Whatever your job, you are likely to feel some degrees of stress at various points in your career; however, research shows that there are some professions that will bring you more stress, more often.
As might be expected, the most stressful jobs are those where your life is put on the line on a daily basis, such as the armed forces and uniformed public services such as firefighters and police officers.
Military personnel – with no distinction of service – top the list. Their working conditions are perilous when deployed, the physical demands are high, and the level of personal risk is significant. There has been high-profile coverage following recent – and often controversial – conflicts of the number of men and women from the forces who are killed or significantly injured in the line of work; in addition, stress can often be present afterwards. Veterans often have high levels of stress, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and almost one-third of personnel returning from active service will develop mental health issues within the first four months of coming home.
Before you discount a career in military for being too stressful, however, some find the huge benefits of serving their country outweigh the risks.
The roles of firefighter, airline pilot and police officer occupy positions two to four on the list of most stressful jobs. These all have the risk to life factor; in addition, there is potentially the risk to the lives of others at the same time. The final slot in the top five, and the most stressful job without risk to life, is occupied by the role of event coordinator.
Featuring in the top ten in positions six and seven respectively are PR executives and senior executives in large corporations, where company profits and reputations are at stake. Broadcasters and newspaper journalists feature in positions eight and nine, with the pressure of being in the public eye and meeting the high expectations of a wide number of people.
The final slot in the top ten goes to the taxi drivers, who are tasked with knowing every address that a customer might ask for; meeting expectations; and often working under time constraints.
The demands of any role will vary, of course, and individuals will have different tolerances to stress; therefore, the research looks at the typical demands of a job and ranks professions based on factors such as the amount of time spent travelling or away from home, deadlines, physical demands, and working in the public eye.
The scores were calculated according to a specific demand of the job and how big a part of the role this demand played; the bigger the part, the higher the score. Based on perception alone, organising an event might seem like child’s play compared with firefighting; however, the stress levels come from the pressures of the event, such as a wedding, and meeting the client’s expectations.
At the other end of the spectrum, jobs such as jewellers, sonographers and librarians are good options for stress-free work. These roles often require at least a bachelor’s degree, but they are well paid and offer good job security.
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