High-adventure, high-pressure, and high-stress jobs might make for good television (doctors, police officers, etc), but in real life, you might prefer something a little lower-key. Particularly for people in addiction recovery, having a lower-stress job can mean a smoother recovery.
Stress in the workplace can act as a trigger to drink or use. But not all workplace stress comes directly from the work itself. More on that later. First, here are 10 low-stress jobs suitable for people in addiction recovery.
(For the US Bureau of Labor Statistics information on each job, including educational requirements and salary, click on the job title).
Some jobs involve physical labor, but a lighter mental workload. The balance can be perfect for people in addiction recovery, who want to stay busy, but control their own schedule (such as working night shift, adding overtime or other such opportunities). Some may require a certification program, such as through your local community college, but others can be done with no prior experience. Examples include:
- Landscaping and Groundskeeping Workers — Needed by both cities and private companies, year-round in most parts of the country.
- Welders — Very physical, and skilled hands are a plus, but you can also start as an assistant or apprentice to gain the skills.
- Security Guards — Needed in a wide variety of settings, with lots of projected job growth and varying degrees of workplace stress (sometimes virtually no stress).
- Commercial Drivers — Can include tractor-trailers, bus drivers, taxi drivers, and chauffeurs, so you choose the level of human interaction and stress in the workplace. You can also often pick up side jobs for extra income, such as being a city bus driver but picking up side chauffeuring work.
- Orderlies and Nursing Assistants — Bonus: if you like the field, you can also choose to expand your educational level — and thus your income — to other nursing-related professions.
Not everyone wants to do manual labor, though. It is a certain kind of busy-ness that some people enjoy, but others find that coping with stress is much easier if you keep your mind continuously occupied. Fortunately, for those people, there are careers that tend to require a higher level of education and a mental workload, but less physical demands. Such positions include:
- Software Developers — The tech field continues to grow, and with the advent of tech boot camps, it’s never been easier to develop the skills you need to be a developer.
- Actuaries — If you like numbers and problem-solving, being an actuary is a low-stress, high-thinking career path that also pays very well.
- Medical Lab Technicians — If a career supporting doctors and researchers, but with much less stress, sounds like a field for you (and you like science), consider working as a medical or clinical lab technician.
- Diagnostic Medical Sonographers — Another low-stress, but high-paying career in the medical field, that requires a short training program, diagnostic medical sonographers or cardiovascular technicians learn to use specialized equipment.
- Optometrists — There’s more schooling involved for this one, but it’s low-stress and high pay.
Coping with Stress
Any of these 10 low-stress jobs could be perfect for someone in addiction recovery. Making an income you can actually live on, enjoying what you do each day, and feeling a sense of contributing toward meaningful work can all make working more enjoyable.
But other times, even with a career change, it seems like stress follows you. Regardless of the profession itself, there are ways to cope with a stressful workplace. The people you work with, your direct supervisor, even the things you do outside of work to “push reset” for the next day, can all make the working week better.