10 Best Jobs for Control Freaks

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Control freak. Not exactly an endearing term. I took the phrase for granted until a certain situation made me suspect I might be one.

I won’t go into detail about the situation. Suffice it to say that control-freakish researching tendencies led to definitions, which assuaged my controlling mind with intelligent-sounding answers. Once I had the answers, I produced this list. (Listmaking is a hallmark of the control freak.)


According to experts, control freaks’ inner world is almost the polar opposite of the action they manifest on the outside. Inside, control freaks feel scared of disorder, even chaotic. They mitigate their inner anxiety by ordering the world and people around them.

Once they feel in control of situations around them, they feel calm on the inside. If people and situations on the outside feel out of control, the control freak reaches out and tries to order them again. This, of course, creates difficulty for the control freak’s employees, children, and coworkers. They can only feel calm inside by feeling their way is correct. Everyone else is held in contempt.

It’s not good for your health in its extreme manifestation. However, some jobs suit controlling types. Here are the top ten:

10. Architect. Frank Gehry was a self-admitted control freak. Others graced Frank Lloyd Wright with the title. It can only be an asset in a job where you’re presented with a set of parameters—space, purpose, safety considerations—and then you have complete control over the design you create (barring inevitable revisions). This profession caters well to the control freak’s independent streak.

9. Accountant. Corporate controller? The name usually gives it away. I *want* my accountant to be a control freak. I want her to be obsessive about ordering my receipts and expenses. That way, the obsessive control freaks at the IRS have a good match to play.

8. CEO. Steve Jobs, for example, is notorious for being a control freak. “Jobs’ approval is so hard to win, Apple staffers labor tirelessly to please him.” Bill Gates and Jack Welch are other famous control freak-cum-successful CEOs. The difficulty for this crowd lies in striking a balance between effectively controlling a business and controlling it into the ground.

7. Professional Organizer. People hire professional organizers to go through their clutter, organize it, then tell their clients how to keep the organization intact. This is a priceless manifestation of control-freakish tendencies.

6. Pilot. What better way to be a control freak than to be physically behind controls? Lists, assertiveness, and love of being in charge are practically job requirements.

5. Business consultant. Businesses hire these professionals to come in and tell them what they could be doing better. In other words, a critical mind, love of bossing people around, and a drive to make things operate your way behoove people in this profession. Consultants know best, and the businesses who hire them pay to obey.

4. Surgeon. With the high pressure and details involved in many types of surgery, it’s safe to say that you want your surgeon to be a control freak. If people subjected their burst appendices to go-with-the-flow types, they’d probably all be dead.

3. Chef. Many head chefs are in charge of the entire process of creating meals, from procuring ingredients to supervising the final touches on a flambé. Suffice it to say that this profession attracts as much control-freakdom as it does artistry.

2. Military Officer. Yelling at people obligated to obey is a balm to the control freak’s sense of inner fear at disorganization. Controlling people is the hardest task of all—yet the military makes this option readily available.

1. Air Traffic Controller. This job is the ultimate in control freakdom. Controllers sit in an elevated tower and watch blips on a radar screen all day. They order take-offs and landings, keep an eye on air traffic, and accurately call weather conditions. If they’re not control freaks, people may die.

Maybe being a control freak isn’t so bad.

Just don’t comment on this post without giving me your full name and phone number.
That way, I will attempt to any divergent opinions by confronting you directly.

Otherwise, you’ll completely throw me off balance.

Written by Drea Knufken

Currently, I create and execute content- and PR strategies for clients, including thought leadership and messaging. I also ghostwrite and produce press releases, white papers, case studies and other collateral.