The Most Stressful Jobs: 11 Factors to Consider Before Taking One

by Miranda Marquit · 16 comments

stressful job

Every job comes with a degree of stress. And, what may be stressful to one person may not be stressful to another.

Only you can really determine whether or not you find your current job stressful. However, there are some considerations to take into account as you evaluate your job and whether or not it is worth the stress. recently released a jobs report that included the most stressful jobs. In order to rate these jobs, looked at 11 stress factors. These factors include:

  1. Travel
  2. Outlook/Growth Potential
  3. Deadlines
  4. Work in the public eye
  5. Competitiveness
  6. Physical demands
  7. Environmental conditions
  8. Possible hazards
  9. Own life at risk
  10. Life of another at risk
  11. Meeting the public

stressful jobUsing the above criteria, you might be able to pinpoint exactly why you think your job is so stressful (or perhaps why it’s not). found that audiologist was the least stressful job, and airline pilot the most stressful. One of the closest jobs I could find to mine was technical writer, which has a fairly low stress score (mostly due to deadlines, I think).

Is Your Job Worth the Trouble?

Of course, most people don’t need a scale to tell them that their jobs are stressful. If you are are stressed out by your job, it might be worth considering why you are stressed out, and whether or not it is worth it. The job of air traffic controller is generally accepted as a stressful job, but many people keep at it because it pays pretty well — especially considering you don’t need a four year degree to do it.

When deciding whether or not your job is worth the trouble and stress, there are a few things to consider:

1. Pay

This is the biggest one. How much are you willing to stand if the pay is good? Another issue, of course, is how much you need the money. In some cases, people are trapped in stressful jobs that they hate because they don’t have anyplace else to turn. It’s important to look for ways to take control of your financial destiny if you ever want to get out of these situations.

2. Benefits

In some cases, a stressful job may come with mediocre pay, but great benefits. If you get great health coverage, an employer match for your retirement plan, and a good number of paid vacation days, it can be worth staying on.

3. Autonomy

Your work environment, and the autonomy that you get might be a consideration. I am very independent, and when I worked for someone else, I was frequently frustrated by micro managers. Even though I did pretty well, I was willing to take my chances as a freelancer if it meant more autonomy and flexibility.

4. Schedule

How often do you have to work, and what sort of work is involved? Do you wish that you didn’t have to put in such long days? Do you wish that you had a set schedule? Or a more flexible schedule?

In the end, you need to decide what makes a job worth it for you. There’s nothing wrong with being glad that all you have to do is punch in for eight hours a day, and then go home and enjoy some time with your family — without needing to think about your job.

On the other hand, if you want more flexibility, and you look for something else in a job, you might be better off considering a career change.

What makes a job worth it to you?

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{ read the comments below or add one }

  • averymia says:

    But lots of stress is unnecessary and self-imposed. Few of us are rescuing people from burning buildings, and the petty stresses in the office really don’t matter that much.

  • Jacqueline L. Pollock says:

    It may come as no surprise that careers in the military and public safety sector are considered among the most stressful jobs. For the third year in a row, enlisted military personnel, firefighter, airline pilot and police officer are the four most stressful occupations, according to CareerCast’s annual Most Stressful Jobs report.

  • Chesare Cordova says:

    Personal training or a yoga instructor releases stress while u get paid bank.

  • Ee Teck Ee says:

    I am going to be three-fourth of a century old. I went through a lot of things in life. After reading through the article and comments I cannot help but wonder, “Is there such a thing as a job that will earn you a living and at the same time does not bring any stress?” If there is in America then America must be the closest to heaven on this earth. I should have gone and live there.

    • JoansGate says:

      A wise sage speaks. Your words are so true. My best job has been retirement + with it, learning to live well beneath my means; learning what really is important in your life.

      • jim becker says:

        agree completely. i retired last fall after a career gig which consumed 40 yrs of my life. I probably recycled or reinvented the job on three occasions to make it relevant and meaningful.
        i definitely liked, maybe loved, a number of activities, responsibilities and components of that gig but, life pressures always seem to enter into the process.
        Great compensation, benefits, co-workers and management can outweigh a job or career which one has naturally outgrown over a timespan of any length.
        After retiring, it took me no more than two weeks to question why I held onto it that long.
        No regrets. Employment without interruption over that span provided a financial foundation to have a family, good home and stability for all of us. Was it worth it for me staying with it, possibly sacrificing my own personal growth and development? For me, the answer is YES!
        I’m now pursuing all the deferred interests and desires I possibly put off for the common good of my family. Im good with that.


    No job is easy. Every job we find ourselves doing is quite challenging but lets be happy with ourselves while working and you will find satisfaction in your job.

  • Witty Artist says:

    When it comes to jobs, the most important aspect for me is that I do it out of passion, regardless of the payment. And the stress will also disappear, since stress comes where negative thoughts and frustration accumulate.

  • Susan says:

    Any job has to have some kind of stress. I work in a hospital. Changes happen all the time. Jobs come and go. Medical insurance and close to home is a good thing. Having good co-workers in a hospital you have some then again you don’t. Making it till retirement is stressing too. And staying healthy.

  • Gerry Sandis says:

    No job is ever worth the stress. Unfortunately, many jobs come with stress anyway, and they need doing. But lots of stress is unnecessary and self-imposed. Few of us are rescuing people from burning buildings, and the petty stresses in the office really don’t matter that much. Yes, it is important to meet a client deadline, but not at the cost of one’s health.

  • B Kelly says:

    well i’ve always thrived on work challenges and stress.. love setting myself up for these sort of situation as i have been able to grasp the satisfaction that comes from it. However, in the last few years work life balance has been my motto, as my job is only allowed to play second fiddle to my relationship. Money can be very tempting but having a happy fulfilling homefront was my choice.

  • KM says:

    Interesting that deadlines and competitiveness are more stressful than your life being at risk… My job is pretty stressful (and I haven’t even traveled yet because I am still finishing up school), but it’s worth it because I love what I do and the people I work with are great, so it’s easy to overlook the fact that some weeks I end up working 60-70 hours (and get paid for 40). I might look at it differently once I get sent somewhere for several months while having a baby at home (though I think they take that into consideration and won’t do that to me πŸ™‚ ).

  • Joe says:

    I kind of feel like your coworkers are one of the biggest components of stress on the job. If you’re surrounded by people you get along with, work is so much easier.

  • Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager says:

    Jobs where I feel like I’m making a difference is worth it to me. And potential career growth and challenging helps.

  • marci says:

    I retired, but then they offered me a deal I couldn’t refuse….
    Fully paid health insurance and a couple other things, and just 15-20 hours a
    week, 3 days…. Hard to pass up that health insurance part… especially when I am still 7 years from medicare…..

  • Kathryn C says:

    What a timely post for me. I just took a red eye from LA (where I live) to london and now have to go in to work and I’m not happy about it.

    Most days are good though, boss is in NY, I’m in LA so have lots of freedom as long as I get my job done. It’s worth the stress for me, socking away money and saving for my future, and having some fun now too. Thank you for this….makes me feel a little more normal today πŸ™‚

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