In the post-COVID pandemic world of great resignations, quiet quitting, and return-to-office battles, it’s become increasingly common for people to search for alternative career paths that promise fun, easy jobs that pay well and require minimal effort. Online job search gurus fuel this belief by promoting the idea that numerous high-paying, easy jobs require little to no specialized knowledge, formal training, or experience.
However, the truth is that these so-called “easy” jobs are often not as lucrative or effortless as they are portrayed. These positions usually require an advanced degree, specialized knowledge, or skill sets that may be difficult to learn and demonstrate. Additionally, many high-paying jobs that don’t need a lot of experience also come with an intense workload, long hours, and complex decision-making — all of which can make them difficult to pursue.
This article aims to debunk the myth of easy, high-paying jobs by examining some of the most famous examples and exposing the challenges, responsibilities, and realities behind them.
A career as a flight attendant is often romanticized as a glamorous, fun job and exciting opportunity to travel the world. However, the job is not as carefree as it may seem and is far from anything we’d call easy. To become a flight attendant, one must undergo rigorous training to learn about safety, emergency procedures, aircraft operations, and customer service. Once on the job, flight attendants work long hours, often on their feet, while managing difficult passengers, handling in-flight issues, and dealing with jet lag.
The average salary and pay for this job are decent, but that depends on the location of the job. In the USA, an average Flight Attendant salary is $83k (according to Salary.com), while in the UK it’s just £22k. While experienced flight attendants can earn an even higher income, reaching that level often takes years of service.
Average annual salary: $33k in the US.
Being paid to walk dogs may sound like a dream job for animal lovers. However, the reality of a dog walker is not as simple as it may seem. Walking multiple dogs simultaneously is physically demanding, especially when dealing with different breeds, sizes, and temperaments. In addition, dog walkers work long hours, are exposed to various weather conditions, and must constantly be vigilant to ensure the safety of the animals in their care. Not an easy job for someone who’s not up for the challenge.
Additionally, the income potential for dog walkers is limited. Many dog walkers are self-employed and must spend significant time marketing their services and building a client base. Earnings can vary greatly depending on location, number of clients, and the dog walker’s ability to manage multiple dogs simultaneously.
Average annual salary: varies. The average hourly rate is $31; the entry-level rate is $16.
The role of a personal trainer may seem like an easy job that pays well, but there’s more to it than meets the eye. To become a personal trainer, one must acquire extensive knowledge of human anatomy, physical health, exercise science, and nutrition, often through specialized certifications. In addition, building a client base as a personal trainer also requires excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to know how to market oneself effectively.
The income for a personal trainer can be inconsistent, with many working as freelancers or on a per-session basis. Income levels may fluctuate depending on the personal trainer’s reputation, clientele, and location. Personal trainers often work outside standard business hours to accommodate their clients’ schedules, leading to long days and irregular hours.
Average annual salary: varies. Average hourly rate: $30 in the USA, although most clients outsource VA jobs via Upwork to countries like the Philippines, where the average rate is $7.
The virtual assistant role can seem like an attractive work-from-home opportunity that pays well. However, the job often requires a wide range of skills, such as writing, research skills, data entry, and customer service. In addition, to be successful in this role, a virtual assistant must be highly organized, adaptable, and able to multitask effectively. Whether this is an easy job depends on your inclination to be collected.
The main challenge is supply and demand. The market for virtual assistants is highly competitive, with most VA jobs outsourced to countries outside the US where pay rates are considerably lower. This competition also makes it difficult for new virtual assistants to secure high-paying clients. Additionally, the lack of a steady salary and benefits may deter some from pursuing this career path.
Average annual salary: varies. Average hourly rate: $14 in the US.
House sitting may seem like an easy job that pays well, but it is not a reliable source of income. House-sitting opportunities are often sporadic, and the pay can be minimal, especially considering the responsibilities involved. For example, house sitters must ensure the safety and maintenance of the property, handle any emergencies that arise, and sometimes care for pets.
Moreover, the demand for house sitters can vary greatly depending on location and time of year, making it difficult to rely on this job as a primary source of income. Many house sitters supplement their earnings with other part-time or freelance work.
Average annual salary: $57k, but rare.
Being paid to test and review products may seem like an easy job that pays well, but it is not a consistent or lucrative career path. The work schedule for product testers can be unpredictable, as job availability often depends on the needs of companies conducting market research. Moreover, many product-testing opportunities offer compensation through free products or gift cards rather than cash.
Additionally, the income potential for product testers is limited. The job is typically considered a side gig or supplementary source of income (permanent product testing jobs outside Software Development are rare). Those interested in pursuing this work should be prepared to juggle multiple testing opportunities and manage their finances accordingly.
Average annual salary: varies. Average hourly rate: $100.
Interior design is glamorous and well-paying but the job requires some significant training, education, and experience. Interior designers must have a strong understanding of design principles, materials, and building codes. In many cases, they are required to hold a formal degree or certification in the field.
Furthermore, the interior design industry is highly competitive, and success often hinges on a designer’s reputation and portfolio. As a result, it may take years for new designers to establish themselves and secure well-paying projects. Income can be inconsistent, as designers typically rely on commissions and project-based work.
