk onstage with a cake. Then she says, “If you’re not comfortable with this you can say no, but I think it would be awesome if you grabbed his collar and just planted one on him!”

I definitely didn’t say no.

So the moment comes. I go up there, we sing happy birthday, I hand the cake to my boss then proceeded to make out with Hot Guitarist in front of a ton of people.

Definitely the best thing I’ve ever been paid to do!

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4. And on top of all that you're making a difference

My last job was a support worker, working with adults that have intellectual disabilities.

During my shifts I would go swimming. I went to a local waterslide park. I went to movies. I went to museums. I spent afternoons outside walking, through parks or just down the streets. We had bonfires and roasted s'mores in the Autumn evenings. Once and a while we would go out for lunch or dinner to a restaurant.

I would eat what we cooked for the guys in the home, so free meals on shift. Everyone in the house was an amazing cook too. One guy was a cook at a local restaurant part time and prepared some dishes. Everyone loved working with him so he would cook.

Everything was free for me. I never paid to get into these places. I had a budget that covered my meals when we went out. I ate for free while working.

It was a shitty, very hard job sometimes but it had some crazy good benefits to being there.

I miss floating on my back in a pool in the summer laughing because I was getting paid.

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3. Parks and rec

I used to work part time for the Parks and Recreation Department for the state I lived in. My job title was Off Highway Vehicle Safety Trainer. This job entailed training people in riding safety for ATVs and motorbikes and in the winter I taught avalanche awareness and safety to snowmobilers. The state provided me with the ATV, the motorbike and the snowmobile to use while doing the training. They also provided me with the pickup and 4 place enclosed snowmobile trailer to take said vehicles to the training.

So here is the deal: the state paid me (and gave me all the equipment) to go out and ride every week pretty much year round. Best job ever! If it was full time I never would have quit but I had a full time job as well as this job so something had to give after 3 years. I had to bid a sad farewell to my Polaris's and Yamaha.

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2. I gotta hand it to ya

I was a hand model.

Yup. I’d gone with a friend to a casting call for a runway show, when this odd-looking guy walks up to me and says: “How’d you like to make $200, sweetheart?”

“You’re not my type,” said I.

“Not with me!” he laughed. “With her!” and he pointed to the woman sitting behind the casting table.

“She’s not my type either.”

Long story short, she was the marketing “genius” of the firm, and she was in desperate need for a darker-skinned hand for a wristwatch shoot. I’ll admit that my hands, at that time, were smooth and blemish-free, with well-groomed nails… but model material?

I told her that I’d do it if my friend got the gig.

She got the gig, I got the job.

Anyone has a chance to see the back covers of Imagen magazine from 1988 and ‘89, the dark bronze hand with the Rado? Yup, that’s my hand in my glory days.

I worked with her as a legal adviser, and did a couple more shoots, but nothing that got as much exposure as that first shoot.

I’ll leave the money I made from winning odd bets out of this conversation…

Sarah Weaver

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1. A flip and a flop

I got paid 10 guilders (pre-Euro Netherlands, I’d estimate the equivalent of about $5) to find a floppy disk inside a computer.

Some background: as a student, I lived above a “copy shop”, one of those places where you can print/copy/bind stuff. I was basically running the computer part of it -- this was the early 90s, these guys could charge you a tidy sum for clean laser printed copies of your WordPerfect files.

One morning, I got a call for a rush job -- somebody was freaking out in the shop, and willing to pay “whatever” to save her.

When I got there, I found someone sobbing besides the computer (think old-school 386 “minitower”). She had just “lost her thesis,” about a years’ work (this was a university town). The floppy had just disappeared on her after she put it in the PC. It wouldn’t read it and it wouldn’t eject it, either. It was the only copy she had -- she was really desperate -- it had just disappeared!

After looking at the machine, not finding either a 3.5″ or a 5.25″ floppy in the drives, I asked her where exactly she had put the floppy. She pointed at the narrow gap underneath the 5.25″ drive…

I lifted the machine and shook it around a bit, and could hear the floppy on the bottom of the case. It had simply fallen through the crack after she had shoved it in the millimeter gap between the faceplate and drive on a cheap clone PC…

There was a lot of “oh my gawd” and more crying as I took a screwdriver, opened up the case, and retrieved the 5.25″ floppy safe and sound. And a lot of gratitude after the recovery.

Adriaan Bloem

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