Stressful, yes. MOST stressful? No.

by Dan Ward has released a ranking on America’s most stressful jobs, and my humble career choice shows up at No. 2 on the list, right behind “commercial airline pilots.”

This might be seen as heresy among my PR friends and colleagues, but my reaction to this report was, “What were these people smoking?”

Yes, my job is stressful.  I work long hours, answer emails and calls from clients at all hours and worry over the success of client programs.  But I don’t save lives for a living.  I don’t make arrests in drug-ridden neighborhoods.  I don’t parachute into the middle of a raging forest fire.  I don’t watch for IEDs with every step down a dusty road in a far-away country.

Sorry, folks, but I really have to scratch my head at a report that ranks PR Executive, Newscaster, Photojournalist and Ad Executive in the top 10 most stressful vocations. Even my uncle, the commercial airline pilot, might question the report, after telling me on many occasions how the most stressful part of his job is worrying over spilling his coffee in turbulent skies.

My biggest issue with the report, however, are the comments toCNBC from Publisher, Tony Lee, who says that PR Executives are “completely at the mercy of their clients and buyers,” noting that success or failure depends on actions and decisions of clients.

What a cop out!  If you believe your success depends wholly on the actions of your clients, then perhaps I can understand your stress level.  I always thought that our success depends on how well we help our clients sleep at night, whether we are bringing them solutions rather than problems, whether we are constantly developing strategies that make us essential to THEIR success.  Sure, that’s stressful, but it’s also rewarding.

One Response to Stressful, yes. MOST stressful? No.

  1. David Shank says:

    Dan…totally agree with you! It reminds me of the story our son, who’s a police detective, told when he was about to take his first semester law school test. Other students came in to the class whining about how stressed out they were, how their lives depended on good grades. Our son — a late-20’s adult then– looked them in the eyes and put their fears in perspective; “Stress,” he told them, “Is not knowing if a bullet is coming at you when go round a corner.”

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