10 Most Stressful Jobs in 2017 and Social Work is not on the List

Woman In  White Car Looking Bored

Careercast.com released their list of the most stressful jobs in the U.S. in the article “The Most Stressful Jobs of 2017.” Many news outlets have cited this list as the definitive list of stressful jobs. Careercast.com assessed careers based on 11 factors. These factors include: travel, potential for career growth, physical demand, environmental conditions, potential hazards, interaction with the public, competition, risk of injury or death, risk to others, deadlines and public scrutiny. I was convinced that social work would be near the top of the list.

Boy was I wrong!

This type of list is very difficult to compile due to differing opinions about the extent to which stress is experienced. Careercast.com compares apples to oranges. Let’s face it, what is stressful for some may not be stressful for others. In my opinion, it is hard to imagine that the ongoing stress of enlisted military personnel, who are stationed in battle zones, is in any way similar to the stress a newspaper reporter experiences. Of course, the newspaper reporter could report from the same battle zone.

This list is based on subjective assessment. It is based on how the stress response makes an individual feel and the individual’s response to it. Some are motivated to take action or some are overwhelmed. It is an individual response and cannot be accurately applied to the general population.

Physical assessments such as blood pressure or heart rate would provide a more scientific measurement. Science validity is not the purpose of the list.

The irony is that on any given day, a social worker may take on the role of all of these professions. We may have to do reconnaissance, scouting out a neighborhood in search of a client in need of services. We are always putting out fires and avoiding them as well.

We may not carry guns, but we often have to mediate domestic disputes. Yes, we plan and coordinate events and do so with very little money or resources. We “taxi” clients to and from appointments, school and grocery shopping. Oh yes, we may or may not be reimbursed for mileage.

I help social workers and other professionals to “get through the day without losing it.” I would love to hear from you. You may join the conversation by commenting on this post on our Facebook fan page REAL Social Workers Online Magazine, or connecting with me on LinkedIn. Learn more about Happyhalfhour.club, created for “hardworking professionals who want to be happy.” We provide stress relieving tips and techniques to calm your mind and relax your body in 30 minutes or less.

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1 Response

  1. Tiffany Thompsoon, MSW, CSW says:

    Social work, regardless of specialty or population is a stressful and often dangerous profession. Anyone who works in the field can testify to this. There are also countless articles about the level of stress and burnout experienced by social workers. Thank you for sharing this. I encourage all social workers to fight the good fight and apply self care always.

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