10. Dental Hygienist
To watch a dental hygienist at work is to behold a methodical marvel. Techniques vary, but this skilled professional makes his or her way from tooth-to-tooth, blasting away enemy plaque like a latex-gloved Jason Bourne. If you like to solve one problem at a time, while educating others about the joys of gum health, this is a great career for you. The best news? You never have to take your work home with you.
9. Lead Vacuumer at the Car Wash
It’s a well-known fact that we’re never more vulnerable than when we’re vacuuming our cars. That’s why a trained professional should always do this job. Control freaks will enjoy the satisfaction of snurfling up errant raisins, rubber bands and Skittles wrappers while restoring customers’ cars to pristine condition. Hazards of the job include hose entanglement, as well as loose clothing and/or dangly earring extractions.
8. TV Dinner Engineer (old school)/“Lunchables” Designer (Gen Xers and younger)
“Here lies the fillet of fish, here lies the succotash. And never the twain shall meet.” If you like the sound of this, then you’ll love designing new ways to compartmentalize people’s food. The ideal applicant will have prior childhood experience not letting his or her food touch.
7. Pest Control Specialist
Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. Nothing says you’ve got the power like a gallon of pesticide strapped to your back. Make the homes of America safer, one disease-carrying bug at a time. Ideal for those who enjoy working outside and have been in therapy to deal with their irrational fears.
6. Scrub Nurse
Help another human being (not under the age of 9) get germ-free from fingertips to elbows? Thought you’d never ask! This job indulges the control freak’s need for clean, while also contributing to the well being of others. Good news, the uniform — the aptly named scrubs — are now available in fashion-forward, wash-and-wear colors.
5. Office Manager For Air Traffic Controllers
If you literally want to take your controlling tendencies to the next level and you have no fear of heights, then this job could be for you. While the air traffic controllers are busy keeping the friendly skies friendly, you can be organizing their schedules, planning their meetings and lining up their office supplies in neat and tidy rows. And it doesn’t get any better in terms of control, as you would be supervising the people (ATCs) who are in turn supervising the people (pilots) who are supervising other people (flight attendants and crew).
4. Biohazard Lab Custodian
Scientists are known for their neatnik ways, but there’s always room for improvement. If you’re a chronic hand-washer and a germaphobe, a career keeping the country’s most important labs sparkling clean might appeal to you. Serious applicants will be up-to-date on all childhood vaccines and will have a working knowledge of emergency wet-vac and eyewash protocols.
3. Risk Management Officer
An obvious career choice for the overly cautious among us. If the phrase, “Carpe Diem!” makes you break into a cold sweat, then you might consider becoming a company’s chief risk assessor. When job-hunting in this field, be sure to mention your uncanny ability to predict major shifts in economic markets and that your idea of summer reading involves a stack of White Papers.
2. Theme Park Height Inspector
The kids can spike their hair and wear their platform flip-flops, but no one gets past the height inspector until he or she gives the OK. Training for this job often includes de-sensitivity training, wherein participants are forced to watch Old Yeller, Titanic and Dumbledore’s last scene while being monitored for tears. The ability to appear non-plussed at all times is, well, a plus. So if you think you have the ability to break kids’ hearts all day without flinching, you’re perfect for this job.
1. Power Plant Quality Control Officer
This is the Big Daddy, the Mother Lode of all control freak careers. It doesn’t get any more important than this. Keeping tabs on the people who make sure our energy sources are safe is not for the faint of heart. This job requires an advanced degree in physics and extensive background checks. Must be free to work holidays and weekends. Practical jokers need not apply.
Lisa Rubenson is a freelance writer and a control freak from way back, though you’d never know it if you checked her closet. You can find her in front of her laptop writing and sweating the small stuff.