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Most stressful jobs in America

Posted by mandyf on January 26, 2012

Stress is a fact of life, and oftentimes that stress comes from your job. Stressful jobs are everywhere, and given the state of the economy and how difficult it is for many people to find any employment at times, more and more people are in jobs they find to be stressful out of necessity. If you’re currently in a job you find stressful, there may not be a whole lot you can do to change that right now, but if you are out on the open market and looking for employment, CareerCast compiled a ranking of some of the most stressful a person can hold.

What makes a job stressful to one person may be the exact thing that appeals to another, so keep that in mind and understand there are no absolutes- simply a composite of what is true for many. Career Cast in compiling their rankings of the most stressful hobs in America took several factors into account – most significantly, opportunity for advancement, real or perceived risk, environment, and competitiveness. By examining those factors along with others, after examining better than 2,000 different jobs, these were identified as the ten most stressful jobs in America.

10. Real Estate Agent

Trying to sell a big ticket purchase like a home in a struggling economy is no easy feat to say the least. The hours are long, the income can be feast or famine, and even when you can motivate a buyer to make a purchase it may all be beaten to smithereens if financing falls through for one reason or another. When times are good, being a real estate agent can be great, when they are bad however, it is easily one of America’s most stressful jobs.

9. Advertising Executive

If you love long hours, harsh deadlines, the demand to always be “on” creatively, and having to bend to the whims of clients at all times in order to maintain a grip on the little advertising money that is floating around in tough times, then this is your dream job. If not, it is easily one of the most stressful jobs in America without a bleak outlook as unemployment in the sector is up 14%.

8. Public Relations Officer

With tough times comes the need for people that answer the tough questions. While being a PR officer can be rewarding on the good days when announcements of popular things need to be made, on the bad days it can be hellish. Imagine being the PR officer for a car manufacturer answering questions about a design flaw that cost people their life, or for a company that was the culprit of an environmental disaster. Right or wrong, the PR officer is the person that becomes the public face of those disasters at times and a fall guy by default

7. Highway Patrol Officer

No job on the front lines of law enforcement is easy, but Highway Patrol Officers are rated as having one of the highest level of job related stress day after day. It’s not just pulling over speeders, it’s dealing with accidents that can be horrific, extremely dangerous high speed chases are always possible, and then there is always the danger faced with late night stops in remote areas. Danger lurks everywhere, and no matter what the pay is, the stress always has the potential to outweigh that factor.

6. Commercial Pilot

Flying the friendly skies may sound like fun, but holding the lives of hundreds of passengers in your hands is no small pressure to deal with. The threat of technical failures, in flight emergencies, environmental situations that cause dangerous conditions, and the slim but very possible reality of a hijacking all can weigh heavily on the pilot.

5. Police Officer

Much like Highway patrol officers, policemen have traffic stops to deal with as well volatile situations like domestic disputes, robberies, and any imaginable transgression of the law. While officers with specialized skills may step into handle certain unique situations like hostages, it is the regular on the beat policeman that is often the first responder and has to diffuse the situation as best as possible or at least try to contain knowing all the time that they may pay the ultimate price to maintain public safety.

4. Surgeon

Working odd hours with the knowledge that one slip. One mistake could negatively alter or end a human life is no easy feat. Add in the pressure for the pursuit of perfection, unbearable malpractice insurance costs, and knowing that you may have to make the tough decision in some cases as to who lives and dies, and it is hard to imagine the stress levels a surgeon can face.

3. Taxi Drivers

Cabbies can deal with surly fares, the threat of robbery, driving in the worst weather conditions, traffic snarls, the knowledge that being on the road so much is statistically indicative they will be involved in a worse than normal auto accident, and the pressures of making the daily bank just to cover the overhead of their vehicle which is their livelihood, and it is easy to see the stress a cabbie faces. Add in being cramped up in a small space. The increased possibility of conditions like hemorrhoids. Deep vein thrombosis, and the need to suppress the urge to give into road rage. And this is an often thankless job.

2. Corporate Executive

Sure the title sounds great and the pay and perks may be wonderful, but there is also the pressure to stay competitive as well as make the tough decisions to not only keep the company afloat but expanding. At stake are the jobs of potentially tens of thousands of people along with their hopes, dreams, and the ability to care for their families. Being a corporate executive is part leader in the now, and part prognosticator for the next month, year, and decade, all the while with the need to know everything that is going on and how to handle every situation that arises good and bad devoid of personal desires with the focus always on the best thing to sustain the company. The hours are long and erratic, and the job is often thankless. It is a perfect situation for pressure cooker stress.

1. Firefighter

While running away from danger is a survival instinct nearly every human is born with, firefighters do the exact opposite. They face the possibility of life ending danger every time they answer an alarm. A firefighter works hours that can be brutal, may spend unimaginable lengths of times engaged dousing flames, and faces long term health risks even with all the safety precautions taken. It is a selfless job that is riddled with constant stress, but can also be extremely rewarding for the right person.


One Response to “Most stressful jobs in America”

  1. sallykwitt said

    Excellent post. Stress is deadly. We need people to work through the stress for some many important jobs.

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