Low-Stress Careers

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Are there certain types of jobs that are low-stress?

May 2005

I am soon to leave my current long-time job (a stressful one) for another one I'm currently training in, which turns out to be (so far) even more stressful! I'm probably dreaming, but are there certain fields or types of jobs which are lower stress (not stress-free, as there is no such thing!) yet which also pay well? How would I research that?
need less stress in my life

Without knowing your education, skills, experience, it's difficult to say.

Personally, I work in graphic design, and those skills can take me to a variety of stress level positions - it all depends on the company. Stress is usually caused by deadlines, clients, money, customers, risks to health, long or unusual hours, quotas, etc. I've seen librarians work themselves into a tizzy over budget issues, grocery clerks deal with irate customers and being on their feet for hours, civil servants face endless red tape, even volunteers at the local thrift store get stressed out when faced with too many donations..

A lot of it is all how you look at it. Most high paying jobs - union, government or corporate - involve dealing with difficult, stressful issues. You have to ask yourself where your skills lay, what situations do you like best, do you like solitary work, or something with others? Best to start with a career counselor and weed out the best scenario. No Stress For Me Either

Hi there, I hear that motherhood is the one to avoid, if you're looking to reduce stress..oh wait, too late.

Seriously, though, I recently went through a process of career evaluation, and thought it might be helpful to tell you about it. The most important thing, I found, was to sit down and actually identify what aspects of my work were stressing me out, in realtive order. For example, you might find out that having to work until 6 each day is making the early evenings at home a high stress point. In that case, you would know that you would place value on a job that allows you to finish earlier.

Another example might be that a job that requires you to be available by phone on the weekends means you can never fully relax when not at work. In that case, a job that you can leave at the office would be valuable. In my case I also tried to take the money out of the equation, at least while I was identifying stressors, and then sort of added it back in later on. Therefore, a job that allowed you to leave early and forget about it when you weren't there would actually have a lot of value (in our example) and so would be worth earning less actual cash. Am I making sense? For me, by sitting down and trying to discover what aspects of my current work were the worst for me and my family helped me to think objectively about what I wanted, overall, and not just financially. After all, life is really too short, right? Anyway, I don't want to rattle on, and hopefully you get my drift. Feel free to email me if you like. Good luck! I think choosing to reduce stress is a much better goal than money, especially if you're trying to raise kids, who really don't give a rat's ass about cash, but would love to see a happier mom! (That's just my opinion, of course! ) Cheers, Abbi