December 14, 2023 | Allison Robertson

Solitary Employment: The Most Isolated Jobs in the World


The Most Isolated Jobs in the World

Lighthouse keeper and truck driver split image

In a world where remote employment has become the norm, there are some jobs where “remote” is taken to a whole new level—becoming complete isolation.

These roles provide a glimpse into a world of solitude—far different from a quiet office or the comfort of your own home.

The Pros and Cons of Solitary Employment

The Nastiest FriendsPexels

Solitary employment can be a double-edged sword.

The pros:

  • Tranquility and quiet
  • The ability to focus without distractions
  • Independence and self-reliance
  • An opportunity for creativity and personal growth

The cons:

  • Feelings of loneliness and detachment, which can affect mental health
  • The lack of immediate support during challenging situations, resulting in stress
  • The absence of team collaborations and exchange of ideas

Whether or not the pros outweigh the cons greatly depends on the individual and the specific job. Solitary employment is not for everyone—especially those who need social interaction in the workspace.

Here are ten of the most isolated jobs in the world.

Lighthouse Keeper

Travel talesPixabay

Location: Coastal regions worldwide

A lighthouse keeper is responsible or maintaining the lighthouse machinery, making sure the light stays operations throughout the night. They also often conduct weather observations.

Most lighthouse keepers work alone given that most lighthouses are located in remote, isolated or inaccessible areas on islands and coastlines.

Salary: $18,000 to $60,000 per year

Fire Lookout

Forest fire12019, Pixabay

Location: Remote forest regions, particularly in the United States

Fire lookout employees, sometimes called a Fire Watcher, often spend months in isolation monitoring large wilderness areas for signs of wildfire.

They live and work in a large, high tower, usually on mountaintops with high elevation, to get a good view of surrounding areas. Anytime smoke or fire is seen, they call it in to appropriate emergency lines.

Due to the nature of the job, only one person is needed, which is why the employee lives alone.

Salary: $15,000 to $35,000 per season

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Research Station Personnel

Happy Endings FactsFlickr

Location: Antarctica and other remote areas

Scientists and support staff live and work in research stations, conducting experiments and collecting data in extreme isolation.

Sometimes this includes a small team, but depending on the research being conducted, this can also mean that researchers work alone.

Salary: $36,000 to $100,000 per year, depending on the role and qualifications

Pipeline Inspector

Trivia Tweakers FactsWikipedia

Location: Remote stretches of oil and gas pipeline routes

Pipeline Inspectors travel along pipelines, often in remote and harsh environments. They’re responsible for ensuring the integrity and safety of the pipeline.

Salary: $35,000 to $75,000 per year

Long-Distance Trucker

Strange lawShutterstock

Location: Cross-country routes

Truckers spend long hours alone on the road, transporting goods over large distances. Not only do they make the trip alone making social interaction scarce, but they also struggle with adequate exercise and nourishing meals—especially during long trips in the middle of nowhere.

Salary: $40,000 to $80,000 per year

Submarine Crew Member

Egyptian_Navys_Type_209-1400mod_submarineWikimedia

Location: Beneath the world's oceans

Submariners operate and maintain submarines, cut off from the world while underwater for months at a time.

Although there is often a crew aboard, these employees still face isolation challenges, especially considering they can’t even access fresh air for long periods of time.

Salary: $30,000 to $70,000 per year, with additional hazard pay

Outback Station Farmer

Scariest Places FactsPikist

Location: Australian outback

Running a station in the Australian outback can mean managing thousands of acres of land all on your own.

Given the dry and hot conditions of the outback, few people actually live there, however it is essential for breeding and raising livestock such as, cattle, sheep, goats and camel.

Salary: $25,000 to $70,000 per year, not including income from the station's produce

Forest Ranger in Siberia

wooden hut in forestBruna Fossile, Pexels

Location: Siberian wilderness

Forest Rangers in Siberia patrol and protect huge, isolated areas of forest. They often work for long periods of time without contact with the outside world.

Salary: $10,000 to $30,000 per year

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Desert Prospector

Planet Earth factsShutterstock

Location: Deserts around the world

Desert Prospectors are people who search for valuable minerals and gemstones (including gold) in some of the most forbidding lands on Earth. This work is usually performed alone considering the likelihood of finding profitable material.

Salary: Highly variable, often dependent on what is found

Arctic Truck Driver

The Most Incredible ParentsFlickr, Oregon Department of Transportation

Location: Arctic regions, like Alaska or Northern Canada

Arctic Truck drivers cross treacherous ice roads to deliver supplies to remote areas. Considering they’re traveling to remote destinations, there is often minimal human contact along the way.

Salary: $20,000 to $75,000 per season

Final Thoughts

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These jobs provide extreme solitude—which can be deafening for some. But for those who enjoy the quiet, these jobs can be seemingly perfect.

Whether the desire for this type of work is driven by passion, the desire for adventure, or simply the need for work, these jobs challenge the concept of a traditional workspace.

The people who take these jobs exhibit true human adaptability and independence.





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