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Three Ways to Get a Job Watching TV

What if the job you get paid for is what you end up doing at work surreptitiously anyway? Maybe you stream a couple TV shows at work while you wait for the office aide to get back with the figures for an upcoming meeting. Or maybe you watch some shows when you’re actually supposed to be drafting new design plans. Whatever the excuse, you’re watching TV when you shouldn’t be. But what if you didn’t have to get your fix for game day highlights by cheating the company that pays for your NBA League Pass? Or by opening multiple tabs of research and last night’s episode of Castle? Does this sound too good to be true? In most cases it probably is. The internet is teeming with fraudulent ads claiming to know the “secret” of how to earn money by watching TV at home while getting paid $18 an hour to lose weight and grow your manhood. The reality of any job is that, unless you possess one of the skills companies like GoPro values – a reckless need for adrenaline and the cajones to pursue it – you’ll probably need to do some actual work in order to be compensated for your efforts. Lucky for you, we’ve uncovered the secret of how you can watch TV and get paid for it. Be forewarned, however, that a job watching TV apparently isn’t as laid-back as it might seem at first.

Product Placement Counter

It’s shocking, I know, but one of the most common ways to get a job watching TV involves advertising. Companies like Nielsen Product Placement Service employ folks to count all the products featured in television shows. These counters sometimes spend so much time squinting at a TV screen, they end up with eye problems. Another side effect is apparently the inability to enjoy programming without starting to count everything that sneaks onto an episode, even when you’re not on the clock. For product placement counters, a sitcom is just a blur of Subway sandwiches and Coca-Cola.

Talk Show News Scanner

Somebody has to watch hours of CNN to come up with all those news clips for Jon Stewart and, just to dispel any myths, it’s not Jon Stewart. Talk shows and late-night shows all rely on staffers that scan the news looking for juicy material. I heard that if one of them roots out a real gem, like catching a news anchor snickering over the word “cockfight,” that they get to spend an hour not watching television. But can you blame them? Watching 15 minutes of news coverage is painful, let alone hours.

Video Editor

This probably isn’t what you had in mind when you got into the whole, “getting paid to watch television” gig, but video editors probably watch more TV than anyone. It’s just that they only see a show 1 1/2 seconds at a time, 100 times. All that splicing, pausing, cutting, rewinding, and re-splicing amounts to eight hours of what used to be your favorite drama. Now all you can think about is whether that mole on the lead character’s neck is cancerous or not.

Last, but not least…

And finally, there’s being an executive for a big network, or the host for a show that recaps other TV shows, a la Frank Nicotero. But because the latter job is taken, and you wouldn’t be reading this post if you had the ambition necessary to become an exec, you should probably wait for a spot in product placement to pop up.

About the Author

We actually pay Eliott to watch TV and read up on the cable TV industry. He's not complaining: his hobbies are watching TV and sharing his opinion.

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