What are Some Stressful Jobs?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 06 April 2019
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There are lots of rankings of most stressful jobs, and many contenders for top ten lists. Not everyone handles or perceives stress in the same way. Some people appear to be able to keep their cool in stressful circumstances, while others have trouble holding it together, understandably. Moreover, even in jobs that are not considered the most stressful, working conditions that are poor can add stress to employees. Managers that scream all the time or constantly change requirements may create stress for employees in what would otherwise be considered less stressful fields of work.

Though there are variations in lists that rank most stressful jobs, a few seem to always make it on the list. People who work in medical or care professions may find their work stressful. These professions include job titles like doctor, counselor, nurse, dentist, and social worker. It’s fairly easy to understand why these jobs might prove difficult. Many of them are directly concerned in the well-being and continued health of others and the constant reminder that actions could have negative impacts that are serious can prove tough to take.


Law enforcement jobs are often ranked as some of the most stressful jobs. Again, there’s the issue of protecting a community, using force judiciously, and personal risk associated with the job. Air traffic controllers have some of the same problems. No one wants to be responsible for mistakes that could hurt huge numbers of people, and decisions may have to be made quickly and accurately in order to accommodate changing conditions or circumstances.

Sometimes certain types of teaching is considered stressful too. In particular, teachers in inner city environments are considered to have stressful jobs. They may have limited resources, and less parental involvement than is needed to help kids be successful. Some inner city teachers, especially in high schools and middle schools must work in environments where there is real potential for harm because of high crime levels.

Jobs involving sales, particularly when continuing to work is based on continued sales performance are among the most stressful jobs. Constant pressure to perform at high levels, and to meet huge goals is certainly enough to give most people a hard time. Also, the public often negatively perceives such work, since most of us don’t want someone else “convincing us” via soft or hard sell that we need to buy something.

Another field that can be reasonably assumed as containing many stressful jobs is employment with a military force, especially if someone is on active duty. Given the high rate of personal risk and risk to fellow soldiers on a daily and sometimes hourly basis, this environment tends to breed stress related conditions like post traumatic stress syndrome. Following long engagement of a military in a war, many soldiers require treatment to help recover from continuing stress caused by this type of work.



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Post 5

@GreenWeaver - Wow, I am sorry for your loss and I do think that doctors have very stressful jobs for that same reason. They not only have to diagnose and treat a patient, but they may also have to give them bad news which has to be really difficult.

I also think that other jobs like a public relations executive and a commercial airline pilot are also stressful. The public relations executive has to fix public relations problems that their clients created and a lot of times these problems are very high profile.

If they don’t do a good enough job to change things for their client, they will be fired. I also think that being a commercial pilot

is stressful because they are responsible for all of the lives that are on the plane and have to ensure that they get to the destination safely.

The airlines also have had financial problems which puts the job in jeopardy for many commercial pilots.

Post 4

@Sunny27 -I think that if the news is particularly bad it might be better to tell the family members because the patient needs to be positive psychologically in order to have the best chance of survival because some people when hearing bad news give up.

But some doctors prefer that their patient know the truth. When my mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer, we did not want to tell her because we wanted her to remain positive and were afraid that she would give up.

Even if there was nothing else that could have been done my sisters and I did not want our mother to live her last days in dread. This was at odds with some of the doctors but they still respected our decision. Doctors also have to walk a fine line with a patient’s family and sometimes may not agree with their decision. Doctors have to deal with constant stress on the job.

Post 3

@Mutsy - Wow, that is really sad. I do think that those jobs are stressful. I also think that an emergency room doctor and an oncologist or a cancer doctor have to be very stressful jobs as well.

In the emergency room you don’t know what types of problems that you will be facing and almost have to act quickly to help stabilize some of the patients that come in. I think that the fact that the patients are stressed and in pain makes it more difficult for the doctor because he or she has to act quickly in order to treat the patient effectively.

I think that it is stressful when the doctor does not know what the

patient has and has to do a series of tests to help determine the diagnosis.

I also think that being an oncologist is stressful because having to confirm that a person has cancer must be really difficult. Giving a patient a cancer diagnosis or having to give a patient grim news like that is very stressful because some people want to know the information, while others don’t and would rather have the family receive the bad news.

Post 2

@Subway11 - I agree and I have to say that those are probably the most stressful jobs in America. I also wanted to add that a firefighter and paramedic also have very stressful jobs.

A firefighter is called out to go into a facility and put out a fire but he or she does not know what the conditions of the fire are before he or she gets there. Some firefighters have lost their lives battling dangerous out of control fires. They also have to act quickly and make sure that people are out of the burning home.

I also think that being a paramedic is very stressful because you are only called into action when a person is

in distress and on their way to the hospital.

Sometimes the treatment that the paramedic gives can mean the difference between life and death. They also administer CPR and may come in contact with people that may have contagious illnesses. I definitely think that this and a 911 operator are at the top of the stress list because a 911 operator is hearing people that are distraught and has to get them calm enough to be able to determine their location in order to get them help.

Delays in getting help mean life or death for the caller or members of the caller’s family. I remember that there was a case about a mother that called 911 because her baby was turning blue, but the ambulance took too long and the baby died. These have to be among the top ten most stressful jobs.

Post 1

I think that among the highest stress jobs are a police officer and a soldier in the military. Both of these professions have life threatening possibilities which are why I think that they are among the most stressful.

A few months ago a veteran vice cop and her partner had to go to a suspect’s home and arrest him. This suspect had committed murder and was also going to be charged with various drug offenses.

When they knocked on the door they introduced themselves and the suspect said that he just needed to get his jacket, but instead he got a gun and shot both police officers. The police officers had to be airlifted to the hospital

where both eventually died because of their gunshot wounds.

Also, members of the military also have very stressful jobs because not only could they be deployed in a war zone and potentially lose their life, but they usually have to move constantly and need to start over in a new community every few years.

I am grateful that there are people brave enough to enter these professions that protect us all.

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