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Monday, 31 May 2010

Stress in Modern Life

One of the more stressful things in life is having to read newspaper stories about Stress in Modern Life. The stories are frequently repeated, always say that there is more Stress about than ever before, and always indicate that it is a Bad Thing. It gives you cancer.

Now if I was designing a Stress survey, then if you answered "Yes" to the question "Are you stressed?", you would then be asked, "Is that what you were trying to achieve?"

Some people seek stress. For them, it's a form of escape (see the Post Escapism a couple of days ago). Sometimes, it goes under such names as "Looking for Excitement".

Normally, people want to be paid a lot of money to jump out of aereoplanes (ones which are flying at many thousands of feet above the ground). This seems to me entirely reasonable. But some people jump out of aeroplanes for pleasure, for excitement. In my view, they are seeking stress. I hope they get it. And I'm sure it won't give them cancer.

There appears to be no shortage of applicants for stressful jobs, on the stock exchange or its off shoots, for example. And the people who seek these stressful jobs also seek stress in their free time. Jumping out of aeroplanes, for example.

If they end up thoroughly stressed, the most obvious conclusion is that this is what they were hoping for.

Surveys are only as good as the surveyors. Those who conduct Stress surveys are clearly looking for a quiet life. They don't scratch beneath the surface.

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