Hermit to trash rummager: Six quirky jobs you can do in Switzerland

Helena Bachmann
Helena Bachmann - [email protected]
Hermit to trash rummager: Six quirky jobs you can do in Switzerland
The most important work tool for a punctuality specialist. Image by Gaby Stein from Pixabay

Sure, there are bankers, chocolate and cheese manufacturers, plus watch makers. But while typically ‘Swiss,’ these positions don’t fall under the ‘wacky’ category. We list some that definitely fit the bill.


If you work in a ‘regular’ job, as most people in Switzerland do, but need a career reboot, these positions could be just down your alley.

Happiness officer

Yes, you heard it right — and if you want to have a laugh about, go ahead, it's more than appropriate.

Earlier this year, a law firm in the Valais capital of Sion had an employment opportunity for a serious candidate — but not too serious.

Attorney Sébastien Fanti had an opening in his company for a CHO, an acronym he created, which stands for “Chief Happiness Officer.”

The employee’s duties include tasks such as “preserving the morale” of the stressed-out employees, “spreading favourable and positive vibes," “soothing tensions,” and “relativising the problems through humour (if necessary, corrosive).”

The perks of the CHO job include the ability to work part-time from home, as well as free rein in deciding how happiness should be spread through the company.

A corporate cheerer-upper. Photo: Pixabay

READ ALSO: Why a Swiss company wants to employ a happiness officer

Punctuality specialist

This can’t really be much of a surprise to anyone who knows of Swiss people’s penchant for punctuality.

And even more so, if you consider that this position is within the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB), which has a whole department called Punctuality Programme, dedicated to…you guessed it, punctuality.

Its aim is to ensure that each Swiss train arrives at its destination no more than three minutes late. 

This person must not only own a watch (preferably a Swiss one), but also know how to keep tardy German trains out of Switzerland, so they don’t mess up SBB’s efficient transport system.  



If you are an outgoing ‘people’ person, this job is definitely not for you. If, however, you lack social skills, you have a chance.

This municipal position from the town of Solothurn is for an introvert to live in a secluded cave-like cabin and to take care of the nearby chapel and gorge.

In 2016, the city council advertised in local media, seeking to hire a “recluse with a Christian background" to fill the hermit caretaker job, when the previous hermit, a nun, quit after complaining that passersby wanted to chat with her, and she was unwilling to engage in social interactions.

The position is now filled by a retried police officer. 

Town crier

In 2021, the city of Lausanne advertised on its website  for a very high position — that of a town crier to announce the hours every night between 10 pm and 2 am from the bell tower of the imposing Gothic cathedral — as had been done continually since 1405.

Among the requirements for this vacancy were the ability to announce hours in a melodious voice; climb 53 stone steps to the cathedral’s bell tower; and not fall asleep on the job.

After over 600 years of night watchmen, a woman was hired for the first time to shout out from the bell tower — preserving the long tradition, while at the same time breaking it too.

The first female town crier at her job. Photo: City of Lausanne media

READ ALSO: After 600 years of night watchmen, Lausanne gets first watchwoman


Klingon language teacher

Several years ago, Migros Club School in Zurich, Switzerland’s largest adult education institution, was looking for a language teacher.

But no, it wasn’t for one of the country’s four official languages — German, French, Italian, or  Romansh.

Instead, the school wanted to hire someone who was fluent in Klingon, the language of about 3,000 words spoken in the Star Trek universe.

The school did find a suitable person for the job, André Muller, possibly the only person in Switzerland who is fluent in the language.

You can find out more about the course in this video: 

Trash inspectors 

Of all the jobs listed above, this has got to be the least desirable one.

Because municipalities across Switzerland have special personnel tasked with examining the contents of garbage bags in their communities.

Recycling, and garbage disposal in general, are strictly regulated. Not segregating your trash — for instance, throwing out PET bottles with tin cans or paper, or not putting it out on correct days — can result in heavy fines, the amount of which is determined by each individual commune.

Also, not packing the trash in a special, taxed bag means inspectors have the right to go through it to identify garbage offenders — and they do.

The offenders then receive fines by mail, which they should not toss randomly in the trash, as they may be breaking the law again —instead, they should be recycled with other paper.

So don’t be surprised if you see people rummaging through trash bags — they are just doing their job.
READ ALSO: What are Switzerland's rules for waste disposal and recycling?


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