These 10 Careers Are the Most Demanding
Think your job is stressful? If you’re not a firefighter, military professional, or airline pilot, be thankful. All three professions are considered more stressful than most careers out there.
Want a less stressful job? According to CareerCast, a job search website which compiles an annual list of the most and least stressful jobs, you might want to try a career in hair-styling or audiology. Among the other low-stress jobs on the list are careers as a librarian, tenured professor, jeweler, and seamstress.
CareerCast devised its rankings based on 11 different factors, from how much a person in a given career must travel for work, whether the job is subject to tight deadlines, workplace hazards, etc. In some cases (such as with enlisted military personnel), your career can even put your life at risk on a daily basis.
Careers with the most points were ranked as the “most stressful” jobs, while those with less points were considered to be less stressful careers. Jobs were given more points if they were stressful in more than one way, or if a given stressor was considered a major part of the job. Careers in which a given stressor was only sometimes part of the job were given less points, and careers in which a given stressor was only an occasional aspect of the job were given no points in that category.
While many of the careers on our list may not surprise you, others, such as those in the media, might be more unexpected.
10. Taxi Driver
- Median salary: $22,820
- Outlook: 20% job increase
Taxi drivers have a stressful job for a variety of reasons. For one, their clientele is oftentimes demanding and they are often pressured to deliver their fare to a destination by a certain time, despite traffic, weather, and other considerations. Further, many taxi drivers don’t have set schedules, and evening and weekends are very common.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for taxi drivers is forecasted to grow as more and more people flock to cities. Taxi drivers, the Bureau notes, “generally complement public transportation systems because people who regularly take the train or bus are more likely to use a taxi than would people who drive their own car. Therefore, as public transport systems grow, the demand for taxis should grow.”
9. Police Officer
- Median salary: $55,270
- Outlook: 7% job increase (slower than average)
It’s not exactly a great time to be a cop; public perception of the occupation couldn’t be further from the days of “Officer Friendly.” Aside from the public’s perception of the job, “police and detective work can be physically demanding, stressful, and dangerous,” to boot, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Police officers also have “one of the highest rates of injuries and illnesses of all occupations,” and “working around the clock in shifts is common,” so don’t expect a 9-5 if you choose to go into this profession.
8. Reporter (Newspaper)
- Median salary: $35,870
- Outlook: 6% job increase
Newspaper reporters are notoriously stressed; they often have very little time to research and report a story, so strict deadlines are often a fact of life for those in this profession. While being a reporter isn’t physically demanding and (usually) doesn’t threaten your life, reporters’ work is published for public consumption, so their work is also often subject to criticism.
7. Senior Corporate Executive
- Median salary: $168,140
- Outlook: 5% job increase
Life is lonely at the top, they say. Senior executives often get paid extremely well, but it certainly comes at a steep price; executives work long hours (including weekends) and travel often for their jobs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that, as of 2012, around half of all senior executives worked more than 40 hours a week. Additionally, because senior executives run their respective companies, they are constantly under scrutiny and are often held responsible for the success or failure of the company as a whole.
6. Public Relations Executive
- Median salary: $54,170
- Outlook: 21% job increase
Like top executives, PR specialists often work incredibly long hours, and overtime is very common in this field. Further, because public relations specialists and managers are responsible for how their organization or company is perceived, they are constantly under pressure. PR executives also frequently travel to give speeches or meet with clients of the organization they’re representing, so time away from home is common, too.
5. Event Coordinator
- Median salary: $45,810
- Outlook: 44% job increase
Event planners may spend most of their time in a fairly run-of-the-mill office environment, but they also spend a lot time traveling to and from event sites, as well as scoping out prospective event sites for future occasions. During events, coordinators work extremely long hours, as they must be present to oversee the event from set up to clean up. Because of the nature of their work, they often work weekend or holiday events, and may not be able to spend that time with their families and friends.
4. Airline Pilot
- Median salary: $114,200
- Outlook: 11% job increase
Due to industry safety regulations, airline pilots are not permitted to fly for more than 8 hours at a time in any 24-hour window. Yet because of the nature of their work they are frequently away from home and must often travel during weekends and holidays. Their schedules are often variable, and they experience a certain amount of strain on the body due to “jet lag.” Being a pilot might sound glamorous, but most of a pilot’s time is spent between the airport and the hotel; they aren’t always able to enjoy the sights and scenes of the destinations they travel to.
- Median salary: $45,250
- Outlook: 9% job increase
Firefighters often have previous military experience because their jobs are so physically demanding. You must be able to pass a battery of tests which measure physical fitness as well as stamina to become a firefighter, and their work can be extremely dangerous. In certain situations, firefighters risk their own lives in hopes of rescuing others. Firefighters also remain on call, sometimes on 24-hour shifts, and most work more than 40 hours a week.
2. Military General
- Median salary: $196,300
- Outlook: Not available
While military generals don’t personally risk their lives nearly as much as the soldiers on the ground, generals are often responsible for the lives and safety of many other people, a stress which is often more demanding than simply risking one’s own life. Generals must be able to remain calm whilst directing troops, as well as anticipate possible dangers, and strategize the troops activities several days in advance. Like soldiers, generals are often away from their families for long stretches of time.
1. Enlisted Military Personnel
- Median salary: $28,840
- Outlook: Not available
This one might seem a bit obvious, but jobs in the military score highly in almost every area which is a source of stress: long hours away from home, lots of travel, and risk to one’s own life all characterize a soldier’s day-to-day existence. Being a soldier is immensely physically demanding, but it also takes a toll on one’s emotional and psychological health as well. According to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs some 30% of Vietnam veterans and around 20% of Iraq veterans return home with post traumatic stress.