Worst Jobs for Work-Life Balance (7 jobs to avoid)

In this blog post, we will see what the worst jobs for work-life balance are. We will also touch upon countries with the worst work-life balance, get to know what jobs are ideal for maintaining that balance, and factors that determine the said balance. Besides that, we will explore why work-life balance is critical.

Work-life balance refers to the management of time by employed people in context within and outside of work. The latter may include handling personal relationships, familial responsibilities, self-care, the pursuit of interests and hobbies.

Worst Jobs for Work-Life Balance

Some careers can be highly demanding, and work-life balance may take excessive effort and even unachievable sometimes. Factors such as time requirements, roles and responsibilities, and stressors were taken into account.

In no particular order, worst jobs for work-life balance include:

  • Lawyer
  • Firefighter
  • Commercial Pilot
  • Surgeon
  • Stock Broker 
  • Journalist 


Being a lawyer takes arduous effort and significant hard work. Lawyers typically get paid on an hourly basis, which in itself means that more hours equals more pay, and working smarter will not necessarily lead to higher revenue.


Numerous physical and mental rigours come with firefighting. The situations could be highly dynamic and dangerous. Apart from fighting blazes, they provide help in medical emergencies and natural calamities. Moreover, they may spend many successive nights in the firehouse.

Commercial Pilot

Although constant travelling (and that too, as part of work itself) could seem romantic on the outset, commercial pilots sometimes dread overseas expeditions. Such travel includes many days of flying, resting, and flying back. As a result, they feel exhausted and find it challenging to live a healthy life outside of work. 


It is well-known how hectic the life of a surgeon can be, with always being on call and demands of specialisation. However, these concerns are somewhat offset by how rewarding the career is in terms of job satisfaction and pay.

Stock Broker

Being in the stock market could be draining considering the amount of forecast to do all day. Even during their personal time, they may have to find new leads at social gatherings or chat up clients with dinner dates.


Major tight deadlines, ever-changing schedules to fit in breaking news, sometimes working all seven days of the week, can make this job a highly stressful one. Unlike being a surgeon, such work pressures are not negated with the pay as it is relatively low for the work done. 

Countries with the Worst Work-Life Balance

As per the report of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) covered in the Better Life Index for 2019, Columbia is the worst when it comes to striking a balance between work and life. Mexico is a close second followed by Turkey as the third-worst. 

Among the thirty-five member countries of the OECD, the U.S. and the U.K. rank 11th and 12th on worst work-life balance. On the other hand, the Dutch people were rated best. 

The primary factor for a healthy balance is the number of time individuals spend outside of work. The index considered factors such as leisure and personal time, among other factors.

Ideal Jobs for Work-Life Balance

Best jobs to maintain work-life balance are usually ones that rate low on stress and entail appropriate median salary with excellent job growth. Based on these factors, a list of jobs include:

Human Resource Manager

Median salary: $60,350

Being the ones that instil and update policies that affect work-life balance, they must set examples for the same. They can work remotely at their convenience thanks to technological advancements. Most of them have standard hours with a few exceptions, such as recruiting when work outside the set schedule may be required.   

Real Estate Agent

Median salary: $47,880

There is control over when to work, which means they can plan their schedule around personal time and needs. Most of the agents are self-employed. There may be times when there is a necessity to work on weekends or extend on workdays. 


Median salary for:

Electrical engineer: $97,970; Materials engineer: $94,610; Research engineer: $97,250

Engineering, in general, is excellent for life quality as well as pay. Most engineers lead satisfying lives outside of work. Women, particularly, lead well-rounded, fulfilling lives, and it is among the highest-paying jobs for them.

Administrative Support

Median salary: $37,870

This profession could mean executive assistants, receptionists, information clerks, among others. Based on the business and position, flexibility in hours and work arrangements differ. It is recommended to choose temporary and part-time roles as they offer flexible working hours and duration of projects, to optimise work-life balance. 


Median salary: $74,590

A supply chain manager enjoys flexibility with high pay, mobility, and meaningful work. Occasionally, working overtime may occur to meet demands. If more control over schedule is desired, management analysis is a good option. These professionals decide the place, time, and amount of work, as they provide consultations to businesses regarding efficiency. 

Factors that Determine the Work-Life Balance of Jobs

There are parameters that one can consider to determine the work-life balance of jobs. These include:

Work Style

Probably the most critical factor, work style plays a role in understanding one’s life outside of their workplace. Identify if a person’s life is consumed by the workload that only seems to increase or if it permits them to spend time on self-care and with loved ones. Style of work measures time pressures, roles and responsibilities, and competition.

