"What, me - stressed? Nah, I'm just a little amped up about the brain surgery I have to perform in an hour."
If you have a pulse and a job, chances are you feel some amount of tension in the average workday. But does it compare to the stress of being a surgeon or commercial airline pilot?
A recent msnbc article shares the most stressful jobs, as compiled by CareerCast.com, a job search website. More than 20 stress factors were considered, the biggest being deadlines, life or death situations and physical demands.
Here are the top 8 high-pressure positions:
1) Surgeon - Sure, the average salary is high ($309,118) but with the hefty paycheck comes extreme physical demands, critical deadlines and almost daily life or death situations. Plus, surgeons work on their feet for long hours and have a wide circle of people depending upon them.
2) Commercial airline pilot - Think back to Chesley Burnett "Sully" Sullenberger safely landing a 162,000-pound plane loaded with passengers into the Hudson River and you get a pretty good idea of why this position comes in second. Pilots have only one chance to properly take off and land each flight, and the lives of often more than 100 passengers hang in the balance.
3) Photojournalist - Whether they're covering wars, riots, four-alarm fires or soccer matches, photojournalists must get to the scene of an event quickly and make the perfect shot - often times risking their lives to do so.
4) Advertising account executive - Ad execs made the list largely due to the tough economy right now. With the media industry going through such upheaval - and execs depending on selling ad space to make sales commissions - you have a situation fraught with anxiety.
5) Real estate agent - The housing boom has gone bust, leaving agents scrambling for business. If they haven't joined the record number of agents abandoning the profession, many agents are feeling the crunch of the housing crisis.
6) General practice physician - Like their peers that topped the list, these medical practitioners face life or death decisions on a regular basis and put in long, demanding hours. And declining insurance reimbursements have left many physicians financially broken, even bankrupt.
7) Newspaper reporter - First, there's the massive layoffs in the newspaper industry. Then, there are the constant pressures of working under deadline and competing for stories. Put it all together and you have a work setting that would rattle even the most seasoned professional.
8) Physician's assistant - As general practice physicians sign up more patients, physician assistants are seeing their workload (and stress levels) mount. And without the higher salary that physicians command.
So if your profession made the list, you haven't learned anything new here. Hopefully, the job's perks outweigh the sweaty palms, racing heart and pit in your stomach you endure on a daily basis. After all, when it comes to stress in the workplace, one person's anxiety is another person's adrenaline rush.
And if your job didn't make the cut, aren't you thankful you've chosen such a serene, satisfying, stress-free livelihood?