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Stressful jobs that pay badly

For many workers, stress is part of the job description. And sometimes, the compensation doesn't match the pressures. Here are 15 of the most high-stress, low-paying jobs.

Purchase agent

low pay jobs harry hough
  • Median pay: $49,000
  • % who say their job is stressful: 94.5%

Purchasing managers, buyers, and agents must keep up on industry trends and be able to negotiate the best deals on products and services for their organizations. Plenty of things can go wrong along the way, however.

"Goods may arrive late, or someone finds them at a better price or there's a problem with quality," said Harry Hough, who was a purchasing agent with a Fortune 500 company before becoming president of the American Purchasing Society.

"Buyers get criticized from all sides," he said. "They have to have thick skin."

Purchasing agents at big corporations are responsible for spending millions of dollars a year and tend to be compensated well, but the average buyer earns a more modest paycheck, a median of just under $50,000 a year.

Methodology: Starting from a database of more than 9,000 jobs, PayScale used data from over 120,000 respondents who rated their jobs for quality of life factors. The top 15 were selected based on the national median pay for workers with at least five or seven years' experience and the percent of workers surveyed who said their jobs were "fairly stressful" or "extremely stressful." They were then ranked in order of pay, lowest to highest. Only jobs with median pay less than $50,000 were eligible., and only one job per "job family" was included. PayScale conducted the survey between August 2010 and August 2012.
  @CNNMoney - Last updated March 07 2013 08:59 AM ET