The 15 Worst Careers for Your Stress Level

“Hey, you! Why the long face? Are you stressed?” Probably. Work and money are the two biggest contributing factors to stress, according to the American Psychological Association. If you’re sighing heavily and forcibly slamming keys on the keyboard by Monday afternoon, you might need to relax.

But according to Paychex, taking a breather at work is hard to do for most of us. Paychex polled American workers and found over 70% of people rate their workplace stress levels at a 3 or higher out of 5, and more than half claimed to feel stressed about work three or more days a week. But it seems we’re gluttons for punishment, as 52% of Americans work overtime and 47% work on weekends, even when it’s not required.

There’s no time for a lunch break, and it looks like you’ll miss another one of your kid’s tee-ball games. Sure, we could watch TV, exercise, or meditate to calm ourselves, but tough deadlines and irrational work hours still make it hard to spend time with our families — something 81% of workers said is cause for their biggest stress point, according to Paychex.

Some career fields are more stressful than others. But when considering salary, it seems some careers might be worth the worry, while others are just dead-end streets to stressville. Let’s take a look at the 15 career industries that report the highest levels of work-week stress, according to Paychex.

15. Scientific

man banging head on laptop

Being in the scientific field raises employees’ stress level. | iStock.com/SIphotography

Number of stressful days per week: 2.88

Common job titles and median salaries:

It’s easy to get lost in numbers, facts, and equations. That’s why people who work in the science field spend over half their week feeling stressed.

14. Government and public administration

worried man checking watch

Government and public administration workers report feeling stressed over half the work week. | iStock.com/SIphotography

Number of stressful days per week: 2.9

Common job titles and median salaries:

  • Legislators: $23,470
  • Court, municipal, and license clerks: $36,670
  • Urban and regional planners: $70,020

It’s no wonder this industry is the 14th most stressful career industry. Trying to corral the people while also adhering to governmental policies is sure to raise your stress level significantly.

13. Legal

Young businessman with a briefcase and glasses running

Legal professions are cause for high levels of discomfort. | iStock.com/master1305

Number of stressful days per week: 2.91

Common job titles and median salaries:

Lawyers might be able to justify their stress level with a higher salary, but those who haven’t made partner yet are simply overworked and underpaid.

12. Medical and health care

doctor

Although meaningful, workers in the health care fields are often stressed. | Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images

Number of stressful days per week: 3.06

Common job titles and median salaries:

Although radiation therapists are considered to have one of the most meaningful jobs in health care, all medical professionals deal with long hours and over three days of stress per week.

11. Construction

Construction site with drills

Construction workers are stressed well over three days a week. | iStock.com/binia

Number of stressful days per week: 3.19

Common job titles and median salaries:

Construction jobs are both physically and mentally draining. Hard work is one of the top stressors, according to Paychex, and these workers have it in spades.

10. Information services and data processing

Businesswoman holds head

Although a high-paying career, IT and data professions come with a lot of anxiety. | iStock.com/Dirima

Number of stressful days per week: 3.2

Common job titles and median salaries:

  • Search marketing strategist: $86,510
  • Business intelligence analyst: $86,510
  • Computer systems analyst: $87,220

Analysts need a lot of brain power to do their jobs effectively. But long work hours and high levels of responsibility make this industry the 1oth most stressful career industry.

9. Finance and insurance

young woman using laptop

Managing other people’s finances is tough work. | iStock.com/SolisImages

Number of stressful days per week: 3.23

Common job titles and median salaries:

Those who can handle the pressure of the finance and insurance industry might be rewarded with higher salaries. But that’s not without a few more stress wrinkles, as well.

8. Publishing, broadcasting, and journalism

press conference

A career in broadcasting isn’t all glitz and glam. | Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Number of stressful days per week: 3.24

Common job titles and median salaries:

You might think writing novels and working behind a camera is glamorous. But in reality, this career field is one of the most stressful industries for workers.

7. Technology

Shocked and surprised boy on the internet with laptop computer

Many look to tech professionals to solve all their problems, ultimately creating stress. | iStock.com/BrianAJackson

Number of stressful days per week: 3.25

Common job titles and median salaries:

Putting out fires and debugging vital business technology is hard work. In fact, these professional feel stressed an average of 3.25 days per week.

6. Hotel, food services, hospitality

man looking stressed

Dealing with the public is no cake walk. | iStock.com

Number of stressful days per week: 3.31

Common job titles and median salaries:

The hotel, food services, and hospitality industry is the sixth most stressful industry, according to Paychex. Workers report feeling stressed over three days per week.

5. Military and public safety

U.S. Army man

Keeping America safe is a stressful job. | iStock.com/ajr_images

Number of stressful days per week: 3.35

Common job titles and median salaries:

Those who defend our freedoms and ensure our safety naturally invite insane levels of stress into their lives. Their demanding hours and harsh work environments produce about 3.35 days of stress per week.

4. Telecommunications

Stressed woman having headache

The telecommunications industry is the fourth most stressful industry. | iStock.com/SIphotography

Number of stressful days per week: 3.38

Common job titles and median salaries:

A common theme for the most stressful career industries seems to relate to working with the public. Unfortunately, customer service representatives feel the pressure related to work and have a lower salary than most others on this list.

3. Wholesale and retail

Starbucks employees

Once again, dealing with the public all day is stressful. | Gianluigi Guercia/AFP/Getty Images

Number of stressful days per week: 3.39

Common job titles and median salaries:

Again we have another job industry that deals with public demands. Enough said.

2. Arts, entertainment, recreation

Fitness instructor exercising with his client at the gym

Those in the arts, entertainment, and recreation industries feel stressed more than three days per week. | iStock.com/SolisImages

Number of stressful days per week: 3.41

Common job titles and median salaries:

Arts and entertainment professions are not all fun and games. It’s more like high pressure and low pay. As a result, this industry is the second most stressful cluster on our list.

1. Marketing and advertising

Business woman staying at the hotel during the business trip

The No. 1 job for work-related stress is in the marketing and advertising industry. | iStock.com/RossHelen

Number of stressful days per week: 3.84

Common job titles and median salaries:

With almost four full days of workplace discomfort, those in the cutthroat marketing and advertising industry are stressed about 80% of their work days.

Follow Lauren on Twitter @la_hamer.

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