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The Nation's Most-Demanding White- and Blue-Collar Jobs

firefighter and surgeon

In compiling lists of the most demanding white- and blue-collar jobs, researchers examine data on each position's stress level, work hours and physical demands. Looking at exhausting white-collar occupations, the most-demanding job is surgeon, which also ranks second on the overall list. A surgeon's high fatigue factor is due to extreme stress and long hours that can include being on-call late at night. While not as physically demanding as firefighter, surgeon ranks highest among white-collar positions for physical activity as well. Other white-collar jobs with high stress include senior corporate executive, attorney and physician, while clergy and pharmacist make the list largely due to long work weeks.


For job seekers looking to avoid stress, these are the nation's 8 most-demanding white-collar jobs:

  • Find This Job1. Surgeon
  • Diagnoses ailments and performs operations to repair, reconstruct, remove, or replace organs, limbs, and bodily systems.
  • Find This Job2. Senior Corporate Executive
  • Formulates the policies and directs the operations of private and publicly-held companies.
  • Find This Job3. Physician (General Practice)
  • Performs examinations, diagnoses medical conditions, and prescribes treatment for individuals suffering from injury, discomfort or disease.
  • Find This Job4. Psychiatrist
  • Studies, diagnoses, and treats mental, emotional and behavioral disorders.
  • Find This Job5. Attorney
  • Counsels clients in legal matters; using interpretation of laws and rulings to advise and represent businesses and individuals.
  • Find This Job6. Judge (Federal)
  • Arbitrates legal matters coming under the jurisdiction of the federal government, using a thorough knowledge of federal statutes and legal precedent.
  • Find This Job7. Clergy
  • Leads a congregation in worship and other spiritual services, provides moral guidance to members, and participates in community outreach.
  • Find This Job8. Pharmacist
  • Advises physicians and patients on the affects of drugs and medications; prepares and dispenses prescriptions.

While a majority of white-collar jobs are demanding due to stress and long hours, employees in blue-collar positions tend to engage in more intense physical activity. That said, firefighter is the most-demanding blue-collar job, and along with police officer, includes the stress of being responsible for the lives of others. Roustabouts, who maintain oil rigs, also experience anxiety due to the risk of personal injury, and sailors must be concerned about falling victim to piracy. Truck drivers are required to spend long hours behind the wheel, while automobile body repairers and tool-and-die makers shoulder heavy physical demands.

For workers who don't mind late nights and heavy lifting, here are the nation's 8 most-demanding blue-collar jobs:

  • Find This Job1. Firefighter
  • Protects individuals and saves lives and property from the ravages of fire.
  • Find This Job2. Police Officer
  • Provides protection against crime, investigates criminal activity, and works with the public on crime-prevention measures.
  • Find This Job3. Roustabout
  • Performs routine physical labor and maintenance on oil rigs and pipelines, both on and off shore.
  • Find This Job4. Sailor
  • May perform any number of tasks involved in the operation of ships, boats, barges, or dredges.
  • Find This Job5. Construction Foreman
  • Supervises the work of employees and ensures that equipment and materials are being used properly and effectively.
  • Find This Job6. Truck Driver
  • Operates 16-wheeled tractor-trailer, to transport durable and perishable goods from producers to consumers.
  • Find This Job7. Automobile Body Repairer
  • Mends cosmetic and structural damage to car, truck, and bus chassis.
  • Find This Job8. Tool-and-Die Maker
  • Constructs and repairs precision tools, gauges, holding devices and stamping tools for the machine industry.

Depending on your personality, working in a highly demanding job can lead to physical exhaustion, anxiety or intense burnout that can be difficult to cure without changing the way you cope with stress. While in today's market many employees may be glad just to have steady employment, if your workdays are overly draining and you find it difficult to recover, it may be time to look for a new career.

On the other hand, if you’re the type who cares little for sleep, loves pressure and believes hard, physical work only makes you stronger, one of these highly demanding positions could just be the perfect job for you.

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