Whether you’re like some 88 percent of American workers who say they are satisfied with their jobs, or looking for a new career, the jobs on this list may not be on your radar.
CRUISE SHIP BREWMASTER
Colin Presby, brewmaster aboard the Carnival Vista (and the only one sailing on a North America-based cruise ship) crafts about 280 gallons each week in the shipboard brewhouse. Beer-making at sea requires foresight: Presby ships barley, hops and spices to a Miami warehouse ahead of each cruise and plans his beer menu a month in advance. Rough seas make foamier ales, so when the waves are roiling, he postpones the boiling step. Otherwise, the process is no different than brewing on land, Presby said — except, of course, that he lives on board. That means he gets to know his patrons and their beer preferences over a week. And he gets to see new places.
Salary: Comparable to a land-based brewmaster, who makes about $45,000-95,000 depending on brewery size and experience, according to the Brewers Association.
Entomologist and University of Florida Distinguished Professor Nan-Yao Su has tackled some of the country’s most-perplexing infestations, including one at the base of the Lady Liberty. To count and transfer termites to his Davie-based lab, researchers use straw-like pipettes to, well, suck them up. Su, with a doctorate in entomology and 45 years of termite research experience, can mouth-pipette 200-300 termites in a single minute that will be used to study the bugs’ division of labor. One benefit: Su uses the termite’s natural social behavior to create a poisoned bait the insects share with their 100 million colony members, enabling extermination of the queen deep within the massive nests.
Salary: Biological scientist salaries start around $32,000; an experienced Distinguished Professor may earn upward of $160,000, according to UF’s publicly available salary data.
AIRPORT POWER GUIDE
Being a royal or head of state comes with privileges — and that includes moving to the front of the airport security line. Among those who smooth the way for them is airport protocol officer Rebecca Lugones, who uses her language skills (English, Spanish, French), international affairs knowledge and unflappably cheerful personality to guide diplomats, heads of state and royalty through security and customs in about 10 minutes. VIPs still have to remove their shoes and undergo regular security procedures, but they jump to the front of the TSA-preapproved line and wait in VIP lounges. Over her 23 years at the Miami-Dade Aviation Department, Lugones has eased the airport way for former President Bill Clinton, the Dalai Lama and members of the Rolling Stones. She tries to treat them like normal people, Lugones said. Quite a skill.
Salary: Around $65,000, according to the Miami-Dade County database.
When it comes to a hurricane, radar isn’t enough. To get a real handle on a storm’s strength and speed, pilots for the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration fly their Lockheed WP-3D Orion four-engine turboprop planes and Gulfstream IV-SP jets right into the storm. Qualified pilots must have airline transport pilot licenses, fly-along training — plus nerves of steel — to face gusts that can exceed 156 mph as they fly figure-four passes through the swirling winds. Sometimes they must navigate in pitch darkness, said NOAA pilot Commander Justin Kibbey. Data is collected from cylindrical sensors deployed from the plane; the information helps researchers better predict where the hurricane will go.
Kibbey’s first foray into an eyewall was in a burst of “stadium-effect lightening. ... It makes you feel small. You’re insignificant,” Kibbey said. “You need to take a moment and respect where you’re at.”
Salary: A pilot with the rank of Navy commander, which Kibbey holds, earns about $106,000 in annual base salary, according to the U.S. Navy.
Those pesky little critters known as lice have been causing itchy scalps since the Egyptians, but Heather and James “JJ” O’Connor guarantee they can get rid of them. Their Miami salon, part of the Lice Clinics of America network, promises “urgent care for lice.”
Clinicians treat customers — sometimes whole families at once — at their spa-like location, and also partner with schools to conduct lice checks. Heather, a former real estate agent, pushed JJ to start the business together after learning about the franchise network’s technology, which avoids harsh chemicals in favor of a warm air tool that dehydrates the bugs. The location opened in March on Coral Way and now has five employees.
Expected business: A standard treatment costs $195, with budget options available starting at $120. Across the network, a typical store treats about 100 customers a week.
Riding the wave of the mermaid craze, Marina Anderson performs as a mermaid by day and a burlesque dancer by night. The goal is to make audiences forget she’s holding her breath underwater, said Anderson, who began free-diving the age of 3. For the past 26 years, she has worked as an aquatic performer. The illusion requires acting and strong swimming skills: Anderson does underwater somersaults, back-flips, corkscrews and barrel rolls influenced by stunt flying. She draws choreographic inspiration from the late iconic aquatic actress, Esther Williams. Both the G-rated show and her more-risque version are at Fort Lauderdale’s Wreck Bar at the Ocean B Resort. She also goes on national tour.
