Hey there! ATC is by far one of the most rewarding fields so I highly recommend it if anyone is interested. No joke, I love going to work!
As far as stress goes, I think it’s what you make it. I’d compare it more to a rush that you may get from an extreme sport, sky diving, etc, not necessarily crippling anxiety. That said, the effort you put in to improve your skill and threshold will greatly reduce your stress over time to build more comfort.
The FAA hiring process is pretty screwed up. It’s not impossible to get picked up, but having military makes it WAY easier. Off the street hires or CTI grads will likely have to apply a few times, but you’ll eventually get it. I’m very glad I went the military route to get some unique experience on someone else’s dime while I was getting a steady paycheck to train.
When it comes to facilities you’ll have many routes depending on which route you go:
Military: No choice! You’ll select preferences but let’s be real, they’re just that. 😉
Contract Towers: Your choice depending on which you specifically apply to whether Midwest, RVA, or Serco ATC contract companies
FAA: Once you’re given an offer letter you receive a list of facilities, typically lower entry level, which you rank 1-xx in preference order. From there it’s still a bit of luck and out of your hands!
I have experience with all three of the above (6 years Air Force/10 months contract tower/2 months in the FAA) so feel free to PM with any specific questions.