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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Best and worst jobs of 2012

A website ranked 200 odd jobs based on physical demands, work environment, stress, income and future outlook.

Can you guess which job emerged in the best job list? You guessed it right. It is software engineer. Other jobs in the decreasing ranking are Actuary, HR Manager, Dental Hygienist, Financial planner. Mathematician is the 10th in the rank.

In the ten worst jobs, most of the jobs are physical-oriented jobs like waiter and dishwasher. Surprising inclusion in the list is the job of reporter and soldier.

The website also displays a list of highly stressful jobs, which is a more relevant list for us. Airline Pilot, a highly paid job, is also a third most stressful job. That Police officer is the most stressful job is not at all surprising.  Event Coordinator is perhaps the stressful job, because there are too many 'dependencies' in the job. Job of PR Executive, which is supposed to be a glamorous job in India, is stressful because it is a job which keeps the incumbent in constant 'glare'. A small mistake gets 'highlighted' in a big way!

Did you notice one very interesting feature in the list of stressful jobs? There is no physical-oriented menial job in this list. Are you surprised? On the one hand, Menial jobs are low paid because supply is more than demand. On the other hand, they are also of low stress because one can do one's part without worrying about the dependencies. And because of the 'physical nature', one can go home and sleep without any 'worry'.

This also explains why Senior corporate executive is the 8th most stressful job in the list. Senior corporate executive, which is generally high paid, is one job where accountability is high without the requisite authority. In Senior corporate executive jobs, resources are not in one's 'control', they are only under one's influence. People who have not worked in companies, or who have not worked as senior executives, often find this very surprising.

Psychologist call his hot-cold empathy gap. It is the inability, during the cool rational peaceful moment to appreciate how one will behave ( or experience) during the heat of moment. When we are driving in a car, for instance, we cannot appreciate how we will behave as a pedestrian who crossed our car in a hurry and almost collided with our car!

Similarly, when we see the job of senior executive, we only see the perks and frills of the job such as big office, big power, large car, secretary to work, flying in airplanes, attending meetings and conferences, giving orders. We do not see the anxiety of not meeting the target because one of the subordinates was sick during the final week. We do not see the stress of 'daily choices' that an executive has to exercise in the course of job. We do not experience the helplessness of not being able to fire someone because that person compromised the function in order to fulfill the more important duties given by other boss. We cannot experience the executive's loss of face of losing an order which was guaranteed to come ! We cannot be in the shoes of the senior corporate executive and imagine the 'stress' that he or she goes through every day. Not for nothing, incumbents of these jobs are the ones who suffer most from all the chronic ailments: high blood pressure, cardiac trouble, diabetes, back pain, insomnia, and others.

I know graduates strive for senior executives job, not knowing what they are getting into. So when they get 'what they want', they are shocked. Very few are equipped with the right tool kit to deal with this stress! They are simply caught in the winch. Neither they can give up the job, nor can they deal with the situation! Do you want to be one of them?  

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