Bing's 13 jobs for retirees

You're retired. You've got time. The working world is now your oyster, if you can still digest one.


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(Fortune) -- Ah, the bucolic fields of retirement! How they beckon! Time to sit with your feet in the sand and your head in the clouds. After a lifetime of labor, the golden years stretch before us like ... a blasted tundra. Wait a minute. That's not right. The land of the retired is calm, restful, and ... about as exciting as a dead fish. Okay, the truth is, as enticing as it might seem to hang up one's socks, years and years of unbroken leisure can grow stale real fast. The good news is that a host of happy careers awaits the energetic, ambitious retiree who has avoided the shoals of recessionary disaster. Each offers its own enticements.

Treasure hunter

All you need is the time, a beach, and a good metal detector!

  • Job description: Must be willing to spend great amounts of time on a beach, in an empty lot, or at a garbage dump, slowly combing the surface with a magnetic gizmo. Must be willing to defend substrata acquisitions from wily competitors and have a good relationship with sales outlets for sometimes disdained inventory.
  • Qualifications: Applicants must have own bathing suit and flip-flops, as well as state-of-the-art technical apparatus. Certain arm strength and stamina required.
  • Compensation: That big score could be right around the corner, just like when you were hawking tech stocks at Bear Stearns!
"Before" picture model

Okay, you don't look as good as you used to. You have less hair and more avoirdupois, or perhaps less, if you're the scrawny type. Fortunately, our society is big into makeovers, and magazines, websites, and pay-TV infomercials are in constant need of people who look as if they could use one.

  • Job description: Appear in variety of media looking miserable, showing off your worst attribute, unless you're concealing something even more deplorable.
  • Qualifications: Look like hell, be willing to show it.
  • Compensation: Antimodels make big bucks, even if they can't walk down a runway without tripping!
Miniature-golf caddy
  • Job description: Lurk around miniature golf courses looking for opportunities to carry other people's club. If somebody actually allows you to do so, perform with distinction.
  • Qualifications: Clean clothes. Must be courtly and polite to avoid possible police interest.
  • Compensation: You can keep all your tips.
Plant person

Feeding. Watering. Plants are living creatures too, even though they don't move around as much as you do (marginally). A particularly important assignment in the desert climes where you'll be spending a lot of your time.

  • Job description: Go to offices and homes to feed and water flora and the occasional fauna that's been left alone while owners are out.
  • Qualifications: Must have own watering can, although water to be utilized is generally free and available. Possible need for personal hose, although that is negotiable.
  • Compensation: Minimum wage, although promotion to dog-sitting has been known to happen.
Artisan-cheese taster

In some cases it's hard to tell a cheese that's turned from one that's just naturally stinky. But it's an all-important question for those seeking to charge $18 a pound for it.

  • Job description: Must taste all kinds of cheese without gagging and be capable of giving appropriate response. Certain cheese-related jargon is required, such as use of the terms "aroma esters," "coulant," and "morge." Fair knowledge of mold is also advisable.
  • Qualifications: A working nose and somewhat pretentious mien. Ability to drink wine while nodding for a long time without falling over.
  • Compensation: Quite good for those who ascend to the party circuit; all the cheese you can eat (often with bread, crackers, and fruit).
Writer of iPhone apps

There isn't anything too stupid to sweep the world. You have years of providing that kind of value under your belt, don't you?

  • Job description: Write applet for iPhone; sell to Apple; collect big bucks.
  • Qualifications: Must know Apple code and be comfortable with any idea that a sane person would consider "way too small."
  • Compensation: Infinite. Some guy has made a bundle creating the illusion that when you tip the iPhone, you're actually "drinking" a glass of beer. Another applet "ripples" the screen when you touch it. How about a fly walking across the display? Has that been done yet? No? It's my idea! Mine!
Greeter

People often feel a little bit at sea right after they've parked their cars, walked to a store, and entered. In recent years the opportunities have blossomed for individuals who want to crouch in a secure location and then leap out and say hello to people.

  • Job description: Wear T-shirt. Stand in prime location to encounter those entering retail establishment. Smile. Say, "Welcome to YOUR STORE HERE," inserting the name of your store there. Do NOT actually say "YOUR STORE HERE." It defeats the purpose.
  • Qualifications: No drool on chin, except in certain chains now in Chapter 11.
  • Compensation: Minimum wage, but a great opportunity to meet people! And it's 14% less boring than watching the stock crawl all day.
Airport chauffeur

Many people your age do not drive well enough to pick up the grandkids at the airport. But you do, as long as it's very bright outside and there isn't a lot of traffic and they don't keep changing the layout of the airports the way they always seem to be doing and the passenger pays the tolls and gas doesn't get any more expensive and something about your oil filter. What was it again?

  • Job description: Drive people to and from the airport.
  • Qualifications: Driver's license, car, chauffeur's cap (optional).
  • Compensation: $50 each way, more or less. (Make sure to get it upfront.)
Mall cop

See that kid in front of Fuddruckers? He's running with an ice-cream cone!

  • Job description: Must keep an eye on all matters of interest at both external and internal areas of local mall facility. Intercede where possible, as long as there is no danger of injury to self. Must stand for hours on end without falling asleep on one's feet.
  • Qualifications: Two feet or the appropriate prosthetics. Scheduling flexibility. Capacity to deal with small children without resorting to nightstick.
  • Compensation: Steady if unimpressive. Possibilities for advancement if willing to handle mop.
Grass monitor

Cutting grass at your retirement community is an expensive proposition for the board that runs the facility. It's a well-known fact that a "watched pot never boils." What's less understood is that the same concept goes for lawns, even those that are sod.

  • Job description: Mow lawn.
  • Qualifications: Must be able to negotiate with aggravating condo board, and then be able not only to cut the grass but also to suffer continual advice and criticism from fellow residents. Must provide own golf cap.
  • Compensation: $7 per hour; occasional glass of lemonade.
Early-bird specialist

Diners often hate it when they go to a restaurant and find nobody eating there. Your job in this case is to arrive for a full steak dinner with unlimited salad and huge dessert cart at 4:30 p.m. every day to make the establishment look busy. You can do that, can't you?

  • Job description: Show up when the restaurant is about to open. You do that anyway, don't you? Sit down, taking up as much room as possible. Eat. Unbuckle belt. Return home and go to sleep at 6 p.m.
  • Qualifications: Must be able to wolf down an 18-ounce New York strip while others are just waking up from afternoon nap and the sun is still high in the sky. Sometimes requires altering entire meal schedule to accommodate breakfast at 4 a.m. and lunch at perhaps 10 a.m.
  • Compensation: The very best table at the cool spots that everybody is fighting to get into once it gets dark out.
CEO of a bailed-out, TARP, or Chapter 11 corporation

Just listen to what the guys in Washington are telling you to do, and you'll do fine for a while. Try not to snore during conference calls.

  • Job description: Must be willing to sit quietly in one's office and wait for instructions from Mr. Emanuel, Mr. Geithner, Mr. Bernanke, Ms. Clinton, Mr. Wieselfreund (who runs the commissary), or if you're really in trouble, Paul Krugman.
  • Qualifications: Must have run a prior iteration of some large corporation into the ground.
  • Compensation: $1 per year, but all you can eat in snacks.
Former Vice President of the United States

He's the poster child of all retired working people, and of anybody who might have felt that once they left their former employment they would be marginalized. Heck, he's in everybody's face!

  • Job description: Get out there and defend!
  • Qualifications: Must be ill-tempered and willing to go to the opening of an envelope.
  • Compensation: Unclear. But there may be a book in it somewhere.
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