Lance Scranton: Maybe it’s your job!
January 6, 2015
Your career choice might be a real downer. A recent study reported in The Atlantic magazine indicates that depression can be directly linked to the type of job you choose and experts calculate the cost to the economy in lost production at $83 billion dollars a year! This is serious stuff and we all should be aware of the jobs that might cost us more than the benefits they promise.
For years we've been under the impression that an education, high test scores and good grades would guarantee a career that was monetarily rewarding and personally satisfying. But we might want to consider the effects that our "choice" careers have on our well-being. We should still be about high educational expectations for our kids and the hope that they make wise decisions about their future job because education still provides the best potential for having options when deciding on a career.
Jobs with low levels of physical activity and stressful interactions with the public are obvious "depressors" and are highest in the real estate, public transportation, social work, legal services and publishing sectors.
Reports of moderate depression include jobs in the trucking, education, healthcare, restaurant, engineering and auto repair fields because these jobs require a comparatively higher social interaction. The jobs that report the least depression: recreation services, metallurgy, and air travel are likely due to the potential outdoor nature of the professions.
What is really surprising and seems to go against conventional wisdom are two jobs with very low reports of depression: highway workers and coal miners! Living in a rural, coal-mining community, this is some revealing news and really sheds a different light on what are two of the toughest professions in Northwest Colorado.
It is interesting to dig into the research to determine causes and reasons for such low reporting of depression in these particular careers but I know from experience that some of the hardest-working and generous people I know in our community can claim "coal miner" or "truck driver" as their profession.
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Perhaps hard work really does make a difference in the perception of ourselves and how we feel. It is refreshing to know that should a student tell me that they want to become a coal miner or a truck driver someday, I can happily encourage them to pursue their choice. I even have the research to back it up!
No study is perfect or completely thorough, but it does add evidence to the importance of physical activity and the critical aspect of how we deal with each other in our community.
Want to feel better about yourself and your profession? Work hard and follow the Golden Rule.