A man sitting in his office with his hands on his face, handling a stressful job

How 'Least Stressful Jobs' Lists Fail To Accurately Measure Anxiety

by Whitney Hawkins

What if I told you that you have one of the least stressful jobs in America?

How would you feel?

If you're anything like the many Americans who bombarded the comments section of CareerCast’s "The Most Stressful Jobs of 2015" and "The Least Stressful Jobs of 2015," I bet you feel pretty damn crappy.

Instead of reveling in their stress-free status, these people appeared to compete for a spot on the "The Most Stressful Jobs of 2016."

Librarians and medical technicians passionately expressed why their jobs are stressful, and they demanded a deeper understanding of their professions.

Nurses and correctional officers voiced outrage that their jobs were excluded from the "Most Stressful" list.

They all claimed they worked harder and longer hours than the professions listed. ​

CareerCast seems to think it has workplace stress down to a science.

It argues:

The amount of stress a worker experiences can be predicted, in part, by looking at the typical demands and crises inherent in his or her job. Our ranking system for stress considered 11 different job demands which can reasonably be expected to evoke stress. Each demand was assigned a range of points.

This sounds great, but can our stress really be boiled down to a mathematical equation?

The comments loudly proclaim this is not the case.

So, we must ask ourselves, "What is stress, and how can we measure it?"

I think we can all agree any job that involves life and death is pretty stressful.

But when I look at the list of "Least Stressful Jobs," I immediately get anxiety imagining myself driving a forklift or tailoring someone's clothes.

This is probably due to my poor vision and bad driving record.

Regardless, this is proof stress can be so subjective.

Think about what stresses you out.

I guarantee it’s not the same list of things that pushes your brother or best friend to his or her breaking point.

We are all able to handle different types and levels of stress, but we are also highly capable of creating our own stress.

We all play some role in creating anxiety in our lives, and if we work to further understand it, stress management is possible.

As 2016 gets closer and CareerCast prepares its next lists, let’s shift the dialogue on workplace stress.

Stress is not just an algorithm.

It's a subjective experience dependent on factors like our evaluation of the situation, our coping skills and our access to social support.

This sentiment was echoed in the comments section, where individuals voiced a desire to be heard, understood and valued as employees.

Between all the complaints and outrage, there was a group of people who seemed to wonder, “If my job isn’t perceived as difficult, do you believe it isn't valuable?”

If our value is attached to our stress levels, we are headed down a dangerous path in the workplace.

Maybe you feel this way, too.

Maybe one man’s stress is another man’s pleasure.