November 13, 2023 | Allison Robertson

The High Stakes of Precision: Jobs Where Mistakes Are Not an Option

Jobs Where Mistakes Are Not an Option

Work DramaShutterstock

In most jobs, a small mistake can be a learning opportunity or a minor inconvenience. However, in certain professions, the margin for error is virtually nonexistent, and the consequences of a mistake can be catastrophic. 

These roles demand utmost precision, constant vigilance, and a steadfast commitment to perfection. 

Let's explore twelve such jobs where there's no room for error.

Air Traffic Controller

Massive Mess-UpsWikimedia Commons

Air traffic controllers manage the flow of aircraft in and out of airports and through airspace. They coordinate flight paths, ensuring safe distances between planes.

One small mistake could potentially lead to a mid-air collision or other fatal accidents.

Dire Consequences: The loss of hundreds of lives in potential air crashes.

Salary: $124,540 per year (as per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2019).

Nuclear Power Plant Operator

Chernobyl Disaster FactsShutterstock

Operators control the systems that generate and distribute nuclear power.

A single error could result in a nuclear meltdown, as witnessed in the Chernobyl disaster.

Dire Consequences: Potential loss of life, long-term environmental damage, and widespread illness from radiation exposure.

Salary: $100,530 per year.


Male pharmacist writing prescription pharmacy counter in white uniformJacob Lund, Shutterstock

Pharmacists dispense prescription medications to patients and offer expertise in the safe use of prescriptions.

A small error in dosage or medication type can lead to severe health complications or death.

Dire Consequences: Adverse drug reactions or fatal overdoses.

Salary: $128,090 per year.



Hospital HorrorsShutterstock

Anesthesiologists administer anesthesia and manage vital life functions during surgery.

Incorrect dosages or timings can result in severe complications, including death.

Dire Consequences: Patient fatality or permanent disability.

Salary: $261,730 per year.

Structural Engineer

Trade secretsUnsplash

Structural engineers design buildings, bridges, and other structures, ensuring they are safe and stable.

Engineering failures can lead to catastrophic collapses, causing loss of life and immense property damage.

Dire Consequences: Structural failures like the Genoa bridge collapse in 2018.

Salary: $86,640 per year.

Commercial Airline Pilot

Two pilots wearing a pilot uniforms in airplane cabinKelly, Pexels

Pilots are responsible for flying and navigating airplanes.

Even minor errors can have significant consequences, including crashes.

Dire Consequences: Potential loss of hundreds of lives in case of an aviation accident.

Salary: $147,200 per year.

Electrical Power-Line Installer and Repairer

Luisa Casati FactsPixabay

These professionals install and repair cables or wires used in electrical power or distribution systems.

Mistakes can lead to electrocutions, power outages, or fires.

Dire Consequences: Risk of fatal injuries and widespread power disruptions.

Salary: $72,520 per year.

Criminal Forensic Scientist

Unsolved Murders FactsGetty Images

Forensic scientists analyze evidence from crime scenes, which can be pivotal in criminal convictions.

Errors in analysis can lead to wrongful convictions or the real perpetrator remaining at large.

Dire Consequences: Miscarriage of justice and potential risk to public safety.

Salary: $59,150 per year.

Medical Laboratory Technologist

The Sweetest RevengesPexels

These professionals conduct lab tests crucial for the diagnosis and treatment of diseases.

Misinterpretation or contamination of samples can lead to incorrect diagnoses.

Dire Consequences: Misdiagnosis leading to inappropriate treatment or lack of treatment.

Salary: $53,120 per year.


Commercial Diver

I messed upPexels

Commercial divers perform underwater work in construction, salvage, and repair.

Mistakes can lead to severe injuries or fatalities due to decompression sickness, drowning, or equipment failure.

Dire Consequences: Life-threatening situations underwater with limited immediate rescue possibilities.

Salary: $49,140 per year.

Chemical Plant Operator

Quit On The Spot factsPikist

They control or operate entire chemical processes or system of machines.

A small mistake in handling chemicals can lead to explosions, leaks, or toxic exposures.

Dire Consequences: Major industrial accidents, environmental harm, and loss of life.

Salary: $61,660 per year.

Wildlife Handler

White lion sitting in the zoo cageltummy, Shutterstock

These professionals manage and care for wild animals, often in zoos or wildlife reserves.

A lapse in safety protocols can result in severe injuries or death.

Dire Consequences: Fatal animal attacks and endangered species' well-being.

Salary: Varies widely based on location and organization.

Final Thoughts


In these high-stakes professions, the weight of responsibility is immense, and the cost of a mistake is high.

These jobs require not just technical skill and knowledge but also an unwavering focus and a commitment to precision.

While the risks are significant, these roles are critical for the safety, development, and


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