We all moan that our job is stressful, but now scientists have revealed that being a waiter perhaps tops the shop.
“You don’t have to be a brain surgeon..'” It’s a common phrase for a task that isn’t too complicated, but maybe now we should add: “At least you’re not a waiter,” for times when things get a little heated.
A study has found that demanding jobs which offer employees little control are among the most detrimental to mental and physical health.
So, those 16-hour split shifts, that table of 10 that walk in with five minutes left before the kitchen closes, and the boss that thinks it’s acceptable for you to run the floor and the bar, yeah they are the stressful ones.
On top of that there’s the unsociable working hours, the crap pay, and the angry customers.
Scientists at the Southern Medical University in Guangzhou, China, conducted research into 138,700 participants from six previous studies on job-related health.
With the information gathered, they classified jobs into four groups based on control and how psychologically demanding their role was. The groups were: passive, low stress, active and high stress.
‘Passive jobs’ were roles such as those in manual labour where there is low demand and low control while ‘low stress’ jobs were along the lines of architects and scientists.
Teachers and doctors, where there is both high demand and high control, were ‘active’; and ‘high stress’ roles were ones that were demanding but with low levels of control, your waiter for example.
Scientists found that waiters and waitresses have a 22 percent higher risk of stroke on average than those with low stress jobs. The figure jumps to 33 percent for woman when the data is split by gender.
The research explained that while those in more top-dollar jobs would be expected candidates for stress-related illnesses, it is actually those who work in underpaid and undervalued industries that feel the pressure.
Whereas a brain surgeon may be mentally drained after a day at work, they feel valued, whereas a waitress, who’s just made miserable tips and pulled a double-shift, will not feel so appreciated.
As well as heart dangers, scientists also found that those in the service sector are also more likely to be pushed to drink and smoke.
Dingli Xu at the Southern Medical University said: “Having a lot of job stress has been linked to heart disease but studies on job stress and stroke have shown inconsistent results. It’s possible that high stress jobs lead to a more unhealthy behaviours, such as poor eating habits, smoking, and a lack of exercise.”
In 2015, a study by the Office for National Statistics found that waiters top the list for worst paid jobs.
With an average salary of £12,507 per year, they were some £400 worse off than bar staff who make £12,948. Hairdressers, kitchen staff, dry cleaners, checkout workers, cleaners and nursery staff also made the top 10.