By Debbie Gregory.
Stress. It’s a big part of our daily lives, and much of it derives from the kind of work we do. Some jobs, naturally, involve more stress than others for obvious reasons, including the potential for physical harm.
As recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have shown, performing on the battlefield is grueling work that can lead to life-altering injuries and often times, death. So it’s little wonder that being a member of one of the armed services is one of the most stressful jobs there is.
Soldiers are trained to fight. Basic training is a process designed to develop skills which will keep a combatant alive and fighting long after he or she might have given up under more normal circumstances.
But when military service ends, there is no basic “untraining.”
From meeting the physical demands of working in special operations and infantry to armor and field artillery, many troops face psychological problems and post-traumatic stress disorder.
A further complication for military personnel is the difficulty many face in transitioning back to civilian life. Besides transferring their skills to the civilian job market once their service is completed, servicemembers often lose the focus of the mission, the camaraderie, the support and the structure provided by the military.
While PTSD has become a much-discussed affliction, transition stress, a seemingly more prevalent problem, is going largely overlooked.
Firefighters, airline pilots and police officers, ranked second, third and fourth respectively, also face a lot of stress in their occupations, but they are also much better compensated than those who serve.