LightWe live in an era that’s much more sympathetic to work-life balance than previous years, and that means it’s a good time to step back and take a holistic view of your career. You don’t need to settle for being a life-long slave to the corporate machine — you can hop from career to career, depending on your tastes, whims, and lifestyle.

Sure, you still need to earn money, but you have much more choice in how you do that these days day.

Climbing the corporate ladder not for you? Feeling unfulfilled, burnt out, or overstressed? Maybe you should plan for a low-stress career.

That being said, low-stress jobs do come at a price: lower pay. There are very few high-paying jobs that aren’t stressful. If you want a low stress career, you should prepare yourself to earn a little less than you otherwise could.

High-Pay, Low-Stress Jobs Do Exist, But Are Not Easy to Land

On the bright side, locating a high-pay, low-stress job has been made easier today, thanks to the availability of big data analyses. One such analysis is featured in an article on Business Insider, which lists 17 “high-paying jobs for people who don’t like stress.” The list includes orthodontists, mathematicians, and economists, among other roles.

While it’s may be fairly easy to locate these high-pay, low-stress jobs, it’s not easy to land them. You’ll need a lot of patience, the willingness to study long and hard, and significant educational funds. It would be fair to say that the rare combination of low-stress and high-pay is not easily accessed.

To Reduce Stress, Avoid Middle Management 

If are you are prepared to sacrifice some pay, another way to lower the stress of your career involves stepping down from your middle-management role — or simply never stepping up in the first place.

Middle managers suffer more stress than the people below and above them, and they are much more likely to suffer symptoms of depression and anxiety, according to research.

If you want a low-stress career, you’ll want to focus your career progression efforts on the acquisition of specialist knowledge and certification. This non-management route can lead to higher pay without the stress of climbing up the ranks.

Go Freelance — You’ll Be Happier

BoatNot that freelance is a totally stress-free endeavor, but research suggests that freelancers are more satisfied with their work, pay, and career progression potential than traditional, full-time workers. So, going freelance could be just the way to cut down on your stress while still earning enough to pay your bills.

Find a Career that Suits Your Personality

If you seem to always find yourself in roles that conflict with your values and personality preferences, that could be one of the primary causes of your high stress levels. For example, if you take a low-stress job as a mathematician, but you hate the isolation associated with this job, you might find it very stressful.

One way to find a low-stress career is to find a role and company that suit your values and personality preferences. If you’re not certain of what kind of role or company that may be, consider taking a career preference assessment of some sort.

If You Can Afford It, Work a Low-Stress 30-Hour Week

You’ll need to negotiate well to achieve a 30-hour workweek contract for what would normally be a full-time role, but plenty of high-flying employees have used this tactic to achieve some additional work-life balance.


We now have much more control over the amount of stress we subject ourselves to during our careers. We are not prisoners of the system!

If you want to avoid stressful career paths from the outset, take a breather, or get out of the rat race entirely, there are now plenty of low-stress career options open. Find the right one for you!

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