Odd Job Nation: A Sample Of Weird, One-Off Gigs

Pop-Star Arm Candy
$50 for the afternoon
All it took was a head shot for Alexander Zahn to land a gig as "escort for a famous international star" visiting New York for Fashion Week. He can't tell us who she is, but describes her as "the picture-perfect blonde pop star." "She's huge in, like, Bangalore," Zahn says. He met his boss-for-a-day on a street corner with her manager and bodyguard. Then escorted her down a red carpet, posed for pictures and gabbed with the press. The only drawback? Zahn tried to squeeze in the gig during his lunch break—but it ended up taking six hours, and he was fired from his temp job.

Aquarium Tank Cleaner
First day: unpaid tryout
Do you love fish? Can you lug 42-pound buckets with either hand? Clean aquarium tanks! Warning: technically, this is only an internship.

Human Chick Pea
$15/hour, plus free hummus
Mmm ... garbanzos. A hummus company took advantage of vast unemployment by hiring someone to dress up as a giant chickpea and hang out in New York's Union Square passing out samples. "They said, 'Your face will be exposed, so you have to be willing to be seen'," says Redleaf. Part-time dress-up jobs are common. The site has had gigs for clowns and surfer dudes, and one in New Jersey for a Santa Claus. (In March?)

Balloon Popper
Sounds like easy money, but not so fast! Apparently, watching videos of clothed men popping balloons by sitting on them is (for some) a sexual fetish. We don't get it either, but hey, $50 an hour! Another option: getting tickled on camera.

Fake Employee
A true sign of the times: one struggling advertising agency hired someone to come in and pretend to be an employee. Why? The firm had a client coming in, but had laid off so many people that its office felt like a ghost town. "They were like, 'Can you just scribble things and feverishly type?' " Redleaf says. "Apparently, it was a successful plot."

Stoner Writers
T shirts, hemp lip balm
Zippy Zenwood, a former time-share broker from Lake Tahoe, has gotten more than 30 responses to his search for marijuana-loving writers to contribute to his forthcoming blog, the Hemp Chronicles. Job requirements are minimal, but specific: "You must be a current stoner," Zenwood told NEWSWEEK, adding that most of his applicants cleared the bar. "As far as being stoners, they all seem very qualified," he says. "Gosh ... where was I?"