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Jobs Rated Most and Least Stressful of 2015 Methodology


Read the Most Stressful Jobs of 2015 report

Read the Least Streasful Jobs of 2015 report


The amount of stress a worker experiences can be predicted, in part, by looking at the typical demands and crises inherent in his or her job. Our ranking system for stress considered 11 different job demands which can reasonably be expected to evoke stress (see list below). Each demand was assigned a range of points.

A high score was awarded if a particular demand was a major part of the job, fewer points were awarded if the demand was a small part of the job, and no points were awarded if that demand was not normally required.

The demands measured and the point ranges assigned to each area are as follows:

  • Travel, amount of 0-10
  • Growth Potential (income divided by 100)
  • Deadlines 0-9
  • Working in the public eye 0-5
  • Competitiveness 0-15
  • Physical demands (stoop, climb, etc.) 0-14
  • Environmental conditions 0-13
  • Hazards encountered 0-5
  • Own life at risk 0-8
  • Life of another at risk 0-10
  • Meeting the public 0-8

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foolish professors

All these academic-types are criticizing the methodology. Yet this methodology clearly is convincing enough that this ranking of stressful jobs is being repeated all over the web and mass media today.So CareerCast, even without a scientific methodology, is generating PR and potential business from having produced this ranking. They are sitting back and counting the money. Meanwhile, all these professors are rushing around, trying to impress their peers with their fancy science, desperately trying to fund their research, urgently grading student papers etc. The non-scientist CareerCast is relaxed and counting the cash; the scientists are frantically looking for money.So who would you say is wiser? The non-scientists, who easily get their message into the mass media and frame the national conversation? Or the scientists, who now have to defend themselves about having a nearly stress-free job and have to pratically kill themselves just to get something through peer review, let alone into the national conversation?I can only conclude that the scientists are fools. 

The life of a professor...

  • Travel, amount of 0-10 (6)

- 50-70 travel days per year

  • Growth Potential (income divided by 100)

- Stange measurement

  • Deadlines 0-9 (9)

- Grant application deadlines every month: Either you get grants or you say goodbye to the colleagues you cannot afford to keep on staff- Publication deadlines every week- Student class preparations - deadlines several days a week

  • Working in the public eye 0-5 (5)

- Public presentations- Media contacts- Answering expert questions from governemental or other

  • Competitiveness 0-15 (12)

- High level academics is probably one of the more competitive profession you can get into, even compared to sports. The difference is that you loose money, job and colleagues if you don't compete hard enough.

  • Physical demands (stoop, climb, etc.) 0-14  (7)

The physical exercise is not high, but 60-70 hour weeks are common

  • Environmental conditions 0-13 (1)

Not so bad

  • Hazards encountered 0-5 (2)

High stress and conflicts

  • Own life at risk 0-8  (1)

Not so bad

  • Life of another at risk 0-10 (0)

Not so bad

  • Meeting the public 0-8  (8)

Constantly, that's why we work - meeting students and people is the motiviation and base for having universities

The Methods

You have provided a list of the criteria, and mentioned a little bit about the rest of the process.  But, what about pilot testing?  It looks like qualitative data . . . what method was used to analyze?  What type of study was done?  Can you release more information about the study?  Who are the experts who agree / disagree with the methodology?  What is the theoretical framework used?  It would be great to have much more information concerning the methods.  What you have shown is just not enough.

Methodology Questions

Hello, Thank you for providing the criteria you used to evaluate the stress level of jobs.  Could you provide information about how you came up with the listed criteria?  Are these criteria shown objectively to collectively correlate with specific measurements of stress?  Can you provide a reference? Additionally, how were the criteria graded?  Were people in the particular professions surveyed?  Who did the grading? Thank you for providing a response.

