10 Best Jobs for Adrenaline Junkies

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In many jobs, the occasional trip to the bathroom or unplanned fire drill is as exciting as it gets. The rest of the days are spent at a desk in front of a computer trying to stay off YouTube. Even at non-desk jobs, each day tends to blur together with the next and you settle into a boring routine. For thrill seekers, though, these kinds of careers just aren't satisfying. If you're a person who needs to feel the rush of not knowing what's coming next or the pressure of a life-or-death situation in your daily schedule, it can be hard to find the right career to pursue. There are a variety of options, however, that might just fill that heart-pounding, breath-taking role in your life. Here are 10 of the best jobs for adrenaline junkies.

  1. Smokejumper

    If you think firefighting is exciting, you obviously haven't heard of smokejumping. Instead of driving or running to fires, smokejumpers jump out of airplanes and parachute down to wildfires and forest fires to help get them under control fast. These crazy people travel all over the country to lend their expertise, especially to remote areas that would be hard to reach through conventional means. When they reach the ground after a jump (and get out of any trees they might get stuck in), supplies are dropped to them so they can contain the fire and survive for up to 48 hours on their own. You have to be very fit physically and mentally stable in order to deal with the dangers and strenuous demands of the job, but most smokejumpers would agree that it's all worth it to face the double danger of skydiving and putting out fires.

  2. Astronaut

    The excitement of being an astronaut can be summed up in one word: aliens. You legitimately have no idea what you could come up against during your career as an astronaut, so even though no aliens have been spotted off the movie screen, it's bound to happen any day now. Even if you live an E.T.-free existence, being an astronaut would deliver thrills no one on Earth gets to experience. Imagine sitting in a shuttle as the countdown begins, not knowing whether you'll make it out of the atmosphere in one piece. Space walks, exploring distant planets or moons, and hanging out in a zero-gravity environment are all part of the allure. Astronauts are the modern-day trailblazers who face the unknown challenges and certain danger of space travel. It will still probably be years before those dangers include lightsaber fights, though.

  3. Roller coaster designer

    Being an engineer seems like it could be a pretty boring desk job, but if the projects you're working on are roller coasters, the job sounds awesome. You do have to sit around figuring out math and science things that will make your roller coaster run safely, but that's part of the excitement. You are creating an experience for other thrill seekers and constantly pushing the boundaries of what a normal human wants to do for fun. A 200-foot free fall? Bring it on. A slow climb to the top of the hill just to build anticipation? Of course. Finishing a project at a normal desk job is satisfying, but as a roller coaster designer, it's exhilarating. You get to ride the coaster you just designed, all the while knowing that one bad calculation on your part could kill you.

  4. Adventure guide

    This one's pretty obvious. It has the word "adventure" in it, doesn't it? Adventure guides work in the tourism industry and take groups of travelers on different kinds of outdoor expeditions. As an adventure guide, you can do pretty much any kind of outdoor activity that you're skilled at. Guide people on a white-water rafting jaunt down a river. Lead them down ski slopes. Show them how to safely climb a mountain. You can pretty much turn any of your breath-taking outdoor hobbies and turn it into a job by either signing on with a resort or tourism company or starting your own adventure business. The latter has the added risky component of never knowing whether your business will take off or bankrupt you.

  5. Professional poker player

    People with addictive personalities are more likely to be risk-takers, so if you find yourself easily addicted to vices, you should definitely think twice before becoming a professional gambler. But if you can quit a habit whenever you want (rather than just saying you can), you could be very happy with the ups and downs of playing poker for a living. Your life could change with just one good (or bad) hand, and the excitement of never knowing which way your luck will turn keeps a lot of adrenaline junkies interested. The best thrill-seekers can keep their adrenaline in check when they are bluffing or have an unbeatable hand, making the anticipation of the other players' next move even more intense.

  6. Bomb squad technician

    When everyone else is running away, bomb squad technicians head straight for the trouble. These are people who weren't scared enough being regular police officers, so they had to step the danger level up a notch. Disabling bombs isn't as easy as it used to be (or at least, as easy as it used to be on TV); there is more to it than cutting the blue or red wire because bomb-making technology has advanced as rapidly as other technologies. You have to be able to remain clear-headed as you face dangerous situations to do this job and decide the best approach to save everyone's lives, including your own. None of your friends will be able to complain about tough deadlines anymore, because you literally face ticking time-bombs at work. And yes, occasionally you probably will get to blow stuff up.

  7. Emergency Room nurses

    Nothing gets your blood pumping quite like, well, lots of other people's blood pumping all around you. Emergency Room nurses and doctors face life-or-death situations every day and never know what will walk (or run) into their waiting room. One minute you could be dealing with a burst appendix and the next, a gunshot wound. This is a perfect job for someone who can handle blood, guts, and lots of pressure and who wants to make a real difference in someone's life. It's not exactly a job for a risk-taker who wants to take gambles in his line of work, but it is perfect for someone who loves the rush of figuring out a problem in a short period of time where the results could be catastrophic. Most of us can't come home after work and discuss all the lives and limbs we've saved, but it's all in a day's work for E.R. nurses.

  8. Air traffic controller

    There's a lot on the (air)line for people who choose to be air traffic controllers. About 2 million people fly every day in the U.S., which means there are 2 million people depending on the folks in the control tower to get them on the ground safely. That's a pretty stressful task when you think about it; air traffic controllers are responsible for juggling thousands of airborne hunks of metal that can weigh around 900,000 pounds. That'll make you sweat just thinking about it, but if you like the idea of always having to be on your toes, you could probably swing it as an air traffic controller. The basic job is to keep aircrafts from getting close to each other in the sky and bring them in to land safely, but depending on the weather, number of planes, and your equipment, the job can be a lot more exciting than it sounds.

  9. Alligator wrestler

    Being an alligator wrestler might seem like something you do on a drunken dare rather than a lucrative profession. But just because you've never met one doesn't mean they don't exist. Alligator wrestlers typically work at animal parks or reptile farms, and believe it or not, there is actually a school in Colorado for starting your career. Most parks also provide some training to get you ready to wow audiences safely. If you try your hand at this job, though, know that you just might lose it, if not a whole arm. Most alligator wrestlers get bitten at some point in their careers, though they don't always suffer permanent injuries. It's all part of the thrill-seeker's fun. How many times can you fight an alligator before he wins one?

  10. War photojournalist

    Anyone who enters into combat zones or war-ravaged nations armed with only a camera has to be a serious adrenaline junkie or just plain crazy. All journalists who cover wars put their lives in danger at some point, but at least writers can sometimes interview people by phone far away from the action or visit the devastation after it's happened. For photographers, though, the job requires being present and in the front row for conflict and the misery it creates. It's like being the paparazzi for celebrities who carry semi-automatic weapons and machetes; you never know whether they'll pose for you or want to kill you. But war photojournalists provide important images to news outlets around the world and give people a glimpse of what is really going on. That's a job almost as essential (and exciting) as what the soldiers themselves do.

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