“Take this job and shove it” is a sentiment that many workers can relate to. While most jobs have stressful moments when a presentation is due or the lunch rush comes in, according to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, 40% of American workers consider their jobs very or extremely stressful. Factors like lack of control, pressure to perform, low pay, high risk and constant deadlines all contribute to workplace stress, meaning some jobs are quantifiably more stressful than others. CNBC has rounded up the top 10 most stressful jobs in America, so when you are at the career fair, you’ve been warned.
Many of the jobs on CNBC‘s annual roundup seem like dream jobs, like being a photojournalist, which comes in at number nine. While traveling the world and making a career out of an art form sound like big pluses, the constant deadlines, competitiveness and always-on call nature of the work mean one thing: stress. Tack on the fact that photojournalists are frequently placed in war zones and sent to crime scenes, and that dream job looks more like a nightmare. Also in this category are airline pilots (no.3). They make $103,000 a year on average, and get to fly around the world for free, but they are also flying a tin can through the air with passengers on board. Pilots work long hours in ever-changing weather conditions and face everything from unruly passengers to mechanical failures to the potential of terrorism, and the safety of every passenger and crew member on board rides on their performance.
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Similarly, being a senior corporate executive (no. 8) sounds like a cushy job to make anyone proud. But the constant pressure of making decisions that affect workers’ lives, especially in trying economic times, and responsibilities to shareholders and board members create a lot of stress. That said, you can buy a lot of massages and meditation retreats with an average annual income of $165,830. Unlike taxi drivers (no. 10) who have an average annual income of just $22,440 and have to suffer through low pay, long hours and the constant threat of crime.
The job of Military General comes in at no. 4. While they do have the highest average annual income, weighing in at a whopping $196,300, making daily life-or-death decisions takes a toll on stress levels. But it’s the enlisted military soldiers who have to act out the general’s orders that have the number-one most stressful job in America. These brave soldiers not only walk the front lines of war every day, but they also face down enemy combatants, IEDs and bullets without the comfort of returning to their families or their homes at the end of the day. All that for an average income of $35,580. Maybe it’s time to start lobbying Congress for a raise.