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12 Jobs That Will Kill You Before Retirement

Updated on July 16, 2012

Some jobs are to die for... and some jobs will just kill you before you hit retirement.

Forbes, CNN, and BusinessInsider are just a few sources who have tallied down some of the most dangerous, yet not necessarily most high-paying jobs. If you're looking for a career change, don't sign up for these.

12. Fishing Industry.

Fishing might seem like a fun hobby, but being a full-time commercial fisherman is a job that calls for balls of steel. Since 1992, fishing has been considered as one of the world's most dangerous jobs. Deaths on the job are often caused by terrible weather, drowning, defective gear, and not to mention, the chances of being eaten by a killer shark are quite high, especially if you're fishing around Australian waters.

11. Whistleblower

Apparently, whistleblowing is a job now.

Formally known as informants, a whistleblower's job is to find out about the anomalies of a certain group, usually government agencies and reputable people and deliver tips to people who buy intel. It sounds like the plot off of Mission Impossible, but being an informant is a serious job with serious pay and some pretty serious consequences if people figure out you've been spilling serious information.

At the right: Sherron Watkins, known for uncovering the Enron scandal of 2001

10. Aircraft Pilot

Aircraft pilots are like sea captains, but for the sky. If the plane goes down, the pilot must do everything to protect his passengers, but he should never abandon his crew, cower to the corner of the plane while it spins and shakes, and most importantly, he should try to keep his passengers and staff calm and hopeful.

Being an aircraft pilot is consider a dangerous job mainly because flying an airplane is risky in itself. Engine malfunction (some of which are caused by pigeons and low-flying birds), problematic passengers, and other issues could cause problems in flights, some of which could be deadly.

9. Bomb Squad

Two wires, ten seconds. Cut the wrong wire, you and everyone in a 10-15 mile radius* are in trouble.

Big trouble.

* Exaggerated

8. Programmers, Bloggers, Systems Analyst

Basically any job that involves you sitting down in a chair for 8-10 hours on end is dangerous and will probably have you killed before you reach retirement.

Studies show that sitting increases the risk of death by up to 40%. Sitting also leads to more heart problems, cardiac arrests, loss of blood supply to the feet and legs, carpal tunnel and repetitive stress injuries. If that's not life-threatening enough, sitting down too much may also lead to various growth problems, heart disease, and cancer.

Human beings were not designed to stay stationary or remain seated 8-10 hours a day. See this quick infographic below for further proof:

Continue reading the infographic here:
Continue reading the infographic here: | Source

Pro Tip

Install ergonomic chairs in your office or home to lessen risks of carpal tunnel, repetitive stress injuries, sciatica and other body aches and pains.

By customizing your work station, not only are you protecting yourself from various stress injuries, these tools also improve your sitting posture.

Are you a programmer? Here are 15 things you can do to protect yourself from Carpal Tunnel and RSI.

7. Underwater Welder

If jobs were categorized under 'Safe', 'Dangerous', and 'Deadly', this one would be filed under 'Instant Death'.

Being an underwater welder takes a lot of practice and guts. It's one of those jobs that requires you to be an expert commercial diver and an expert welder at the same time. Although pay is big and you get sent to different locations around the globe for welding projects, your work environment is not entirely safe. In fact, your work environment involves water. A lot of it.

So, how do underwater welders meet their watery demise? Drowning, lack of oxygen, engine malfunction, exhaustion (often caused by the welding materials and oxygen tank which welders will be carrying at the same time), fallen debris, and deadly animal attacks.

6. Professional Bull Rider

Before I fill your imagination with bloodied legs, and broken bones-- well, it seems like I already have-- allow me to introduce the work description of a professional bull rider.

A professional bull rider is an entertainer. He lassos bulls, jumps on them as soon as he catches them, trots around the arena and throw kisses to cheering fans; however, it doesn't always end like that. A job that involves an angry bull and a human being equipped with only a lasso does not always end well. It takes years and years before one becomes a professional and the journey to becoming one does not go smoothly. By the time you reach professional status, you will have broken 50 bones, earned several wounds and scratches and lost a tooth or two.

5. Nosy Journalist

Being a journalist is not an entirely dangerous job, but when you've built quite a reputation for investigating serious cases with drug cartels, government agencies, crime organizations, and other shady personalities, make sure to double lock your doors and keep a wooden bat beneath your pillow. The risks of the job make it exciting and interesting to people but if you want to succeed as a journalist, you need to be prepared for the death threats.

4. Nuclear Waste Manager

The job of a nuclear waste cleaner or nuclear waste manager is similar to the job of a janitor, but your usual work tools will include HazMat suits, a device that detects nuclear contamination levels in a given area, and your customary cleaning tools.

It is the duty of a nuclear waste manager or formally, a High-level Radioactive Waste Scientist, to contain the spread of radioactive material and to keep it from infecting or spreading to inhabited areas.

Risks of getting shot at: Low

Risks of developing carpal tunnel and RSI: Low

Risks of cancer: Quite high.

