The 5 Most Stressful Jobs (And Least!)

A stressful job is the worst. Even if the job pays six figures, the amount of stress one can experience can make the money not even worth it.

I think everyone is looking for a career that has a good balance of financial freedom and reward. To help you figure out where you stand and to potentially guide you to a new job, we’re going to cover the most stressful jobs currently on the market.

But first — how do we define “stress at work”?

What Makes A Job Stressful?

Every job is different, every person has a different personality. Therefore, everyone has different things that may stress them out at work.

For this very reason, you may have started a side hustle that you’re looking to make your full-time career. There’s nothing like being your own boss, right?

But in the meantime, you may have to stick it out at your current job for a bit. And for the most part, these are some common stressors that anybody can experience at work:

-High workloads and impractical deadlines

-Extremely insufficient workloads, making the employee feel insignificant

-Lack of professional support from coworkers or superiors

-Being asked to complete tasks that don’t fit a person’s skill set or training

-Lack of clear career opportunities or advancement

-Workplace harassment

-The demand for absolute perfection (nobody, not even your boss, is perfect)

-Micromanagement from superiors or the lack of enough guidance

-Lack of communication channels within the business, both with co-workers and with superiors

-Uncomfortable physical work environment, like extreme heat or cold, too much noise, lack of lighting, uncomfortable or no seating, etc

-Conflicts at work in general

Do you experience one or more of these things at work? Most people do.

However, when it comes to the most stressful jobs out there, those people run into most of the items on this list.

See Also: 

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Hear are the most stressful jobs and least stressful jobs for 2019. Is your profession on the list? Find out within!


Most Stressful Jobs

There are so many stressful jobs in existence, but we narrowed it down to the top five along with their estimated average yearly salaries.

Emergency Dispatchers – $37,000/year

Dispatchers for the police, fire department, and ambulance services — aka 911 operators — for sure have one of the most stressful jobs out there. They receive calls from people in all sorts of situations — crimes, fires, domestic abuse, and anything they may involve someone’s life being threatened.

Then they need to clearly and quickly pass along the report to the appropriate authorities, all while staying calm. Typically, they stay on the line with the caller, so continuing to speak in a comforting tone is paramount.

Police Officer – $60,000/year

A police officer (aka a law enforcement officer) is out there to protect and serve the people. This often involves situations where they are putting their lives on the line to protect a community. They patrol their town or city, keeping an eye out for suspicious or illegal activity. They also respond to calls (see the Dispatch description above).

On top of this, they have to go back to the police station to file paperwork. And nobody likes paperwork.

Firefighter – $52,000/year

Another stressful job is a firefighter, which is also a line of work that can be life-threatening. The main thing firefighters do is put out fires (are surprised?), but they also are responsible for keeping people safe in emergency situations. This can include car accidents, flooding, search and rescue missions, and even chemical spills.

And as first responders, firefighters are trained in first aid, just in case they arrive at the scene of an emergency before the ambulance.

Rotary Drill Operators (Oil And Gas) – $57,000/year

Many people don’t realize that oil and gas rotary drill operators have a dangerous job. This includes derrick operators, roustabouts, service unit operators, and rotary drill operators.

Basically, they set up, operate, and maintain oil and gas drills that remove natural resources from the earth to give people energy and fuel. Most of the time, they work 24 hours a day, so it’s possible they may have shifts they don’t want.

Plus, the workers typically have 10-12 hours per day, sometimes not getting a day off until the well is completed. If this is the case, those workers would then get an equivalent amount of time off.

Enlisted Military Personnel – $22,000/year

This is probably the most dangerous and life-threatening job on this list of stressful jobs. Enlisted military personnel make up about 83% of the United States Armed Forces (the other 17% are officers).

Enlisted military personnel are involved in combat in some way, whether they are on the front lines of combat or in a support role. Many put their lives on the line on a regular basis. They also need to have first aid training, knowledge of how to maintain their equipment and possibly supervise lower-ranked personnel.

