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.