Fascinating jobs + salaries across the country!


So here was something cool I saw in my physical newspaper that I didn’t find online!

Parade’s annual “What People Earn” report!

Which documents all kinds of everyday common jobs to jobs and salaries of higher profile celebrities, to careers that pay well but don’t require four-year degrees, all the way through to some of the most random – yet also pretty epic! – jobs you can find around the country.

I did end up finding a version of this report online if you’re interested in diving in – What People Earn 2020: See the Salaries of Everyday Workers Across America (basically just a gallery with expanded notes) – but below are some of the highlighted gigs from it I jotted down for your reading enjoyment.

Check ’em out and see if any of them excite you! Which would you pick if you had to choose *one* from each category? :)

Everyday common jobs:

  • High School Social Studies Teacher @ $38,000
  • Union Carpenter @ $46,600
  • Social School Worker @ $67,000
  • Nurse Practitioner @ $110,000
  • Chief People Officer @ $120,000
  • Restaurant Owner @ $250,000

I’d pick the carpenter gig if I had to as I’d LOVE to be more skillful with my hands and better maintain my house and build projects, but a close second would be a (registered) nurse which is something I actually looked into right before stumbling across the blogging world… It would have been interesting to see where I’d be if I ended up down that path!, but on the flip side you’d then be sitting in front of a blank screen right now reading nothing ;)

Jobs that don’t require a four-year degree:

  • Plumber @ $53,910
  • Wind Turbine Technician @ $54,370
  • Electrical Power Line Installer @ $70,910
  • Elevator Installer and Repairer @ $79,780
  • Nuclear Power Reactor Operator @ $94,350

If I had to pick one: elevator installer/repairer!! How random – but fun – is that?! Always been fascinated by them as a kid, and think it would be a pretty neat gig to rock. Or to even BE an elevator, for that matter! Lol… Do you know how many people and secrets you’d learn over time?! ;) One of the only podcasts I ever listened to had an episode on them once and now I think about it every time I’m in an elevator and like to talk to it as if it’s alive ;)

Take a listen to this – it’s awesome (and only 17 mins): everythingisalive.com/episodes/ana-elevator

UPDATE: Here’s another job from a reader who just emailed me: “Hey J. Money, I just want to add to the list of non-four year degree jobs! I’m a Designer in the oil & gas industry. I make $125K and climbing (not including overtime). I’m in the Civil/Structural discipline but there are several more disciplines like piping, electrical, mechanical, instrumentation… all of which pull in this range of cash if they’re any good. I have a 2 year associates degree from a technical college, but many people get in this business by learning AutoCad from friends or family that have an “in” with the biz. The downside to this trade is how highly affected we are by the economy roller coaster. I was laid off early on in my career but came back strong and I’m surviving this craziness right now. Put in the effort, excel at your job and save money for the risk is the general idea to make it in this career path. It also requires visits to chemical plants, oil refineries, paper plants etc, but primarily sitting at a computer 3D modeling and creating drawings. It’s quite fun once you learn how to manage the stress and deadlines!”

High profile/celebrity jobs:

(Keep in mind – these are all YEARLY earnings!)

  • Vice President of The United States @ $235,083
  • Jennifer Aniston (Actor) @ $28,000,000 (est)
  • Luke Bryan (Musician) @ $42,500,000 (est)
  • Howard Stern (Radio Host): $93,000,000 (est)

I don’t like attention and certainly wouldn’t ever want to be famous-famous, but I think it would be pretty cool to know how to play the guitar (and sing!), so if I had to pick one of these I’d def. go the musician route. Or even better, the guy who *writes* the lyrics and then someone else sings it and gets all the glory! Haha… stealth wealth at its finest ;)

The most *interesting* jobs!

  • Theater Critic @ $13,794
  • Gas Chart Integrator @ $21,910
  • Hollywood Tour Guide @ $45,500
  • Detective and Criminal Investigator @ $81,920
  • Incident Meteorologist @ $83,840 – “[provides] on-site weather support when wildfires or other natural hazards threaten life and property.”
  • Forester @ $92,000 – “[managing] 8,000 acres of urban forestland for drinking water and biodiversity protection.”
  • Soil Scientist @ $92,635
  • Hydrologist @ $108,316 – “[building] computer models that predict when and where it will flood”
  • Crop Doctor @ $133,000
  • Vending Machine Owner/YouTuber @ $144,000
  • Professional Organizer @ $175,000
  • Virologist/Directer, Centers For Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) @ $209,700

VENDING MACHINE OPERATOR!!! YES PLEASE!! What a cool hustle that’s obviously now way more than that for this guy! Similar to ATM machines (which I used to work for a company who sold them years ago), it’s a super passive income generator once you get passed the upfront work and costs of placing them. (And unlike ATM machines which require you to fill it up with YOUR OWN MONEY unless you hire out, these guys are just stuffed with snacks! :) So no theft worry on top of it!)

