9 Most Stressful Jobs
March 27, 2020
CATEGORY : Work Life Balance

Stress refers to the body’s emotional and physical responses that arise when the job does not match the worker’s resources, needs and capabilities. There isn't an absolute zero-stress job as every job requires some sort of deadline and expectation and that's even true in home-based jobs. Every job has its own unique brand of stress. But, there are jobs that can be clearly defined as stressful and less stressful. These jobs have their stress levels that are more than others.


Military personnel

Job description: Military men of all ranks are tasked to defend their country’s sovereignty and assist the civilian government in times of calamity. They may serve as instructors for ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Course and CAT (Citizens Army Training).

How much does it pay: Pay depends on rank. 18,587 Php a month for a candidate soldier, 29,668 Php for private and 67,000 Php for military generals.

Causes of stress: Possible injury or loss of life (frontline soldiers) due to an enemy or friendly fire,  wrong use of military equipment, being captured as POWS-Prisoners of Wars, and harsh military training (marines, special forces). In fact, military men are prone to psychological trauma after witnessing a loss of life and violence.

Police and other law enforcement jobs

Job description: Police and other law enforcers (anti-drug units and special forces) make sure that laws are enforced and assist in investigation tasks. 

How much does it pay: Pay depends on police rank, for example, the Police Officer I (PO1) earns 29,668 Php, the Senior Police Officer II (SPO3) - 34,079 Php, Police Chief Superintendent (PSSUPT) 91,058 Php and the Police Director General (PDG) - 149,785 Php (1).

Causes of stress: Policemen and other law enforcers face a possible injury or loss of life when they go on dangerous operations such as raids, undercover missions or face a lone criminal. Those special action force units (police special force) undergo harsh training on par with marines.


Airline pilot

Job description: Pilots guide and steer the aeroplane and make sure that the passengers get safe and smooth air travel from the airport to airport. They also have to communicate with the air traffic controller for weather, location, flight clearance and altitude guidance.

How much does it pay: Pilot salaries pay well (156,823 Php) as they top the list in Philippine wage scale although it depends on experience and airline companies.

Causes of stress: Pilots bear the responsibility of controlling and flying a gigantic machine and mind about the lives of a few hundreds of their passengers. Sure, the cockpit is full of high-tech controls and screens, but when engine trouble comes, a well planned and thought decision can mean the difference between an air crash or a happy landing.



Job description: Firemen plan and execute the best possible methods to efficiently put out a fire, prevent further fire damage and save trapped lives as soon as possible.

How much does it pay: Firefighters for the Bureau of Fire Protection earn as much as 37,448 Php including allowances and salary.

Causes of stress: Facing a building slowly consumed by a raging fire, is a frightening situation to endure. On top of that, the real hazards are going through a burning house, avoiding electrical wires, finding trapped men and animals, and going to dangerous heights. 


Doctor (Surgeon)

Job description: The role of this job is to cut and close the patient’s tissues and skin. Surgeons diagnose and treat animals and humans for internal problems. They remove diseased tissues, organs, and use sophisticated equipment to sustain a delicate surgery and save the life of a patient under life support.

How much does it pay: Salary depends on the experience and specialization but generally, the profession pays well. General practitioners get a salary between 300 Php and 1500 Php for consultation for every patient. More experienced surgeons who work for government hospitals, the Department of Health, and bigger hospitals can earn 64,000 Php to 80,000 Php.

Causes of stress: Being a surgeon doctor means the life of a patient whom you are going to operate is at your hands. Anything that goes wrong such as misdiagnosis, using the opposite blood type (O versus A), and operating on the wrong patient can lead to suspension/loss of license, disastrous surgery, lawsuits and loss of life.


Registered Nurse

Job description: Nurses take care of patients by administering and monitoring the intravenous infusions and other medications, taking temperature and blood samples, providing pre and post-operational care, writing records, tutoring student nurses and supervising junior nurses.

How much does it pay: A nurse earns a salary between 8,000 - 13,000 Php or more, depending on these factors:  location (province vs NCR), (private vs government hospitals and experience. Overseas, the salary could be higher starting from $3,800 per month to $4,500.

Causes of stress: Hospitals, its ward and emergency rooms could be busy and chaotic. Incoming patients are either in a life-threatening situation or need prompt medical attention. Add a load of 7 patients per shift of nurses, a sleepless evening shift and you got a recipe for stress. You may or might go home exhausted. Patients you haven’t monitored may go bad as their families are seeking you out to ask the question why you haven’t done this ABC etc.


Chef and kitchen commissaries in busiest restaurants/hotels

Job description: Chefs (the head of the kitchen) oversee a kitchen and ensure that its operation flows smoothly such as delivering accurate food orders and making it tasty as possible. They also make food costing to keep wastage down, modify and make menus.  Kitchen commissaries make mise en place (food preparations) and orders according to the standard.

How much does it pay?: An average salary of a chef is around 10,000 Php to 18, 000 Php or more depending on experience and the size of the restaurant, resort or hotel where he/she serves. The same position in a bigger company could mean a higher salary for the chef. An executive chef might earn 45,000 Php or more.

Causes of stress: Chefs are considered one of the most stressful jobs. If you work in a highly busy fine dining restaurant with a hundred customers, then you must face a constant pressure of keeping orders organized and have them clearly instructed to your cooks (commissaries, chef de parties and demi-chef de parties). As a chef, you're likely to be blamed by the management if any of diners complain - bandages in a salad, hair in pasta, larvae in Romaine lettuce, stale bread, and all sorts of strange things you can imagine. 

There’s a danger of slicing your hands with a knife or machine or getting injured by a bouncing knife. Throughout busy hours, you may come across cursing or yelling with other cooks (just think Gordon Ramsay’s hell's kitchen) as one of them made a wrong order or got into a heated argument. 

You also have to mind modified or special orders because of vegan, vegetarian, religious and dietary requests of customers. As a commissary, you have to make accurate orders while facing a stream of requests that just came out from a kitchen printer or waiter. On top of that, add the mistakes that arise from forgotten order detail plus yelling colleagues and you got a situation of exploding like a pressure cooker. 


Taxi Drivers

Job description: They take the passengers in the right direction and destination. Taxi drivers make sure that their passengers are comfortable and taken to their destinations.

How much does it pay: Taxi drivers rent cars from the owners of carpool or operators and pay them from 1,200 Php to 3,600 Php depending on the number of hours of driving and take-home pay of about 1,000 Php.

Causes of stress: Taxi drivers face a number of stressors such as varying temperament of passengers, traffic, and reduced sleeping hours. There’s also the possibility of crimes caused by questionable passengers, road rage from other motorists, being flagged by MMDA or traffic enforcers for violations and air pollution.


Flight Steward or Attendants (Cabin Crews)

Job description: Flight stewards, attendants or cabin crews guide and take care of passengers throughout the flight duration. They attend flight briefing,  serve inflight meals and drinks; perform safety demos during preflights and before landings; and greet passengers with courtesies.

How much does it pay: Flight attendants earn starting from 18,000 Php to 60,000 Php or more depending on experience, position and airline. Salaries are higher in large and multinational airlines that fly international routes compared to local airlines. Airlines pay their crews only during time airborne and not between inflights.

Causes of stress:  The stress level of cabin crew depends on the volume of passengers and airline but generally flight attendants encounter stresses such as: meeting various types of people (personalities), different situations (rude vs nice, sporadic hours, wake-up calls, flight cancellations, flight delays, and sleepless nights).


The Bottom Line

This list is not meant to dissuade graduates or students from taking one of the above jobs but rather serve as a guide or info of what they can expect from pursuing these professions.

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