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Five Jobs with Great Perks & Fringe Benefits

Jobs come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. There are jobs that you take because it’s a stepping stone to something better. There are jobs that you take just for the paycheck. There are jobs that are fulfilling, beyond that paycheck, and get you up in the morning. And then you have those jobs that maybe don’t pay that well but have such awesome perks or fringe benefits that you don’t care how much they pay.

Today, we’ll look at five jobs that don’t necessarily pay the most but offer other benefits that you’ll be hard pressed to find elsewhere. If you have any first-hand experience with any of these jobs, please share your experiences in the comments!


If you’re young, love to travel, and don’t mind cramped working conditions, consider working on a cruise line for a few years. The pay won’t be spectacular but you will have all of your expenses covered and you will have the opportunity to see places that would otherwise cost you a pretty penny. The hierarchy of a cruise line’s staff is pretty intricate, so I’d familiarize yourself to the different strata and figure out where you best fit in either the marine or hotel operations.

If you’re curious what it’s really like, check out these resources. CruiseMates did a story on working on a cruise [3] (or five in that case) and Reddit frequently has IAmA discussions involving people working in the cruise industry [4].

Flight Attendant

As long as you don’t have to deal with too many unruly (read: drunk) passengers, a flight attendant is a pretty sweet gig. The hours may be long and you may spend a lot of time away from home, but flight attendants usually get free or heavily discounted travel for themselves and their family. There’s a bit of unpredictability with the free and discounted travel (you get bumped first) but when you consider the cost of airfare, it’s a pretty nice perk to have.

You generally have to be over the age of 18, have a high school diploma or a GED, and double check each airline’s hiring qualifications. College education is best and customer service experience is also a plus, though not required. If you are fluent in a second language, that’s a plus too for international routes.

Theater Usher

Where else can you get paid to watch Broadway shows? The idea of being a theater usher is pretty appealing as a sideline gig, work shows at night in addition to your job during the day, all the while getting to see some decent shows. Part of the difficulty is in execution because you can’t pop around to different theaters all the time and getting a regular spot at a theater usually means you’re watching the same show over and over again.

The best way to go about getting a gig like this is to substitute for someone else. The best way to do this is to give your resume to the Theater House Manager and hope for the best. Here’s an informative discussion [5] about becoming an usher, which is apparently a gig many aspiring actors pursue.


If you can swim and love sitting around outside on the beach during the summer, being a lifeguard just might be for you. Depending on your level of swimming expertise and certification, you have your choice of being a lifeguard at a pool, a water park, or the beach. It’s recommended that you take a lifeguard training class that includes first aid and CPR, both of which will likely be requirements in any lifeguarding job you take.

There are two big perks for being a lifeguard – first you get to relax and sit around all day. Second, you’ll pretty much be forced to stay in pretty good shape. You’ll have to swim every day, stay lean, and hit the weights during your training and after, to keep up. Remember, people’s lives depend on you so you need to stay at the top of your game.

Retail Sales Associate

Finally, the last job that offers up a pretty sweet perk is a retail sales associate. The perk here is that you get a significant discount off regular and sale items at the store you’re working for. These discounts can get up to 40% and 50% off regular prices, though you’ll probably be expected to work 20+ hours a week as a part-timer. Some example discounts are 30% off at The Gap, 20% off at JC Penney, 40% at Williams-Sonoma, and 10% off at Lowes. The downside is that you’ll probably experience difficulty getting these jobs during the recession.

Finally, if none of those appeal to you and you’re a fan of movies, consider working at the movie theater. The perk? You get to watch movies for free.

Did you have a job that had awesome perks? What was it?

(Photo: Jobs [6] by 3CENT, Cruise Ship [7] by caspermoller, Flight Attendant [8] by georgeparrilla, Theater Usher [9] by chicagonorthshore, Lifeguard [10] by gustaffo89, The Gap [11] by nutmeg)