13 Stressful Jobs That Lead To Burnout


Are you hoping to change jobs soon or maybe even a career change? Maybe money is one of your motivating factors for changing jobs, or maybe you’re hoping for a career path that you find more fulfilling than your current job.

Either way, you need to keep burnout in mind when applying for a job. Earning all the money in the world will not compensate for the long-term stress that is common in many jobs.

If you’re considering moving into one of the following careers, don’t quit your current job until you’re familiar with the job requirements of your future new career—and the possibility of burnout.

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1st nurse

The median salary for registered nurses in the US is under $80,000. While that’s decent money, it also comes with a lot of responsibility. Registered nurses have some of the same responsibilities as doctors.

Being a registered nurse can be rewarding, especially for highly motivated people who enjoy caring for other people. Issues like staff shortages, exposure to diseases like COVID-19, and the mental stress of treating patients all mean caregivers burn out quickly.

2. teacher

Like nurses, teachers perform some of the most important jobs in society. However, teachers tend to be at the lower end of the pay scale.

In 2021, the median salary for kindergarten and elementary school teachers was around $61,000. Also, about half of all schools in the United States are reporting teacher shortages for the 2022 school year, according to a recent survey by the National Center for Education Statistics.

The remaining staff does more work for no more pay, which only increases teacher burnout rates.

3. Construction workers

Whether your construction team is working on roads, homes, or skyscrapers, you’re likely to have to work in inclement weather and sometimes contend with unsafe working conditions.

Building roads also means dealing with irresponsible drivers whizzing through construction sites, which explains why construction workers have one of the highest injury rates of any worker in America, according to the federal government.

The median salary for construction workers is less than $38,000 per year. Such low wages and the high risk of injury are a recipe for worker burnout.

4. Social worker

Whether you are a clinical social worker dealing with people with mental health issues or a family social worker protecting at-risk children, much of your work requires intense, ongoing emotional work.

Studies suggest that nearly 40% of current social workers already feel burned out, and 75% of social workers experience burnout at some point.

In 2020, social workers made an average salary of around $50,000 — not nearly enough to offset the emotional drain of the day-to-day demands of the job.

5. Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs)

After a catastrophic car accident, fire, or other emergency, paramedics are often the first people on the scene. It’s a rewarding job, especially when you can save someone’s life.

However, EMTs often deal with death. The constant physical exertion, emotional drain, and low average salary of around $37,000 explain why one study found a nearly 50% burnout rate among paramedics.

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6. Surgeon

Surgeons are proof that money is not enough to prevent career burnout. Depending on where you live in the US and what types of surgeries you perform, you can easily make $200,000 or more.

Surgeons often work in stressful situations, and many of them struggle not to bring their work home at the end of the day. This is another profession where studies have found a high burnout rate – up to 50% in general surgeons.

7. Retail clerk

Surveys have found that more than 80% of all retail workers are currently reporting high levels of burnout, and it’s no wonder: retail workers are bearing the brunt of customer frustration without having the power to fix such issues.

To make matters worse, retail workers typically make less than $30,000 a year.

Pro Tip: Try to clear your debt So you’re not forced to take jobs you don’t like just to pay the bills.

8. Certified Public Accountants (CPAs)

Accounting doesn’t have the same reputation for burnout as the medical profession, teaching profession, or retail. But life as a CPA isn’t easy, especially during tax season.

CPAs often have to balance the finances of multiple companies and meet dozens of tax deadlines. The pressure can be intense, especially for junior-level CPAs who are just entering the industry.

While CPAs in high-performing industries can make upwards of six figures, the average is closer to $77,000.

9. Air Traffic Controller

The median salary for air traffic controllers is around $130,000, but the job can be stressful.

Air traffic controllers are responsible for clearing planes for landing and takeoff, making these workers responsible for hundreds of lives on every flight — meaning thousands of people a day.

Bad weather and the holiday rush complicate flight schedules and add pressure to an already stressful job.

10. Fast Food Worker

Like retail workers, fast food workers are essential to the economy. But despite having to manage disgruntled — or worse, hungry — customers, the pay is small.

A survey found that 52% of fast food workers report burnout, a number that has risen during the pandemic. And with an average wage of around $24,000, fast food workers put in a lot of physical and emotional labor without much compensation.

11. Veterinary Techn

Those who care for animals are some of the most passionate workers in any industry. But that passion is also why their jobs are so emotionally draining.

Veterinary technicians often have to euthanize pets, and their job puts them in contact with both the best and the worst pet owners. Apathy, improper upbringing or bad behavior of an owner can cause serious harm to the pet.

But unlike doctors, veterinarians cannot always step in to protect patients.

12. Public Defender

Public defenders are paid by the state to defend clients who cannot afford their own legal team. These workers are essential to the American justice system.

However, the public legal system itself is severely underfunded, understaffed and overwhelmed.

According to a study of public defenders in Wisconsin, the high stakes, high-pressure environment, and deeply troubling, emotional cases contribute to a high rate of secondary trauma among public defenders.

13. Fireman

Firefighters put their lives at risk every day – that’s the basic requirement for the job. Injuries from smoke inhalation, burns, heavy equipment and collapsed buildings make firefighting one of the most dangerous jobs in America.

Additionally, many firefighters are also paramedics, which brings them even more in touch with death and emotional trauma.

Experts say that as a result, firefighters often suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and suicide.

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bottom line

Some industries and careers cause more stress, anxiety and burnout than others. Therefore, when looking for the right job, consider risks such as burnout.

Money is not everything. Choose the profession that keeps you from living paycheck to paycheck still allows you to strike the right balance between work and life.

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