There is a lot of variety in the way stress is perceived and defined. Many believe that a little bit of stress is good for performance, while too much is bad for your work and your health. The lists below raise interesting questions about how differently stress is perceived.

There's a lot of overlap in these lists, and it's obvious that where your own, or other lives are on the line, that job is stressful. But there are key differences that reveal a big gap in the way stress is perceived. The UK list is made up of frontline public sector jobs.

Does this say something about how we in the UK organise public services? Why are public sector jobs so stressful in the UK? Are teaching, nursing and social care "easier" in the US? That seems unlikely. The US list has more jobs that for convenience I'll call "exciting" jobs, ie General, PR, Photojournalist, does this indicate that stress is perceived as a natural part of a high status job?

There's some indication that stress at work is related to low pay. However those people in middle management jobs who are well paid are nearly as stressed as those at the low end of the pay scale.

UK Top 10 Stressful Jobs US Top 10 Stressful Jobs
Prison Officer Enlisted Soldier
Police Officer Firefighter
Social Worker Commercial Airline Pilot
Teacher Military General
Ambulance Driver Police Officer
Nurse Event Co-ordinator
Docter PR Executive
Firefighter Senior Corporate Executive
Dentist Photojournalist
Miner Taxi Driver

Learning to recognise stress in yourself or others is a vital management skill. Management training courses that address conflict management, and resilience can be a lifeline, and help managers thrive under pressure.

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