Sometimes we work for pleasure. But, more often than not, people work for money.
Since working is an exchange of your time, energy, and talent it is best to find a job that you love and enjoy. However, many people are working in extremely tough and demanding job fields.
I found an old resource (1988) – The National Institute on Workers Compensation and the American Institute of Stress put together a list of “10 Tough Jobs”.
The results were published in Communication and Conflict Management in Churches and Christian Organizations.
10 Tough Jobs
Here’s the list of the toughest jobs:
- Inner-city high school teacher
- Police officer
- Air traffic controller
- Medical intern
- Stock broker
- Customer service/ complaint department worker
What Do You Think Are the Toughest Jobs?
Of the jobs listed above, here are my top three toughest jobs.
Inner-City High School Teacher
Couldn’t we just remove the ‘high’ and make it inner-city school teacher?
Honestly, I think teaching in general is a hard job. My wife did her Master’s Degree in Memphis, TN and many of her classmates were inner-city teachers.
She came home with some wild stories about teaching in the inner city. I’ve only spent a few days of my life in the inner-city projects. I’ve only worshipped a few times in the inner-city. However, I have a lot of close friends who do inner-city ministry and I know inner-city work is demanding.
I respect any person who commits themselves to any form of inner-city work. If you’re one of those folks, you have my deep appreciation and thankfulness.
On a somewhat unrelated note: I spent one day as a substitute teacher of a group of rambunctious kids in grade two. I wouldn’t suggest this as one of the 50 best part time jobs.
It wasn’t the worst day of my life, but it wasn’t too far off either.
Thus, I would add to the list, substitute teachers who work with young kids who have absolutely no idea what they are doing.
Interestingly, I enjoyed substituting for High School much more than elementary school.
Complaint Department Worker
Folks in North America have a very direct, and at times, confrontational style of dealing with conflict.
So, yes, I’d categorize this as one tough job. You certainly couldn’t expect anyone to sing your praises.
People who have a problem with a product can be vicious. I admire anyone who is willing to stand in the line of fire.
Often times when you have a problem with a product, (especially if you’ve had multiple conversations) it is hard to remember that there is a real person on the other end of the line.
Phone customer service people definitely get the least amount of self restraint from me. I don’t try and be mean, but for some reason getting upset at a person on the other end of a phone line is so much simpler than other forms of customer service.
Count me out.
There’s probably a few hundred thousand jobs I’d prefer over being a complaint department worker. As an alternative, I’d try and turn a hobby into a source of income.
Number three was a difficult choice. I didn’t know if it should be miner, medical intern, or police officer.
I finally settled on miner and here’s why. It seems like mines are typically located in some of the most desolate places on earth. While it is not always true, most of the miners I know actually travel to the mine for three weeks and back home for a few weeks. The idea of being away from your family for weeks at a time would make it one tough job.
In addition, mining is dangerous. Any time you risk your life for a job I’d put it on the tough list.
If you’re in a tough job field and want out, you could consider a home based business.
Which jobs from this list would you include in your top three? If you could add an extra job, what job would you add to the list?
My family has a long history of working in coal mines. Very dangerous. My father was also in a clay mine when it collapsed on the crew. When they got out, he never went back. But if I was to add another to the list, I think it would have to be working on a bomb squad.
I would say anyone doing any type of work on offshore oil rigs. I’ve also heard that construction steel workers–the ones who build the steel skeletons for skyscrapers is THE most dangerous job there is, which would qualify it as one of the toughest.
The discusion kind of puts a bad day at work in a new perspective!
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karyn sweet says
While it isn’t usually dangerous, I hated working temp work in factories – just the sheer tediousness and the poor pay. Being a teacher in a mental hospital for teens was more dangerous but the work was way more rewarding.
The CS job would not be bad at all if these people had a clue as to how to deal with people.
Admitting when they are wrong is a good place to start, compensating unhappy customers fairly would be another.
And finally, standing your ground when you know people are just trying to get over on you.
Yes, I am sure its a difficult job, but not nearly as difficult as it needs to be
Larry Jones says
Being a pastor is not necessarily a hazardous job, but it can be an extremely stressful, disappointing, and lonely experience. Perhaps, this is why thousands of pastors leave their calling each year, disillusioned with helping people in their walk with Christ. Also, unless you are a pastor in a very large church, the compensation package is typically very low.
I always thought my mom had it rough as a SAHM. She did a ton of work, dealt with a ton of tough issues and problems, and received no monetary compensation at all. Even though she says it’s all worth it, there were plenty of people who looked down on her because there’s still a great deal of importance in our society placed on how much you earn as an indicator of worth.
Ryan @ IQ Test says
I think it is so hard to be a teacher because not only do you have crime and people dropping out, but you also don’t get paid anything to do it. I bet if they paid teachers a lot more then the teachers would not be on this list of toughest jobs. What about dentists? They kill themselves the most. They must clearly have a tough job.
I would agree with Ryan and say – a dentist. After seeing the 20/20 story last night, I don’t know if I could do the job. Causing pain is very hard to deal with especially to children. Not sure why they have the highest suicide rate. Maybe the stress.
I had a few ideas….
1. being a parent. (you work 24 hours a day for many years and don’t get a paycheck.
2. any job that requires being outside all day. extreme heat, cold, etc.
3. 911 operator.
Have to agree, being a parent is the toughest job in the world. You basically perform different task at the same time, mom, nurse, teacher, guidance counselor, and a whole lot more just to ensure we brought them up properly.
My no. 2 on the list would be those who dedicate their job to saving the lives of others like our soldiers, policemen and firemen.
And lastly, the job of the president. You don’t run the company you run a country.
I agree with the Complaint Department Worker as one of the toughest job because I’ve experienced it myself. I’ve worked on a somewhat complaint department and boy oh boy the words they tell you can really make you cry and hurt inside. But, one needed to be tough and suppress the tears because you had to satisfy customers even if it means kissing their …… yes, and being a parent :)
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I think all jobs can be tough if your not suited for it. I dislike jobs that require standing, but that is most jobs.
Are you kidding me? I’m not in the military and I only know a few people who are, but it is flat out insulting to not include them anywhere on this list. You want to talk about a tough job and not getting paid enough? Teachers… Replace the ruler with a gun, the children with blood thirsty killers, the room with a 120 degree Fahrenheit desert, and you’ve got yourself a soldier’s job. Before anyone replies with their bull about how the soldiers are just goofing off out there and all that candy-ass bull s***, how about you look at the suicide rates among them as well as how much blood they have on their hands from either following orders or making the wrong call.
Teaching children? Listening to people complain all day? Dealing with speeders and drunk drivers?
Ridiculous. The military is a profession and they don’t get back near enough what they give.