Print Story Ravenous Hippopotamus
By Kellnerin (Mon Oct 19, 2009 at 10:12:26 PM EST) (all tags)
Yesterday on IRC I hit the shuffle on my current playlist and remarked, "Duran Duran the first song to come up -- always a good sign."

* bo    |is hungry like the ...
ana     |hippo, bo?
Inside, hippos (sort of) and careers. Also, pie.

ACCORDING TO A RECENT survey, if you want a job without stress, you ought to work in software or rehab services.

Claudia (the one with whom I used to share a cubicle window) sent me the link, and she clearly did not think the life of a Tech Writer rated being 5th least stressful.

I noted that Software Architect came in at #8, which made me laugh, because Drew, the architect on the last major project I worked on, aged visibly during the course of the release. So when I IMed him the link, his reaction -- too fast for him to have clicked through -- was:

Drew: B.S.
Kellnerin: Really? I thought it was right on, because you were totally not stressed when you were architect
[In the last reorg, Drew shed the architect title and went back to being a plain old developer.]
Drew: It's less stressful than air traffic control I guess
Drew: or working on Wall St.
Drew: Where does Tibetan monk rank?
Geoff stopped by later and I told him the news. He thought for a moment, then said, "OK."

"Do you feel like you have the fifth least stressful job in America?"

"I don't know," he said. "I haven't had enough other jobs to be sure. I could probably be less stressed about my job if I wanted to. It's a personality thing. My brother, who's a lawyer? Now that's stressful."

"True, it's not life or death. And it's less stressful than being a trade book editor. You never leave that stuff at work. There's always a manuscript you should be reading."

"That's not a personality thing? You can't just say, 'There's always going to be a manuscript to read, I'll just get to it tomorrow?'"

"Sure, and if an agent sends it out and says there's going to be an auction next week and you better have formed an opinion on it or be prepared to explain why you missed the next big thing ..."

"OK. I guess you have a point."

"My sister-in-law, though, is a physical therapist, and her first job was hugely stressful, but that was purely because of administrative bullshit at her workplace. Then she got certified as a hippotherapist ..."

Geoff creased his brow briefly. "Wait, a hypnotherapist?"

"No, hippo-."

"That's what I heard the first time, but I decided that couldn't possibly be what you said, and turned it into something that made sense."

"It's where you help people who can't walk by letting them ride horses. See, even if you can't walk on your own, you're using muscles just to keep your balance. It's awesome, you're basically giving people pony rides all day."

"That does sound totally awesome, until someone falls off their horse."

On my way out of the office, I ran into Steve (ex-colleague of johnny's) in the elevator, and I told him his job had been deemed the fourth least stressful.

"Hell yeah," he said. "I just wonder what the other three might be." Steve is the kind of guy who would probably be pretty relaxed no matter what he did.

"Tech Writer is number five," I mentioned.

"Yeah, you do look a little more stressed than me."

"Just a shade. Software architect is eighth."

"I can see that. They have to make decisions."

"But they don't have to do anything. They just dream up cool shit."

"I guess. I have to do stuff, but it's not like I worry about it."

THE MAIN PORTION OF THE Engineering floor of my company is one long rectangle. Within this space the individual teams are arranged in horizontal stripes two cubes wide. The other day, one of the developers in the stripe next to mine brought in a pie.

"Want a slice of my I'm-glad-to-be-alive pie?" he asked his team.

"What's the occasion?"

"Well, it's my birthday so I stopped on the way to work and picked up a pie. But then I was riding away on my bike and got hit by a car, so now it's my glad-to-be-alive pie. I'm OK though, just skinned my knee a little, but otherwise I'm good."

"Seriously? You went over the handlebars and everything?"

"Yeah, everything went flying, and the lady stopped and got out of her car, and was like, 'Oh my god! Are you OK?' and I said 'I think so ... but I'm not sure about my pie ...' So she went and got it for me, and was apologizing, 'The box got a little smushed.'"

"Still tastes good, though. Thanks for bringing in pie ..."

RANDOM MEDIA OF THE DAY. It inspired the same thought in both D and me: "He's filled with tinier men!"

< Your Objectives Are Stupid, And So Are You | Feeling hot, hot, hot >
Ravenous Hippopotamus | 4 comments (4 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
i dunno... by clock (2.00 / 0) #1 Tue Oct 20, 2009 at 06:17:59 AM EST
...i have one of those jobs where the software can possibly kill people (unintentionally).  i have to go over that with a n00b today in fact.  it's kinda stressful.  more so when you manage coders instead of coding it yourself.  but that's my personality talking.

I agree with clock entirely --Kellnerin

bad code on my end by garlic (2.00 / 0) #2 Tue Oct 20, 2009 at 10:34:35 AM EST
could also get people killed. Mostly not stressful though. I think this is a lot of environment and personality, and not strictly job title related.

[ Parent ]
Even if one assumes by Kellnerin (2.00 / 0) #4 Tue Oct 20, 2009 at 06:17:56 PM EST
that my own personality is relatively stable, I've always thought that the goodness/badness of jobs (including stress level) is about 80% Environment/the people around you, and 20% Other, such as the things you actually have to do each day and what the end result is. Blanket statements about entire career paths, like all generalizations, invariably suck.

"Plans aren't check lists, they are loose frameworks for what's going to go wrong." -- technician
[ Parent ]
sure by Kellnerin (4.00 / 1) #3 Tue Oct 20, 2009 at 06:13:07 PM EST
It's possible for software to be life-or-death, just like books can be life-or-death -- I've been fortunate enough that none of my jobs have been of that variety.

I also have been stressing lately about my role shifting into more meta territory and the fact that I have to coach Fritz in writing instead of writing the damn thing myself. Part of that is definitely my personality of knowing how I think things should be done and just wanting to go ahead and do it (that is the best path for arriving at the desired end point, no?); the other part is the security of knowing I'm already good at the writing whereas this other stuff is an exciting new opportunity to fail.

"Plans aren't check lists, they are loose frameworks for what's going to go wrong." -- technician

[ Parent ]
Ravenous Hippopotamus | 4 comments (4 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback