Feeling down about your job? You may not be the only one. In fact, some jobs are more prone to depression. A recent study looked at reports of depression associated with what job the individual had.
Here are 10 fields (out of 21 major job categories) in which full-time workers are most likely to report an episode of major depression in a given year. But if you want to be a nurse (No. 4), it doesn’t mean you should pick another profession.
“There are certain aspects of any job that can contribute to or exacerbate depression,” says Deborah Legge, PhD, a licensed mental health counselor in Buffalo (NY). “Folks with the high-stress jobs have a greater chance of managing it if they take care of themselves and get the help they need.”
It doesn’t give an order of which careers are the most depression-prone, but a lot of the careers on the top ten were care-giving or “helping” jobs. These jobs can be draining, don’t pay very well, and apparently there isn’t much appreciation dulled back onto these workers. A lot of them are also associated with or coordinated with government institutions, which is known for its bureaucracy. Bureaucracy can also be frustrating and make workers feel futile or helpless, another key stressor and depresser.
What are some ways to make these “giving” jobs better appreciated and less stressed? There’s a lot of hoopla right now about jobs creation, but what can be done to make the jobs we have right now better?
My new year’s resolution this year was to start taking better care of myself; more sleep, healthier food (no more sneaking chocolate out of the secretary’s candy dish!) and getting regular exercise if for nothing else just to move and remember what it feels like to use your muscles.
But up until recently I had never acknowledged some of the things that had caused me the most stress. One of them was changing jobs after seven years and becoming a freelance writer/editor, while also moving away from a city I’d lived in for that long as well. That loss of identity, of sense of self and how you fit into the world, can have a profound effect on mental and physical health, as one New York Times article recently discussed, focused more on job loss, but very similar emotionally and the physical repercussions:
The first to have a heart attack was George Kull Jr., 56, a millwright who worked for three decades at the steel mills in Lackawanna, N.Y. Three weeks after learning that his plant was closing, he suddenly collapsed at home… Less than a month later, Don Turner, 55, a crane operator who had started at the mills as a teenager, was found by his wife, Darlene, slumped on a love seat, stricken by a fatal heart attack.
It is impossible to say exactly why these men, all in relatively good health, had heart attacks within weeks of one another. But interviews with friends and relatives of Mr. Kull and Mr. Turner, and with Mr. Smith, suggest that the trauma of losing their jobs might have played a role.
A growing body of research suggests that layoffs can have profound health consequences. One 2006 study by a group of epidemiologists at Yale found that layoffs more than doubled the risk of heart attack and stroke among older workers. Another paper, published last year by Kate W. Strully, a sociology professor at the State University of New York at Albany, found that a person who lost a job had an 83 percent greater chance of developing a stress-related health problem, like diabetes, arthritis or psychiatric issues. In perhaps the most sobering finding, a study published last year found that layoffs can affect life expectancy…
It was hard to explain to people why I wasn’t thrilled and exhilarated to be living with my husband again, out of a seemingly dead end job and taking my life into my own hands. I wasn’t thrilled or exhilarated. And I wasn’t even scared in that good kind of way; I was just scared and isolated. At least now I know I wasn’t as weird as I was made to feel.