At this time, it must be pretty stressful to be a fact checker for politicians. Among President Obama’s State of the Union and all the Democratic and Republican speeches going on during this primary season, a lot of “facts” with dubious origin are being bandied around. Donald Trump by himself probably gives at least one person a career, constantly sifting through his closed-minded comments looking for actual facts to dispute. The good news for these fact checkers is the political primaries will soon end, and then their lives will be a little easier.
A lot of us though, are stuck with the same level of stress in our jobs day in and day out, and for the most part we hopefully learn to deal with that stress in a way that leaves us mostly sane and content. Some jobs are obviously more stressful than others, and every year those jobs are analyzed. It might be that our jobs put us in danger, make us wish we were paid a lot more money, or expose us to people we would rather not be exposed to. In 2016, though, new challenges will arise, causing stress levels to increase for some occupations and decrease for others. This list will look at some jobs in the United States that will most likely be very stressful throughout 2016.
15. Hosting the Academy Awards
We can also call this one being Chris Rock. Whoever got stuck hosting the Oscars this year would have had a hard time. Something in Hollywood is wrong either with the diversity of Academy voters, racial preferences of the Academy voters, or lack of quality roles for minority actors. We are supposed to accept that no minority actors have made any important contributions to film in the last year, which is preposterous, and the fact that the Academy is now trying to address this issue will be too little too late as far as this year’s award show goes. The fact that Chris Rock is a minority comedian means that the awards’ ceremony can’t just say we’ll do better next time and ignore the issue. Now Rock has the stressful job of being the mouthpiece that appeases the situation, highlighted by the fact that Spike Lee, who would have been much more suited to that role, refuses to participate in the discourse by boycotting the event.
14. Air Traffic Controller
An Air Traffic Controller is not a physical danger to him or herself, but they are responsible for the lives of many others. Sitting in a dark room watching a computer screen all day isn’t fun, but feeling the responsibility of helping the pilot keep hundreds of people safe adds a layer of stress onto the job that is not healthy. The job comes with a mandatory retirement age of 56 so the helpful souls who perform this much needed action can have a nice long retirement away from the stress of this day to day job.
13. Event Planner
Imagine planning a wedding with hundreds of guests with the bride and groom (bride especially) full of expectations. The bride’s parents have spent a lot of money, some of it on your salary, and are hoping they didn’t get ripped off. And then every thing goes wrong. How were you supposed to know the Elvis impersonator sounded like Gilbert Gottfried? Or that there was supposed to be a string quartet instead of an Elvis impersonator? A lot is riding on the event planner to get all the details correct, regardless if the event is a wedding, concert, town hall meeting, etc. That is a lot of pressure and stress on the shoulders of one person, which makes being in charge of an event one of the most stressful jobs a person can have.
12. Emergency Dispatcher
Another job in which one’s life is not in danger, but one is responsible for coordinating others who are in or may be in danger. Every time the phone rings knowing the person on the line has dialed 911 for some traumatic reason would be stressful enough. Listening to a person struggle on the line while one can do nothing but dispatch emergency workers to his or her location can be frustrating in addition to sending police or firemen into a situation which may kill them and put the dispatcher in a constant state of fear. Getting the help people need where and when they need it is such an important job, but it comes with a high level of stress that can not be helped.
It is no wonder that Suzanne Collins made her heroic Katniss Everdeen the daughter of a miner, living in a mining colony in her Hunger Games book series. What a stressful job to go deep into the Earth and labor in the dark with little in the way of air quality. A small group of miners in China has been trapped underground for over a month, and in the United States mining accidents are not uncommon (remember the 25 miners killed in 2010?). Between health problems and hard, physical labor, mining is a hard and stressful job.
10. Social Worker
It takes a very brave soul to help people who resent being helped, but unfortunately many people who need help from social workers aren’t really receptive, especially when the social work has to do with people’s children. Back in 2005, a Child Protective Service worker was attacked with a machete in Washington State when she tried to rescue three children from a neglectful father (the previously mentioned machete-wielding maniac).
Luckily that worker was rescued by a police officer who shot the assailant to death, but stories like this are not uncommon. According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, one in every three social workers is attacked sometime during his or her career trying to help people in need. It is easy to imagine how stressful this job is and with people getting more and more selfish every year, I don’t think being a social worker is going to get any less stressful any time soon.
9. Nurse – Exposure To Contagious Illnesses
Nurses work as hard as doctors, but get less pay and less respect. Add that to how rude and aggressive people can be when in distress. More importantly, working as a nurse puts one in danger of exposure to all kinds of terrible germs, gases, and drugs. The Emergency Nurses Association lists bearing witnesses to people dying and in pain as a major stress, compounded by long hours per shift and actual violence which may occur in the hospital. It is so vital that we have people willing to be nurses to help the rest of us in our times of need, but it is too bad that this profession is so stressful and will continue to be so in 2016.