Real Estate Agent
Average annual salary: $95k in the US.
Becoming a real estate agent might appear to be an easy path to high earnings, but the reality is more complex. Agents must complete licensing courses, pass an exam, and engage in continuous education to stay abreast of market trends and changing regulations. The job also demands strong interpersonal skills, marketing acumen, and perseverance in the face of rejection.
Real estate agents primarily work on commission, meaning that their income is directly tied to the number and value of the properties they sell or rent. This arrangement can result in significant fluctuations in income, especially during market downturns or slow periods.
Average annual salary: varies. Average hourly rate: $18 in the US.
While driving others may seem easy to make money, personal drivers often work long hours and must deal with unpredictable schedules. Depending on their client’s needs, for example, they may be required to work late nights, weekends, or holidays. Moreover, the income for personal drivers can vary greatly, as it depends on factors such as the driver’s location, clientele, and vehicle quality.
In addition to the job’s demands, personal drivers must also contend with the costs of maintaining their vehicle, such as insurance, fuel, and maintenance expenses. These costs can eat into their earnings, making the job less lucrative than it might initially appear.
Average annual salary: $34k in the US.
Waterslide testing may sound entertaining and easy, but it is not a reliable or high-paying career choice. Waterslide tester positions are rare and niche, with only a few amusement parks and manufacturers hiring for this role. Furthermore, the job can be physically demanding and potentially dangerous, as testers must evaluate the safety and performance of slides under various conditions.
Additionally, waterslide testers often work on a project or contract basis, leading to unpredictable income and job security. Given the scarcity of opportunities and inconsistent pay, this job is not a viable long-term career option for most people.
Average annual salary: $39k per year or $19 per hour.
The rise of e-commerce and food delivery apps has created a demand for delivery drivers, but this job is not as straightforward or well-paying as one might think. Delivery drivers work under high-pressure conditions and are expected to deliver packages or food orders quickly and efficiently. The job can also be physically demanding, as drivers must load and unload their vehicles and navigate various terrain, weather, and traffic conditions.
The income for delivery drivers is modest, with many relying on tips to supplement their wages. Furthermore, drivers often work as independent contractors, meaning they are responsible for vehicle maintenance, fuel costs, and insurance expenses, which can further decrease their overall earnings.
Average annual salary: $62k in the US.
While massage therapy might seem relaxing and lucrative, it requires significant training, skill job training, and physical stamina. Massage therapists must complete accredited massage therapist education programs and obtain licensure in most states. Additionally, the job of a massage therapist can be physically demanding, as therapists must use their hands, arms, and body weight to apply pressure for extended periods.
The income for massage therapists can also be inconsistent, as many work as freelancers or on a per-session basis. Earnings may fluctuate based on the massage therapist’s reputation, clientele, and location. Moreover, therapists must often work evenings and weekends to accommodate their clients’ schedules.
Average annual salary: $31k in the US.
At first glance, data entry jobs may seem easy, but the reality is less appealing to job seekers. The work is often repetitive and tedious, requiring long hours inputting data into spreadsheets or databases. Furthermore, data entry positions typically do not offer a handsome salary compared to other jobs that require similar skill sets. Many data entry jobs are temporary or contract-based, resulting in less job security and fewer benefits.
Average annual salary: $32k (entry-level). Top earners can make up to $200k, although rare.
Voice acting may seem enjoyable and eventually lucrative, but breaking into the industry can be incredibly challenging. The field is highly competitive, with many aspiring voice actors vying for limited roles. As a result, rejection is common, and actors must be resilient and persistent in securing work.
Even once established, voice actors often face inconsistent work schedules and income. Jobs can range from one-time gigs to long-term projects, and the pay varies accordingly. Many voice actors work as freelancers, juggling multiple projects and clients to maintain a steady income.
Average annual salary: $56k in the US.
Sales representatives are often portrayed as high earners with flexible schedules, but the reality is more complex. While pay can be decent, sales is high-pressure, with representatives constantly working to meet targets and quotas. Success in sales requires strong interpersonal and organizational skills, persistence, and resilience in rejection.
Income for sales representatives is often heavily dependent on commissions, which can lead to significant fluctuations in earnings. In some cases, base salaries may be low, with the expectation that commissions will make the difference. This arrangement can result in financial instability, especially during slow periods or when sales targets are unmet.
Average annual salary: $42k, but entry-level is likely $32k.
The role of an administrative assistant may seem like a straightforward and well-paying job, but it requires a diverse skill set, some on-the-job training, and the ability to multitask effectively. For example, administrative assistants manage schedules, handle correspondence, and maintain records, all while juggling other job responsibilities with multiple tasks and projects.
While the job may provide a steady income, the salary potential for administrative assistants is often limited, with few opportunities for significant raises or promotions. Moreover, the job can be demanding and stressful, as assistants must manage their supervisors’ and colleagues’ needs and expectations.
Average annual salary: varies. Average hourly rate: $35.
