Professional Researcher of Interesting Things

I’m taking a research methods class this semester. I stumbled into a conversation yesterday about think tanks. A few years ago I met someone whose job it is to do the research that legislators commission to inform public policy. I used a foundation’s publicly-available research data to inform a project I did last semester. Some smaller companies I follow make useful, relevant research a part of their offering and their credibility. And so the idea of being a professional researcher of interesting topics has been of interest to me lately. It’s like being paid a living wage to be a grad student, without the pesky TA requirement, right?