For many Americans, stress is an integral part of work. Whether caused by looming deadlines, balancing demands of job and family, or a career that routinely involves risks to life and limb, stress can both help us do our jobs better -- by keeping us on our toes -- and take a toll on our overall health by putting us at increased risk for disease.
Not surprisingly, some of the most stressful jobs involve protecting others from harm, according to a survey by CareerCast.com, a job-search website. They include firefighters, who in addition to fighting fires frequently come in contact with hazardous materials and poisonous gases, and police officers, who battle crime and deal with dangerous criminals.
Similarly, CareerCast notes, military generals, who are in charge of defense strategy, and maintaining troop strength and morale, have one of the most stressful jobs, as do airline pilots, who are responsible for the safety of scores of passengers as well as their crew.
In its evaluation of job-related stress, CareerCast looked at 11 factors that invoke stress. Each were assigned points, with the highest scores given to those factors that were a major part of the job.
Jobs that are in dangerous settings, have demanding deadlines or involve repetitive detailed work can increase stress levels, CareerCast says. But stress isn't limited to a particular job, industry, salary or education level.
"Not all jobs are created equal when it comes to stress levels," says CareerCast Publisher Tony Lee in a statement accompanying the survey's results. Avoiding workplace stress isn't as difficult as it might seem, he says. There are many career options for those looking to keep stress levels at a minimum.
Fortunately, stress and pay don't go hand in hand. In other words, workers don't necessarily have to have the most demanding, stressful job in order to bring home a handsome paycheck.
In fact, says Lee, "The most stressful job from our research this year pays about the same as the least stressful job."
CareerCast's 10 Most Stressful Jobs of 2012:
10. Taxi Driver -- Average Income: $22,440
9. Photojournalist -- Average Income: $40,000
8. Corporate Executive (Senior) -- Average Income: $165,830
7. Public Relations Executive -- Average Income $91,810
6. Event Coordinator -- Average Income $45,260
5. Police Officer -- Average Income $53,540
4. Military General -- Average Income $196,300
3. Airline Pilot -- Average Income $103,210
2. Firefighter -- Average Income $45,250
1. Enlisted Military Soldier -- Average Income $35,580
Also: Check out CareerCast's list of the 10 Least Stressful Jobs of 2012:
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