It isn’t exactly news that unemployment is stressful. But working can be a great source of stress for many people. Polls and surveys have found that anywhere from one-fourth to nearly half of working Americans say that their job is extremely stressful [source: CareerCast].
Who has the most stressful job? Chances are that many people will say that they win that dubious honor, whatever their job may be. That’s one of the problems with the lists that rank jobs by stress level: Polls and surveys may be unreliable. In addition, work-related stresses may not be caused by occupation, but a particular set of circumstances. If you don’t like your boss or a co-worker, you’re going to be stressed – no matter what your job. The same is true if you know layoffs are coming, or if you’re not suited to your job.
Online employment service CareerCast tries to measure job stress by using U. S. Census and Department of Labor data to assign points for such
factors as deadlines, physical risk, competitiveness and work environment.
Another problem with comparisons is that some rankings don’t group professions in the same way as others. Some don’t even look at jobs that others rank as highly stressful. Various rankings list dentists, physicians, surgeons, and psychiatrists or therapists separately, while others lump them all into a “medical professional” category.
Since any listing of most stressful jobs will be subjective, we’ve come up with our own list of the 10 most stressful jobs in the U. S.
There’s no doubt that miners – especially those who go deep underground – face incredible stress. The environment alone would be enough to discourage most people from taking the job. Miners spend long hours in the dark, unable to see the sun or get a breath of really fresh air. They work in cramped conditions, and the danger of being killed or trapped is ever present. If that wasn’t enough, the work is also physically hard. Risks to miners’ health extend even into their retirement, when they may develop diseases related to having inhaled coal dust or fumes all those years. And – even though the job is stressful – they worry that the mine might close, costing them their jobs.
9: Corporate Executive
Stress and “Success”
Miners are a notable exception to the general trend in job-stress findings. Polls show that education, salary and status are more likely to add to job stress than ease it. College-educated workers are more likely to report job stress than those who got no further than high school. White-collar workers usually report more stress than those in blue-collar jobs; salaried workers are more stressed than those paid hourly. Why? For one thing, these polls could be focusing on professional workers. But it’s more likely that full-time workers and those who aren’t paid for overtime may resent working long hours. White-collar workers take their work and worries about it home with them more than blue-collar workers. Workers in many professions may worry about competition; blue-collar workers may think they’ll be fine as long as the job gets done.
Many lists of stressful jobs include business leaders, whether they’re identified as chief executive officers, advertising account executives or some other high-level corporate executive.
These lucrative, white-collar jobs might seem highly desirable, but the big checks come with a price. The hours are likely to be long, and what looks like relaxation is often really networking. The competition with other corporations and with colleagues can be cutthroat.