The Best and Worst Jobs for Work-Life Balance
To stay healthy and happy, it's important to maintain a good balance between our work and personal lives. With some careers, achieving work-life balance is easy - with others, not so much. Here's our list of the best and worst careers for healthy work-life balance.
Why Balance Matters
Once considered a secondary concern, work-life balance has now become a key focal point for modern American workers. Studies have shown that people tend to be happier and more productive when their lives do not revolve entirely around their careers. On the other hand, studies suggest that people suffer when their jobs take on too much weight.
According to research out of Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business, high-stress careers can actually shorten a person's life span, with concentration demands, job control and time pressure all acting as joint predictors of death. With this in mind, it’s good to know which jobs are most and least likely to involve stress and sacrifices that might compromise well-being.
The Worst Jobs
Lawyer: To make it at a major law firm, lawyers usually must work overtime, weekends and after hours. They also tend to miss out on major life events, including school plays and family vacations.
Surgeon: Since they are under immense pressure to save lives, surgeons tend to have trouble "turning off" their work when they are at home. This is one reason why burnout is so common.
Massage Therapist: Massage therapists have one of the nation’s highest divorce rates, according to research appearing in the Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology.
Pharmacist: Most pharmacists have to work nights, weekends and holidays, especially if they are employed by a hospital or retail pharmacy that stays open around the clock.
Business executives: Whether they manage a small company or large enterprise, business leaders must grapple with all sorts of timely problems, while staying available to take advantage of fleeting opportunities.
The Best Jobs
Data scientist: According to research from Glassdoor, data scientists have the best work-life balance with a rating of 4.2 out of 5.
Graphic designer: Most graphic designers enjoy good job satisfaction, because they are able to use their creative abilities. This career also lends itself to flexible, freelance opportunities that leave room for family and social time.
Elementary school teacher: Teachers enjoy great benefits and plenty of time off. They don't make huge salaries, but all the extra free time offers room for side hustles and freelance work.
Social media manager: While they can find themselves pressured to generate engaging content for Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, social media managers tend to have more flexible schedules that allow them to maintain a better work-life balance.
Web developer: This career also lends itself to freelancing, while providing lucrative opportunities for those with creative talent.
Creating Better Balance
While the perfect job can help pave the way for better work-life balance, we can't all be so lucky. That said, there are ways to create a more balanced situation at your current job. Much of this involves prioritizing your responsibilities to differentiate essential tasks from things that can wait. You can also look for ways to leverage technology to make tedious tasks less time-consuming, and get assistance from off-site professionals who can help unchain you from your desk.