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Jobs for Short Men (13 Options to Consider)

Being a not-so-tall guy, you’ll often hear about the downsides of your short stature. However, it’s not all doom and gloom. Here are x occupations in which being a man of modest height gives you an edge.

Photo by Zohair Mirza / Unsplash.com

This is article is a bit more light-hearted than the average piece on The Modest Man. It’s meant to be a bit tongue-in-cheek. The reality is, being short excludes you from very few jobs. There also aren’t that many occupations for which being tall is a clear advantage. 

Naturally, being short is an advantage, even sometimes a prerequisite, for many jobs requiring you to work in confined spaces. This in includes several military roles.

Without further ado, here are 13 jobs for not-so-tall dudes.

Flight Attendant

Want to fly but scared of the burden of hundreds of passengers’ lives in your hands? Just remember this phrase, “Cheez-its or Biscoff cookies?” 

Jokes aside, flight attendants play key roles in addition to their snack-dispensing duties. Perhaps most importantly, they ensure the safety of passengers during regular operations (by making sure people are wearing their seatbelts, for instance) and during emergencies.

Photo by Suhyeon Choi / Unsplash.com

While flight attendant height requirements vary by airline, you generally have to be between 5’2” and 6’ tall. You also may also be required to pass a “reach test” to ensure you can perform your duties. 

Military Pilot

Military pilots, on the other hand, were historically subject to stringent criteria for their bodily proportions, measured by factoring in age, weight, and height. In the United States Armed Forces, these height requirements vary by branch. 

Recently, however, the United States Air Force eliminated their height requirements entirely in 2020. Now, most branches utilize anthropometrics to determine pilot eligibility and compatibility with specific aircraft.

Photo by dcwcreations / Depositphotos.com

Historically, the maximum height sits at or just under 6’5”. In addition to standing height, part of how they determine height eligibility for pilots in the military is the candidate’s sitting height. This is typically around 40” sitting.

Minimum heights for pilots have usually been around 5’4”, but waivers were generally accepted for many who fell under that suggested minimum.

Civilian Pilot

I’ve included this entry because many people have the misconception that you have to be short to be a pilot. 

You might be wondering if civilian pilots can be any height. The answer is “yes.” 

You may have heard that there typically is a height maximum for pilots. The fact of the matter is, the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) provisions “no medical standards for height”. 

In fact, they caution that “exceptionally short individuals” may be required to fly in modified aircraft in order for the pilot to reach all the controls. 

At the end of the day, if you want to be a civilian pilot, height will not make a difference.

Tanker

If you watched “Fury” or played “World of Tanks” and felt inspired to ride a tank into battle, I hope you have trouble reaching the top shelf.

Photo by Kevin Schmid / Unsplash.com

MOS (Military Occupational Speciality) 19K, or, M1 Armor Crewman, in the U.S. Army have a maximum height limit of 6’1”. 

Astronaut

It’s every little boy’s dream to be an astronaut when they grow up. But, if you grow too much, becoming a NASA astronaut may not even be a possibility. NASA’s first astronauts had to be shorter than 5’11” to fit on the Mercury spacecraft.

Photo by NASA / Unsplash,com

If you are over 6’5” the odds are slim that you’ll be selected to man the International Space Station. (However, if you want to colonize Mars, you still have a chance to get in Elon’s good graces.) 

You also might try becoming a cosmonaut. (Good luck learning Russian…).  Roscosmos, Russia’s space agency, has a maximum height for cosmonauts of 190cm, or just under 6’3”. 

Submariner

As you probably noticed by now, being short is an advantage in pretty much any situation in which you’ll be stuck inside a metal tube.

Growing up, I had a teacher who had been a submariner in his youth. I remember his stories about how cramped it felt. He said that living in such close quarters was a challenge. 

The US Naval Academy’s designated height requirements range from 58 to 80in. While there is no explicit height limit for submariners, there is still a limit in space. For instance, a quick internet search finds that bunks over 6’6” are difficult to come by on subs.

Photo by Ан Нет / Unsplash.com

Now my teacher was a relatively short man. I can imagine that being so tall that you have to constantly duck for weeks on end would make your time on board even more miserable. 

