It's the Monday morning fantasy of every working stiff on the planet. Instead of crawling out of bed at an ungodly hour, showering and getting dressed in your office best, you get paid to stay in your sweet holiday-themed Hoodie-Footie jammies all day!
Since the glorious birth of the Internet, websites have been selling us on the idea of shopping in our underwear, banking in our underwear, renting videos in our underwear and even working in our underwear. Frankly, that's just gross. The civilized slob knows that nothing says "trust me, I'm a professional" like a classy pair of PJs.
Sure, there are plenty of normal jobs that you can do from home in various stages of undress — Web developing, medical transcription, freelance writing — but we set out to find jobs that actually allow you to step out in public wearing nothing more than your pajamas.
Keep reading for our list of 10 unbelievable — literally, you won't believe us — jobs that you can really do in your jammies.
Hotel Mystery Shopper
This has to be one of the sweetest gigs for folks who love to travel and hang out all day in fluffy hotel robes. Major U.S. hotel chains, including high-end luxury resorts, hire legions of undercover agents to stay at their hotels and rate everything from front desk service to the thread count of bed linens.
To get hired as a hotel mystery shopper, it helps to have several years of management experience in the hospitality industry, impeccable taste and a flair for the dramatic — mystery shoppers are often asked to impersonate a troublesome guest, like the lady who manages to break her TV, toilet and smoke alarm within 20 minutes of arrival.
Hotel mystery shoppers are expected to travel 42 weeks out of the year and are paid by the gig. The client provides a checklist of dozens of items for the secret guest to rate and provide detailed feedback [source: O'Shea-Evans].
That lady in the back of the J. Crew catalog look so comfortable curled up on the suede couch with a mug of hot chocolate, lounging away a winter morning reading the Sunday paper in her $95 pale blue pajama set. Catalog models earn an average of $70,000 to make the latest fashions look great, even frumpy old flannel jammies [source: SimplyHired].
Not everyone is cut out for the Victoria's Secret catalog — frankly, we think genetic engineering is involved — but you might have what it takes to be a catalog model for major national department stores or local clothing chains. For clothing to look its best, catalog models are usually tall and fit, and it certainly helps to have good looks and a great smile. Catalogs also like to feature models of diverse ethnicities and distinctive looks.
The best way to break into the catalog modeling business is to sign up with a modeling agency. You can visit local agencies in person or apply online with reputable national firms. Another option is to be a fit model for a clothing store (like Kohl's). Fit models act as human mannequins, helping pajama designers see how the clothes hang and move on real people. Even better, all sizes are welcome!
Hugging, science tells us, is good for your health. A loving squeeze lowers your blood pressure and heart rate, and even decreases levels of cortisol, the notorious stress hormone [source: Polard]. But what if you're living alone, far from huggable friends and loved ones? Who can you call to cuddle?
A professional cuddler, of course! In major cities across America, touchy-feely entrepreneurs are selling therapeutic snuggle sessions to cure everything from seasonal affective disorder to a broken heart.
Samantha Hess of Cuddle Up to Me in Portland, Oregon, charges $1 per minute for a hug; you can book sessions from 15 minutes to five hours. Yes, she is extremely careful about screening her clients, meeting them first in a neutral location and requiring them to sign a strict "no sexual contact" pledge. Everyone keeps their clothes on, but pajamas are OK [source: Wells].
Cuddling clients are mostly male, but represent every age range. A lot of cuddlers like to talk about their problems, so professional snugglers should also be good listeners. Crying, apparently, is a common side effect of a good snuggle, professional cuddler Ali C. of New York City told the New York Daily News.
NASA Bed-rest Study Participant
One small nap for a man, one giant sleep for mankind! In what has to be one of the strangest scientific studies subsidized by the American taxpayer, NASA will pay you up to $18,000 to lay in bed for 70 to 90 straight days [source: Ziegler].
Test subjects in NASA's bed-rest studies help scientists measure the effects of microgravity on the human body and develop "countermeasures" to maintain the health and fitness of future astronauts who may one day make the roughly 250-day trip to Mars [source: Smith].
If lying around all day for three months sounds like a dream job, think again. Subjects must lay in beds that recline at a six-degree angle toward the head to mimic blood flow in low gravity. Sinus headaches are one thing, but then there are the, uh, logistics of using the bathroom and eating without sitting up. Participant Beth Ann Shriber, who completed a marathon 90-day bed rest study called it a matter of endurance [source: Dean].
If long-haul studies aren't your thing, check with local universities and research hospitals about participating in a sleep study. In 2015 Harvard Medical School was offering to pay healthy young participants $7,500 for a 32-day sleep study or an easy $600 for two nights of interrupted sleep to test the effects of sleep apnea on learning [source: Harvard Medical School].
