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All Work and No Play: The 8 Most Demanding Jobs of 2009

firefighter with hose By Andrew Strieber

How tired do you feel at the end of an average workday? Do you have enough energy to hit the gym or spend time with your family? Or does working eight (or more) hours at the office make you so worn out that you're about to collapse from exhaustion?

Workers in every industry struggle with fatigue and burnout, but if you repeatedly find yourself barely able to get out of bed in the morning, the problem may not just be your sleep schedule or stress-management techniques – it could be that you're stuck in an overly demanding job.

Many employees get worn out at work, but how can job seekers tell which careers are more arduous than the rest? Is it more exhausting to work at a job that requires extreme physical activity, or one with a high stress level? Police officers frequently put their lives on the line and engage in dangerous high-speed pursuits, but do they experience more fatigue than senior corporate executives, who shoulder responsibility for the financial security of hundreds (or thousands) of employees? And how do positions with extremely long hours, such as truck driver, rate for their overall "fatigue factor?"

While each is tiring for very different reasons, all three of these positions are among the most-demanding jobs you can find in today's employment market, according to a new study from's 2009 Jobs Rated Report. Compiled using information from the Department of Labor and Jobs Rated's exclusive data on 200 different jobs, the new report ranks positions based on a combination of work hours, stress and physical demands to determine the eight most-demanding jobs overall, along with separate rankings of the most exhausting blue- and white-collar positions.

So which career has the greatest number of exhausted employees at the end of each workday? In this year's Report, firefighter ranks as the most-demanding job by a significant margin, thanks to a combination of long hours, life-threatening situations, physical demands, and responsibility for the lives of others while on the job. However, while police officer has a similar set of requirements, it slides to fourth place, behind surgeon and corporate executive. Why? Because while police officer ranks extremely high for physical demands, it places below surgeon and senior corporate executive in both stress and average work hours.

If you're looking for a new job but are worried about conserving your energy, you might want to think twice before starting one of these careers, the nation's eight most-demanding jobs:

  • Find This Job1. Firefighter
  • Protects individuals and saves lives and property from the ravages of fire.
  • Overall Ranking: 181 Overall Score: 743 Work Environment: 3314.030
    Physical Demands: 43.23 Stress: 110.940 Income: $44,218 Hours Per Week: 55
  • Find This Job2. Surgeon
  • Diagnoses ailments and performs operations to repair, reconstruct, remove, or replace organs, limbs, and bodily systems.
  • Overall Ranking: 156 Overall Score: 660 Work Environment: 1962.000
    Physical Demands: 15.9 Stress: 99.463 Income: $309,118 Hours Per Week: 55
  • Find This Job3. Corporate Executive (Senior)
  • Formulates the policies and directs the operations of private and publicly-held companies.
  • Overall Ranking: 88 Overall Score: 463 Work Environment: 1540.000
    Physical Demands: 6 Stress: 108.625 Income: $101,159 Hours Per Week: 55
  • Find This Job4. Police Officer
  • Provides protection against crime, investigates criminal activity, and works with the public on crime-prevention measures.
  • Overall Ranking: 174 Overall Score: 714 Work Environment: 1877.850
    Physical Demands: 22.63 Stress: 93.893 Income: $51,160 Hours Per Week: 47.5
  • Find This Job5. Roustabout
  • Performs routine physical labor and maintenance on oil rigs and pipelines, both on and off shore.
  • Overall Ranking: 192 Overall Score: 821 Work Environment: 1731.450
    Physical Demands: 36.89 Stress: 65.548 Income: $29,140 Hours Per Week: 50
  • Find This Job6. Sailor
  • Performs any number of tasks involved in the operation of ships, boats, barges, or dredges.
  • Overall Ranking: 197 Overall Score: 870 Work Environment: 1660.560
    Physical Demands: 30.77 Stress: 51.282 Income: $34,160 Hours Per Week: 50
  • Find This Job7. Physician (General Practice)
  • Performs examinations, diagnoses medical conditions, and prescribes treatment for individuals suffering from injury, discomfort or disease.
  • Overall Ranking: 142 Overall Score: 620 Work Environment: 1471.500
    Physical Demands: 10.9 Stress: 64.037 Income: $167,071 Hours Per Week: 55
  • Find This Job8. Psychiatrist
  • Studies, diagnoses, and treats mental, emotional and behavioral disorders.
  • Overall Ranking: 100 Overall Score: 498 Work Environment: 1417.000
    Physical Demands: 11.9 Stress: 61.313 Income: $108,270 Hours Per Week: 55

The list of most-demanding jobs overall includes a mix of both blue- and white-collar positions, but some of these – sailor and psychiatrist, for example – rank high for very different reasons. Apart from examples such as firefighter, a majority of blue-collar positions wear out workers because of their physical demands, while demanding white-collar jobs earn their rank due to long hours and anxiety.

To measure the fatigue factor of jobs against more comparable positions, researchers analyze the most-demanding white-collar and blue-collar jobs as well, broken into separate rankings.

Continue to the next page to see the 8 most demanding blue-collar and white-collar jobs

Try being a roughneck on an

Try being a roughneck on an old cyclone drilling rig

posted jobs in demand????

These jobs all are only supported by private American workers. No jobs will make less for Firemen, Police, teachers and Health care. Try buying American products no matter what. Manufacturing and building construction are almost gone. That is the problem in the U.S.A.

Rediculous post.

I find this very rediculous.

Some jobs that should be on here:

Sports animator at a hotel: Hours working a week ranging from 50 to 120.
Physically demanding: You do sports all day long in hot or really cold temperatures.
Stress: A lot more than most of the above jobs.

Lot more stressfull and physically demanding

Professional fighter;
lot more physically demanding than most.

For me the jobs above that are listed and have no right to be on there:
Surgeon, Executive, Police man, phsychian, psychatrist,


What about being a Army or Marine Infantryman in a combat zone? Patrolling in 125 degree weather with 80 Lbs. Of gear on, getting shot at.. I'd say that's quite physically, mentally, and emotionally draining.


While I mostly agree with this, I think Nurse and Teacher should be on, and Psychiatrist and Senior Corporate Executave should be taken off, as should Police Officer, which although stressful in a large city such as NY or LA, is mostly easy in small towns (Most cops never fire their weapon in the feild)

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