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Job stress may mean it’s time for change

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Feeling stressed at work? You may have one of the 10 careers that careercast.com surveyed as the most stressful jobs of 2011.

Among the high-strung ranks were real estate agents, who have had to deal with a troubled housing market, as well as photojournalists, who occasionally face threats to their personal safety while on the job.

But of all the stressful jobs that Americans have, the one with the most stress was thousands of miles above the rest – an airline pilot.

“When flying, there is always a push to be on time for destinations,” David Mino said, who is a corporate and charter pilot for Tomwood Aviation. “It’s easy for air traffic controllers to deal with the weather because their seat isn’t moving several hundred miles an hour. It was once said if a pilot messes up, the pilot dies. If an air traffic controller messes up, the pilot dies.”

In addition to the dangers and demands associated with his job, Mino attributed the stress he experiences to the state of the economy and the uncertainty of jobs.

With fuel and plane tickets being so expensive, job security as a pilot can be uncertain.

“The past three years have been dismal for pilots as far as pay scales and keeping a job go,” he said. “I’ve been fortunate to be in a position where my job is pretty secure, but fuel costs make negotiating wages more difficult.”

Kim Pannell, the Indianapolis branch manager of Today’s Office Professionals, attributed some stress to employees taking on larger workloads in an effort to stand out or seem more committed.

“Some of it is fear,” she said. “A lot of people have seen so many qualified people lose their employment.”

However, though the job market is not bountiful, there are times when employees should weigh their options and consider searching for a different job.

Have you lost your personal life outside of your job? Has your job grown from a great opportunity into a monster? If employees can answer yes to these questions, Pannell said it’s time to reconsider their current positions.

“Life is a bank account; you can’t just withdraw, you have to put into it as well,” she said. “If you have to keep telling yourself ‘it’s not that bad,’ it probably is that bad.”

However, if it’s simply a matter of pay rates or positions within companies, Pannell said communication is key.

“Employers don’t know what you don’t tell them,” she said. “Companies don’t want to lose good employees. Be prepared to back up your wants with what you’ve done for the organization.”

As for Mino, though he experiences stress on the job, the rewards outweigh the worry.

“I get to see a lot of different, unique places,” he said. “When the weather’s good and there are no issues, it’s the best office to have.”


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