Hugh Hefner Impersonator
Hugh Hefner, the 80-something millionaire magnate of Playboy Enterprises, maintains a strict uniform — black silk pajamas during the day, and colored pajamas in the evening along with his signature smoking jacket and S-curve pipe [source: Playboy Enterprises]. His trademark fashion choice embodies the laid-back, sophisticated lifestyle Playboy has promoted since the 1950s.
Since 2011, a Florida man named George Kane has been cashing in on his uncanny resemblance to the octogenarian celebrity publisher. A retired high school principal, Kane decided to take a hint from the dozens of strangers who had approached him for autographs at restaurants. He bought the silk pajamas, memorized Hef's bio and began selling himself as a professional Hugh Hefner impersonator.
On Kane's website, he boasts that 90 percent of people who meet him believe he's the real Hugh Hefner. Kane works car shows, fantasy conventions, corporate events and private parties, always staying in character and happy to pose for pictures. His wife Monnie hopes it's a fad, like his brief stints as a charter boat captain and racecar driver [source: First Coast News].
True, it's hard to pull off a good Hugh Hefner impersonation if you're not a white male over 70, but don't let that get in the way of your dream to work in your pajamas.
Have you ever participated in a focus group? It's a market research technique that uses feedback from "regular folks" to improve new products before they are released to market. Food companies rely heavily on focus group testing, as do TV and movie studios.
A company called Online Verdict offers a new twist on the focus group model. In a jury trial, lawyers for both sides try to present arguments that will convince 12 random members of the public to side with their client. With Online Verdict, a lawyer can test the strength of his or her case with a mock jury before setting foot in real court.
Mock jurors work from home and earn between $20 and $60 per case to listen or read through trial materials and answer a short questionnaire supplied by the lawyer. To become a mock juror, you must be over 18 and complete an application on the Online Verdict website. If accepted, you will receive emails when cases are being tried in your county or federal district.
Apple Customer Support
You don't have to be a "genius" to provide friendly customer service to frazzled iPhone and iPad users. As part of its AppleCare warrantee system, California-based tech giant Apple is hiring At-Home Advisors to answer customer service calls from home using a complimentary iMac!
The hugely popular tech company is looking for folks with at least two years of professional troubleshooting experience, but not exclusively with Apple products. After a five-week online training course, you'll be ready to set up your home office and start fielding customer service calls using VOIP [source: Apple].
At-Home Advisors are considered Apple corporate employees and qualify for "competitive pay" and benefits. Job search site Glassdoor lists the starting hourly wage at $15 an hour or slightly less than $30,000 a year. The ideal applicant must be able to work around a flexible schedule starting as early as 7 a.m. CST to as late as 10:30 p.m. CST [source: Apple]. (And the lady in the company's website ad looks like she's wearing her jammies – or at least, some "loungewear").
Even if you don't know the difference between a tarot card and fortune cookie, you can launch a pajama-clad career as an online psychic. If you read the fine print on websites like the Psychic Friends Network, you'll see that online readings are performed in the name of "psychic entertainment," not real-deal voodoo.
What skills should you have to be a successful online psychic? Mostly, you need to be a good listener who can tease out a client's anxieties and dole out "tough love" advice that fits the particular situation [source: Newton]. The longer you keep the client on the line, the more money you make, although don't expect to get rich. Even Miss Cleo herself, the psychic whose "Call me now!" commercials ran incessantly during late-night TV in the 1990s, only made 24 cents a minute [source: Sowunmi].
To get started, register as an "Expert" with a service like Oranum. Using a home webcam — make sure to wear your nice pajamas — you will meet with potential clients in a free chat area, then charge them for in-depth personal consultations. If you want to invest in a set of tarot cards and a turban, that's up to you.
If you're a licensed therapist, you are missing out on an excellent opportunity to work in your sleepy pants. There is a growing demand — particularly from women in their 20s and 30s — for online therapy sessions. Some studies have shown that online therapy is as effective as the in-person kind [source: Singh]. Even if your therapist license doesn't permit you to practice out of state, you can join an online therapy website as a "counselor" or a "life coach."
If you aren't a licensed therapist, but want to try out online counseling as a potential career option, you can join a growing number of free therapy sites as an "active listener." 7 Cups of Tea is a hugely popular online community where people can talk over their problems with attentive and compassionate strangers. You can become a listener by creating a profile and completing an active listening online course. Another popular free site is BlahTherapy.
"In a world of constricting cubicles and noncasual Fridays, one man dared to work from home in his flannel PJs ... " If you have the charcoal smooth voice of a movie trailer guy, or a talent for funny accents and characters, you could earn real money recording voice-overs in your own home studio.
