Forbes published a survey of the most stressful jobs. Professors were on the bottom of the list. All my academic friends started freaking out on facebook. But we work! We publish! We’re under stress! One of my friends said that she was tired of businesspeople thinking that being a professor was a worthless job.

The top of the list was soldier in combat, firefighter, and police officer. No one tries to kill me in my job. This is something I feel no small amount of gratitude for. I told someone who works with his hands that I had to go off to work. “Yeah, work,” he scoffed. And I went inside and sat down at my computer to work, and felt bad. (Guilt is a choice I am all too susceptible to.)

Today was going to be my writing day. I was going to power through the hatred I had toward my current section and polish it up enough to send it abroad to be critiqued. No one needs another voice to tell them that their writing doesn’t matter. Especially when the other voices are right. But not completely right.

My job is not life-or-death. I do not work outside in all weathers. I am privileged to be sitting here writing. I have a house, food, heat, and a dog, not to mention a cat and a husband. Gilding the lily. But I’d make a shit-assed carpenter. I’d be a sucky receptionist. I’m a mediocre, if friendly, waitress. I am choosing to sit at this goddamned computer and to get some goddamned work done. Everyone else can fuck off.

Not you guys, you can stay.


8 responses to “Work

  1. Sometimes a stressful job somehow translates into a more “important” one. I’ve had a job where people have tried to kill me, more than once. Totally overrated. You’ve made the right choice.

  2. I’m feeling similarly, but with regard to my health. My relatively excellent health. There is no need to complain that my foot aches (who cares!) or that I’ll never again be xyz size (who the fuck cares!) or or or or. The never-ending list of incredibly average aches and pains, for what?

    This week I played tennis twice: once with a woman who’s speech is now so bad from her ALS that her children have requested her to text message them instead of calling because they can’t understand her anymore; once with a woman who is losing her hair (her gorgeous hair) in big clumps because of new Lupus meds. And as if that wasn’t enough, a beloved man at my tennis club died on the court this week. Heart attack. 62 years old. He was playing and laughing one minute, then on the ground, gone.

    I have no complaints this week. I really and truly don’t. Not one.

    • Getting old is, more often than not, a frightful experience. And watching it happen to those around you can be, too. And yet it will happen to each of us in our own way. Hard not to see it as daunting.

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