I had to stalk this guy online to see who he was (Jaime Ibañez), and he’s def. killing it in the social media game as much as the vending machine business – maybe even more? The guy’s only 19 years old (!!!), and already has an empire of 30 machines and over 36 million views on YouTube right now which he only started in 2018!! Crazy!!!

Here’s one of his more popular videos if you’re interested in seeing more – Pulling Cash From My Vending Machine Business! – and then here’s his main YouTube page for others.

$144,000/year – pretty good! Pretty… pretty…good!

It takes all kinds to run this world of ours :)

Lots of options out there if you’re stuck in a rut or in the recent position of being laid off with this nasty crisis all around us…. Perhaps it’s a good time to finally chase that passion of yours or learn something new?! It’s 1,000x easier to pick up a new trade with technology these days! And often for FREE!

Here’s Parade’s article/gallery again if you want to poke around and see if anything else sticks out to you: What People Earn 2020

And then here’s a link to our Side Hustle Series as well for those new to the site and looking for some inspiration: 70+ Ways to Make Extra Money on The Side

Always some way to make money!

PS: It’s soooo nice getting a physical paper to our door now! All the headlines are of course old by the time you open it up, but it’s all the *local* stuff that really makes it special as you often tend to miss it… I’m learning everything I ever wanted to about our community now, both important (covid-related), as well as fluffy! And feeling a lot more *connected* now too which is making all the difference in the world as we move into week #5 of the quarantine here… Hope you guys are all still well and safe too!

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  1. Gene Roberts April 13, 2020 at 6:10 AM

    I was a Nuclear Power Reactor Operator when I was in the US Navy for 6 years (1991-97).

    I always wondered if I made a mistake not pursuing that field when I got out.

    I’m glad my current job pays slightly more than that now.

    It makes me feel better about my life choices.

    1. J. Money April 13, 2020 at 8:34 AM


      Was it as cool as it sounds, or pretty boring? Which I assume is a good thing? :)

      1. Gene Roberts April 13, 2020 at 2:20 PM

        Except for this one day, boring. :) And that is a very good thing.

  2. Ryan @ WantFI April 13, 2020 at 11:00 AM

    A lot of people think that having a college degree is required to make it big but two of my family members have proved that to be false. One became an insurance agent and opened his own business before selling it. The other started learning to code in the early 2000’s and works for a small tech firm and makes almost 200k a year now. No degrees.
    I would still go to college if I had to do it all over again because I am that kind of person, but I do think more people should go into the trades instead of getting useless degrees that don’t lead to a well paying career. Now I’m just trying to get to the point where I don’t have to work in a cubicle. Sounds like you are all set J Money.

    1. J. Money April 13, 2020 at 3:14 PM

      yeah dude, def. got to know yourself well enough to opt out of college and go on our own :) I don’t think the old me would have been good at it (too lazy and needed to be told what to do!), but the new me with what I know now would certainly have been fine without the degree. We all know you don’t need one to start a blog or social media account, lol… But it did get me on the path, so no regrets whatsoever (and the degree is nice to fall back on if ever needed as well, which feels good).

      I bet that coder in your family has seen a lot!! internet/computers have changed so much in the past 20 years! We’re all really the first beta testers as it’s still fairly young, all things considered :)

  3. Brian April 13, 2020 at 2:44 PM

    I wouldn’t calling vending a passive business. You still have to procure and stock the machines as well as maintain them. Jamie is a fun watch, but so far, from what I have seen, he hasn’t had too many breakdowns in his machines, and has been working during a fairly booming economy. I will be interested to see how his business evolves with the current situation. From what I can tell most of his machines are in locations that could possibly be shut down for the time being, which could lead to spoilage on some snacks.

    That being said, I have thought about doing vending for a while, but where I live the good locations are taken by large groups or are for sale for insane prices (at least until some one get desperate to sell).

    1. J. Money April 13, 2020 at 3:16 PM

      True true – nothing is ever 100% passive – but it’s certainly more so than other more hands-on gigs. And especially 9-5s :) I used to call my blog a passive one too until I realized I was spending 40 hrs a week on it and it certainly wasn’t, haha… Now I cringe whenever I hear that!

    2. Beth Anne April 18, 2020 at 1:35 AM

      The vending machine operator job is super intriguing. I agree it’s not really passive but it’s probably not a 40hour a week job either. How often does he refill machines? Once a week at the most?

      1. J. Money April 20, 2020 at 8:45 AM

        I would imagine? Or maybe a couple different routes a week so you don’t have to do them all at once? I bet some machines sell out faster than others too…

  4. WILLIAM VANCE April 14, 2020 at 9:47 AM

    I’m always fascinated by these sorts of reads. I can’t believe how lowly paid our teachers are and that the Vice President of the United States makes so little compared to what executives make at even small to medium corporations. I guess that’s why they call it public service! Anyhow, thanks for the info. It was a good read, as always.

    1. J. Money April 15, 2020 at 6:33 AM

      Glad you liked it, my man!

      Appreciate you sharing it around social too – thank you for that :)