RE: #5 on the list of Low Stress Jobs

Subject: RE: #5 on the list of Low Stress Jobs
From: "McLauchlan, Kevin" <Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com>
To: 'Technical Writing' <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 16 Oct 2009 17:22:24 -0400

Some of us are so stressed that we consider arguing about "re-invite" to be a break.

:-)


I believe it's not the job, but the person.

NASA [when looking for astronauts] selects for calm people who react well in high-stakes, urgent situations.
For such people, the job is not stressful - beyond the bit of frisson that they need to get them out of bed in the morning.

Similarly, somebody working for the bomb squad is not likely to be a person who frets and agonizes... or they won't be working for the bomb squad for long - either they'll stress out and make a dumb mistake, or the they'll have a stroke or heart attack from the constant, whole-body clenching.

Some people can have a soft job in which the stakes are "merely money", and not lives and limbs, and yet put more stress ON THEMSELVES than is seemingly imposed from without. Those people - we people (I include myself) - routinely agonize over deadlines, even after it's been proven time and again that they slip and slide and get re-defined constantly. They/we can make any job stressful.

But there's something else at play here.

I give myself far more stress at my job than I ever did (except the first couple of classes) teaching people to jump out of airplanes.
Maybe it's as simple as, in the instructor situation, the students were giving themselves all the stress the situation could hold, and I was therefore calm and happy. Or, it might be that I'm a closet adrenaline junkie who needed (needs) a certain level of life-and-deathness that I don't get anymore.

Anyway, other than discovering some magic for not _being_ stressed (and that magic - like the magic of time-management and closet organizer systems - works only for people who are already bent that way), the best things that you can do for yourself to deal with the results of [self-imposed?] stress are:
- get some vigorous exercise
- stretch
- get a massage (a real one, not that foo-foo stuff with warm rocks)

Exercise burns off that nervous energy and gut-clench you didn't realize you were maintaining.

Stretching, yes, just like they advise, every hour or so push back from the desk and do a little routine of stretches. Unclenching your upper back and neck will go far toward releasing a lot of crud that you shouldn't be hanging onto. It's all self-reinforcing. The more stress you feel, the more your shoulders round and ride up, and the tighter your back and neck get, and so the more you feel stressed at each additional straw that's piled onto your load.

Having somebody knowledgeable pound and prod the knots out is just SO worth the money and time. Too bad it's not insured. Insurers prefer to pay more later for illnesses that could have been prevented. Go figure.

- KevinThe information contained in this electronic mail transmission
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Follow-Ups:

References:
#5 on the list of Low Stress Jobs: From: Julie Stickler
RE: #5 on the list of Low Stress Jobs: From: Al Geist

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