Stress at work is a common phenomenon. A majority of workers, 79%, experience job-related stress on a month-to-month basis, according to the American Psychological Association’s 2021 Work and Wellbeing Survey of 1,501 American adults.
However, some jobs are less stressful than others. The Department of Labor’s Occupational Information Network, or O*NET, ranked 873 occupations by stress level noting the importance of accepting criticism and dealing calmly with high-stress situations in every job. And some of these relatively low-stress jobs are also high-paying.
The least stressful job on the list that pays over $100,000 a year is environmental economist, with a ranking of 52 out of 100. pays a median annual salary of $105,630, according to O*NET.
The post calls for conducting research on environmental topics such as public and private land use, air and water pollution, and the preservation of endangered species. It calls for presenting the results of such research in papers or presentations and evaluating the benefits of environmental policies and regulations.
Most environmental economists need a relevant master’s or doctoral degree to be hired, as well as some work experience.
As for why the job might be relatively less stressful, “They don’t work under very competitive conditions,” says Sinem Buber, chief economist at ZipRecruiter. Some of these positions could be held by governments or universities, which could provide greater job security. They are also less competitive than economist roles in companies, where workers must help achieve a certain bottom line.
Environmental economists also have a great deal of freedom in their role, according to 81% of O*NET respondents.
Plus, “it’s really rewarding work,” Buber says, “to know that you’re doing something good for the environment, you’re doing something good for humanity. It motivates them every day.”
If you’re considering doing the work yourself to become an environmental economist, keep in mind that all work experience is relative and no job is completely stress-free.
“I think it would be hard to find a stress-free job,” says Vicki Salemi, career expert at Monster, even this one. “It’s important to emphasize that this is less stress. That doesn’t mean there is no stress at all.” And while the job itself is relatively less stressful, a “toxic environment can dramatically amplify your stress” if you don’t get along with your boss or co-workers, she says.
Be sure to talk to the people who work at an organization you’re applying for during the interview process to get a sense of the culture inside. Having as much information as possible can help you avoid toxic work environments, whatever your role.
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