Mental health case manager
low pay jobs karen langer
Median pay: $36,100
% who say their job is stressful: 96.4%

As a mental health case worker in Seattle, "I have 25 years of people's stories in my head," said Karen Langer, president of the American Mental Health Counselors Association.

"Day-after-day, you're holding everyone else's garbage," she said. "You try to leave it at work but when someone tells you about a horrendous rape, how do you not take it home?"

Langer's first counseling job was helping convicts in work-release programs. She saw 30 clients a week, continuously hearing about drug abuse, alcoholism and crimes.

"Good counselors have to care about clients -- but be in their own space," she said.


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.
- Last updated March 07 2013 08:59 AM ET
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