Miner

Just like Steve from Minecraft, we all yearn for the mines. Due to the confined nature of working in underground mines, the shorter you are, the easier you can navigate the narrow shafts. (Of course, the exact dimensions vary from mine to mine.

Photo by Photo by DmyTo / Depositphotos.com

However, at least in the US, most mines these days aren’t the claustrophobic deathtraps you see in movies. For instance, according to the Energy and Environmental Profile of the U.S. Mining Industry (page 3), Surface mining accounts for about 60 percent of the total U.S. coal production of 1 billion tons/year.” 

Safety depends on what is being mined, the type of mine (pit mines, slope mines, shaft mines, etc.) how well the mine is run, and more. 

When I was a Boy Scout, one of my Scoutmasters worked in a salt mine under a lake. I remember asking him what it was like, and I’m quite certain he said it was pretty safe with all of the safety precautions in place. 

However, in other parts of the world, the mining industry looks much different. 

Sadly, this occupation has seen global criticism for putting children to work due to their even smaller stature. While I would not recommend beginning your mining career as a minor, if you enjoy caves, spelunking, or exploring, this could be a challenging and rewarding career for you once you grow up. 

Dictator

Stalin, Mao, Kim Jong Un, Putin — it seems like most of the famous dictators of history were short kings.

While the Napoleon complex is a bit more complicated than armchair generals would have you believe, there’s a long list of authoritarian pipsqueaks

Photo by Photo by palinchak / Depositphotos.com

I’m not advocating that you start drawing up your first five-year plan, but if you’re under 5’8” you’ll be in good company if you do. 

Plumber

Us shorter men can find another advantage in the career of plumbing. Being capable of maneuvering in tight crawl spaces or underneath sinks will definitely make this job easier.

Photo by IgorVetushko / Depositphotos.com

While plumbing might not be the most glamorous job, you can make a killing. 

Actor (Depending on the Role)

Tom Cruise. ‘Nuff said.

Jokes aside, there are actually quite a few men under 5’8” who have found incredible success in the entertainment industry.

Photo by Polifoto / Depositphotos.com

Barber

When I went to get my hair cut last week, my barber’s hydraulic chair was malfunctioning. The result? He ended up having to stoop for most of the cut. 

While, granted, it would’ve helped if I was taller, if he were shorter he could’ve avoided using the inconvenience.

Photo by SashaKhalabuzar / Depositphotos.com

Height doesn’t matter so much in the hair-cutting world, but being short may give you a slight edge. If you’re particularly tall you may find that you have to spend more time adjusting the chair.

Construction (Sometimes)

Similar to plumbing, working in the construction industry at or below average height opens up doors to being able to complete tasks others cannot. When I worked in residential construction I was the go-to guy for crawling into hard-to-reach spaces.

Construction WorkerConstruction Worker
Photo by welcomia / Depositphotos.com

Plus, in projects like roofing, for example, a low center of gravity while climbing 20+ foot ladders with a bag of shingles draped around your neck and shoulders is certainly advantageous. 

Short Guy Style Writer

I must admit, there aren’t many of us. When writing style tips for short men it certainly helps to have firsthand experience. 

FAQs

Here are answers to some common questions about occupations for the shorter guy: 

Is it hard to get a job if you’re short?

Employers typically cannot discriminate based on factors like height. In fact, many states have laws that prohibit discrimination based on height or weight. 

What jobs have height requirements?

Some roles that have height requirements include certain military jobs, flight attendants, and some acting roles. The reality is, not many occupations are out of reach of short folks. 

Final Thoughts: Don’t Let Your Height Define You

As short men, we can sometimes let our stature define us. It doesn’t have to be that way! 

Sure, getting a first date might be a little more difficult and you might make less than your taller counterparts. However, it’s important to remember that doom and gloom statistics are just that — statistics. You aren’t a number, you’re an individual with unknown potential. 

Odds are, as you progress in your career your diminutive height won’t exclude you from progressing (outside of a few specific cases).

Can you think of any other jobs in which short folks excel? Let me know in the comments!

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