Stress is everywhere! In small doses it is good for you. When you have to handle something unexpected and are challenged to work faster, smarter and more creatively, you feel stress as a powerful burst of energy. But there’s a difference between stress and challenge.
“A workplace challenge puts a demand on you that temporarily goes beyond the routine level for your job,” says Laurence Shatkin and the editors at JIST in the book 150 Best Low-Stress Jobs.
Meeting a challenge may require you to think harder, exert more physical strength, show more patience, put in extra hours, pay more attention to details and face more competition, they say.
But when the demand exceeds your abilities and you have good reason to expect to fail, that’s stress. And when that demand is considered normal, not the exception, it’s stress.
It’s beyond a challenge when your “greater effort saps your energy, the demands on your patience leave you burnt out, the longer hours of work feel like a prison sentence,” Shatkin says.
When those demands turn into chronic stress, that can lead to problems. But is it possible to minimize the stress you may encounter in the work you do? Yes, but it helps to know what stresses you most.
Some workers say they can’t deal with unpleasant people.
If that’s you, take a look at the book’s list of 50 jobs that deal the least with unpleasant or angry people. It includes mathematicians, computer software engineers, physicists, animal trainers, massage therapists, curators and hydrologists.
The book points out that time pressures and constant deadlines are the single most important cause of workplace stress. Jobs with low time pressures include fitness trainers, computer software engineers, electrical engineers, funeral attendants and political scientists.
Jobs with the least consequence of error include bakers, audio-visual collections specialists, survey researchers, sociologists, credit analysts, appliance repairers and commercial and industrial designers.
Of course the more responsible a job the higher the economic reward, but that comes with more stress. Is there a perfect mix?
Low-stress jobs with the highest overall combined ratings for earnings, projected growth and number of openings include computer software engineers, sales managers, civil and environmental engineers, environmental scientists, construction and building inspectors, set and exhibit designers, zoologists and wildlife biologists.
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Courtesy of the Chicago Sun Times