Believe it or not, around 25% of the international workforce claims to be a drinker that drinks heavily enough to be at risk of the various health factors associated with high alcohol consumption, such as death from alcohol poisoning or full blown alcohol dependency. In fact, 5% of the international workforce is actually alcohol dependent. None of this means that at least 25% of the people you work with are relatively heavy drinkers. In fact, a lot of jobs actually have a higher percentage of heavy drinkers and higher mortality rates concerning alcohol consumption than other jobs. Some of these jobs come as no surprise and some of them are hard to believe when compared to other occupations. Believe it or not, despite the repetitive nature of being a bank teller and the stress involved with keeping track of copious amounts of currency on a regular basis, tellers are actually much less likely to be heavy drinkers than a cook, whose job is also rather repetitive. On the other hand, you would think a lawyer would be more aware of the legal troubles that can be associated with a drinking problem, but those in the profession are more likely than average to die of an alcohol related cause.
It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly why some jobs seem more prone to heavy drinking while others do not, but it’s not too difficult to notice some obvious factors to the problem. It’s also important to note that taking any of these jobs doesn’t necessarily mean that you will become an alcoholic nor does it mean that you are one. Let’s take a look at some of the occupations that seem to have a much harder time with the issue than others.
14. Construction Workers
15% to 17% of construction workers have claimed to be relatively heavy drinkers. In fact, over half of all construction workers admit to binge drinking from time to time. On top of issues with alcohol abuse in the field, there is also a very high rate of illegal drug use. A lot of this is attributed to the job being highly stressful since the hours are long, the work is physically demanding, and there is a lot of pressure to be done within certain time frames. There is also a higher risk to lose life or limb on the job than in many other occupations.
Another aspect of the job that may lead some to drink is the unsteady work flow. Lay-offs and rehires happen a lot and there can be a lull in work over the winter in some areas. This free time and the fear that comes with job uncertainty is said to be a factor in the lifestyle choice as well.
13. Repair and Installation Workers
Much like construction workers, those in repair and installation have a similarly high level of alcohol abuse (around 15%) and also have a high level of drug abuse as well. The reasons are very similar. In repair and installation, you get the work as it comes in and is scheduled. If you’re in the heating repair field and it’s the middle of summer, the work tends to come a little slower. Once again, your work in this field can be rather dangerous which leads to an increased amount of stress. You’re also under similar pressure in terms of time constraints.
Many workers in repair and installation are self-employed as well. With no one to answer to, one might not always hesitate to have a couple drinks on their lunch break.
Over 12% of cooks admit to having a full on drinking problem. Once again we see a job with a lot of stress and pressure in relation to time constraints. Cooks are also known to work long hours in a given a day. Some of the day can be rather calm while prepping at the start of the day, but once dinner or lunch hits the work becomes non-stop. The environment is hot, fast paced, the other cooks are sweating and cranky, and tempers tend to fly during these peak hours. Then when it’s all done, you have a lot of filthy cleaning and scraping to do. Constant minor burns and cuts are a continuous part of the job. Generally, an after work brew is taken to relax and take the edge off.
When you’re on the road and by yourself, the boss isn’t there to look over your shoulder. This may give those in the shipping industry a stronger inclination to stay out drinking a bit later than the average person. After all, if they show up to work with a hangover there really isn’t anyone there to tell them to slow down.
Since truckers are usually by themselves all day and tend to end up in towns where they don’t know anybody, a bar is a place where they are likely to find some conversation and company, even if it’s just a friendly bartender. For these reasons it really comes as no surprise that over 11% of truckers admit to heavy drinking.
10. Sales Workers
Over 10% of sales people admit to heavy drinking. Since those in sales tend to work on commission, a lot of sales people might find the fluctuating payment to be a little stressful. That being said, it’s much more likely that schmoozing a prospective customer who might lead to a big sale requires meeting up with people for drinks and nights out a bit more regularly than any other profession. Outside of trying to be out and sociable, many traveling salesman have the same issue as truckers; when you’re in a town and you don’t know anyone, the bar is always a great place to find company.
9. Assembly Line Production
Due to the highly repetitive nature of production jobs, it comes as no surprise that individuals in this line of work might turn to alcohol. The scenery never changes, the work never changes, the hours tend to be long, and the pay is usually little. Not many in this profession are doing it because they love the work. Drinks after the daily grind might be one of the few things about the work day that those on production lines look forward too.