Least Stressful Jobs

The good news is that there are jobs that have very little stress. I mean, it’s a job where you have to work, so it won’t be completely absent of anything difficult.

But these are the five least stressful jobs we could find (listed with rough average annual income).

Medical Records Technician – $41,000/year

A medical records tech is in charge of (you guessed it) medical records. Their role is to organize, file, and generally manage the medical records for a hospital or other medical facility. They would be the ones sending patients’ medical records from the hospital to their doctor (only with permission).

Although paperwork, generally, is not super fun, this job is perfect for the organized person. If you love categorizing things and ensuring the absence of mistakes, this is a great job for you.

To become a medical records technician, you typically only need a high school diploma. Many employers, however, are starting to require you get an associate’s degree in Health Information Management or Health Information Technology as well as an RHIT certification.

Jeweler – $37,000/year

Most jewelers cut and polish diamond or cast and model molds. For many jewelers, the majority of each workday involves repairing damaged jewelry, usually by soldering broken pieces of diamondback onto the piece. They also adjust ring sizes and replace stones that have become loose.

If you have a steady hand and good eyes, this job could be right up your alley. You pretty much just repair jewelry, often working on your own (ahem…introverts).

You can either learn on the job if you can find someone to hire and train you, or you can take some sort of course to learn the skills of a jewelry. This can be a degree from a university or it can be a non-degree training from a trade school.

Public Librarian – $72,000/year

This may be the least stressful job on this list. If you live in a city, working at a public library can become your career.

A librarian’s duties include selecting, organizing, and classifying books, magazines, and other library resources. They also help answer people’s questions, like “Where is this section?” or “Do you have this book?” and help with the use of library computers. This is also a great job for people who love organization. That’s basically what a librarian is — a book organizer.

While you can become a librarian through on-the-job training or apprenticeship, you’ll typically need a degree accredited by the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) or any degree followed up by an accredited postgraduate qualification.

Cartographer – $65,000/year

Cartographer (aka a mapmaker) gather geographical info and put together maps using that info. They use things like surveys, photos, satellite pictures, and other technology to create visuals. They can work for the government or private companies, often creating apps or other navigation systems for their clients.

If you have an artistic hand, you can do well in cartography. Even if you wouldn’t consider yourself a drawer, you can learn cartography at school. To become a cartographer, you simply need a bachelor’s degree in cartography.

Commercial Painter – $37,000/year

This is another super easygoing career. Anyone who can paint walls, ceilings, and houses can be a commercial painter, whether you want to start your own business or work for a local painting business. This job requires no formal education.

Breathing in paint fumes is bad for you, so all you’d have to do is a get a mask that purifies the air you breathe in. As a painter, you can listen to music while you work — it’s mainly a physically draining job and not so much a mentally draining job.

What Are The Most And Least Stressful Jobs To You?

Type them out in the comments!

Grant Sabatier

Grant Sabatier

Creator of Millennial Money and Author of Financial Freedom (Penguin Random House). Dubbed "The Millennial Millionaire" by CNBC, Grant went from $2.26 to over $1 million in 5 years, reaching financial independence at age 30. Grant has been featured in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, BBC, NPR, Money Magazine and many others. He uses Personal Capital to manage his money in 10 minutes a month.
Grant Sabatier

Latest posts by Grant Sabatier (see all)

Posted in: Career

    Posted Nov 24 2018
    I ran a large chemical plant. For 30 years I was on call 24x7x365. When the plant shut down we lost around one million dollars a day in missed production. Needless to say I missed many family vacations, Christmases and trips with family and friends. We also had fires and leaks of toxic chemicals as an ever present risk. With hundreds of employees we had personnel issues on a daily basis. I think plant manager is one of the highest stress jobs although the pay is great.
    Matt @ Millennial Mutiny
    Posted Nov 27 2018
    This is so true. No size of pay check is worth it if you are doing your health a ton of damage with stress!

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