10 Most Stressful Jobs in 2013

CareerCast.comStressed Worker just published its list of the 10 most stressful jobs for 2013, and once again military careers topped the list.

1. Enlisted Military Personnel

2. Military General

3. Firefighter

4. Commercial Airline Pilot

5. Public Relations Executive

6. Senior Corporate Executive

7. Photojournalist

8. Newspaper Reporter

9. Taxi Driver

10. Police Officer

In today’s volatile geopolitical landscape, the men and women serving the U.S. military not only provide services to ensure the safety of Americans, but also protect civilians around the world. Yet that service comes at a heavy cost. Over the past year, the total number of American military casualties abroad exceeded 2,000, according to the Department of Defense.

The lives of those in uniform are always at risk, but military officers face added stress when they are responsible for the safety of their troops. No job could rank higher on the career stress scale than being charged with the lives of other people in combat situations.

Several other factors applied to the Jobs Rated stress score, including extensive and long-term travel, working under intense public scrutiny, and of course physical dangers — all of which are high for military personnel. Servicemen and women must move when needed, both on domestic bases and at posts around the world. They also find themselves separated from their family and friends for months or years at a time.

The physical demands that a soldier must bear are also arduous. But perhaps the biggest challenge at all comes when enlisted troops return home and must find stable work.  Joblessness – even homelessness – have increased tremendously with growing numbers of troops returning from service in Iraq and Afghanistan in the midst of the Great Recession.

Organizations like Hire a Hero were established to tackle the problem of unemployment among recently-returned veterans.

Workplace Stress

In the category of civilian careers, the job of firefighters ranked highest on the Jobs Rated stress scale. Dangers in this profession are apparent: rushing into burning buildings or parachuting into massive forest fires requires a level of courage and physical stamina that few other careers demand.

The personal safety dangers of fighting fires in the line of duty are obviously high.  But firefighters are also responsible for the lives of community residents and the safety of their property. The job’s challenges are legion, and that stress can have a profound impact on both the personal and professional lives of these workers. Heart attack can often result from prolonged stress, and one decade-long study by the National Fire Protection Association found that 44% of firefighter deaths resulted from heart attack. Not only must they battle blazes, but they also work long and exhausting shifts, with workdays commonly stretching from 48 to 72 hours. During that time, action can arise quickly, only to be followed by periods of monotony spent away from home and family.

Police work also makes the list of most stressful jobs. Several hundred officers are lost in the line of duty every year, according to the non-profit organization Officer Down.

Two professions in the media industry also scored in the top ten stressful jobs for 2013: photojournalism and newspaper reporting. These workers can be thrown into the midst of dangerous situations like war, natural disasters and police chases. To make things worse, both careers face declining employment opportunities in the 21st century, as traditional media outlets, consolidate and downsize on a massive scale. Newspaper reporters have experienced a rapidly declining job market with the BLS estimating a 6% job decline by the year 2020.

The rise of online media has significantly recreated the newspaper reporter’s job. The speed of Internet outlets can be a useful tool, but can also serve as a dangerous trap. The rush to beat competitors by producing faster and faster reports often results in inaccuracy and heightened stress. A media-crazed public is scrutinizing the work of reporters at all times, so inaccuracies in their reporting can harm a reporter’s reputation as quickly as one can send a tweet.

Washington Employment Attorney

Workers struggling to collect work injury benefits from L&I are encouraged to contact a Seattle Workers’ Compensation Attorney.  We can also provide you with crucial advice if the Department of Labor and Industries has required you to complete an Independent Medical Examination. Contact us today for a free consultation on your work injury claim.

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Emery Reddy