Depressed mature business man in failureAll jobs cause stress to some degree. Sometimes it drives us to succeed while other times it makes us want to eschew the “civilized” world for a simple life living off of the land. You may think that your job is the worst mistake of your life or what makes your life great. But whatever the case, hate it or love it, your job is one of the most substantial sources of stress in your life.

It should also go without saying that some jobs are more stressful than others. For 2013, CareerCast has identified the top five most stressful jobs in the U.S., most of which will not come as a surprise to readers. On the other hand, the Huffington Post has created its own list of least stressful jobs in the country in 2013. Less stress, of course, does not mean a lack of job stress, but only a relatively low amount compared to a host of other major professions. So, on with the lists.

The Top 5 Most Stressful Jobs for 2013 are:

• Enlisted military personnel

• Military general

• Firefighter

• Commercial airline pilot

• Public relations executive

The Top 5 Least Stressful Jobs for 2013 are:

• University Professor

• Seamstress/tailor

• Medical records technician

• Jeweler

• Medical laboratory technician

You may have identified some common traits between the jobs in each list. For example, the more stressful jobs are those with unpredictable or non-standard hours. Having uncertain hours or being unable to cater to your natural biorhythms (e.g. the circadian cycle), quickly ramps up stress levels and leaves employees with little time to feel relaxed. Conversely, the least stressful jobs offer a more rigid scheduling structure with predictable and repetitious job duties and hours. Hours may vary slightly in these positions, but regular breaks and consistent hours help the body adapt reducing stress.

If you prefer odd hours or don’t mind fluid day-to-day schedules, you may thrive in a high-stress position or jobs in consulting or freelance, which have fluctuating workloads from day-to-day or month-to-month. However, if you work better with repetition and in a more controlled environment, you should consider jobs with consistent hours to help prevent sky-rocketing stress levels. You may even find that these “rules” are not concrete in how much stress a given position causes, but as things to consider during a job search or when making a career-change decision, these factors can help narrow down viable job options. Other contributors to job stress that should also be considered when making job-choice decisions are work environment, coworker/supervisor personality fit, and cultural fit.


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in Stress Management]