3. Electrician and Lineman

If you're afraid of heights, towers, or dying due to electrocution, you should think about a career in taking care of the elderly, instead. Being an electrician calls for years of practice and a strong stomach. From time to time, electricians will be tasked to rebuild fallen power lines, climb poles to fix radiators and wires, and wear a harness as they fix the wires of a skyscraper. The job has its not-so-dangerous side but when you're good at what you do, people will tap you for more riskier tasks.

2. Pharmaceutical Trial Subject

The job of a pharmaceutical trial subject is no different from a laboratory guinea pig, except, he gets paid for being one. It's risky work: getting injected with drugs that may or may not work is dangerous and it could kill you during the tests. The wage and benefits are high, but the survival rate isn't.

1. Comedian

Yes, it's all fun and games until someone throws a bottle at you over a simple joke.

Take Jerry Sadowitz for example. In 1991, Sadowitz took a controversial rant to the stage:

Hello moosef******! I tell you why I hate Canada: half of you speak French, and the other half let them."

Needless to say, this joke was not taken lightly. His set ended in with broken glass and a cut on his face.

What's so tough about being a comedian? First off, you need to make quality material or people will boo you off-stage. You need to create material that will make people laugh and not get you on the covers for Us Weekly. You also need to know what people want to hear and if your plans derail on-stage, you need to be good at stand-up and making impromptu jokes. If you want to make it big in the comedy circuit, you must be someone with a good sense of humor while being sensitive at the same time.

George Carlin Talks About "Stuff"

Is it about the pay?

All these jobs are honorable professions and though dangerous, there are people who were made perfectly to play these roles. If you want to become a nuclear waste manager, a fisherman, or a comedian, go for it. If it makes you happy and if you see yourself doing this type of work until you reach your 80's, then there is absolutely no reason why you should not pursue your dreams.

Good luck!


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    • Mandy M S profile image

      Mandy M S 

      6 years ago

      LOVE that George Carlin Stuff video!

    • BlissfulWriter profile image


      6 years ago

      Interesting that one of the jobs is desk jobs. It is true that prolonged sitting is bad for health. Media has reported that people who have desk jobs have higher risk of death than those who do not sit as much, which I wrote about here ...

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 

      6 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      Very cool Hub. There are really some high-stress jobs out there. I could add a few from my own experience. Excellent Hub!

    • Larry Fields profile image

      Larry Fields 

      6 years ago from Northern California

      A Japanese acquaintance--let's call him Masa--got a job with a pharmaceutical company. The firm encouraged its employees to volunteer as Pharmaceutical Trial Subjects. Masa took some of the medication being studied, and suffered serious long-term neurological impairment after one dose. The old Samurai ethic definitely has a downside.

      The company offered to keep him on the payroll. How generous of them. /sarc

      Voted up and interesting.

    • Man from Modesto profile image

      Man from Modesto 

      6 years ago from Kiev, Ukraine (formerly Modesto, California)

      You forgot Marine stationed in Iraq. The Iranians pay a bounty of $500 to any person who kills a U.S. soldier. It is more to kill a Marine. To kill a translator holds a bounty of $10,000. Remember that $500 was the annual income of a fully employed man under Saddam Hussein. It is worse now.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Dear Egronomics, Congratulations for winning this week's hubnuggets award. This hub is really an interesting account of some dangerous professions. Although, one of my hubs also received the same award along with yours, I would rate this hub much better than mine. I envy your style and talent.

    • bridalletter profile image

      Brenda Kyle 

      6 years ago from Blue Springs, Missouri, USA

      Some I didn't realize were so dangerous. I know sitting is. I try to move around more now then when I did with a 10 hour day desk job. Interesting hub and voting on it.

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 

      6 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      You know I never thought of this but these are indeed jobs that are 'dangerous." I agree esp about the sitting down. Need to really incorporate movement all through out the day.

      Congratulations on your Hubnuggets nomination. Read and vote this way

    • Ergonomics profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from United States

      @Civil War Bob: Thank you very much! I actually found your name around the forums and liked your insights. Have a good day too!

    • Civil War Bob profile image

      Civil War Bob 

      6 years ago from Glenside, Pennsylvania

      Good hub, Ergo...voted up, useful, interesting. Welcome to Hubpages and thanks for following me. Enjoy your day.

    • Ergonomics profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from United States

      @kristyleann: wow, hats off to your dad. He's truly be brave for working as a coal miner. I've heard so many incidents and accidents happening in coal mines (explosions, cave-ins, etc.) and I agree, it takes serious guts to become one.

    • kristyleann profile image

      Kristy LeAnn 

      6 years ago from Princeton, WV

      As someone from WV I just have to throw in there...coal miner. It's pretty much the only thing around here that pays a decent wage (seriously, I know tons of people with college degrees that can't make as much as coal miners do) but it's extremely dangerous. My dad was a miner (he's retired now) and he had a huge rock fall on his leg. It broke his femur and he lost a ton of blood. He's lucky he didn't die.

      But I guess someone has to do this stuff. Well except bull rider one really has to do that. But to each his own lol.


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