Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Paid To Be Wrong vs. Paid to be Right

For today's Nate Note, I'm considering various occupations and various tolerances for "rightness" and "wrongness".  My primary question is, in what professions can you be wrong and still keep your job?

What does it mean to be "Wrong"?

You ask me to call a coin flip. I recommend heads. It ends up tails. Was I wrong?

  • What if I say that there's a 50% chance you will get heads ?
  • What if I just said, it was likely that you'd get heads?
  • Or stated more strongly - you will get long as the coin's starting position, number of revolutions, and landing point align in the appropriate way.

Caveats, ranges, and declaring something as an estimate are great ways to avoid being right and avoid being wrong at the same time. The thing is, this will work for some professions better than others.

What Happens if you are Wrong at your Job?

Actuary: Either nothing of any consequence or a Billion Dollar Hedge Fund goes under, you have to raise rates on your LTC policies, the pension goes underfunded, among other things. (Although chances are the actuary was right all along, but management didn't listen)

Weatherman:  I end up wearing shorts in a snowstorm.

Refs/Umpires: Sports fans get verrrrry angry.

Clergy: Do we really know?

Editors: Late Night talk shows get fodder for their material

Construction Inspectors: Ask the Italians

Nuclear Power Operators: Homer seemed to do ok...

Air Traffic Controllers:  Airport shuts down.  Newlyweds don't go on their honeymoons. The next Steve Jobs/Bill Gates is never born. Technology stops evolving. We regress to the dark ages as we consume all the worlds resources to get enough power to take a selfie.

Surgeons:  On the bright side, even though my knees still need repairing, at least I have a new kidney.

Chart Alert

For kicks and giggles I went to the BLS website to pull median salaries for the jobs listed above. Feel free to investigate your own. Number of jobs is represented in the orange bars, median salary on the blue line.

For more occupation mishaps, please consider You Had One Job.

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