Median Salary: $166,141
"Most people think of it as flying on a corporate jet and a nice dining room every day," Lee said. "The real issue with executives is that you're responsible for the careers and lives of everyone who works for the company. Any wrong decision is on your head. And if the company is publicly-traded, you're responsible to shareholders."
There has always been stress to perform and meet budgets, but never is that stress higher on executives than during a recession.
"Any time you have an economic downturn, it puts the squeeze on more senior level executives who have to manage revenue against a poorer environment and it's hard," Lee said.