Corporate Executive
Stress and "Success"

Miners are a notable exception to the general trend in job-stress findings. Polls show that education, salary and status are more likely to add to job stress than ease it. College-educated workers are more likely to report job stress than those who got no further than high school. White-collar workers usually report more stress than those in blue-collar jobs; salaried workers are more stressed than those paid hourly. Why? For one thing, these polls could be focusing on professional workers. But it's more likely that full-time workers and those who aren't paid for overtime may resent working long hours. White-collar workers take their work and worries about it home with them more than blue-collar workers. Workers in many professions may worry about competition; blue-collar workers may think they'll be fine as long as the job gets done.

Many lists of stressful jobs include business leaders, whether they're identified as chief executive officers, advertising account executives or some other high-level corporate executive.

These lucrative, white-collar jobs might seem highly desirable, but the big checks come with a price. The hours are likely to be long, and what looks like relaxation is often really networking. The competition with other corporations and with colleagues can be cutthroat. Salespeople are under constant pressure to bring in more business and more revenue. Those at the top must try to keep a lot of people with different interests happy, from shareholders to employees. Increasingly, there's also public scrutiny to worry about, with questions about such issues as ethics, diversity and environmental responsibility.

If a top executive gets a lot of the credit for success, he or she also may get all the blame for failure, or even for less-than-expected success. Any top executive knows that he or she could be out of a job with short notice. Even having a so-called golden parachute severance package is little consolation for someone whose life has been defined by a high-level job.

Read on for more hair-pulling jobs.