Cool Jobs from A to Z: Reflections

The A to Z Challenge is over, and I’m exhausted! I hope you enjoyed reading about some of the coolest jobs I could find, for each letter of the alphabet. In case you missed any, you can find the full list of posts, in alphabetical order, over here.

I enjoyed writing these posts, although since my month ended up being pretty busy, I didn’t get to read most of my fellow participants’ blogs! I hope to get to some more posts in May, and see what I missed.

Of course, this isn’t the last you’ll see of World’s Coolest Jobs! I’ll keep you updated about even more cool jobs every week. To keep things interesting, I’ll be posting “Friday Fun” and “Odd Jobs,” along with new interviews with all kinds of people doing cool jobs.

I’ll also be turning my A to Z blogs into an expanded book called World’s Coolest Jobs by the end of this year – but I need your help!

If you or someone you know has a cool job, I’d love to hear all about it! I’ve created a self-interview page where you can tell me all about the work you do and why it’s so cool, here, so just click the link and fire away. Even if you’re not sure whether your job qualifies, I would still love to hear from you. Tell me what you like and dislike about your job, and why it challenges you! If I use your answers in the book, I’ll send you a copy on release day. How cool is that?

Thanks for reading along on my Cool Career Challenge, and I hope that my posts have inspired you to keep on learning, growing, doing and searching ’til you find your dream job!

Zippy Zappy Zubby Jobs

Z is for… Zoologist!

What’s zoology? It’s the study of animals and their behavior, as well as how they interact with their environment or ecosystem.

“Hosts Kelly Stoetzel and Rives speak onstage at TEDYouth, Session 2, November 15, 2014, Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, New York. Photo: Ryan Lash/TED” (photo credit: TED Conference)

So what do zoologists do? If you guessed “work in zoos” you’re half right. Zoologists also work in various government positions, including county, state or federal agencies (for instance, the Department of Energy or the Smithsonian), or in private businesses.

“Doris Mable Cochran (1898-1968), measuring a turtle shell” (photo credit: Smithsonian Institution)

Zoologists may work for wildlife conservation groups, rehabilitating animals and releasing them back into the wild. They may also work in the field, observing animals in their natural habitat, like Jane Goodall or Dian Fossey.

Some other famous zoologists include the late great Steve Irwin and Charles Darwin.

Although most zoologists don’t poke animals with sticks, there are certainly many different ways to observe animals in their natural habitats. If you like learning about animal behaviors, watching animals in the wild, or want to protect animals from human encroachment on their land, zoology could be the career for you!

Further Reading

More Zippy Jobs That Start With Z

  • Zamboni Driver
  • Zen Monk
  • Zipper Maker
  • Zoning Manager
  • Zoo Keeper
  • Zoot Suit Tailor

Want to learn about even more cool jobs?

Pre-order the book, World’s Coolest Jobs, a collection of all the coolest jobs you never knew existed. On sale September 1, 2017.

Yippee Ki-YAY Jobs

Y is for… Yard Teacher!

If you’ve ever read Sideways Stories from Wayside School, you’re undoubtedly familiar with Louis the Yard Teacher.

But, have you ever wondered what, exactly, a Yard Teacher does?

As Louis Sachar, who wrote Sideways Stories explains in a profile on the Scholastic Books website:

“After he was at the school for a while, he was asked to be the Noon Time Supervisor. It was his job to watch over the kids during lunch. Sachar played games with the kids who all called him ‘Louis, the Yard Teacher.'”

So, basically, a Yard Teacher is a supervisor or teacher’s aide, who makes sure the kids playing at lunch time or recess aren’t getting into trouble or hurting themselves or each other.

If being a Yard Teacher is anything like Sachar describes in Sideways Stories, this sounds like a pretty cool career indeed.

Further Reading

More Yay-Inducing Jobs That Start With Y

  • Yacht Builder
  • Yarn Maker
  • Yeast Culture Developer
  • Young Adult (YA) Librarian

Want to learn about even more cool jobs?

