The jobs people assume don’t pay a lot of money – but actually pay really well

Lift operators on construction sites were among the top answers

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The Independent Online

Parents often consider medicine, lawyer or accountancy to be sensible career choices for their children if they want to secure a high salary.

But it turns out a child dreaming of a becoming a freelance pool boy can do equally well.

The following first appeared on Quora, a question-and-answer website, in response to the question: which are the jobs most people assume don’t make a lot of money but, in reality, pay very well?


Carpenters at the Carnegie Hall made over $400,000 a year in 2013, according to Wendy Ham, Carnegie Hall patron.

For comparison, Alan Gilbert, the conductor of the New York Philharmonic, gets a salary of around $1.3 million, Ham said.

In 2012, James Csollany the carpenter earned $441,223, almost as much as the theatre’s top stagehand.

At the Metropolitan Opera, the master carpenter earns over $500,000 a year, which is about 20 per cent more than what his boss earns, according to Ham.

Lift Operator

Lift operators on construction sites were among the top answers.

“While it looks like all he's doing is pushing a button to make the lift go up and down, and while in fact that may be all that he is doing, a combination of factors… makes him the highest paid person on the entire construction site (including all of the superintendents and managers on the job)! We're talking about hundreds of thousands of dollars annually,”  David S. Rose wrote on Quora.

Crane operators

Crane operators in New York are next on the list, according to Nimish Prathat.

“If you live in a city that has a lot of high-rise construction projects, like New York, you could make $500K a year,” she said, citing an article from the Wall Street Journal

Pool boy

An anonymous freelance pool boy in charge of keeping the pool clean and keeping all the chemicals balanced said he won $60,000 in six months (tips not included).

His tasks were to maintain roughly ten pools a day, six days a week, for six months out of the year, charging his customers $40 a week.

Human statue

Human statues can get up to $100 per hour, according to Naqqash Ghaffa Abbasi 

Store managers

Lucas Mund, a technology teacher who spent his summer working at his local fast food said his 19-year old boss – the fast food manager – was taking $35,000 a year with benefits.

“She told me that she was on track to be a regional manager by the age of 30 and would make $100,000 by then,” Lucas Mund wrote on Quora.

A Wal-Mart store manager in a moderate-sized locale can make up to $200,000 plus bonuses based on sales, according to Murray Godfrey, a US history professor.

Bin men

The average salary for bin men in the United States is about $35,000, but in some cities they can make up to $60,000 a year, according to Christ Bast.

This is different in the UK where salaries are typically around £15,000 to £18,000 a year for collectors and £19,000 for drivers. Managers can earn around £25,000 a year, according to the National Careers Service.

Bus drivers

Bus drivers make an average of $38,000 a year in the US.