Beer and Ice Cream — Good Work If You Can Get It

Did you spend your college summers waiting tables or working as a thankless intern?

Would you have rather worked on the space shuttle, drank beer … or watched pornography?

A few lucky folks are spending their summer doing all those things, and more, in some of the country's most coveted jobs.

ABC News scoured the country looking for summer jobs that are not only fun to do but also come with great stories. These are the types of gigs that make people gasp, "You get paid to do that?!"

They include playing video games, tasting ice cream, driving a jet boat and being a nanny for a millionaire couple's kids. That last job came with a Mercedes, weekends on a yacht and a jaunt to Hawaii.

This is simply a sample of some great gigs out there. Feel free to share your own summer work experiences and thoughts for the best and worst jobs in the comments section on the right.

Tasting Ice Cream and Beer

Cybill Yanus has a philosophy about summer jobs: "If it's not fun, why do it?"

OK, so that's not her own phrase, but that of Ben & Jerry's co-founder Jerry Greenfield. But, having worked for three summers for Ben & Jerry's, Yanus has definitely adopted it.

"I don't want to be in a position — a job — that I can't have fun with," she said. "If you don't like what you're doing, you need to find something else."

Yanus started giving tours at the company's original ice cream factory in Waterbury, Vt. She worked her way up to the team that oversees tour guides, children's activities and the parking lots.


"No other place in the world are you going to be paid to talk about ice cream all day long," she said. "It is a job, and we do make sure that things are running, but when it comes down to it, we're pretty much all kids at heart."

Tour guide jobs at Ben & Jerry's start at $8.50 an hour.

Oh, yeah, and you also get three free pints of ice cream every day.

"Most people do end up taking home the three pints, but we don't eat them ourselves," Yanus said. "We actually find that we become very popular during the summertime when people find out we work for an ice cream company."

Halfway across the country in Denver, Chris Rippe spends his summer talking about and tasting beer.

The recent college graduate landed a summer job giving tours at the Flying Dog Brewery.

"As far as summer jobs, this is the best gig I've ever had," Rippe said. "I was a [parking] valet once. You don't get to drink any beer doing that job."

His duties include giving tours, helping to run the tasting room and, in the off hours, labeling bottles.

Rippe is expected to have extensive knowledge of each of the brewery's beers.

"It's kind of a Catch-22. You're allowed to sample on the tours," he said. "But at the same time, nobody has any sympathy if you come in hung over or are drunk and can't do your job."

Adult Movies

Matt Knapp once described his job this way: "Naked 19- to 21-year-old girls really are the way to kick-start your day."

And how did that day end?

"In the highly anticipated six-girl orgy down by the pool."

Of course.

Just another day at the office for Knapp, the Hustler video intern.

The Santa Monica, Calif., college student — who majors in philosophy and communications — worked at Hustler surrounded by hundreds of adult DVDs.

"I pretty much had free reign to take whatever videos I wanted," Knapp told ABC News. Many he gave to friends.

His job included writing press releases, dealing with reviewers and doing marketing, including creating a MySpace page. Knapp also got to visit the sets of various adult films.

The job wasn't actually a summer one, but a semesterlong internship. And yes, Knapp got college credit for his time at Hustler.

Knapp said that while this was still a job, there were several subtle differences.

For instance, at most workplaces, if you are looking at porn on the Internet, you have to make sure you have another less-controversial Web site that you can quickly switch to. Knapp wrote on his blog how one day, while reading a news Web site, "I thought I heard someone coming up behind me. I panicked … and didn't relax until the hard-core [porn site] fully loaded."

So, during his time at Hustler, did Knapp make any adult-film cameos?

"No, I didn't and my mom would have killed me," he said. "My dad is proud as he--. He bragged about me to all my friends."

As for his girlfriend, Knapp said, "She's very tolerant. She knew I loved it and was just happy that I was doing something I enjoyed."

Living the High Life

Ever dreamed of living in an oceanfront penthouse and driving a Mercedes?

For one summer, that was part of Tara Palmer's job as a nanny for the kids of a young millionaire couple in Florida.

The Milwaukee, Wis., native supervised the couple's 2-year-old and 6-year-old children as the summer job quickly turned into a yearlong adventure.

There were weekends on a family yacht, a monthlong vacation to Hawaii and the chance to meet celebrities and sports stars. Palmer also got free clothing and access to a nightclub.

Anytime she needed to drive somewhere, Palmer just took the Mercedes that the family gave her for her tenure.

"They were very accommodating and treated me like part of the family," she said. "I never felt like I was hired help."

When a friend of Palmer's came to visit for a spring break road trip, the family flew the friend to Florida, and paid for all of their expenses. They even gave the two women money to go shopping.

And how did they get around?

"They rented us a convertible that week because they thought the Mercedes would be too boring to drive," Palmer said.

Life Is a Game

For those who like to spend their time playing games, Nintendo and other video game makers hire people to play their products all day long, looking for problems.

"This is sort of really a dream job for a lot of people," said David Young, a Nintendo spokesman.

No, this isn't a job that you can do at home in your underwear.

Video game makers are very concerned about their latest products being stolen, so testers must work in a secure office. Jobs come and go, depending on how close Nintendo is to a game release. In 2002, there were about 100 testers at the busiest time. This year, the number of testers is expected to fluctuate between 130 and 280.

Before you sign up, note this: Your job on some days might require playing the same scene over and over and over again.

Stephen Ward started testing games after he graduated from college with a degree in business administration. Now, 10 years later, he works full time for Nintendo.

"I'm not really using that degree now, but it helped get me into the door," Ward said.

Sound like fun? Start stretching your thumbs out now, because Nintendo only hires about one out of every 50 applicants.

Fast, Powerful Machines

For something a little more high speed, consider working for NASA.

A.J. Hartnett, a computer engineering student at Purdue University, spent part of his summer in Mission Control.

During the last Space Shuttle Atlantis mission, Hartnett worked in Mission Control helping the trajectory analysis and flight dynamics officers.

So, did he ever say, "Wow, I'm at NASA?"

"Just about every day," Hartnett said. "It doesn't always click with me, but when it does, it's an amazing feeling."

Anne Roemer, manager of the co-op education program at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, said that she gets 800 to 1,000 resumes each year for just 50 spots. The program runs 2½ years, and participants rotate through various NASA departments.

"It's probably one of the best ways to get your foot in the door," Roemer said.

The college students are paid $14 to $17 an hour, and many also get class credit. Last year, 41 of the 54 program graduates were offered full-time jobs with NASA.

This summer, Rusty Chute drives a 1,200-horsepower jet boat filled with tourists. "My name is Rusty and I'll be your captain," says the 27-year-old schoolteacher.

Chute works for the Original Dells Experience Jet Boat Tours in Wisconsin and runs four to five tours a day. He earns $28 a trip, plus tips.

"As a captain, you're in control, and people are a little more willing to listen to you," Chute said. "In other [tourist jobs] — at a water park or work in a restaurant — people kind of just walk all over you."

The boat company still looks to fill one more spot through a posting on

"You're out here doing what most people come up here to do on vacation, and you're being paid for it," Chute said. "It's a pretty sweet deal."