What about doctors & nurses? Using your methodology

we would be in the top four with police and firefightersTravel - 0Growth Potential - 2Deadlines - 9  We don't just have daily deadlines, we have minute to minute deadlines.  There's no deadline like a "code blue" let me tell ya.Working in the public eye - 5Competitiveness - 15  Off the hook to get the best hospital, rotation, shift, patient load, schedule, etc. etc.Physical demands -  nurses=13 (second only to firefighters), doctors = 8.  Nurses push and pull beds with people and equipment in them, lift patients, transfer them, carry heavy objects to and from patient rooms, hold up limbs while doing a dressing change with no help, run up and down hallways (not walk--run), stoop and bend  a gazillion times per day.  Unlike firefighters, though, we do this all day every day.  While they might do it 1-3x per day, so we are equal.  FF have the quantity, RNs do it for a longer period of time.Environmental conditions (13) and Hazards (5) and Own Life At Risk (7)- Can you say pee, poop, and vomit, not to mention blood and bloodborne diseases like HIV, HepC, wet floors, mentally ill people, violent people, detoxing drug and alcohol addicts, people of all cultures demanding your time and attention nonstop.  IV, bed, toilet and shower alarms going off, overhead pages, telephones ringing off the hook while the housekeeping staff runs the floor cleaning machine around you in the hallway, nonstop copy machines, x-ray machines, MRI scanners, radiation exposure (nuclear medicine patients), toxic chemical exposure (chemotherapy for cancer patients), large pieceds of equipment running into you or falling on you; patients falling on you, falling yourself,  electrical shocks from equipment, ad infinitum!!  A hospital must be the most dangerous place to work  besides a nuclear plant in meltdown.Life of Another At Risk: 0-10  Much higher than a FF's typical day. or a Police Officer's typical day.  But not as bad as a soldier in combat duty.Meeting the Public - 8  Our reason for existence!      

Beautifully said and oh so

Beautifully said and oh so true! 

Stress methodology

Who awards the scores?  One of the things that may make being a university professor more stressful than suggested, for example, is the need to submit one's research to the peer review system.  This methodology would get slaughtered.  It is a subjective evaluation of dimensions of stress that do not conform to medical or psychological standards.  It is not clear that the list is complete or that the categories are discrete (some overlap).  It is also not clear why they are weighted the way they are (equally).  Research on indexes shows that the wrong weighting can bias otherwise reasonable lists of categories.  None of this information is explained.  So, the methodology reporting that professors have stress free lives would not pass the kind of review that professors are required to pass to get published, which would mean no tenure and that would be stressful...

On stress....

 Photojournalists are high-stress because every day they have to take photos and turn them in? Poor dears!  I suppose they also get extra points if they have to show up to work on time?
I study stress for a living: one of those "unstressed" academics putting in 60+ hours a week just to keep up. Wearing both the academic and the stress expert hats, I can assure you that you folks are CLUELESS and need to quit publishing this drivel.  Stick to taking pictures and writing nice little stories about them, would you?


It would be awesome to see the scores that were given in each category for the top ten jobs, then those that actually work in those professions could compare that with our experience. 

Professor stress

College professors are "not evaluated by a standardized test. " OK, so how are they evaluated? They are expected to excel in teaching, research or professional practice, and service to the campus and community. Every single class students evaluate profs, and these are pored over by review committees. A professor under review submits a "review file" that is usually several three-ring binders with evidence of their work in the above categories. Not everyone gets tenure or promotion by merely putting in a few years of service. Even after tenure, the job is varied and demanding, particularly with budget crises in virtually every state. The minimum qualification for entry is a PhD. And even then many struggle to get or keep a job. Not as stressful as a soldier or firefighter in terms of life risk, but there are considerable forms of other kinds of risk.


First of all, this stress methodology seems very unscientific. Second of all, who were the people assigning points for each demand, and do how much do they actually know about the jobs they ranked? Do they realize that librarians working at a public service desk should receive scores of 5 for working in the public eye and 8 for meeting the public? Deadlines are often measured in minutes and seconds, because when someone calls or comes to the desk looking for something (whether it's a book that they can't remember the title or author of or sheet music for a specific song or a phone number of a relative who may live in one of 3 states or the best driving directions to where they're going that avoid major highways or help checking and sending their email) they want it NOW! Meanwhile, someone is sitting next to a minor and looking at porn and another person is talking too loudly on their cell phone, which disturbs the people around them. 

You're saying

You're saying seamstresses/tailors have no deadlines? How do they stay employed? Professors have deadlines - every day they stand up in front of a class and teach is a deadline.

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