7 Jobs for Pessimists

You won’t believe this, there’s an upside to being a pessimist.  Jobs that require a high degree of accuracy tend to require a strong dose of pessimism, as do jobs where the cost of failure is high. Here are seven jobs that might interest you if you’re a pessimist by nature:

1. Solicitor

Solicitors are paid to offer  legal advice and support to their clients, to ensure  their clients are legally protected from any eventuality that could affect their success.

Typical tasks

  • Drafting agreements tailored to the client’s case
  • Negotiating with various parties on behalf of their client

2. Actuary

Actuaries appraise, manage and consult their clients on areas of potential financial risk. Their incisive analysis of information and data enables them to put together strategic, commercial and financial proposals to support their clients. Many actuaries work within pensions and insurance.

Typical tasks

  • Ensuring  their clients are compliant with the requirements of relevant regulatory bodies
  • Assessing and monitoring risks that affect or may affect their client’s trading positions
  • Analysing statistical data to assess patterns and trends that may lead to  risks and costs to their client

3. Financial risk analyst

Financial risk analysts identify and review the financial threats to the assets, earning capacity or the success of their clients.

Typical tasks

  • Managing resources
  • Conducting  appropriate research to assess financial risks
  • Evaluating planned business decisions

4. Barrister

Barristers in England and Wales are  paid to represent their clients, who may be individuals or organisations, in court. Barristers can also offer legal advice to their clients.

Typical tasks

  • Undertaking legal research
  • Negotiating settlements
  • Drafting legal documents
  • Preparing legal arguments

5. Aerospace engineer

Aerospace engineers are highly skilled professionals who research, design, develop and test the performance of an array of aircrafts and systems such as satellites and missiles. Aerospace engineers are concerned with improving factors such as safety, fuel efficiency, system costs and speed and the general effectiveness of equipment and machinery.

Typical tasks

  • Researching and developing design specifications
  • Taking part in flight test programmes to measure a range of performance variables
  • Developing designs to improve safety features or reduce fuel consumption
  • Fixing technical, design and other performance-related issues when they arise

6. General practice doctor

Doctors diagnose and treat illness and infection. They may also refer patients to hospital clinics or specialist centres for further assessment. Today, general practitioners also have many administrative duties, such as managing their staff and budgets.

Typical tasks

  • Responding proactively to the health issues presented by their patients, for example by prescribing a course of medication or referring to a specialist clinic
  • Overseeing and/or running specialist medical programmes and clinics for particular groups, for example smoking cessation,  well-woman clinics, diabetes clinics.                                                                                                             

7. Water quality scientist

Water quality scientists are the guardians of water quality. Through scientific analysis, they ensure water quality meets strict regulatory standards. Water quality scientists will typically specialise in one of these areas: surface water, drinking water and ground water.

Typical tasks

  • Investigating reasons for failure to meet standards and putting plans in place to remedy any deficiencies
  • Reviewing data on water quality
  • Giving advice  to clients and/or stakeholders about how to minimise water quality problems

In all of these jobs, the cost of failure is high. A pessimistically-minded aerospace engineer is infinitely preferable to the optimistically-minded one who is less inclined to look for or spot problems. The doctor who orders further tests to rule out a more serious condition in his patient is preferable to the doctor who does not consider the possibility of a misdiagnosis.

In careers where the cost of failure is high, it pays to be a pessimist.


Salary information and details taken from Prospects.