Pre-order the book, World’s Coolest Jobs, a collection of all the coolest jobs you never knew existed. On sale September 1, 2017.

eXceptional, eXcellent, eXciting Jobs

X is for… Xylophonist!

There aren’t a whole lot of jobs in the world that start with X (particularly without referencing name brands, such as “Xerox Operator/Salesperson”), but one of the most interesting is Xylophonist.

Xylophonists are percussionists that specialize in playing the xylophone. The xylophone, as you may already know, is an instrument made of wooden bars hit with mallets to produce sound. Xylophones are also related to the marimba, balafon, semantron, and metallophones like the glockenspiel and vibraphone. Different types of xylophones can also be found in gamelan ensembles, found in Indonesia.

Here’s a video of “The World’s Greatest Xylophonist,” Teddy Brown:

Of course, there are many other xylophonists in the world today! One of them is Evelyn Glennie, who bills herself as “the world’s premier solo percussionist.” According to Glennie’s TED biography:

“The Grammy-winning percussionist and composer became almost completely deaf by the age of 12, but her hearing loss brought her a deeper understanding of and connection to the music she loves. She’s the subject of the documentary Touch the Sound, which explores this unconventional and intriguing approach to percussion.”

You should definitely check out Glennie’s TED Talk, “How to Truly Listen.”

Further Reading

More eXciting Jobs That Start With X

  • Xenobiologist
  • Xeriscapist
  • XML Specialist
  • X-Ray Specs Dealer (aka Joke Shop Owner/Gag Gift Salesperson)
  • X-Ray Technologist
  • Xylologist

Want to learn about even more cool jobs?

Pre-order the book, World’s Coolest Jobs, a collection of all the coolest jobs you never knew existed. On sale September 1, 2017.

Wonderful, Wacky, Wild Jobs

W is for… Wedding Singer!

If you’ve ever seen The Wedding Singer, you’ve probably wondered “Do people really do that for a living?”

The answer is yes!

Wedding singers are musicians. Sometimes they work solo, but more frequently they work with bands, and may also play an instrument of their own.

My mother used to be an organist and wedding singer for people who were married in a traditional Catholic church ceremony. She played the organ and sang songs chosen by the couple, at various points in the church service, to help them make their special day unique.

Granted, this was back in the 1980s and 1990s, so these songs may seem dated, but I remember her practicing these wedding standards in our living room with happy couples:

Along with, of course, Mendelssohn’s Wedding March, “Here Comes the Bride,” and Pachelbel’s Canon.

Normally wedding singers entertain a post-church crowd at wedding receptions (which are like after-parties). As Rachel Anne Warren says in her piece for The Billfold:

“If you request a list of all sad, sappy songs that pull on your heartstrings like lepers, we’ll probably encourage you to let us steer the ship straight into the party zone. The party zone is, of course, that other-worldly place where you forget you own a cellular phone because faces are melting, booties are shaking, and souls are burning with the flames of life.”

Being a wedding singer these days is all about keeping the party rolling, encouraging audience participation, and singing crowd favorites. Depending on the style of music that the married couple prefers, wedding singers will belt out popular tunes of today (or yesteryear), and do their best to keep everybody dancing, clapping, and singing along.

If leading a perpetual party sounds like your kind of job, then maybe becoming a wedding singer is the job for you!

Further Reading

Related Films

More Wonderful Jobs That Start With W

  • Watch Repair(wo)man
  • Water Quality Tester
  • Weather(wo)man – aka Meteorologist
  • Weaver
  • Wedding Consultant
  • Wedding Singer
  • Welder
  • Wildlife Agent
  • Woodworker
  • Wrecking Supervisor
  • Writer

Want to learn about even more cool jobs?

Pre-order the book, World’s Coolest Jobs, a collection of all the coolest jobs you never knew existed. On sale September 1, 2017.