What are the most stressful jobs in America?

Soldier, firefighter and police officer positions are obvious, but jobs in media are right up there, too.

It’s human nature to complain about workplace stress. But which jobs are the ones that actually carry the most stress?

If you ask most people, they’d probably cite jobs in the military, police and firefighting as particularly stressful ones because of the inherent dangers of working on the job. Airline pilots would be up there as well.

And yes, those jobs do rank the highest among the many jobs surveyed about by employment portal CareerCast in its newest research on the topic. But of the other jobs that make the “Top 10 most stressful” list, several of them might surprise you:

Most Stressful: CareerCast Stress Scores by Profession (2019)

#1. Enlisted military personnel (E3, 4 years experience): 73

#2. Firefighter:  72

#3. Airline pilot:  61

#4. Police officer:  52

#5. Broadcaster:  51

#6. Event coordinator:  51

#7. News reporter:  50

#8. PR executive:  49

#9. Senior corporate executive:  49

#10. Taxi driver:  48

According to the CareerCast research findings, based on an evaluation of 11 potential stress factors including meeting deadlines, job hazards, physical demands and public interaction requirements, more than three-fourths of respondents in the 2019 survey rated their job stress at 7 or higher on a 10-point scale.

The most common stress contributors cited were “meeting deadlines’ (~38% of respondents) and “interacting with the public” (~14%).

Upon reflection, it’s perhaps understandable why workers in media positions feel like they are under particular stress – what with “fake news” claims and a constant barrage of criticism from both the left and the right which can go beyond being simply irritants into some much more stress-inducing.

What if someone wanted to make a career change and switch to a job that’s at the opposite end of the stress scale? CareerCast has identified those positions, too.  Here are the “least stressful” jobs as found in its 2019 research results:

Least Stressful: CareerCast 2019 Stress Score by Profession

#1. Diagnostic medical sonographer:  5

#2. Compliance officer:  6

#3: Hair stylist:  7

#4. Audiologist:  7

#5. University professor:  8

#6. Medical records technician:  9

#7. Jeweler:  9

#8: Operations research analyst:  9

#9. Pharmacy technician:  9

#10. Massage therapist:  10

Interestingly, one might assume that the most stressful jobs in America would carry a commensurate salary premium, but that doesn’t turn out to be the case.  The average median salary for the Top 10 “most stressful” jobs in America is hardly distinguishable from those of the Top 10 “least stressful” jobs – differing by only around 4%.  It seems like those latter workers are onto something!

More information about the CareerCast findings can be viewed here.

Surprise! Deep down, we actually like the 24/7/365 work environment.

It’s a common gripe you hear among business professionals: The proliferation of laptop computers and mobile communication devices has contributed to a “24/7/365” work culture, making it more difficult than ever to disengage from the office and putting bigger stresses on work-life balance.

The irony, people claim, is that laptops, PDAs and other equipment which promise to improve productivity and make daily work tasks easier, have actually created more work and resulted in longer hours devoted to the job. And you can’t escape it — at home, on vacation, or wherever you are.

But now, along comes a research study that gives the lie to these assertions. Manpower firm Kelly Services has just released the results of a massive worldwide survey of ~100,000 people in the workplace. Among the survey’s findings: Three-fourths of respondents appreciate the opportunity to remain in constant contact with work – even though one-third of them report working more hours each week as a result.

And among the North American survey respondents, 64% say they’re happy with their current work-life balance, and more than half claim their productivity at work is “much better” as a result of utilizing the new technologies.

So how do we explain the difference between all the negative “cocktail chatter” we hear … and the far more positive survey responses provided when no one’s looking?

It might be because people tend to exaggerate negative opinions – especially when surrounded by spouses and friends who are more than eager to lend moral support – all the while murmuring protestations of disapproval about the “big, bad organization.”

But I think the reason for the incongruity is more basic. On a theoretical level, most of us want to preserve the boundaries between our work life and our personal life. It just seems like it’s the correct position to take on the issue. But another part of us feels a need to stay connected … to be continually “in the know” and not miss a beat — even for an hour.

Moreover, in today’s challenging employment environment, being hyper-connected and super-clued in with the company is more crucial than ever, for self-preservation if for no other reason.

Besides, when it comes to being in control, most people just like that feeling — a lot.