Sure, you could spend thousands of dollars building a high-end recording studio in your basement, but you can also get surprisingly good sound with some cheap tricks. To cut out background noise and echo, for example, record inside a closet full of clothes. The clothes absorb reverb and deaden background noise [source: Schooler].
But how do you find work as a voice-over artist? If you're just getting started, try websites like Voice Bunny and Voices.com, where you can post samples of your work and bid on projects. It's a great way to build up professional experience before seeking out an agent.
For lots more list of unexpectedly awesome jobs, check out the related HowStuffWorks articles on the next page.
How can you get out of giving a professional reference if you don't want to? HowStuffWorks has some tips.
Author's Note: 10 Jobs You Can Do in Your Jammies
An admission — I am in my pajamas right now. Yes, I am one of those lucky suckers who works from home, often in clothes unsuitable for public consumption. When I first started working as a freelance writer, the lure of working in my jammies wasn't as powerful as the urge to never commute into an office again, and have the kind of flexible schedule where I can actually see my kids during daylight hours and be somewhat helpful to my wife. The pajamas are just a perk. As comfortable as it is to remain in loungewear all day, there are some downsides, notably when the UPS guy or a neighbor unexpectedly pays a visit and I answer the door looking like a semi-homeless man with four-day stubble and a 27-year-old sweatshirt. Do you think a tie would dress things up?
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- Dean, Brandi. "One Man's Rest is Another Man's Research." NASA. Aug. 2, 2006 (Jan. 8, 2015) http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/behindscenes/bed_rest_study.html
- DeJohn, Irving. "Meet New York City's First Professional Cuddler." New York Daily News. Jan. 30, 2014 (Jan. 8, 2015) http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/snuggle-time-meet-nyc-professional-cuddler-article-1.1595329
- First Coast News. "Fort Myers Man George Kane Finds Second Career as Playboy Hugh Hefner Look Alike." Aug. 26, 2011 (Jan. 8, 2015) http://archive.firstcoastnews.com/news/local/article/216447/19/Fort-Myers-Man-Finds-Second-Career-as-Hugh-Hefner-Look-Alike
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- Harvard Medical School, Division of Sleep Medicine. "Research Study Subject Recruitment." (Jan. 8, 2015) https://sleep.med.harvard.edu/research/recruitment
- Kohl's. "Fit Models." (Jan. 8, 2015) http://www.kohlscorporation.com/careers/fit_models/fitmodel.html
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- Online Verdict. "FAQs." (Jan. 8, 2015) https://www.onlineverdict.com/jurors/juror-faqs/
- O'Shea Evans, Katherine. "Confessions of a Hotel Mystery Shopper." Travel + Leisure. July 2012 (Jan. 8, 2015) http://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/confessions-of-a-hotel-mystery-shopper
- Playboy Enterprises. "Playboy Offers Chance to Win Hugh Hefner's Pajamas." PR Newswire. Aug. 25, 1996 (Jan. 8, 2015) http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/playboy-offers-chance-to-win-hugh-hefners-pajamas-75122062.html
- Polard, Andrea F. "A Unified Theory of Happiness." Psychology Today. June 8, 2014 (Jan. 8, 2015) http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/unified-theory-happiness/201406/4-benefits-hugs-mind-and-body
- Schooler, Heidi. "Creating Your Own In-Home Recording Studio." Backstage. May 19, 2011 (Jan. 8, 2015) http://www.backstage.com/advice-for-actors/voiceover/creating-your-own-in-home-recording-studio/
- SimplyHired. "Average Catalog Model Salaries" (Jan. 8, 2015) http://www.simplyhired.com/salaries-k-catalog-model-jobs.html
- Singh, Maanvi. "Online Psychotherapy Gains Fans and Raises Privacy Concerns." NPR News. June 30, 2014 (Jan. 8, 2015) http://www.cpr.org/news/npr-story/online-psychotherapy-gains-fans-and-raises-privacy-concerns
- Smith, Heather R. "Lying Around." NASA. Sept. 23, 2008 (Jan. 8, 2015) http://www.nasa.gov/audience/foreducators/lying-around.html
- Sowunmi, Jordan. "Miss Cleo on Her Allegedly Fake Patois and Getting Ripped Off by the Psychic Reader's Network." Vice. April 30, 2014 (Jan.8, 2015) http://www.vice.com/read/we-spoke-to-ms-cleo-about-her-fake-patois-and-getting-ripped-off-by-her-old-bosses
- Wells, Jane. "Professional cuddler offers hugs for hire." NBC News. Nov. 25, 2013 (Jan. 8, 2015) http://www.nbcnews.com/business/business-news/professional-cuddler-offers-hugs-hire-f2D11650793