Salary and Job Growth

A job without pay is labelled many things, including internships, volunteering, and the like. However, what people fail to understand is that the chief reason to work is to make a living. Although not the only factor, with all said and done, it is income that people bring back home from their work. It also has a huge role to play in one’s job satisfaction and quality of life. 

Additionally, the career and its ability to meet its demand is a way to assess professional happiness in the long run. This happiness also affects personal life.


A person may earn big bucks, but if the job is excessively demanding and stressful with long work hours, everything is in vain. Stress, or the lack thereof, has an effect on happiness as well as a person’s psychological and physical well-being.

Why Work-Life Balance is Vital

A Korn Ferry Institute survey found that more than three-fourth (76%) of the participants quote that stress at work affects their relationships. Further, more than half (66%) indicated a loss of sleep as a result of stressful work, while 16% reported having quit their job altogether owing to stress.

Firstly, stress negatively impacts motivation. This effect, in turn, shakes thoughtful creativity. A Gallup report in June 2020 found that in the U.S., only 31%of workers are thoroughly engaged in and enjoy their work, and are happy with their employers. They noticed a historic drop from 38% in May, the highest it had ever been since they started tracking in 2000.

One widely prevalent misconception is that people believe the number of hours and productivity are directly related. However, although we feel a sense of productivity after working long hours, the truth is different. 

It is the work-life balance that leads to employees with better psychological and physical well-being, and consequently, higher productivity and retention levels. Employees who perceive having a healthy work-life balance are known to work more than 20% harder than those with an unhealthy balance.

People tend to believe that reducing the workload would decrease stress, which is false. The same survey by Korn Ferry showed that almost 80% of participants stated that having inadequate workload is more stressful than having it in excess. Nearly 75% reported that they prefer taking on a heavier workload and higher pay for the same.


In this blog post, we learnt what the worst jobs for work-life balance are and what the best jobs for the same are. We also outlined countries with the worst work-life balance. Finally, upon the exploration of why work-life balance is vital, we learnt that this balance is what leads to increased productivity in employees as a result of better mental and physical well-being. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Worst Jobs for Work-Life Balance

What are the jobs that offer an ideal work-life balance and lifestyle?

According to the U.S. News & World Report Best Jobs ranking, careers that offer the ideal work-life balance include:

Fitness Instructor
Hair Stylist
Translator and Interpreter
Web Developer
Management Analyst
Manicurist or Nail Technician
Sports Coach

What is the worst kind of jobs?

Some professions do not provide adequate job security, are of high stress due to several reasons, including public scrutiny, immense pressure to succeed, physical rigours, and dealing with angry customers. Some such jobs include:

Taxi Driver
Newspaper Reporter
Water Transportation Worker

Are there signs indicative of an unhealthy work-life balance?

One can be on the lookout for the following warning signs to understand that their work-life balance is unhealthy:

Fatigue or not getting enough sleep (less than 7 hours every night);
Always feeling like there is too much work;
Not getting enough time to spend quality time with oneself and loved ones;
Feeling agitated or irritable;
Difficulty focusing; and
Excessive need for perfectionism

What jobs make people happiest?

Here are the five happiest jobs in America:

Human Resource Manager
Construction Manager
Real Estate Agent
Teaching Assistant (TA)
Information Technology Consultant 

What are the most mundane jobs? 

Sometimes, despite the energy and interest, jobs can get annoying. Some of these include:

Bank Manager
Cleaner or Housekeeper
Garbage Collector
Data Entry Analyst
Truck Driver
Academic Writer
Security Guard

What are the most depressing jobs?

There are certain careers in the world, in which the employees are more likely to report at least one depressive episode in a given year. A few of these professions are:

Artists, writers, performers
Child-care workers
Social workers
Food service staff
Maintenance workers and civil servants
Healthcare workers
Financial advisors

How is a work-life imbalance caused?

Employees point toward various reasons for an imbalance in their work and life, including:

Familial responsibilities, especially having children;
More extended working hours;
An increase in responsibilities at the workplace; and
Increased expenditure but do not mint enough money to meet the same

How can we achieve work-life balance?

There are a few tips that are recommended for striking a balance between work and personal life. These suggestions are:

Manage time effectively;
Make your work environment fit your needs;
Network well;
Have realistic goals and expectations;
Breaks and holidays are vital;
Work toward what you love and play to your strengths;
Make effective use of technology; and
Find ways to tend to your financial health