Technical freelance writing might seem lucrative but it requires specialized knowledge, experience, and strong writing skills. In addition, technical writers must deeply understand the subjects they write about, often necessitating a background in engineering, computer science, or other technical fields.
The market for technical writers is competitive, with many individuals vying for a limited number of positions. As a result, salaries can vary widely depending on the writer’s expertise, experience, and the industry in which they work. Additionally, technical writing positions may be project-based or contract-based, leading to less job security and potential income fluctuations.
Social Media Manager
Average annual salary: $57k in the US.
Managing social media accounts for businesses or individuals on a few sites may seem easy and high-paying. Still, it requires a constantly evolving skill set and a deep understanding of other media platforms and their algorithms. In addition, social media managers must stay informed about trends, create engaging content, and monitor performance metrics to ensure the success of their campaigns.
The job can be high-stress, as social media managers are often responsible for managing a brand’s online reputation and dealing with negative feedback or crises. Furthermore, income for social media managers can be inconsistent, as many works on a freelance or contract basis, and the demand for their services may fluctuate.
Average annual salary: $69k in the US, although will vary since many jobs are freelance.
Food styling may seem glamorous and well-paying, but it requires specialized training, expertise, and a keen eye for detail. In addition, food stylists must have a strong understanding of culinary techniques, food photography, and the art of making food look appealing on camera.
Job opportunities in food styling can be limited, with many stylists working as freelancers or on a project basis. This can lead to fluctuations in income and a lack of job security. The field is highly competitive, with many aspiring food stylists vying for limited opportunities.
Average annual salary: varies. Per-gig rate: up to $2k.
The role of a professional bridesmaid may seem like a really fun job and an easy way to make money, but it involves demanding emotional labor and unpredictable schedules. In addition to basic job responsibilities, professional bridesmaids must navigate complex interpersonal dynamics, provide emotional support, and handle various wedding-related tasks while maintaining a positive and enthusiastic demeanor.
The market for professional bridesmaids is a niche, with only a few individuals able to make a decent living solely from this line of work. Income is often unreliable, as professional bridesmaids must rely on word-of-mouth and personal connections to secure clients.
Average annual salary: $68k in the US.
While working as a librarian might appear like one of the easy jobs that are calm and steady, it requires extensive education, on-the-job training, credentials, and a passion for information and literature. Therefore, librarians must hold a Master’s degree, or bachelor’s degree, in Library Science and, in some cases, additional certifications or qualifications.
Public-sector librarian positions often pay lower salaries than private-sector jobs, and budget constraints for government agencies can limit the availability of well-paying positions. Despite the perception of librarians as quiet, solitary workers, the role often involves significant interaction with patrons and many administrative tasks and managerial duties.
Average annual salary: $41k in the US.
House painting may seem easy with decent pay, but it is physically demanding and requires much skill, precision, and attention to detail. Painters must be able to work at heights, handle heavy equipment, and spend long hours on their feet. In addition, they are often exposed to harsh weather conditions and must navigate tight deadlines and demanding clients.
The income potential for house painters can vary depending on location, experience, and the painter’s ability to market their services effectively. Furthermore, painters often work as independent contractors, leading to income fluctuations and a lack of benefits.
Average annual salary: $41k in the US.
Personal styling may seem glamorous and well-paying, but it requires a strong understanding of fashion trends, unique shopping, and client management. In addition, personal stylists must have a keen eye for detail and the ability to understand and anticipate their clients’ needs and preferences.
Personal styling is highly competitive, and success often depends on the stylist’s reputation, connections, and portfolio. Income can be inconsistent, as many stylists work freelance and rely on word-of-mouth and networking to secure clients.
Average annual salary: $135k in the US.
Marketing management is often touted as a high-paying and dynamic career. Still, it requires a diverse skill set, extensive experience, and the ability to adapt to a constantly changing landscape. In addition, marketing managers must have a deep understanding of consumer behavior, branding, and advertising and the ability to create and execute effective marketing strategies.
The job can be high-pressure, with managers often juggling multiple projects, tight deadlines, and demanding clients. While the income potential for marketing managers is high, it typically requires years of experience and a track record of successful campaigns to reach that level.
The Day One Careers Perspective
Easy jobs that pay well are a myth perpetuated by misleading YouTube videos and poor career advice. Generally, jobs that require no training, skill, dedication, or natural ability do not pay well, while those that do pay well demand some, if not all, of these qualities.
At Day One Careers, we believe a job feels easy when you are passionate about and excel at it. We maintain that everyone has something they can be exceptionally good at or potentially excel in if they pay attention to their passions and strengths. Discovering areas where one can excel and passionately invest effort to perfect one's craft is more important than whether the area is high-paying.
Being exceptionally good at something and having the grit and dedication to continually improve will prevent your skill set from becoming commoditized. This differentiation will allow you to command a premium in your niche market, leading to higher-paying jobs or entrepreneurial ventures relative to the average in your area.
Instead of focusing on high pay and working backward to find your passion, start with something you're passionate about and can see yourself investing significant effort into. Doing so makes it almost inevitable that the income you desire will follow as you excel in your chosen field.