Whilst hanging out on various electrical forums I came across an article written by a major publication that rated being an electrician as a career with above-average stress levels. I was a little surprised as I’ve always found being an electrician to be a fairly relaxed job. Sure it’s punctuated with brief bouts of stress but in my experience, these are often short-lived.
However, this made me want to learn if I have just been lucky and how other electricians feel about the career in terms of stress levels. This article is a quick breakdown of this research and a little poll of other electricians’ opinions on the topic.
The majority of electricians polled answered that they do not find being an electrician stressful. However, most of them said that they do find the career stressful when they are running a project or managing other people. From my experience as an electrician, I tend to agree.
Rather than just give my own opinion of the career, I decided a good starting point was to poll online forums and colleagues at work to see if they find being an electrician stressful and this was the result.
Poll asking, Do You Find Being an Electrician Stressful?
|Number of Electricians
We can see from our research that 92% of electricians say that their job is not stressful. However, it’s worth noting they all mentioned it depends on the types of task they are doing, or the job they are on at the time, so this is worth looking at in more detail.
Stressful Parts of Being an Electrician
The majority of respondents mentioned that being an electrician is not stressful unless you are in a supervisory role. Sometimes as electricians we will find ourselves on jobs where we are required to supervise others and this can get stressful quickly.
Being an electrician, and the construction industry in general works on fixed deadlines with huge penalties for finishing late. These fixed deadlines can make the job stressful if it is our responsibility to make sure we meet these deadlines.
Some people are born leaders and they relish running jobs and organising other workers. I am not one of those people and it seems from the survey we did that the majority of electricians are not born that way either.
When not supervising we still have a professional responsibility to make sure that we work hard to meet the deadline but ultimately if we are just a sparky on the tools we are not the person sitting around the meeting table having to explain why the deadline got missed.
This article about a typical electricians day helps show it is a day full of lots of variety and time alone in a van to gather our thoughts
So if that’s the stressful bit and the majority said the job is not stressful what are the easy bits about life as a sparky?
Least Stressful Parts about Being an Electrician
Throughout my career, I have found that being an electrician is far less stressful than other jobs. If the pressure is building and work is mounting up then we may decide to do some overtime in the evenings or at the weekend. This overtime is usually paid which helps to offset the upset and stress of having to work extra.
Those with a salary job will understand the stress and frustration at having to finish work late or have it eat into our evening without getting any financial compensation for it. Electricians do not have to shoulder this burden.
In fact, many electricians get happier when overtime is being offered out as it usually attracts an enhanced rate of pay (I’ll link to our article here for more info on working hours and additional pay rates)
From asking other electricians, many said that the job wasn’t that stressful because they are not overly concerned about how long a job takes. Some take the attitude that safety and doing a good job is the number one factor, the time it takes is secondary.
Another reason that came up as to why it is not stressful is the fact that we can’t take the job home with us. Once we leave site for the day we can switch off from work without the pressure of checking emails etc like what we find in office style jobs.
If we think about the most stressful jobs they all link around heavy levels of responsibility and high workload. Being an electrician usually manages to avoid these two factors unless we are self-employed or running jobs.
Is Electrical Work Difficult?
Electrical work is difficult when we start our careers as we have neither the manual dexterity nor the knowledge to handle the ever-changing conditions. No two projects are the same so getting into a rhythm can be difficult. Fortunately, as we gain experience the job becomes much easier.
Most apprentices struggle when they start. It takes time for our fingers and hands to learn to use the tools. However, this is like any job where the first year is a pretty steep learning curve.
In my opinion, anyone can learn to become an electrician as long as they put in a little effort no matter what age they are!
If we are supervising and planning out the jobs this can definitely be difficult. Being an electrical engineer requires further qualifications and a deeper understanding of maths and electrical theory.
For the most part, electricians on the tools are given drawings to work from and have senior colleagues they can lean on which makes the whole experience much less stressful.
I began thinking that being an electrician is not overly stressful in my opinion and it seems many of my peers agree with me. However, we are all in agreement that running and planning jobs is pretty stressful which is why many of us stay away from this side of the job where possible.
The other aspect of the job that I do find stressful at times is ensuring that everything we are doing complies with all relevant legislation (BS7671). These regulations are constantly changing so keeping up to date can be tricky.
When we sign a completion certificate for work we have done we are signing our name to say the installation is safe. If anything were to go wrong we are personally liable to prosecution. It is serious stuff as tradesmen have even been sent to prison when people have gotten hurt due to their work not meeting the standards.
Everything we do must comply with the regs and they are an important part of keeping everyone safe, but this high level of personal responsibility can be stressful for some electricians.
Overall there are far more stressful jobs so I think the article which started this off (by rating being an electrician as an above-average stress level job) isn’t accurate, but then again I guess it depends on the individual, what their role is as an electrician and their personality type.