Having fun yet?

Published 12:00am Saturday, January 11, 2014

Even as I glance up from a blank computer screen to steal a look at the clock, ticking ever closer to deadline, this does not feel stressful.

Yet, a story that got lots of play in the media this week lists being a newspaper reporter as the 8th most stressful job in 2014.

We were right there behind enlisted military; military general; firefighter; airline pilot; event coordinator; public relations executive; and corporate executive. Our jobs were slightly more stressful, according to the report, than being a police officer or a taxi driver.

The factors it considered are whether the job requires travel (the more travel, the higher the stress), growth potential (dead-end jobs tend to create more stress), strict deadlines, working in the public eye, competitiveness within the organization, physical demands, environmental conditions, putting your life at risk, hazards encountered, meeting the public, and having someone else’s life in your hands.

It is the combination of constant deadlines and dealing with the public that landed newspaper work on the list, they say.

Still, I looked at the same group’s list of the least stressful jobs and was reminded again of how much I love what I do.

No. 1 on the least stressful list was audiologist. Sounded frustrating to me. No. 2? Hairdresser. No way. Can you imagine trying to make people happy with their hair? Rounding out the list of low stress jobs were jeweler, university professor, seamstress, dietitian, medical records technician, librarian, multimedia artist and drill press operator.

People often say to me, “I don’t know how y’all do that, every day.”

Sometimes I laugh and answer, “Neither do I.”

It seems to me that people have varying tolerances for stress, just as they have varying tolerances for hot or cold weather. Stress I can do. I run outdoors in 90-plus temps. But cold weather really is another story. I must have descended from a tribe that hibernated because that is just what cold weather makes me want to do.

I also learned, in a foray into a different line of work, that once you have done this, you expect lots of interruptions, a constant changing of tasks, and will look for ways to create them at a desk job that would, conceivably, allow one to work on just one project at a time.

Yawn.

And not just because it’s late and normal people finished working hours ago. This work is not without its moments, but most days (and nights) it is just plain fun.

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