Small Fish in Big Pond. Salary: $55,000
After four years of college, and with shiny new degree in biological oceanography under your belt, you take the first job offered to you—which happens to be on the Scientific Council for Inner Mongolia. Next stop: the Gobi Desert, where you'll be dreaming of the ocean breezes.
Researching Sea Searcher. Salary: $80,000
You spend years of your career trying to capture video of the elusive giant squid. So far you've got the world's largest collection of murky water film to show for it. Suddenly, you see it out of the back of the submarine and record seventeen glorious seconds. You then check the footage and realize you left the lens cap on.
Deep Ocean Technician. Salary: $105,000
Your Master's degree in Geological Oceanography earned you a solid (or liquid?) position locating oil reserves for a large petroleum corporation. You spend most of the summer on a boat in the Gulf of Mexico trying to find untapped shales. Once you thought you were about to be boarded by pirates, but it turned out a Greenpeace boat just wanted to throw some paint at you.
Ocean Master. Salary: $130,000
Your research over the years has earned you the respect of the scientific community. Most of your days are spent teaching young would-be oceanographers at a cushy post in a major university. Others are spent brooding over and critiquing the latest James Cameron documentary.
Neptune's Frenemy. Salary: $175,000
You make a scientific discovery that'll make a major impact against global climate change. The findings go international and you reap praise (and funding) from an adoring public. Now you can spend all the time you want pursuing your real hobby—jet skiing the seven seas.