At times we can only imagine what some people go through to earn a living. From laborers who very literally break their backs under the heat of the sun and those in the poorly-ventilated depths of a mine, to the perpetually stressed-out attorney buried beneath piles of files, making a living or forging a career is rarely simple. Of course, there exists a level of relativism that impacts how much we consider a task to be physically and emotionally taxing as well as stressful, but when a career is built on performing an objectively stressful task - like saving a life or proving a criminal's guilt - it’s easy to see how that stress might keep a person from fulfilling their duties with the utmost effectiveness.
Statistics show that a significantly higher percentage of Americans consider themselves to suffer from job-related stress compared to previous decades. While it’s true that an overwhelming workload or the high risk position of, say, a firefighter, are major sources of stress in the workplace, stress also builds from the attempt to balance work and personal life, along with dealing with antagonistic relationships with coworkers or attempting to satisfy requests and appease situations in customer service.
The American Psychological Association reports that 51 percent of employees claim to be less productive due to stress and 52 percent reported having considered leaving their job because of their inability to cope with workplace stress. Apart from causing one to dread going in to work, constant stress can affect a person’s health and personal life. Stress is a common cause of heart attacks and is attributed to an increased risk of heart disease; it’s also known to worsen the symptoms of asthma and diabetes and cause anxiety and depression.
Unfortunately, there exists no one specific criteria for how stressful a workplace may be (so that we may be forewarned!) and it’s also true that no job is totally stress-free. Still, the amount of projected stress experienced in the workplace can be considered when deciding on one's future. The following ten jobs in America are considered to be the least stressful, based on a survey of 200 jobs conducted by the online job board Careercast.com. It bears mentioning that the website did not poll individuals who work in each respective field but instead drew their conclusions based on statistics gathers by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Census Bureau among other sources. Their study focused on 11 different job demands that are known to be stressful: competitiveness in the workplace, physical demands, safety hazards, and environmental conditions are just some dimensions that were considered. Their findings give us an idea of which positions are reportedly the least stressful for the average American.
10 Drill-press Operator; average annual salary: $36,000
A drill-press operator is quite literally that: a person who operates a drill-press machine. Of the 200 jobs that Career Cast took into account for their study, this one definitely seems like a curve ball. But with an average salary of $36,000 a year, a drill-press operator is essentially in charge of drilling holes in metal or nonmetal materials. While it may certainly have the potential to be a monotonous job it’s also apparently a minimally stressful position.
9 Multi-media Artist; average annual salary: $61,000
Multi-media artists take 9th place for the least stressful jobs of 2014. This position averages a salary of $61,000 a year and there are about 68,900 of these jobs in the U.S. Commonly working from home, we can assume that multi-media artists don’t usually face the same workplace stresses experienced in a busy office setting. Yet it seems unlikely that a job where strict deadlines must be met and where the workload can get intense is a stroll in the park, so we might take this particular finding with a grain of salt.
8 Librarian; average annual salary: $34,000
A librarian makes an average of $34,000 a year. It isn’t far-fetched to claim that a cozy-looking librarian is just the sort of typical image that comes to mind when we think of a stress-free job. But shushing unruly students or banishing those with open containers is not the only task librarians uphold; many are dedicated researchers who use the bounty of the resources in their place of work in the pursuit of knowledge. Some notable once-librarians are Benjamin Franklin and philosopher David Hume. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there are 148,000 librarians working in the U.S.
7 Medical Records Technician; average annual salary: $34,000
Medical records technicians earn an average of $34,000 a year. The primary duty of a medical records tech is to keep accurate books on medical data. Perhaps the minimal exposure to other people when working on filing and data-entry makes for a less stressful job atmosphere.
6 Dietitian; average annual salary: $55,000
A dietitian makes an average salary of $55,000 a year and there are about 67,400 dietitians employed in the U.S. Their duties range from providing nutritional counseling to monitoring food service organizations to achieve quality standards. In order to be a dietitian one must have a Bachelor’s degree.
5 Seamstress/Tailor; average annual salary: $26,000
Tailors apparently experience minimal amounts of stress on the job. They make a median salary of $26,000 and in 2013, California was the state with the highest employment level for seamstresses and tailors - perhaps it’s the flashy streets of Downtown and Hollywood beckoning the need for remarkable dress. There are about 21,000 employed seamstresses/tailors in the U.S. but this number does not account for those who are self-employed.
4 University Professor; average annual salary: $84,000
While it may seem baffling to place a university professor in the top 5 least stressful jobs, Careercast.com’s methodology apparently determines this to be the case. University professors make an average of $84,000 a year and in 2013, this position was in fact listed on the website as the number one least stressful job. Their inference is debatable since typically a professor fulfills more than a teacher’s role; they often serve as leaders in the university community and inspire young minds toward discovery and innovation. Professors also act as mentors and often conduct in research projects, seminars, or participate in conventions while teaching. Balancing the many roles and duties a university professor fulfills hardly seem like something less than stressful.
3 Jeweler; average annual salary: $35,000
A jeweler makes an average of 35,000 a year according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. A jeweler typically learns their skills through long-term workplace raining but trade schools are also an alternative for a prospective jeweler to learn the tools of the trade. There are 32,700 jewelers in the U.S. according the Bureau of Labor Statistics and no special degree is required to sell people expensive gems; most jewellers learn the tricks of the trade through apprenticeships.
2 Hair Stylist; average annual salary: $22,700
A hairstylist ranks as the second least stressful job in the U.S. Typically, a post-secondary certification is required to be a professional hairstylist or barber. There are over 600,000 hair stylists in the U.S. and over half of these individuals are self-employed. Being your own boss could definitely be a marker for a less stressful work experience, though a degree of stress could no doubt come from the high expectations set by clients.
1 Audiologist; average annual salary: $69,720
An audiologist diagnoses and helps treat hearing conditions by exploring factors such as the range, nature, and ability of hearing functions and ranks as the number 1 least stressful job according to Careercast.com’s findings. An audiologist must have a doctorate degree to be nationally certified. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that as of 2012 there are a total of 13,000 audiologist positions nationwide. This is cited as the least stressful job out there, and is likely also a very rewarding position.