“My attitude has always been, if you fall flat on your face, at least you’re moving forward”
Any job can be as stress or stress less depending on your view of the prevailing circumstances and attitude. Chronic job stress now termed a “pandemic” by World Health Organization, is equivalent to a psyche-straining, energy-draining, day-to-day mental pandemonium that results in insomnia, accidents, chronic fatigue and a poor quality of life. A chronic job is not the periodic exacerbation of angst arising from poor work relations, family distress or the malfunctioning photocopier.
Stress plays a big role in our daily lives, and according to careers website CareerCast, some jobs create more anxiety than others. Last week my colleague Karsten Strauss covered the most stressful jobs, and this week I’m writing about the least stressful.
CareerCast evaluated 200 professions and rated them on 11 measures of stress, such as the amount of travel required, the growth potential of the industry and job, and the physical demands of the role. The report isn’t a survey—CareerCast relies largely on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to score every position on each metric and then rolls that up into an overall stress score. More methodology details are available here.
Although these jobs are rated as low-stress based on CareerCast’s approach, by no means are they easy or unimportant. Some, such as audiologist and tenured professor, require a Ph.D. Others, like medical and pharmacy technicians, provide critical support in the process of saving lives.
CareerCast’s stress ratings are averages, and exceptions always arise. For instance, having a difficult manager or extremely demanding clients can make any job unpleasant. Also, much stress is self-induced and best managed by means other than switching jobs, like limiting the number of tasks you take on. But we wanted to publish this list because we think it’s informative and thought-provoking. Two years ago, my colleague Susan Adams published many interesting reader responses to an earlier version of this annual list.
Diagnostic medical sonographer was rated as the least stressful job. The position involves using medical imaging equipment like ultrasound machines. Medical sonographers assist physicians in conducting and interpreting these tests, and to become one, you’ll need to take an accreditation program that lasts between one and four years. Median pay in 2015 was $63,630.
The second-least stressful job was compliance officer, a role with a median salary of $65,640 that requires making sure your colleagues abide by laws and regulations. A compliance officer at a bank might monitor traders to check if they’re following insider trading regulations.
Operations research analyst ranked eighth, with median income of $78,630. Using mathematical and analytical methods, operations analysts help organizations solve complex problems.
Good and Bad Stress: How to find your stress sweet spot.
A number of stressors have been shown to contribute to workplace stress according to research that pose a threat to an employee. Well-documented studies have provided potential precipitants which include; types and number of hours worked, role of conflicts, isolation, difficult relationships with management staff and colleagues, role ambiguity, constricted career streams, restricted autonomy, work overload, poor remuneration, toxic climate and managerial bullying.
If left to prevail without intervention, these stressors could lead to increased risks of the employee developing both psychological and physiological maladies that may translate into reduced job productivity, frequent absenteeism and organizational disharmony.
On the other hand, other stressors like — job pressure, kids, money, and, yes, an intense exercise and eating regimen — can energize and inspire you or sap your will and your mojo. Reaching your potential is about finding your stress sweet spot and using it to propel you to your goals.
It’s a well-known fact: Being stressed out can make it really hard to reach your health and fitness goals. But did you know: Not having enough stress can slow your progress too?
See, stress isn’t a “thing” that happens to you. Stress is your response to the challenges you face every day. These stressors — like pressure at your job, raising kids, managing money, piles of dirty laundry, and, yes, nutrition and exercise — can make you either puff out your chest and get ‘er done like Super(wo)man, or crumble and sink into your couch like a dry, bland sugar cookie.
The key is to find your “stress sweet spot” — just enough stress, but not too much — so you can reach your potential without crashing and burning.
In this infographic, we explain the importance of balancing your allostatic (stress) load, and exactly how to do it so you can feel and perform your best.
To put these stress-balancing strategies into regular practice, download a printable or tablet-friendly version of this infographic so it’s always handy.
And, if you’re a health and fitness coach, share this with your clients and watch for improvements in their motivation, dedication, and results.
For an even more comprehensive take on this topic, check out our accompanying article, Good stress, bad stress: Finding your sweet spot.
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