With most Americans working longer and harder it's likely many workers are feeling more stressed than ever. Add to that the recent jump in gasoline prices and years of meager wage increases, and it's understandable why some people are near wit's end.
That said, some jobs by the very nature are more stressful than others. Whether it's working in a hospital emergency room, trying to sell homes in this economy or piloting aircraft over America's crowded skies, here's look at the 10 most stressful jobs (as compiled by CareerCast.com).
Average salary: $106,153
You need look no further than Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger -- the pilot who two years ago managed to safely landed a plane full of people in the Hudson River -- to get a sense of why piloting jet aircraft can be so stressful. Not only are they expected to get passengers safely to their destination but on time, too -- even when the weather doesn't cooperate.
Average salary: $90,160
As last year's gulf oil spill proved, having a savvy and dynamic public-relations team to navigate corporate disasters can go a long way toward maintaining a positive public image. More routinely, PR folks regularly meet with new clients, handle potentially hostile press inquiries and deliver presentations and speeches often in front of large crowds. Given those factors and more, it's not hard to see why PR professionals have one of the most stressful jobs out there.
Average salary: $161,141
Senior executives are responsible for making business decisions that affect hundreds, thousands or even millions of people, whether they are employees, investors or customers. Moreover, their decisions on corporate policy and strategy, especially when poorly made, receive scrutiny reserved for few other people except for maybe those at the top levels of government.
Average salary: $40,209
As the deaths of two Western photojournalists in Libya last week proves, the profession often involves working on the front lines of dangerous situations to get the story. Meeting tight editorial deadlines and possible technical glitches also add to the stress -- especially when you consider relatively low levels of pay.
Average salary: $50,456
You may never see them sweat, but with thousands if not millions of listeners glued to your every word, radio and TV newscasters know a thing or two about stress. It's also profession where accuracy is key. A simple mistake can end a lucrative job -- or career.
Average salary: $62,105
As ad revenues continue to dwindle at the nation's newspapers, getting advertisers to pay top dollar for ad space is a tough sell. But it isn't only sales skills that makes being an ad exec stressful. The job also requires high levels of creativity and self motivation, great attention to detail and the ability to succeed in a cut-throat career field.
Average salary: $73,193
Making drawings of buildings may seem like child's play, but architect's duties, which include planning, designing and overseeing construction of all kinds of buildings, are often done under tight deadlines and require a dedication to detail to ensure homes and office buildings are built safely.
Average salary: $67,470
Tune into any business news channel during market hours and you'll likely get a sense of the kind of stress stockbrokers are exposed to. Images from the New York Stock Exchange frequently Wall Street brokers waving or shouting madly as the seek to cash in on stock movements. Those split-second decisions, whether mode on the trading floor or by computer, can result in making (or losing) millions of dollars for your customers.
Average salary: $30,168
Emergency medical technicians, or EMTs, are frequently the first to respond to an emergency or disaster. Their responsible for stabilizing injured people and sometimes have to contend with providing medical care in less-than-ideal conditions. Disasters such as the collapse of the Twin Trade Towers in New York and Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans provide a glimpse of the kinds of challenges that await EMTs when they respond to emergency situations.
Average salary: $40,357
Sure they dress nice, smile and often look the very model of success, but selling real estate in the post-mortgage mess era makes being a real-estate agent a stressful career choice. Then there are the demands that come with the job regardless of the state of housing market: lots of weekend work and spending lots of time with home buyers who may not know exactly what they are looking for.
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