Article by Lucy Boyle
Edit and post design by Christy Zigweid
Photo by caio_triana via Pixabay made using @WordSwagApp
Let's be clear: stress is pretty much par for the course with ANY job. The fact that you're working means there's going to be some anxiety and stress involved. Even if you're engaged in a profession you're passionate about, you'll never be able to avoid the feelings of overworking, exhaustion, or pressure that come with trying to earn a living.
But there are a few jobs that are MORE stressful than others. If you think you're having a rough day dealing with a pesky coworker or a micro-managing boss, wait until you see what the 7 professions below have to deal with...
When it comes down to it, there are NO jobs more stressful than putting your life on the line in defense of your country. From the moment you enter basic training, your life is one of stress, pressure, and testing as you learn the skills you need to survive in combat. Combat is the single most intense experience on Earth, and most military personnel go through it over and over for years at a time. PTSD rates among military personnel are incredibly high (up to 20% of all Iraq and Afghanistan vets suffer from PTSD). The acts of violence and horror witnessed by military personnel make for an incredibly stressful situation.
You haven't known stress until you've spent hours trying to save the life of man, woman, or child in critical condition. ER Physicians deal with the stress of people running into their clinic in desperate need of medical attention. Surgeons are LITERALLY slicing people open to try and repair internal damage. And as a surgeon and ER physician, you do that over and over again, every day of your life. Both medical professionals are highly trained, but there's no training that helps them cope with the stress of holding someone's life in their hands; it is not a surprise that they are very susceptible to burnout syndrome.
Police officers, detectives, and agents of law enforcement lead very stressful lives. The physical and emotional stress of investigating murders, chasing suspects, shooting and being shot at, and witnessing the worst of human nature takes a heavy toll on law enforcement officers. Depression rates are 200% higher than in other professions. The average police officer sleeps for less than 6 hours a night. It takes a special type of person to cope with the stress of law enforcement.
Firefighters may not get as much attention as police officers, but their jobs are equally stressful. They spend their lives running into buildings that are ablaze, crumbling, and close to collapse. Many firefighters are also EMTs and paramedics, or participate in water rescues, accident scenes, or rescue efforts after natural disasters. The working conditions are hazardous and firefighters often see horrible things that no one should ever have to witness (like people being burned alive).
The life of a pilot basically comes down to TWO intensely stressful moments: take-off and landing. Landing a plane filled with people is no easy task, even when the airplane is working perfectly. It can be incredibly stressful to spend hours every flight checking the equipment, monitoring everything from wind speed to weather patterns, and preparing for the heart-stopping moment when you touch down on the tarmac.
The stress of landing a plane is so intense that pilots are only permitted to fly for a certain number of hours before taking a break. Stress rates among surgeons is a reported 30%, while a staggering 74% of pilots claim stress influences their actions.
The physical stress of an emergency dispatcher isn't too bad—after all, you spend most of your day sitting in a chair answering phone calls. However, the emotional and mental stress can be worse than most of the other professions on this list.
Emergency dispatchers receive all 911 calls, meaning they hear about domestic violence, homicide, arson, and crime reported. It's incredibly stressful to try and remain calm while someone is crying or begging for help. Emergency dispatchers have to collect addresses to dispatch the proper emergency services. They may even walk the caller through the steps of saving a victim's life if EMTs or police officers can't reach the scene in time. Talk about a high-pressure job!
It may not sound stressful to write, but the truth is that being a reporter or journalist can be VERY intense. You have to stay on top of all the latest news and you have to be available at a moment's notice to cover a breaking story. Most journalists and reporters are always trying to find a new scoop or exclusive story. The pay is low, the hours are long and unpredictable, and there's no such thing as "off duty" when you write for a newspaper.
About the Author
Olympian Suzy Favor Hamilton - From Fame to Prostitution to Advocacy
Hall of Fame Basketball Star Chamique Holdsclaw on Mental Resilience
Diana Nightingale on her husband Earl Nightingale's Principles for Mental Health Success
JoAnn Buttaro on Date Rape & PTSD Survival
Story: Its Never Too Late
Gabe Howard on BiPolar Advocacy
Phil Fulmer on Teen Suicide
Prison, Bipolar and Mania with Andy Behrman
Columbia Univeristy's Dr. Rynn on OCD