8. School Teacher – Crappy Pay, Increase In School Shootings
In the past, being a school teacher was not considered a particularly dangerous job like some of the other jobs on this list, but in recent years, the amount of gun violence on school campuses has made people rethink the safety of teachers a little bit. Almost twenty school shootings in 2015 alone is about twenty-five too many school shootings, but other than the stress from constant fear one’s students may be armed, the vast amount of time it takes to plan the entire curriculum, actually follow through on the curriculum, and deal with the ramifications of the curriculum (grading papers, tests, and justifying your papers and tests to parents and administration) is extremely stressful. In addition, teachers are paid a fraction of what they are worth which exacerbates the stress of this profession. It is little wonder that many states deal with teacher shortages yearly.
7. Radio Broadcasters – At The Will Of Technology
Not knowing anything about working for a radio station, it seems like a job where no one can see you and you spend most of the time risking people not listening to you. It also comes off as one of the most relaxing and pretty cool jobs out there. But researching stressful jobs in previous years, it turns out that being on the radio is pretty darn stressful. It makes sense that any job in which thousands of people engage with you on any level would be pretty harrowing, but throw in all the technology the DJs need to use, cranky callers complaining about one’s latest thinly veiled Justin Bieber insult, and having to work at all hours of the day, and a perfect stress environment can occur. Think about all the times you have had problems with your computer freezing or your Operating System flat out crashing, and then imagine that problem being broadcast live for everyone to hear. Stalling for time while rebooting one’s system does not make for entertaining radio, but does lead to a lot of panic and anxiety.
6. Surgeon – Risking Someone’s Life
I would be terrified to make a mistake if I was a surgeon. The potential for accidentally killing somebody while trying to help him or her would give me constant stress. And if one is a person who has dedicated his or her life to making people healthy, causing a person to die would create several layers of personal horror and guilt. Literally holding a person’s life in one’s hands is extremely stressful, but what may be more stressful than actually making a mistake is the constant fear of making a mistake. Patients blame their doctors for all their problems: knee surgery not as painless as you hoped? The doctor is to blame. With insurance premiums at an exorbitant rate, hundreds of thousands of dollars in some cases, living with the constant fear of being blamed for malpractice creates a very stressful environment.
5. TV News – Deadline, Deadline, Deadline
Similar to being on the radio, but more stressful because people can actually see you, the TV news profession can be extremely panicky for everyone involved. The news anchor neesd to present the news in an accurate way, without offending or marginalizing any of the people involved in the news. They need to be professional and look good doing it, selling themselves as preferred alternative to their competitors on another station, even though they are saying the same thing. The cameramen need to know what they are doing in order to get the shot, without missing their cues and creating dead viewing space for the whole world to see. The producers need to get the news to the anchors and make sure they have all their details correct and written in a way to avoid plagiarism. All of this happens everyday and with little time to prepare. This amount of stress only increases when the reporters and mobile camera crew place themselves in dangerous situations to help us understand what is happening in our world.
4. Airplane Pilot – Thousands Of Feet In The Sky
As technology gets more and more advanced, being an airplane pilot gets easier and easier. You have more buttons and monitors to deal with, but the planes themselves fly automatically to a much greater extent than they used to. This doesn’t seem to lower the stress of actually being a pilot, though. In order to fly for a major airline, one needs to have extensive training and experience. But feeling like you are responsible for hundreds of passengers’ and flight crews’ lives creates a field of constant anxiety. If the worst happens, it is up to the pilot to save everyone, him or herself included, on board, and in some cases on the ground depending on where the plane can land. There is a reason that pilots who save lives in a crash are heralded so heroically.
3. Firefighter – Hero’s Stress
As safety technology gets better and better, being a firefighter should become safer and safer. That doesn’t diminish how dangerous being a firefighter still is going into 2016. In 2014, the number of firefighters who died was a reported 91, and already this January five firefighters have been killed. We grow up being warned “never run into a burning building,” but for firefighters that is their job. No matter how much gear and preparation one may have, the stress of knowing one is putting his or her life on the line is exceedingly great.
2. Police Officer – Life On The Line
Being a police officer has always been a dangerous job. Anything from a terrorist attack to a routine traffic stop could potentially put a police officer’s life in jeopardy. In 2015, over 100 police officers died while on duty, which creates stress on a day to day basis for most officers. But, in the last few years an entire new level of stress has consumed the brave men and women who uphold our laws. The amount of controversy surrounding police violence, racism, and brutality has dominated the media, with protests in Ferguson and other specific American cities transcending into the nationwide Black Lives Matter movement. Police are obviously scared and wish to, justifiably, protect themselves from being shot. But when the ramifications of shooting a suspect who may or may not be armed becomes even more important than personal safety, the level of stress added to an already stressful job becomes immense.
1. United States Soldier – First Line Of Defense And Offense
With humans having a marvelous knack at figuring out how to kill each other in more efficient ways, being a soldier is always not only the most dangerous job but also the most stressful. When we have an opponent like the Islamic State, our soldiers are in intense danger with little hope to find a peaceful resolution. ISIS is a doomsday cult masquerading as good Muslims, but they want to die in battle and take as many people (Muslim or not) with them as they can. We should, as a country, hope to fight violence with love, and convince our enemies to stop being so damaging, but in this case, violence may be the only solution. A lot of terrible things are in store for our soldiers in the next few years. We need to support them in their and our time of stress.