What word aptly describes a job or position that requires more than is reasonable from the person occupying it?

An example of usage might be:

"Today, John finally resigned his ___________ job."

To clarify, John is fully qualified to perform his duties and genuinely enjoys his work. Unfortunately, John's job at Evil Corp is unreasonably demanding. John's superiors have been frequently forced to increase his workload while lowering his pay. Long term employees are leaving the company in alarming numbers. John has a very loyal personality that has urged him to stick it through, but alas, John has reached his limit and must resign.

  • You may find the Peter principle helpful. It is the notion that a person is promoted to the level of their incompetence. So most of us sadly are destined to end up there.
    – WS2
    Oct 12 '15 at 8:31
  • Could you clarify - do you mean that the job is unbearable, or that the incumbent is incompetent ('out of his depth')?
    – JHCL
    Oct 12 '15 at 8:50
  • @WS2 Thank you, I have edited the question to be more clear Oct 12 '15 at 9:12
  • I would just say "... his three person job ..."
    – Hot Licks
    Oct 12 '15 at 12:16
  • overly demanding
    – Drew
    Oct 12 '15 at 16:07

"John finally resigned from his taxing job."

taxing: physically or mentally demanding: they find the work too taxing (OED)

Alternately, consider onerous.

onerous: (of a task, duty, or responsibility) involving an amount of effort and difficulty that is oppressively burdensome: (OED)

He found his duties increasingly onerous.

Would he retire from his onerous job? His economic life, in other words, is as implausible as his romantic and sexual life.


Backbreaking can be used to describe a job which is:

extremely arduous, exhausting, or demoralizing [Merriam-Webster]

Strenuous means:

requiring or showing great energy and effort

marked by or calling for energy or stamina : arduous


Exhausting can convey the idea of a very demanding job:

  • having a debilitating effect; "an exhausting job in the hot sun"

The Free Dictionary


Grueling could be another term:

exhausting; very tiring; arduously severe:


trying or taxing to the point of exhaustion. E.g. a grueling job


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