Place your bets for least and most stressful jobs

DEAR JOYCE: My husband says his job as a high school teacher of special education students is more stressful than my job as a retail customer service manager. No way! The loser of this bet has to do the family laundry for two weeks. Who's headed for the soap suds? -- K.H.

Uh, duh ... on this issue, "include me out," as legendary 20th century movie magnate Samuel Goldwyn supposedly said when exiting from an industry labor dispute.

But I'm happy to tell you how Tony Lee, publisher of CareerCast.com, ranks the nation's 10 least stressful and 10 most stressful jobs for 2014. Read on:

LEAST STRESSFUL JOBS

According to a new CareerCast report, audiologist, hair stylist, jeweler and tenured university professor head the list of great jobs where stress isn't an issue, followed by seamstress/tailor, dietician, medical records technician, librarian, multimedia artist and drill press operator.

MOST STRESSFUL JOBS

Lee reminds us that unpredictable conditions and high-stakes situations rank enlisted military, military general, firefighter, airline pilot and event coordinator at the front of the adrenaline parade. They are followed by: public relations executive, senior corporate executive, newspaper reporter, police officer and taxi driver.

DEAR JOYCE: I am graduating this summer from a community college and am not at all sure that I want to continue to a four-year college. I'm thinking about becoming an entrepreneur. Good idea? Stupid idea? -- M.M.

Case histories can attest to either outcome. But forget becoming an entrepreneur if you can't explain the steps of shoe-tying, says successful business creator Daniel C. Steenerson. In an article titled "10 Signs You're Not Cut Out To Be An Entrepreneur," writer Stephanie Vozza conveys Steenerson's top clues that someone isn't prepared to start a business from scratch:

"Tying a shoe is complicated -- and so is running a business, says Steenerson. Entrepreneurs need to be able to delegate tasks and to direct others. This means you need the ability to take a task and break it down into easy, actionable steps for implementation. 'Big ideas are a dime a dozen,' he says. 'Knowing how to implement them is the game changer.'"

Besides the shoe-tying warning, there are other good, solid reasons you may want to rethink your attraction to starting your own business. You can find the article at http://www.entrepreneur.com.

DEAR JOYCE: I am in my late 20s and thinking that after seven good, productive years in my company, I should be making more money and looking out for myself. Is this a good time to exit? Your thoughts? -- R.M.J.

Executive leadership at ClearRock Inc., a well-regarded outplacement firm headquartered in Boston, says that 2014 could be the year to make your move, turn things around and "get your career unstuck."

"There are two ways to get your career unstuck: make progress at your current job or search elsewhere. With the unemployment rate declining, there are more jobs available than in recent years. But it may be worth taking a shot at improving things with your current employer first," advises ClearRock vice president Susan Klaubert. Two approaches:

TALK WITH YOUR BOSS

"A good starting point is a frank discussion with your manager about your potential, possibilities to take on more responsibilities, make your job more challenging or transfer to another department or role," advises ClearRock vice president Laura Poisson.

DON'T TURN DOWN A SIGNIFICANT OPPORTUNITY

"One reason to leave may be if a potential job is substantially better than your current position in career growth, chances for advancement, more responsibilities and a sizeable difference in pay and benefits. The new position should offer more clear advantages than just a bigger paycheck," Poisson adds.

VALUING VETS: A new fave website has appeared with the goal of pairing employers with military veterans, particularly for technology jobs: U.S. Tech Vets (http://www.ustechvets.org). The site includes a military skills translator, which is a critical feature to help job-seeking vets communicate their skills in civilian speak. Love it!

Monster.com is behind this excellent effort, along with a group of professional associations in the tech sector, such as the Consumer Electronics Association. Check it out!

(E-mail career questions for possible use in this column to Joyce Lain Kennedy at jlk@sunfeatures.com; use "Reader Question" for subject line.)

(C) 2014 Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
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