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The Most and Least Stressful Jobs of 2009

surgeon performing surgery By Tony Lee

This is the 2009 Most Stressful Jobs report
See the 10 Most Stressful Jobs of 2010

When US Airways pilot Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger landed his jet safely in the Hudson River, he proved himself to be a great performer under stress. He also helped illustrate why a commercial airline pilot is ranked as one of the nation's most stressful jobs, according to the "2009 Jobs Rated Report," an in-depth look at 200 jobs by, the nation's newest job search portal.

Topping the list as the nation's most stressful job is surgeon, followed closely by commercial airline pilot and photojournalist. Since surgeons take a person's life in their hands every time they enter an operating room, it's not surprising that stress plays a big role, especially when they encounter unexpected issues. On the other hand, commercial airline pilots are responsible for the lives of their passengers and crew every time they fly. In the event of an emergency, they must handle rapidly changing situations from poor weather conditions and UFGs – unidentified flying geese – to equipment malfunctions. And while photojournalists tend to only be responsible for themselves, their jobs can require them to be on the front line of every catastrophe, from wars to hurricanes to riots. However, one common bond between all three of our most stressful jobs is their demanding schedules, which often change at the last minute and may require extended periods away from home or long shifts while on the job.

The type of stress surgeons face when operating may be very different from the stress a pilot feels when landing in a storm and from how a photojournalist feels while taking pictures during a fire or hurricane, but all three bear more stress than any other job in the country. Looking beyond these top 3 most-stressful professions, our research indicates that if you're the type who thrives on pressure the following jobs might also be right for you:

  • Find This Job1. Surgeon
  • Diagnoses ailments and performs operations to repair, reconstruct, remove, or replace organs, limbs, and bodily systems.
  • Find This Job2. Commercial Airline Pilot
  • Operates an aircraft to transport passengers and cargo to appointed destinations.
  • Find This Job3. Photojournalist
  • Photographs newsworthy events for publication in newspapers and magazines.
  • Find This Job4. Advertising Account Executive
  • Negotiates to procure accounts, and supervises advertising campaigns for products, companies, and organizations.
  • Find This Job5. Real Estate Agent
  • Acts as intermediary between buyer and seller in real estate transactions, usually by being the prime salesperson of a property.
  • Find This Job6. Physician (General Practice)
  • Performs examinations, diagnoses medical conditions, and prescribes treatment for individuals suffering from injury, discomfort or disease.
  • Find This Job7. Reporter (Newspaper)
  • Covers newsworthy events for newspapers, magazines, and television news programs.
  • Find This Job8. Physician Assistant
  • Aids in the performance of essential procedures which free physicians to attend to more specialized aspects of their work.

The professions rounding out our list may not feature the level of stress that can be found in an operating room, airplane cockpit, or war zone, but each is more than capable of causing increased blood pressure and sleepless nights. Advertising account executives have to compete in this tough economy to acquire and maintain revenue-generating accounts, and many real estate agents are struggling just to earn a living due to the downturn in the housing market. General practice physicians can get swamped with patients when an illness hits their community, while newspaper reporters struggle with deadlines and an increasing scarcity of work. Typically physician assistants face the same fast-paced work environment and long hours as doctors.

Of course some professionals don't consider stress such a bad thing, and if you're the type who's unfazed by criteria such as a requirement for accuracy or exposure to the general public, one of these jobs may be perfect for you. On the other hand if you can't stand pressure and want more peace in your workday, most likely you'd be better off applying for a position from's list of the least stressful jobs you can find.

Continue to the next page to see the Least Stressful Jobs of 2009

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