Monday, January 07, 2013

The Most and Least Stressful Jobs for 2013

As we begin the new year - a year full of unknowns and stresses beyond what many of us have faced before, it may be useful to look at ways to minimize the everyday stresses we face in our lives. We can do this in part by careful selection of the job we have, which can be a major source of either stress or ... oddly enough ... relative calm and relaxation. Here are the top ten lists of the least and most stressful jobs for 2013, as documented by the linked articles on With my commentary, of course.

First, the least stressful jobs:

10. Drill Press Operator. A skilled job, without the pressure of working on an assembly line.

9. Librarian. A quiet, slow-paced work environment with the opportunity to help others. On the downside, libraries are a prime source of budget cutbacks for cash-strapped cities.

Conan the Librarian

8. Hair Stylist. Relatively slow pace of work, generally with friends.

7. Dietitian. You're generally in control of your time and schedule.

6. Audiologist. Like dietitians, they have plenty of job opportunities as a result of the aging population.

5. Medical Laboratory Technician. You're a highly-trained professional, and because you are expected to get the most accurate results every time, the level of time pressure is often somewhat lower.

4. Jeweler. You work alone, at your own pace, with the ability to be creative.

3. Medical Records Technician. An important job, generally with fixed hours and the ability to work at a slow pace in order to minimize errors.

2. Seamstress/Tailor. This is a job that offers a lot of flexibility and the ability to manage your workload, especially if you are an independent contractor.

1. University Professor. Private office. Nice campuses. Ivy-covered walls. What's not to like?

These "least stressful" jobs tend to have a few things in common: they can be done alone; they tend to be slower paced; and do not involve physical danger. They don't necessarily pay very well, but they generally offer a better quality of life than those with higher pay and levels of responsibility.

The ten most stressful jobs are:

10. Police Officer. Great responsibility for other people's lives, long stretches of boredom punctuated with moments of extreme danger, and the requirement to be calm while being insulted or threatened by people who object to your authority.

9. Taxi Driver. At great risk of crime from spending all day hauling people you don't know, often to lonely or dangerous places.

8. Newspaper Reporter. You face deadlines every day, along with the pressures of a changing, downsizing work environment.

7. Photojournalist. To get that Pulitzer Prize-winning picture, you often have to put yourself in extreme danger.

6. Senior Corporate Executive. The perks are great (corner office, high salary, excellent benefits), but so are the downsides (great responsibility for other people's livelihoods, being demonized by the public, etc).

5. Public Relations Executive. The pressure of having to make your customer look good - very great if your customer is not very likeable in the first place (think tobacco executives, politicians, Congress, the NRA, etc).

4. Commercial Airline Pilot. For long stretches of time, you are completely responsible for the lives of a planeload of people.

3. Firefighter. Would you want to run into a burning building?

2. Military General. You are completely responsible for the lives of thousands of people you can order to go to their deaths; in peacetime, you live in a fishbowl and risk being berated by Congress (as the stand-in for the administration) every time you are nominated for a high-priority assignment.

1. Enlisted Military Person. You are expected to fight and die in the most dangerous environment imaginable - the modern battlefield.

Like the least stressful jobs, the most stressful jobs have a few things in common: physical danger, often extreme; great responsibility for the lives or well-being of others; strict deadlines; and uncertainty of the job market. Some of the jobs pay quite well (Senior Corporate Executive, Military General), but others are very low-paid when compared to the degree of stress and danger involved (Police Officer, Firefighter, Enlisted Military Person).

So ...

How does your job shape up? You may not be able to change it in the current economic environment, but what are the ways you can use to minimize the stress of an otherwise stressful job? Worth thinking about as we move cautiously forward into a year almost certain to be far more stressful than many of the years past.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.  Bilbo.


eViL pOp TaRt said...

Very interesting lists, Bilbo. I'm surprised that physicians didn't make the most stressful list, though.

Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...

Well I was in the most stressful job list. Now I'm in the less stressful. It really is a pay off. Either money or a great deal less money. I think I like the stress with the high power career than the stress of not having money.
But that's me!
And I agree with Pop Tart - I would think surgeons would be a stressful or residents at the very least.

Mike said...

'How does your job shape up?'

I'll see what I can come up with and get back to you.

Duckbutt said...

Full professors at major universities do have it easy. Those who have adjunct positions have a lot of insecurities and teaching assistants are generally underpaid and overworked.

Nurses, particularly in E.R. or CCU positions, have a tremendous stress.

Seismic crews in the Gulf and off Alaska had a lot of stress too. Nothing like someone's error blowing the aft off a shooting boat!

Elvis Wearing a Bra on His Head said...

How secure a job is or is not contributes to stress. Also, the politics associated with some jobs.

If engineers got tenure, it would be a sweet job!

By far, the most stress goes with personal danger or ressponsibility.

Alice Sycamore said...

Relieve stress with meditation, good friends, good thoughts, good food, restful sleep. Be Greatful you have a job, and live in the Greatest Country in the world in spite of its flaws!! I'm sure we'll make it, we survived 2012, perhaps going forward with dreams of compromise will also help to relieve stress...