It takes a village to make sense. I posted Business, Pleasure, Death Sentence Wednesday on Small Business Trends, about the alleged stress of blogging. I quoted John Jantsch and Alan Johnston making fun of a poorly aimed (my opinion) New York Times story about bloggers dying from presumed stress. As of yesterday morning that post had collected several fun and interesting comments.
What is it that really causes stress while working? Granted, the NY Times story could have been written about any pursuit that anybody ever overstressed over. That’s not very useful. But are some jobs more stressful than others? Or is it perhaps the match between the job and the person, the skills and the requirements, that causes stress? Or is it perhaps just the person, because some people will overstress about anything? This has been making me think.
Last August I posted Passion or Ability? on this blog, about a question I got in email. The key quote was this one:
So my question is even though I’m good at sales and advertising, should I stick with it or find something that I’m passionate about? What’s more important–passion or ability?”
That post generated some interesting comments too. I think we’re getting somewhere.
Hypothesis: could it be that work stress is related to mismatches? Not just the obvious working too hard, or mismanaging stress by mixing urgency with importance or failing to breathe deeply and settle it down on occasion? More specifically, these two key factors:
I don’t mean to suggest that this is an inclusive list. I bet we all know people who turn anything into stress, and people who glide through anything. So personality typing, and attitudes obviously make a big difference. And — who are we kidding — some jobs are more stressful, and some bosses are more stressful, and some companies are more stressful, and some cities (commuting and all that) are more stressful.
One of the comments to the Small Business Trends was this one:
That whole “do what you love and the money comes later” thing sounds trite, but it is true.
I like that. Sometimes the truth of these things is trite, but still bears repeating.
And then there’s the comment from Anita Campbell, founder and creator of Small Business Trends, which has more than 100,000 subscribers, about her life in blogging compared to the so-called real world:
My positions in the corporate world were 20 times more stressful than anything I do now. Not to mention all the time I used to waste in commuting (2 hours a day) plus writing reports (1 hour a day) plus meetings that were just people jockeying for position vis-a-vis one another (1 hour). That was the equivalent to half a work day right there — before I even got anything accomplished! THAT was stress, not what I do now.
So this is just my guess. Stress isn’t by type of job alone. This is one of those difficult things that’s hard to isolate. It’s probably different for everybody.
Maybe we need a refresher on why zebras don’t get ulcers.