Travelers need an escape from their stressful desk job. But apparently, the seven to eight hour shift of regular workers are less stressful than the physical, mental and emotional strains suffered by airline pilots.
According to Travel and Leisure, job search engine CareerCast's compilation of the most jobs in the world lists commercial aircraft pilots as the third most stressful job in the world. It is worth noting from their compilation that military enlistment, on-call firefighters, police officers and event coordinators share the same level of stress as avionic personnel do.
The stress of maneuvering an aircraft carrying hundreds of passengers is similar to performers or musicians handling a thousand-arena audience -- except with the risk involved of making a human error leading to the aircraft's malfunction. Unbeknownst to the public, airline pilots undergo regular psychological evaluation and treatment; once fatigue sets in, job performance is compromised.
A pilot's source of stress is not limited to the handling hundreds of passengers or the feeling of responsibility in handling a multi-million dollar air vessel. Domestic stress caused by non work-related events including a death in the family, a building affinity towards substance abuse or overall poor health are valid reasons for pilots to take temporary leaves -- but that is for top-class airline pilots.
Budget airline pilots are subject to more stress given the frequency of flights, cost-cutting benefits and lower overall pay due to the latter. One can identify the frequent accidents for most budget airlines. According to Bloomberg, budget airlines "[chase] the lowest pay and most relaxed work rules for pilots," which the news website suggests is a cocktail for aerial disasters.
The ranking of pilots being one of the world's most stressful jobs has shifted a number up in 2017 compared to its listing in 2015 as the world's fourth most stressful occupation. According to CareerCast's two-year-old data, 2015 saw airline pilots earn $98,410 -- this year the compensation has grown to $102,520 in terms of median income. The data leaves one to conclude the higher the compensation, the bigger the responsibility and risk of fatigue.
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