The Most Stressful Jobs of 2013

What’s your idea of a stressful job? Would taxi driver or senior corporate executive make the list? Think your job is more stressful than driving people around town or managing a company?

The career site CareerCast.com compiled a list of the 10 most stressful jobs for 2013, and some of their picks might surprise you. They took into account factors like:

  • Competitiveness.
  • Meeting the public.
  • Danger.
  • Physical demands.
  • Travel.
  • Environmental conditions.
  • Deadlines.

If you’re looking to change careers, you might want to think twice before considering one of these occupations.

1. Enlisted military personnel

The dangers of being deployed to a combat zone are obvious. Afterward, many veterans face difficulty re-entering society, and up to 30 percent grapple with post-traumatic stress disorder. In 2012, there were 349 suicides among active-duty U.S. military personnel, more than the 295 American combat deaths in Afghanistan that year, The Associated Press says.

  • Median pay: $42,000 for E-7 with eight-plus years of experience.
  • Job outlook: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it’s “excellent” through 2020. 
  • CareerCast stress score: 84.72.

2. Military general

Generals have to devise strategies and make tactical decisions that could send troops to their deaths — a responsibility that most people will never face. Nor is it something most people would ever want to.

  • Median salary: $196,300.
  • Job outlook: Varies.
  • CareerCast stress score: 65.54.

3. Firefighter

There were 83 U.S. firefighter fatalities last year, and 33 so far in 2013, FEMA says. In 2010, an average of 2.33 firefighter deaths occurred for every 100,000 fire incidents, and from 1977 through 2011 there were 4,325 on-duty fatalities, FEMA reports.

  • Median salary: $45,250.
  • Job outlook: 9 percent growth projected through 2020.
  • CareerCast stress score: 60.54.

4. Commercial airline pilot

Flying is stressful enough for the passengers. Consider what it’s like to pilot a plane. Not only do you have to get dozens of people safely from Point A to Point B at 10,000 feet in the air, you have to deal with odd hours, layovers and jet lag.

  • Median salary: $92,060.
  • Job outlook: 11 percent.
  • CareerCast stress score: 60.28.

5. Public relations executive

Is this job really more stressful than, say, working as a commercial fisherman? But PR people do have to manage corporate damage control, put themselves or their clients in front of the media all day, and run the risk of being fired whenever they don’t get the desired results.

  • Median salary: $57,550.
  • Job outlook: 21 percent.
  • CareerCast stress score: 48.52.

6. Senior corporate executive

Corporate execs represent the company, facing media scrutiny and stockholder critique. And heaven forbid the company doesn’t make more and more money on their watch.

  • Median salary: $101,250.
  • Job outlook: 14 percent.
  • CareerCast stress score: 47.46.

 7. Photojournalist

Photojournalists visually record fires, accidents, violent conflicts and war, all while a photo editor somewhere is harping about deadlines. Many have low-paying jobs and job uncertainty as the business of journalism undergoes radical change. Many are freelancers who have to constantly sell themselves and their work to publications.

  • Median salary: $29,130.
  • Job outlook: 13 percent.
  • CareerCast stress score: 47.12.

8. Newspaper reporter

Newspaper reporters face multiple strict deadlines every day, long and sometimes unpredictable hours, and high public visibility. Assignments can vary from heartbreaking to boring. (Consider a four-hour school board meeting.) Everyone who works in the business knows multiple reporters who have been laid off as newspapers lose revenue.

  • Median salary: $36,000.
  • Job outlook: A very dismal -6 percent.
  • CareerCast stress score: 46.75.

9. Taxi driver

Sixty-four taxi drivers and chauffeurs died on the job in 2011, according to the BLS. Cabbies are also susceptible to robbery because they carry cash. Then there’s the constant headache and hazard of driving in heavy traffic. Add low pay and you’ve got a stressful job.

  • Median salary: $22,440.
  • Job outlook: 20 percent.
  • CareerCast stress score: 46.18.

10. Police officer

Last year, 54,774 officers were assaulted, 72 officers were killed in the line of duty, and 53 officers died as a result of some type of accident, according to the FBI. Police routinely encounter dangerous situations. You’d think this job would be higher on the list.

  • Median salary: $55,010.
  • Job outlook: 7 percent.
  • CareerCast stress score: 45.60.

What job or jobs do you think should have made this list? Sound off on our Facebook page and let us know.

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