Is it stress or fuel? Advertising is the #9 most stressful job.

April 26, 2010 — 5 Comments (a job search site) did a survey, and weighed 21 factors that can create job stress. “Factors that weighed into stress levels  included work environment, job competitiveness, opportunity for  advancement and even perceived risk of unemployment.” The results?

Advertising account executive was rated the #9 most stressful job.

10. Real estate agent
9. Advertising account executive
8. Public relations officer
7. Highway patrol officer
6. Commercial pilot
5. Police officer
4. Surgeon
3. Taxi driver
2. Corporate executive
1. Firefighter

Yes, firefighters, surgeons, cops and pilots have stressful jobs. Bad stressful, not good stressful. People die and get maimed and horrifically scarred, physically and emotionally in these professions. That’s stress.

But advertising and public relations? C’mon. We’re here to help people, and sell stuff and change attitudes and perceptions and behaviors. Sure, it’s stressful. But nobody dies. Nobody gets maimed. There are no explosions, guns, fires, cancers, or crash landings. The scars are quite tiny by comparison. We get free pizza and make TV ads and we create art and have fun and laugh. And nobody dies.

I’ve  known tons of ad folks over these 20 years, and I’d say only a handful were stressed out to the point where it affected their life. Most took the stress as the fuel. The juice. The energy of the job. And many absolutely loved the juice. I sure do. It’s a daily, exciting affirmation of being alive.

Take that, musical instrument repairers. (They ranked 1st on the least stressful jobs.)

5 responses to Is it stress or fuel? Advertising is the #9 most stressful job.


    Hey, I was googling “is advertising worth the stress” and your blog came up. I’m in college and I’m thinking of changing my major to advertising but the more I researched I was getting worried about if maybe the work would be too much or too stressful. This blog helped soothe my worries a bit. I’m going to browse the rest of your blog now and hopefully find more info about what it’s like to work in advertising! :)


    Howdy Mariah. Any job can stress you out. Working in advertising is very rewarding and interesting. You’ll meet some amazing, diverse people. Goooooo for it.


    Aw, he did this quite a quality post. The theory is that I’d love to write similar to this too – spending time and real effort to manufacture a good article… but so what can I say… I procrastinate alot rather than find a way to get something done.


    Maisha – Thanks. Blogging ain’t easy, and I’ve certainly got much to learn. Keep plugging away and work, work, work.


    I don’t think this is true – most of the advertising creatives I’ve known (including myself) have always been on the brink of sanity, and have ended up gobbling anti-depressants. It’s a result of having to come up with award-winning creative ideas all the time, which is just not natural. It’s a nebulous thing, which you can’t be trained for and you’re never sure that your brain is going to spit out something worthwhile. And your reputation and income depends on it. Advertising agencies are also terribly, and nastily, competitive environments. And last but not least, it’s just an unstable industry – clients can (and do) leave at any time, for any old reason. Layoffs are always just around the corner. My advice is – stay the f out of advertising.

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