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.


low pay jobs barista
  • Median pay: $20,300
  • % who say their job is stressful: 50.3%

Who would have thought that life at a coffee shop could be so stressful? Baristas, though, quickly learn that dealing with customers before they've had their morning (or afternoon or evening) cup of coffee isn't always as pleasant as a vanilla spice frappuccino.

Lines can swell as indecisive customers mull choices. Some come in with massive orders. Others complain about coffee being too cold, too hot, too sweet, not sweet enough... The sheer volume of sales insures that some customers will be unhappy -- and will let the barista know about it.

And the tension can build since company policy at most coffee bars is that the customer is always right -- even when they're wrong.

Source: Payscale
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

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