When looking for a job or career, most people will consider vacation time, pay and flexibility. Very few consider overall happiness levels – after all, it’s hardly a quantifiable variable. However, being happy at a job leads to an increased life span as well as quality of life. In fact, the jobs that cause depression can also lead to major health issues, such as heart conditions and mental disorders.
Recently, researchers looked at insurance claims of a population of 214,413 people to determine which professions had the highest rate of depression (Wulsin, 2014). They looked at 55 different industries and found that the rates of depression ranged from 6.9 to 16.2%. This number may be even higher though, since only those who filed insurance claims and thus sought treatment for depression were examined.
So which jobs had the highest rate? Research found that jobs which had a high level of interaction with the public had the highest rates of depression, while the lowest rates were found in jobs that may benefit the individual more than the public. Particularly happy jobs included amusement and recreation such as sports, fitness and performing-arts.
10. Education – 10.1%
Teachers are faced with a number of problems to face each and every day. Problem students, overflowing classrooms, take home work, long hours and parent relations are all potential stress factors.
Teaching is commonly believed to one of the most rewarding professions to go into, though, making it one of those jobs with significant peaks and troughs.
In addition to the many overarching hurdles educators face, teachers must also attempt to create fun and enriching lessons with very few resources and rising budget cuts. Many new teachers are happier with their chosen profession, but can become quickly disillusioned.
Teachers are urged to take down time and try and remember why they chose the profession in the first place; after all, that fulfillment part is still very real and makes teaching worthwhile.
9. Engineering – 10.9%
Engineering is one of the most difficult and stressful degrees to obtain in the first place, calling for long hours of studying, practical coursework and test-taking. The concepts are challenging and ever-evolving, and all this may not even lead to a job.
In addition to this, Engineering students have a higher rate of suicide than other majors. It is still a very high paying career, if one manages to secure a job doing it, and has opportunities for advancement and varied roles within the profession.
Over the past decade or so, though, Engineers have been feeling the pinch, as outsourcing and the collapse of various tech industries has led to job loss and a loss of job security. It is still a great career to pursue, but those interested should be prepared for long hours and a more difficult time finding a job depending on location.
8. Healthcare – 11.5%
Healthcare workers, including doctors, nurses and therapists, are constantly providing fundamental services to the public. They take on a wide range of patients, with many different problems and personalities. In addition to this, healthcare workers are usually over worked.
Doctors and nurses especially are used to long, often irregular hours, which means little sleep and even less personal time. Couple this with the fact that these professions literally save lives, and anxiety levels are necessarily high.
Healthcare workers, while usually making good money and working in a fulfilling career, also have to face death (possibly at their own hands) as well as heartache and sickness. This kind of atmosphere can attribute to a sad outlook and even lead to depression.
7. Publishing: 12.3%
Publishing may seem like an oddball on this list, but not when it viewed as a whole industry. Publishers work with the public; it includes the stages of publishing like marketing, distribution, development and design. This competitive line of work also includes dealing with all forms of media, as everything must be online as well.
Publishers are not going to be getting that physical activity that’s a feature of happier jobs. They also, typically, work for others and not for themselves, which may be one of the main reasons it is on the list of most depressing jobs.
6. Legal Services: 13.7%
It may seem like a sweet deal to get a job in the legal service industry, as it’s one of those career paths that almost guarantees lots of money. However, those who work in the industry are not always happy about their day job. ‘Legal services’ is a broad term that includes many different jobs, but they have one thing in common: working with the public.
Often working long hours to suit the customer’s needs, jobs in this area can be taxing and take a toll on mental health. Anything to do with legal expertise is certainly not going to take place outside, so there will be plenty of office work and not a lot of personal time.
Trying to get the most for clients, while also dealing with the general public’s ignorance on legal matters, is perhaps why this industry has one of the highest rates of depression.
5. Personal Services: 14.4%
‘Personal services’ is another broad industry that involves many different kind of jobs. These jobs deliver services instead of goods, so that means, yes, these people deal with the public. Jobs may include advice and discussion such as consulting.
Those in the personal service industry do not focus on the personal (meaning themselves) but instead try and help people with a number of different needs and issues.
Those in the health industry are also included here. It is easy to see why such a job can be taxing, but many pick this type of career for its rewarding nature. What could be better than helping others, especially those who need it the most? Well, helping yourself first, for one thing.
4. Manufacturing: 14.4%
Tedium is an unfortunate part of many manufacturing jobs, as well as a static and less aesthetically-pleasing environment. It’s mere common sense that humans are happier and more productive when in a picturesque environment, such as outdoor areas. And while manufacturing can involve the outdoors, it’s not a pretty landscape that surrounds workers. Instead, workers can feel like cogs in a machine themselves, with little fulfillment.
This is not that case for all manufacturing jobs, or all workers, but certainly it does affect a quite a few manufacturing workers. There’s a lot of interaction with others, usually those who are superiors in the field. How can this job reduce the risk of depression? Probably by changing the working environment.
3. Social Work: 14.8%
Social workers are there to help others. They are usually empathetic, caring individuals who think they’ll get no further enjoyment and fulfillment from life than when assisting others. However, many who go into the industry need help themselves, at least when it comes to mental illness.
Social workers have a very high rate of depression, 14.8% as indicated by insurance claims, and it may be because they help others more than they help and care for themselves. The whole industry focuses on client health and care, which means direct interaction with members of the public on a daily basis.
2. Real Estate: 15.5%
Real Estate agents may seem happy, but only because they have to be. Real Estate Agents are constantly working in a target-driven environment and make a large portion of their income from commission. As such, they must constantly deal with everyone – however rude and ignorant – with a smile on their faces.
Agents also have to work with people who are picky, don’t know what they want, and who may back out of deals. This stressful career can have big rewards, but it can also lead to depression and financial issues.
1. Public Transit: 16.2%
No surprise here. Public transit drivers have the number one highest rate of depression of all the jobs researched by insurers in this study. Drivers have to deal with rude, insensitive, and even drunk members of the public each and every day. They have to manage those who refuse to pay, who are belligerent, and who are violent towards them. In fact, there have been many cases of assault upon unsuspecting bus drivers.
Public transit drivers perform a vital service for all and often have to deal with these problem passengers and long hours. On top of all that, they must drive the same routes all day long, with little chance to even get out and stretch their legs. So, the next time you use public transit, make an extra effort to be nice to the driver; it could make their day.