Monday, August 01, 2011

The 2nd Most Stressful Job: Another Opinion

My son, Evan, challenges the recent survey conducted by that I ran in my July 21 blog, which noted that public relations was the second most stressful field among a group of ten cited.

However, even when the methodology is solid, you can sometimes find good reasons to argue with the conclusion.

While Evan's experience is broadcasting rather than public relations, he works with major league team PR professionals and has a degree in communications. Now his point of view:

PR is not the 2nd Most Stressful Job

With all due respect to public relations, as I am in sports radio (aka “meaningless banter”), public relations, in my opinion, is not the second most stressful job. It's not even close.

I believe an ER surgeon is facing more "real" consequences, especially in dire circumstances, than a PR practitioner. An EMT worker performing CPR on someone who's not breathing, or trying to revive them with paddles, is experiencing more stress than anyone — no matter how sensitive, compared to a job that, for example, includes making sure that a press release is sent by 11:59 AM. The same goes for a heart surgeon, and many others in the medical field, or other fields dealing in life or death circumstances.

As a reminder, here are the "10 most stressful jobs," according to

1. Commercial airline pilot
2. PR officer
3. Corporate executive
4. Photojournalist
5. Newscaster
6. Advertising account executive
7. Architect
8. Stockbroker
9. Emergency medical technician
10. Real estate agent

This is not a swipe at PR either. I think unless you're a "war journalist," a journalist should not be on this list …although, admittedly, there are most likely other news assignments that make this field a stressful one. The whole list otherwise — besides #1 (commercial airline pilot) and #9 (EMT) — hardly makes sense.

No other job on there is as stressful as a firefighter. Maybe firefighters are more equipped for stress, thus it's less stressful. But I doubt going into a burning building is less stressful than doing a Coca-Cola ad campaign (#6).

I don't see engineer on this list either. They just happen to design the planes you fly on and the bridges you drive across. This is not an assault on PR, it's an assault on how bogus, and more amusing than anything else, this list is.

At least number one is believable.

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Anonymous Hylton Barnes said...

Well said Evan.
I have worked in marketing communications for over 30 years. One of the most humbling experiences I can recall was when, on a Friday evening in my early thirties, I was in a local bar celebrating the end of a "stressful week" with some of my team. One of the guys had his girlfriend with him and she listened to our war stories of the week before quietly announcing that, as a theatre nurse, she and her team had spent that afternoon failing to save the life of a newborn child.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011 4:59:00 AM  

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