The Loneliest Gigs on Earth

I was just reading the confirmation that Mitch Hedberg died of an overdose.

What are the loneliest jobs, do you think?

  • Road comic
  • Phone sex worker
  • Pro gambler
  • Pro wrestler
  • Stay-at-home mother
  • Maytag repairman
  • Night watchman
  • Carnival worker?
  • Anthropomorphic manifestation of Death
  • Being Anna Nicole Smith…

Toll booth worker would suck

I imagine that the folks who watch for fires in those towers in the western US go for long periods without direct human contact.

Night watchman at a sewage treatment plant. Drove Spider Robinson into writing.

It doesn’t suck by any means, but my job is extremely lonely. Over the last three years, I have gone for months at a time in which I have seen two people on a daily basis in my entire life. I’ll see a park ranger for a few minutes, and my fiancee (now wife) for a few hours in the evening. It got so bad last winter that I lost almost all immunity to commonly-passed diseases, and caught a flu that put in me in bed for two weeks after going to a party the night before.

I do ecological fieldwork for a group of very rural national parks.

Not really. No more than a week or two without direct contact. However, the radio can really be chatty at times (of course, when fires are spotted, radio communications go way up!).

If you are comfortable with yourself being physically alone, it’s great fun. Excellent views of natural beauty. Plenty of time to read, write, and listen to music. Sure there’s work to be done but without anyone looking over your shoulder the routine passes the time.

Then there’s the thrill in the middle of the night under a cloudless sky. And the sheer terror thrill sitting in your glass bottom chair while lightning strikes the tower and trees around you.

My understanding is that in these two fields, there is often a lot of camaraderie among the performers.

I can attest to this personally regarding pro wrestlers. If a show is your town, it is not uncommon to see a group of wrestlers together at a restaurant or nightclub. Some fans are really startled to see the faces and heels getting along and hanging out together in real life!

Photo Lab Darkroom Technician.

Only one person can work a machine at a time, & printers are always in separate rooms, to prevent light leakage.

I’ve work in one for more than 8 years.

7 hours a day in the dark with no one to talk to does something to you. :frowning:

At-home medical transcriptionist. I’ve been in my current job for almost two years. I’ve never met my boss or my coworkers in person. I’ve spoken to my boss on the phone twice. The vast majority of work communication is via email.

I thought I’d like it, “no more annoying coworkers interrupting me! yay!” But I really miss being able to take a break and get up and go chat with one of my non-annoying coworkers. Now all I have to talk to are my cats.

If they start talking back, I’m finding a new career.

That sounds like an awesome job! I didn’t even know there were people that did this kind of thing (East coaster here).

There is a lot of camaraderie among phone sex workers, too, at least in companies where they’re allowed to know each other. But there’s a certain fundamental disconnect between you and the rest of the world, in some jobs, so that even if you technically have company, you are isolated.

Jobs which involve a lot of travel seem to inherently have a touch of this, so maybe pilot and FA as well. Pilots are all a little screwy, aren’t they? Some in a good, pleasant way, but all pilots seem a little off in the head to me. :stuck_out_tongue: Jobs that make you nocturnal have a bit of it too.

I’d imagine caretaking a lighthouse would be pretty lonely. And you don’t want to work at some hotels, like the Bates or the Overlook. What about jobs up mountains or deep underground?

I bet studying primates doesn’t get lonely, ever, even if you’re the only homo sapien around.

Lighthouse keeper (mostly extinct)
Isn’t there a WX post or something on Ellesmere Island? Tho I don’t think it is solo.


Third base coach for the Kansas City Royals.


Until earlier this month, I was reporting to my job (database entries) at around the same time that everyone else was leaving, so the only people I saw on any regular basis were the night security guards and the janitor.

Assembly line robot. Le sigh.

I think I read an article about a few years ago along these lines. One of the candidates for “loneliest job” was a guy who manned a weather or radar station – something along those lines – in Greenland. Like a fire watcher, only totally isolated except for radio contact, etc.

Winter housekeeper at the Overlook.

The solitude will kill just ya.

Here’s a few other candidates:

Railway keeper, Great Britian

Fence mender, New South Wales, Australia

Surfman, United States

Forest Fire Lookout Association