Being an electrician myself, I have at times found it to be both mentally and physically stressful. However, I’ve also noticed, what parts of the job can trigger this feeling of being overwhelmed. To be an electrician does involve some physical strain on your body and some periods of work can also become mentally stressful. Why this occurs and how to avoid the negative consequences of mental and physical stress will also be explained in this article.
54 percent of electricians are finding their jobs to be stressful, according to a survey of 350 electricians. A majority of the respondents also point to the fact that the level of stress will mostly be determined by the amount of responsibility you take on working as an electrician.
In this article, you will be introduced to the possible stressful elements and solutions on how to deal with these stressors on a daily basis as an electrician. But first, I want to take a deep dive into a survey of electricians, answering this particular question.
Survey: Is Being an Electrician Stressful?
I decided to do a survey on this subject, to get a better understanding of how a majority of electricians respond. My opinion on this matter is mostly anecdotal by working among colleagues and as an electrician myself. And thus I found it reasonable to ask no less than (and as it turned out, surprisingly precisely) 350 electricians whether or not they find their work to be stressful. The results were as follows.
As we can quickly observe from the survey, the majority of the electricians find their jobs to be most stressful. However, the simple question (yes or no) does not answer why they feel that way. By going through the additional comment section of the survey, we can find some answers.
“I’m only stressed in 3 situations: when I’m the foreman, if I’m working on something I haven’t done before, and when thinking about layoffs as a potential threat. “Survey Respondent #1
This respondent, and an overflow of similar comments, are pointing to the fact that the stress as an electrician is mostly determined by the amount of responsibility you have. Being a foreman on a construction site demand a lot of responsibility for getting the job done correctly. And the general role of being an electrician supervisor can also weigh heavily on the amount of stress experienced. Although more than half of the electricians answer yes on being stressed, there are also some who clearly thrive in the electrical trade.
“Hell no it’s the most fun I’ve ever had. I enjoy every goddamn day of my life and I hope when I die and I go to heaven I can keep on doing this.“Survey Respondent #2
The next section will cover the potential stressors for electricians. Throughout the article, you can also read some additional anecdotal experiences by the respondents from the survey. First, I will cover the physical stress factors in the electrical trade.
An electrician’s work is physical and can take place in difficult environments. This can lead to negative physical consequences like back pain or muscle aches. The physical strain can start to become a physical stressor, which makes the job difficult, if not impossible, to do.
The risk of physical stress is higher for those who work in construction or maintenance jobs that involve manual labor, such as electricians. This is because electricians are sometimes required to use heavy tools, install main power cables and carry equipment around during their workday.
“I get home and am exhausted physically and mentally.. (edit).. The tiredness I feel when I’m done is accompanied by fulfillment and I spent that time in a good place enjoying what I was doing.“Survey Respondent #3
They also have to carry out heavy manual tasks like lifting ladders or climbing up high structures to reach power lines. Although some electricians find themself having physical problems at the beginning of retirement, many electricians succeed in keeping their physical health optimal for all the years of working in the trade.
Also Read: Is it hard work being an electrician?
Luckily the trade of electricians provides a wide array of job possibilities – meaning, if you want to preserve your physical health, you can, later on, choose to become a technician electrician who doesn’t have the same kinds of physical stress. Other than that, as is the recommendation for all professions, electricians especially need to keep a minimum of a healthy lifestyle to maintain their work.
A minority of electricians also choose to become contractors, which can be a good thing for those who want to work on their own terms and avoid physical stress. However, the downside is that they have to put in long hours and will be loaded with more responsibilities.
Working as an electrician requires a lot of focus and mental ability. The job can be dangerous if you are not careful. You have to be alert working with electricity and you have to be able to take care of any technical difficulties that might arise.
Many of the mental stressors can be drastically reduced the further you are in your career as an electrician. In trade school and as an apprentice you will be introduced to safety standards and ways to do the work in a proper manner. An electrician might be introduced to some forms of mental stress if they are taking on too many job responsibilities. This will in particular become a problem if you don’t feel comfortable with the assignment that is given to you.
“I find it stressful when my boss tells the customer it should just be a 1 day job without looking at it and it takes me 3 days and then I have the customer and my boss asking wtf is taking so long”Survey Respondent #4
Especially apprentice electricians have a tendency to want to impress their employer and they oftentimes find themselves overselling their ability to get a task done in a specific time frame. A key thing you can do is to provide a timeframe that is 20-30 percent over your own expectations. In this way, you will many times get the work done while having time left to either go through the installation again or move on to other assignments.
Your relationship with your employer and your colleagues can become heaven or hell if you are not careful. Proper and honest communication is the right approach if you are dealing with problems working as an electrician. By being open and straight forward the right solutions will often be provided by your superior, who should be there to support you in your daily tasks.
Stress Related to Safety Concerns
There are many safety concerns that electricians need to be aware of. This includes knowing how to properly use a ladder, wearing the right clothing, and operating the appropriate tools for the job. Safety is always a concern when it comes to working with electricity.
Also Read: How to stay safe as an electrician
One of the most important things an electrician needs to do is to be familiar with the standard safety guidelines working with electricity like the electrical codes and standards. They should also wear appropriate clothes that will protect them from any electrical shocks and have all of the appropriate tools for their job.
Longevity and Job Stability
A final stressor to mention in relation to the trade of electricians is the longevity aspect. Will I be able to manage an entire career of being an electrician, and will my mind and body sustain in the long term? This kind of thinking can effectively lead to some stress and mental strain.
“Basically, if I feel like my livelihood is threatened I get anxious. The majority of the time I’m calm and incredibly happy with my career though.“Survey Respondent #1
In this particular trade, a healthy routine needs to be implemented, so you don’t feel burned out and find yourself at a loss of energy at retirement. The choices you make in nutrition and sleep will certainly affect the longevity aspect of the electrician’s work life.
Some other concerns will be related to job stability. Am I going to be able to provide for my family with this kind of job? Will there be work for me in the future? Many jobs will for example be taken over completely by automation such as factory workers and truck drivers.
Also Read: What does an electrician actually do?
The trade of electricians will like many other professions have some elements that could be taken over by automation and AI. But the vast majority of the tasks will be close to impossible for a computer to do. Components need to be installed. Electrical installations need proper maintenance and complex electrical problems have to be dealt with by a skilled professional. There are many more reasons as to why, but in many ways, the electrical trade has many more opportunities for work in the future, as the trade evolves.
Final thoughts on the types of stress for electricians
Although an electrician has to be careful, especially concerning mental and physical stress, there are also some key things about the job that is not stressful, actually quite the contrary. In today’s society and in the modern workplace, all jobs have different kinds of stressors. People report being stressed due to many things involved in working in an office. This could be due to meetings, working on weekends, e-mails, or the need to stay ahead of the herd on social media.
As an electrician, you normally avoid the modern types of stressors, as the typical journeyman has a fixed schedule, doesn’t attend pointless meetings and social media is not at all needed to become an electrician. Apprentices and other people who consider the electrical trade, actually report that this is the main reason why they want to become electricians. Working on their own two feet with a clear objective as an electrician can provide relief to people who decide to join the electrical trade and escape the traditional 9 to 5 life of a cubicle worker.
The stress related to being an electrician or the worries of possible stressors can become a factor that holds an aspiring electrician back. This is, by all means, a shame, as the negative consequences of stress can be drastically reduced by taking the right approach in your work as an electrician. Whether we are talking about mental, physical, or psychological stress they will most likely, in one shape or another, be a part of your life as an electrician.