Believe me when I say I don’t have a fetish for stress.
However, last week CareerCast, a jobs listing company, came out with a list of the top 10 most stressful jobs, and two of those jobs — No. 1 enlisted military (median salary $28,840) and No. 8 newspaper reporter — are on my resume.
I was somewhat surprised that enlisted was the No. 1 spot, and I say that having been an enlisted soldier back in the 1990s.
Anyone who knows just a little bit about the Army understands that not all enlisted jobs are the same. There are tons of different jobs in the Army. However, a chaplain’s assistant — which I’m sure has its challenges — is not the same as a combat medic.
A lot of stress also depends on the unit mission. An infantryman deployed to Afghanistan will have a lot more stress on his shoulders then an information technology specialist back at garrison.
And perhaps more stressful for enlisted soldiers — and officers too — is the nature of how their home life is going. A private with two kids and a spouse might have a hard time paying bills every month. A staff sergeant with four kids — two of them in professional counseling due to dad’s four deployments in the last seven years — will have a lot of stress to think about.
For a lot of enlisted soldiers, if their career is going fine, then their home life is rife with problems, and vice versa.
Interestingly, military general (median salary $196,300) was No. 2 on the list of most stressful jobs, followed by firefighter ($45,250), airline pilot ($114,200), event coordinator ($45,810), public relations executive ($54,170), senior corporate executive ($168,140), newspaper reporter ($35,870), police officer ($55,270) and taxi driver ($22,820).
I get why newspaper reporter is on the list. I’ve been working at newspapers for the last 12 years. As a reporter, I’ve covered everything from Texas inmate executions in Huntsville to the nation’s northernmost college basketball tournament in Fairbanks, Alaska.
Hours can be long and assignments that may come the next day can be unpredictable.
But like the Army, working at a newspaper can bring a person to places they never thought they would see. While stressful, newspapering and soldiering can also be very rewarding, with a front-row seat to history.
Jacob Brooks, a former Army tanker, is the city editor for the Killeen Daily Herald. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7468.