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Most people want to stay healthy and have a good career, but often the two seem to conflict. Even jobs that are not obviously dangerous can have detrimental effects on our well-being. Knowing what those positions are can help you protect yourself. Here are the seven worst jobs for your health.
#1: Desk Jobs
The standard 8-5 day typing on a keyboard or filling out forms can quickly set you on the road to obesity, heart disease, diabetes and other such life-threatening diseases. Receptionists, administrative assistants, call center workers, paralegals, and a host of other such positions fit into this category.
#2: Service Jobs
Another type of job that tends to be bad for your health is service-related. You might think that being a waiter, retail salesperson, or hotel desk clerk would get you the exercise you need. However, these types of jobs also put you into contact all day with a large number of people who may be spreading germs, sharing viruses, or venting emotionally.
#3: High Stress Jobs
It’s no secret that stress can be bad for us. Occupations such as teacher, lawyer, or human resource director all carry with them a high amount of unhealthy stress. Many of these professionals also carry with them the problems associated with being sedentary or in contact with others.
#4: Jobs with Toxic Substances
There are some jobs, too, that expose workers to toxic substances and/or environments. Automobile mechanics are exposed to motor oil and various engine fluids; medical personnel deal with sick patients, toxic chemicals, and x-rays; construction workers may run into asbestos or other known carcinogens; and trash collectors may be exposed to rotting foods and other toxic substances. Similarly, jobs that involve closed spaces with recycled air, such as offices, airports, or airplanes may make for an unhealthy environment.
#5: Jobs with Irregular Schedules
Although some workers like flexible and varied work schedules, these can subtract from your health over time. Jobs such as factory workers, real estate agents, or reporters can keep people jumping up at the last minute to run to a project or rotating between shifts or differing hours. Such positions can lead to sleep deprivation and other unhealthy side-effects.
#6: Human Service Jobs
Occupations that require a worker to have a lot of responsibility for the well-being of others can be both physically and psychologically draining. Mental health counselors, teachers, clergy and other such professions place people in positions that are difficult to disconnect from at the end of the day. They may worry about a client, a parishioner, or a student long after the work day is over, adding further damage to their own well-being. Often these jobs require being responsible for large numbers of people, too.
#7: Artistic/Creative Jobs
Although many dream of being a great artist or writer, artistic or creative pursuits can be unhealthy. Those drawn to these types of positions typically obsess over finding just the right image or words for a project. They experience frustrations such as writer’s block and the stress of constant deadlines. They may even be exposed to toxic substances or a lack of exercise as they work long hours to complete projects and make ends meet.
If the unhealthiness of jobs has you concerned, remember that some of this can be avoided simply by standing during the workday, working from home, or choosing a job that’s type of stress motivates you. Being aware of the potential risks is the first step in staying healthy on the job.