Life as a waiter or a waitress is more stressful than a neurosurgeon

A study says you shouldn’t put up with this any longer


You would think that when it comes to the most stressful job, waitressing wouldn’t be at the top of your list. Waiters and waitresses may serve some awful customers in their time, smiling through the wave of obnoxious comments coming their way about how they’ve been “waiting 10 minutes for someone to come and take our order” or how you “really should get some more staff around here”.

But a new study has shown that working as a waiter or a waitress is actually a more stressful job than being a neurosurgeon.

Serving people of course has low parts of the job, but, it has recently been shown that these may have more of an effect on someone than the demand of operating on someones brain. Low pay, long hours and bad circulation in your tired legs can all lead to damaging your mental and physical health, and a new study is here to help show it.

waitressThe Southern Medical University in Guangzhou, China, has carried out a study that determines which jobs are the most detrimental to the wellbeing of our bodies and our brains. The outcome shows that jobs with high demand and low control (a category they have referred to as ‘High stress jobs’) comes first.

The study looked at a total of 138,782 people from a previous 6 studies on job related health and these participants were followed between 3 years to 17 years. Within this there were four categories established: passive jobs with low demand and low control, active jobs with high demand and high control – like a doctor, high stress jobs with high demand and low control – like a waiter, and low stress jobs low demand & low control.

When you look at the job of a neurosurgeon, performing surgeries on intricate parts of the brain where in most cases it could be to save someones life, you would think this is one of the most stress inducing jobs available. However this study makes us consider the different factors to a job. When you are a highly paid neurosurgeon it is safe to say you know what you are doing and when you complete a three hour surgery on the most complex organ in our body there is going to be a lot of appreciation for your steady hand and knowledge.

100221-N-8366W-230 CARIBBEAN SEA (Feb. 21, 2010) Cmdr. Dennis Rivet, a neurosurgeon embarked aboard the Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20), performs a spinal surgery at sea. The Comfort surgical team has performed more than 800 surgeries since Jan. 19. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Timothy Wilson/Released)

It is rare that you see a restaurant applaud a young waitress for finishing her 12 hour shift on minimum wage isn’t it?

Waiting tables fits the category for a High stress job as it sees waiters and waitresses on a constant move with little control of what they are able to do. These are often low paid jobs with heavy work loads and it seems this is enough to cause anyone high levels of stress. Adding to this it was noted by scientists who were involved in the study that people working the most stressful jobs are more inclined to pick up unhealthy habits such as smoking and higher levels of drinking.

Waiters and waitresses have a 22 per cent risk of having a stroke than those working less stressful jobs and what’s scarier is when the gender is split women are hit with a 33 per cent risk. There are many factors to this, one of them being that stress can be a leading factor of having a stroke however it has been said: “Having a lot of job stress has been linked to heart disease, but studies on job stress and stroke have shown inconsistent results,” said Dingli Xu, MD, with Southern Medical University in Guangzhou, China.

Jobs with unpredictable hours and little time to rest have been shown to link to health problems. When it comes to the way a job can effect your mental health it would seem that it is easy to be worn down as a person as you are working a job where you constantly serve others and more often than not, there isn’t much of a reward. At first glance saying a neurosurgeon is less stress than being a waiter is an extremely broad statement to make. But, considering the factors involved it seems a high demand job with low control is going to effect your lifestyle and health more than a high paid, high demand and high control occupation.