RE: #5 on the list of Low Stress Jobs

Subject: RE: #5 on the list of Low Stress Jobs
From: Keith Hood <klhra -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: 'Technical Writing' <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>, KevinMcLauchlan <Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 16 Oct 2009 17:38:06 -0700 (PDT)

I felt less stress back when I was younger and I had jobs that tried to kill me. I mean, I worked with, on, in, and around things that could have blown me up, burned me to death, or crushed me like a bug if something went wrong or if my attention wandered for just a second. And I found those jobs less stressful than trying to deal with a CTO who refuses to build review time into the schedule but wants the documentation to be perfect on the same day the software is released.

The thing was, I could *do something* about the dangers in the other jobs. I think that's what makes all the difference. The examples you mentioned, like pilots and bomb defusers - they have the chance to affect the outcome. Yes they are under great pressure, but they know they can direct the situation by their actions. The jobs that are really stressful are the ones where you are being pushed but you have no degree of control, no way to change the situation for the better other than try to run fast enough to avoid more pushing.


--- On Fri, 10/16/09, McLauchlan, Kevin <Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com> wrote:

> From: McLauchlan, Kevin <Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com>
> Subject: RE: #5 on the list of Low Stress Jobs
> To: "'Technical Writing'" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
> Date: Friday, October 16, 2009, 5:22 PM
> 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
> may be privileged and confidential, and therefore,
> protected
> from disclosure. If you have received this communication in
>
> error, please notify us immediately by replying to this
> message and deleting it from your computer without copying
>
> or disclosing it.
>
>
> ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
>
> Free Software Documentation Project Web Cast: Covers
> developing Table of
> Contents, Context IDs, and Index, as well as
> Doc-To-Help 
> 2009 tips, tricks, and best practices.
> http://www.doctohelp.com/SuperPages/Webcasts/
>
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> Write
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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Free Software Documentation Project Web Cast: Covers developing Table of
Contents, Context IDs, and Index, as well as Doc-To-Help
2009 tips, tricks, and best practices.
http://www.doctohelp.com/SuperPages/Webcasts/

Help & Manual 5: The complete help authoring tool for individual
authors and teams. Professional power, intuitive interface. Write
once, publish to 8 formats. Multi-user authoring and version control! http://www.helpandmanual.com/

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RE: #5 on the list of Low Stress Jobs: From: McLauchlan, Kevin

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