Almost everyone in modern America claims to be “stressed out” at work once in a while. And by “once in a while” I mean “once an hour”: In many circles, stress is a badge of honor. But not everyone can claim to be working in one of the most stressful jobs in America. CareerCast published its list of the 10 most stressful jobs recently, and some of its selections are obvious: Enlisted military personnel claim the top spot, and for good reason. But right up there with them are a group not that might surprise you: PR executive.
The #2, #3, and #4 spots on the list are taken up by traditionally male, physically daring jobs: Military general, firefighter, and commercial airline pilot. But in at #5 is PR executive. As the list-maker puts it, “Public relations executives are masters of damage control, thus need to be able to think and act quickly under stress. The profession lives in the public eye, and it’s also one of the professions attracting the most college students, which makes landing and keeping a good job that much more difficult.” The median salary, according to CareerCast, is about $58,000, significantly less than generals and pilots.
The job is often thankless, as NBC News points out: If you do something right, clients are always searching for the next big hit, and meanwhile you’re the one they call when a scandal breaks over a holiday weekend.
The list-makers use 11 “stress factors” to assemble their list, including the amount of travel a job requires, deadlines, and working in the public eye. PR ranks high on those measures, although they’re off the hook on things like “own life at risk” and “hazards encountered.”
So take comfort, underappreciated PR pros of America: You officially have a more stressful job than taxi drivers, police officers, and even the newspaper reporters who dread taking your calls.