The Least Stressful Job on Earth

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy husband sent me this article this morning: the Globe and Mail summarizes some key points from a list of the most and least stressful jobs on earth.  #1 least stressful job?  University professor.

I’m not exactly a university professor, and some of the conditions I work under are quite different from theirs.  My students, for example, don’t “generally want to be there,” at least not if by “there” you mean “English class;” in some cases, they don’t even want to be in college. There are also some university professors who are comfortable walking in, giving a lecture and then walking out and going off to do their own stuff while TAs grade their papers.  I can agree that such a job sounds pretty low-anxiety, and it’s not how I operate (although if I could get someone else to do my grading I would be ALL OVER THAT.)

However, I don’t have to administer standardized tests, and I have tenure and a good salary.  Do I have one of the least stressful jobs on earth?

Maybe.  I can agree that military personnel, airline pilots and taxi drivers have it tougher than I do.  That said, there are days when I think the belligerent students, sky-high piles of marking and standards of performance I set for myself are a bit too much for me to handle.

Post-secondary educators and those who know them: what do you think of this assertion?  Do university professors have the  least stressful job out there?

Image by Michal Zacharzewski

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8 responses

  1. I’m surprised by this. I know some professors just lecture and go, but mine had to advise, do research, grade, read and assist senior theses, etc. Not to mention my advisor had written about thirty books.

  2. I think the article is wrong! True, some professors can walk in and leave, but few do. Planning, grading, reearch, demands for research, non-classroom work, etc., etc. There is more to teaching than those who are not teachers understand–and the good ones put time and energy into helping their students no matter what the level of the students.

  3. One day I want to be a university professor, so hopefully it will all be roses! However that seems unlikely especially since truly passionate teachers/ professors will always emotionally invest in their work and the success of their students. So of course that will create some stress and pressure.

  4. I work in a customer service position by day, 9-5, renting trucks out to people, shipping packages, and selling cigarrettes, booze, and sugary goodness. It’s a small, family owned business, and the pay is not stellar, but I assure you it is the least stressful job in the world. You couldn’t buy the ataraxia and eudemonia I experience day in and day out if you tried.

  5. I am an English teacher in a middle school, eighth grade, and since I aspire to be a college instructor in a local community (two-year) college, I can only hope that it is less stressful. Having dealt with a “captive” and unwilling audience for 22 years, I think that I have become skilled at persuading students to put forth the painful effort in becoming proficient users of English. I believe that the survey’s results were skewed. Many fine teachers and professors simply have to no time to respond to a survey about stress. What is stress anyway? Isn’t it the negative reaction one has about demands that either he or she cannot meet or don’t make sense? I am stressed when I find my efforts are either in vain or are totally ineffective at meeting my goals. As a teacher, I desire to create in my students both an understanding and an appreciation for the written word. I want them to put up the same effort that I do in completing difficult tasks and then bask in the warm glow of accomplishment (and high-five me in communal spirit.) Stress is a long list of things such as, students who don’t turn in writing because they were unaware of the assignment, students who fall asleep reading a perfectly wonderful text, and students who say “I don’t understand,” but fail to identify what it is exactly that befuddles them just to name a few. Stress is something I think that I inadvertently cause because I am way more ambitious than the folks I teach.

  6. Oh, perhaps I should have read the article first! They didn’t survey anyone. They are so wrong. Public school teachers should have been in the 10 most stressful jobs.

  7. I’m currently studying to become a secondary level English Teacher. What I would like to know is your, or anyone’s opinion about the stress levels of public school teachers and college level teachers. Is there a big difference? Or do you believe that it’s a different kind of stress?

  8. I am not sure about it being the least stressful job. Midterms and finals feel awfully stressful. And we teach three full semesters, with shorter breaks between them, and that gets exhausting. I always feel compelled to constantly improve, and that gets tiring too. But, like you say, I have great benefits and a decent salary.

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