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Desperately Seeking Less Stress


Cathy Tomasi10 Least Stressful Jobs of 2013

Feeling stressed out? You are not alone. According to data in the 2013 Work Stress Survey conducted by Harris Interactive, Americans are more stressed out than ever. The survey of employed adults found that 83 percent are stressed by at least one thing at work, a sharp increase of 10 percentage points when compared with 2012 (73 percent).

“It is a choice to stay in a job that is too stressful,” said Dr. Karon Lynn of Trinity Hearing Center in Flagstaff. “You have to take the bull by the horns and decide if that is how you want to live your life.” Workers tired of fighting stress in current jobs may look for less stressful employment. But how to determine if the next job will actually be less hectic?

The 2013 CareerCast.com Jobs Rated report revealed that the amount of stress can be predicted by looking at the inherent demands and crises of particular jobs. In that report, 11 different job demands were weighted and scored. The report emphasized, “Scores reflect only a typical stress profile for any given occupation. For any individual worker, stress can vary greatly depending on the particular working conditions, his or her boss and co-workers, mental outlook and a multitude of other factors which play a part in stress.”

Job demands, including the amount of travel, growth potential, deadlines, working in the public eye, competitiveness, physical demands, environmental conditions, own risk of life, hazards encountered, meeting the public and life of another at risk are stress factors cited by the CareerCast.com report.

“Working for a collections agency while I was in college was an extremely stressful job because I was calling people to get them to pay overdue bills. It is the exact opposite of what I am doing now,” said Eric Rueda, Adult and Youth Services Librarian at Flagstaff City Coconino County Public Library. His job, librarian, is ranked ninth least stressful job for 2013. “My brother is a prosecutor, we are both well-educated and I could have been a lawyer, but I made the choice not to work 60-80 hours per week. I want to live comfortably, and I can do that now,” said Rueda, who made a conscious decision to follow a less stressful career path. “I felt that with my personality, I had a good outlook for a library career and it has been really rewarding,” explained Rueda who is energized by working with people from all walks of life. And library dues collections are sent to another agency, so he doesn’t have to stress about that occupational hazard.

“My job is less stressful than others because it is not emergent,” said Cathy Tomasi, a registered dietitian at Mountain Heart. “Stress involved in my position is about patient expectation. All the information out there confuses people so I have to be diplomatically correct and educate without insulting or being defensive.” The Flagstaff dietician – number seven on the least stress rankings – uses communication to help alleviate stress while setting realistic goals for her clients.

Tomasi has also taught part time at Northern Arizona University and Coconino Community College in the last decade. When asked which occupation was more stressful for her, she reported that college professor, which is ranked “#1 Least Stressful Job,” was actually more stressful from her viewpoint than the role of dietician. “The stress depends on the size of the classroom and as part-time faculty, you don’t have the assistance [afforded to full-time faculty], so it can get more stressful.”

Jamie Worden, owner of Studio 9 Salon in Williams, gets pleasure from interacting with her clients. “It is very rewarding getting to know people and their lives. It becomes a relationship,” said the hair stylist, a job rated eighth on the “least stressful” charts. “I continually take classes about new trends, colors and products and with that kind of knowledge I am not stressed about not knowing how to do something.” Worden, who now has 100 percent control over her schedule, has worked more stressful occupations, including a 22-year stint as a professional makeup artist in Southern California.

Jenn Jones, owner of Madame 2 Sew in Flagstaff’s Southside, found styling and imaging consulting for bands and musicians to be more stressful than her current role as seamstress and tailor – the second least stressful job of 2013. “There are definitely stressful moments – we are the only alterations house that does overnight service. But this is a laid back place and our customers are not too hung up on timelines. They are are pretty understanding.”

“It is a lot healthier environment than many other jobs,” said Jones. “Our clients are faithful. We have control over how to maneuver the schedule. There’s more stress handling the garment than the customer.”

Medical Records Tech Brenda Barrandey experiences less stress in her current position at Flagstaff Medical Center than she did working as a commission-based salesperson. “Convincing people to buy hair products was pretty stressful,” admitted Barrandey. “Now I am dealing with paperwork rather than people. I have a little more time to resolve issues and I can ask questions to get assistance if I need it.”

As part of the Health Information Management (HIM) team, Barrandey uses multiple computer systems to doublecheck for accuracy, which can sometimes be stressful. “If I feel like I am running out of time, I can ask for assistance or sometimes I just get up and walk around a little,” explained the Medical Records Technician, the third least stressful job category.

“To handle stress, you have to physically change what you are doing. Get up and move, your mental state will follow,” recommended Dr. Lynn, an audiologist – rated the sixth least stressful job. “Grasp the big picture from a different location. Getting a view from a new perspective helps relieve stress.”

“I have chosen to manage my stress in a new way. I don’t ignore it and allow it to build up anymore,” said Lynn, who left a stressful environment to start a private audiology practice. FBN


CareerCast.com’s 10 Least Stressful Jobs of 2013

1. University Professor

2. Seamstress/Tailor

3. Medical Records Technician

4. Jeweler

5. Medical Laboratory Technician

6. Audiologist

7. Dietitian

8. Hair Stylist

9. Librarian

10. Drill Press Operator



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