Salary: Anderson makes between $400 and $3,000 per show, depending on venue.
WORLD RECORD KEEPER
Carlos Martinez understands what it is to be biggest, fastest or longest-running. While working for Guinness World Records, he’s overseen the largest ancient ceremonial Mexican dance, measured the biggest plastic tub mosaic and presented Floyd Mayweather with an award for “Most bouts undefeated by a world champion boxer.”
Martinez has spent 10 years working around the world for Guinness. As the company’s new director of Latin America, he advises regional businesses and organizations hired by Guinness to support them in their record-breaking attempts. (It helps that he speaks English, Spanish and Portuguese.) More than 1,000 individuals, groups, companies and nonprofits submit applications globally for records every week, and businesses and nonprofits also partner with Guinness to generate publicity through record attempts.
Business: Last year, 800 brands set or broke record titles as consultancy-based clients, according to Guinness. The company customizes package prices depending on the client’s goals and declined to provide specifics, but according to a 2013 Bloomberg Businessweek article, prices start at $7,500 and can go up to $20,000. Salaries at the private company are confidential.
WILLIE THE BEE MAN
A swarm of 5,000 bees on your property might make you panic — but not Willie the Bee Man. No hive’s location can surprise him anymore: He has removed bees from homes, trees, telephone poles, flower pots, sailboat masts, barbeque pits and plane wings from Miami to Palm Beach. He once removed a hive the size of a Volkswagen Beetle from a townhome in Doral.
Willie Sklaroff has been keeping bees as a hobby for 26 years. After he registered as a beekeeper, Florida’s Department of Agriculture began recommending him to panicky property owners with bee problems. He learned on the job and by meeting fellow beekeepers at monthly meetings. (He has also been certified for pest removal, and he attends and teaches continuing education classes.)
Originally, Sklaroff worked as a kindergarten teacher by day, with bee removal as his side gig. A 2003 Miami Herald article generated so much “buzz” that he moved into the bee business full time.
When he gets a call, he suits up in his protective gear and watches the bees to find their home. He always tries to save the hive if possible, calming the insects with smoke before exposing the nest. Layer by layer, he cuts apart the honeycomb and transports it to a safe location.
Business: Willie the Bee Man and his five employees attend more than 2,000 jobs a year. A bee removal can cost between $295 and $3,000 depending on the location and difficulty of the job. In a one-story house, removal is typically between $495-$695. The private company does not reveal salaries.
Like many veterinarians, Dr. Elizabeth McMorran knew her calling from an early age. McMorran, a vet at All Pets Dental who helped on the root canal for Zoo Miami’s 410-pound lion, got her doctor of veterinary medicine degree 13 years ago in Germany and her U.S. credentials at the University of Minnesota. She began specializing in dentistry after the word got around to fellow vets who were tooth-work averse. “No one else wanted to touch the teeth,” she said. Since then, she’s worked on a mountain lion, a chimpanzee and plenty of pets, including cats, dogs and chinchillas. The practice is part of the Hometown Animal Hospital and does procedures including extractions and oral surgery, as well as routine cleanings.
Salary: Veterinarian salaries vary by region and typically made from $52,000-$161,000 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. As specialists, veterinary dentist salaries are usually above the average.
MARLINS’ MONEYBALL MAN
If you saw “Moneyball,” you’ve got a basic idea of what Jason Paré does for the Miami Marlins. Although he grew up a Boston Red Sox fan in Providence, Rhode Island, his playing days ended with Little League. “To work in baseball, I assumed you had to have a relative who was the owner or you had to have played 20 years in the big leagues,” he said. Then he read Michael Lewis’ “Moneyball,” and the former baseball writer with a bachelor’s degree from Yale in cognitive science and a firm grip on data thought he’d found his niche. Today, he’s the team’s senior director of analytics. Marlins front-office meetings are a lot quieter and don’t quite resemble the scenes in the 2011 film when nerdy Ivy Leaguer Peter Brand (played by Jonah Hill) spewed rapid-fire stats at Billy Beane, Oakland A’s general manager (played by Brad Pitt.) “I try not to shout basically at all,” he said.
Salary: According to glassdoor.com, major league analytics managers make from $103,000 - $115,000.