Stressful Jobs

What’s the most stressful job in the world? Is it an Air Traffic Controller? I was a stockbroker for 25 years, 11 of those years on the noisy and seemingly chaotic Trading Floor. Was that stressful? (Ummm, sadly no – actually, it was mostly smoke and mirrors.)

I needed to know, categorically, the most stressful job. And so, of course, I turned to the keeper of all knowledge: Google.

Now I will defer to some obvious ones: a soldier in a war zone; police; firefighters, etc – it’s some of the others I found that astounded me.

In no particular order, here are some allegedly “stressful” jobs:

Taxi Driver. Oh, really? You’re sick of receiving abuse for not knowing where you are going, and being told you smell? That’s an easy fix; buy a map, and a can of deodorant.

Senior Corporate Executive. Yep, banking that fat check every month must be a burden for you. Add to that, managing the junior executives, who do all the work while you take all the glory – and the cash – it must be terrible. Please go to the mirror and take a good, hard look at yourself.

Public Relations Executive. Ok, I get it: you have a client – a high profile: Sportsman / Actor / Corporation. Your charge has been busted: urinating in public / caught with a kilo of cocaine / polluting a beautiful river – and you are urgently needed to put a positive spin on it, and/or make it go away. Now is the time to slap yourself into reality.

Photojournalist. If you are in Africa, trying to photograph a large carnivore having a toilet break, I get it. If you are the guy that lives in a tent in the arctic, filming polar bears tearing apart seals a mere 50 meters away, hats off to you. If you are punched in the face for trying to take a picture of a celebrity picking their nose, step this way for another whack. You’re an idiot.

Airline Pilot. Oh, I see. You get on the plane and strap in. The aircraft takes off itself, the autopilot flies it, and then it lands itself. Ok, ok, stop your whining, I concede – if you are in charge of the plane that loses a wing, then sure, that’s stressful, (but only for 2 or 3 minutes…). The reality is, however, that statistically: if you fly every day, your chances of being in the hot seat of a plunging plane are 1/31,000. You’re a passenger with a better view and a fancy hat. Deal with it.

So what do I think is the most stressful job? I was walking along the other day, when a harried, sweaty man approached. Here was a man with a pressure cooker job. Using nought but foot power, he had a trolley stacked five high – with bags of ice. It was 35 degrees, and he could literally see his product disappearing.  But with stoic determination, he pushed on.  Was he actually stressed? Who knows? But I certainly was, watching and willing him on.

So next time you feel stressed (apart from you soldiers, police or firefighters), think of iceman, and his vanishing inventory.

About Tim

I'm an expat dad, living in Hong Kong. Being a parent, especially a dad, is simply fraught with danger. Mums seem to have this built-in radar for trouble and danger - I do not. http://beingdadinasia.com - all about my life, being dad. http://achipofftheoldblog - all about the funny and strange things I see. View all posts by Tim

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