Nearly 10% of assembly line workers admit to being excessive drinkers.
8. Custodial Workers
Between 9% and 10% of custodial workers admit to heavy drinking. Workers in the field are just about as likely to use illegal drugs as well. Like many jobs on the list, work as a custodian isn’t exactly rewarding nor is it looked at as a glamorous profession by those outside of the field. Scrubbing toilets and cleaning up vomit isn’t exactly what many in the line of work aspired to do when they were young. Like the vast majority of the jobs on the list, it’s a line of work many get into so they can keep the bills paid. Sadly, it’s these jobs that generally see higher usage of drugs and alcohol.
Once again we see a job where the worker is usually in business for themselves. There isn’t a constant authority figure to reprimand the employee for a hangover effecting their performance. Some farmers also have the luxury of working on their own property, so not much stands in the way of going to the fridge and getting a beer.
On top of the opportunity to drink more being present, farm work is extremely stressful and very physical. A farmer’s income is at the mercy of the elements and any number of things can go wrong with a crop. Some drinks after work to wind down is understandable, but over 9% of farmers admit to being excessive drinkers.
6. Protective Services
Be it security guards, bodyguards, or protective services like the CPS, nearly 9% of workers in the field admit to excessive drinking. For the more physical occupations in the field, stress and tiring physical duties are probably a big factor in the urge to start drinking. Unfortunately, some people with physically demanding occupations tend to substitute alcohol for aspirin.
For jobs in the field like Child Protective Services, the emotional toll from seeing innocent children living in terrible circumstances might make someone want to “drink to forget.”
The drunken architect isn’t exactly a stereotype that many are familiar with. Believe it or not, 8.3% of architects admit to being heavy drinkers. A lot of people are under the impression that an architect just designs a building, but the design of a building must take a myriad of safety and integrity issues into consideration. Architects also run inspections on a building while it’s being built to make sure everything is safe and structurally sound.
Aside from being responsible for anyone hurt if a building was unsafe due to design issues, architects are also under a lot of pressure to make a design that both meets safety requirements and the desires of the client. They are also under a lot of pressure concerning time.
It’s rather surprising that 1 in 10 doctors is said to develop either a problem with alcohol or a problem with drugs. Most would assume that a doctor would be aware of all the health issues concerning a substance abuse issue. Obvious factors that would turn a doctor towards alcohol is a demanding job. Expectations for a doctor are much higher than they are for almost any employee in any other field. The hours are long and there is an emotional toll to the career as well.
As for the drug abuse aspect, a lot of this is chalked up to their accessibility to addictive prescription drugs.
3. Transportation Workers
A number of occupations can be lumped in with this category. Just about any job that requires one to transport large amounts of people in a vehicle seems to have a high level of alcohol abuse. This includes occupations like sailors, train engineers, airline pilots, and bus drivers as well. A little over 11% of workers in transportation admit to having an issue with excessive drinking. One reason these employees might turn to alcohol is because of the huge amount of stress associated with having a large number of lives in their hands throughout the bulk of the day.
Much like a doctor being aware of the health issues that come with alcohol abuse, you would think a lawyer might hold back because they understand the number of legal issues one can get into from excessive drinking, such as DUIs, public intoxication, and domestic abuse. Unfortunately, addiction doesn’t go away because you know the negative effects it can have. Lawyers are twice as much more likely to deal with alcoholism than those in the general population. Once again we see a highly stressful job with long hours and sometimes absurd expectations. There is also a high rate of depression in the career field, which may encourage some to “self-medicate.”
1. Bartenders and Servers
Over 12% of servers and bartenders admit to excessive drinking. The reasons that might lead to this one should come as a no-brainer. Obviously servers and bartenders have a high level of accessibility to large amounts of alcohol. Let’s not forget that a lot of food and drink establishments allow their employees a free shift drink, which is all too easily turned into a number of free drinks since some employees become friendly. When these employees get out of work, other bars and restaurants are usually the only things still open. Going to a bar is generally what these workers do together after work. It should also be mentioned that these are actually pretty demanding jobs with high expectations and a number of stressors. Bartenders are actually two times more likely to die from alcohol abuse than the average person.