Personal Strainer

Personal Strainer

How can you train for a long life? According to a recent survey, the city you live in makes a big difference.


The annual list of best cities was recently published and the number-one pick was Pittsburgh, which was kind of a strange choice because four groups of people disagreed with this poll:

  1. The people who had never been to Pittsburgh
  2. The people who had been to Pittsburgh
  3. The people who lived in Pittsburgh
  4. The people who used to live in Pittsburgh

But the newest list takes the cake (cake, by the way, is the second most requested dessert). This list ranks the best jobs in America. If you love your job, it says, you will live longer. In order to make this assessment, the authors took into account job satisfaction, money, stress, room for advancement, benefits, and whether there was casual Friday.


The number one job in America is biologist. I think the results you get on a survey like this depend on who picks up the phone. The biologist at Edy's Ice Cream would probably have a different take on her job than the biologist at the CIA who juggles vials of smallpox. Hey, I'm no expert on data collection, but I think I have a point.


One of the criteria was job stress. The top five jobs with the least stress included financial advisor and forklift operator. I wouldn't lie about this. (The two top things lied about are sex and money.)


Whoever did this research has apparently not talked to a financial advisor in the last 12 financial quarters. Some advisors are so stressed that they are now standing in front of forklift operators, hoping to be put out of their misery.


The highest-stress job was President of the United States. Why? It has no job security and it pays about 90% less than a pro basketball player. This is why only about six people want this job every four years. Maybe if we increased the pay, threw in a few extra health benefits and a free-agent clause, we'd get more interest in the job.


Corporate executive was ranked as having very high stress. This comes from the tremendous responsibilities they have to shoulder, coupled with the anxiety of not knowing how the parole board will rule.


Two other high-stress jobs were taxi driver and racecar driver. This is understandable. Traveling at high speeds, making hairpin turns, putting your life at risk, and the possibility of killing others is very stressful. Racecar drivers also have a risky job.


The worst-rated job was lumberjack. Lumberjack? I've never met an unhappy lumberjack. What's not to be happy? They're outdoors, they're exercising, there are no meetings. They can wear the same shirt every day. Maybe if they threw in formal Friday, it would help things. And there's no stress. Oh, occasionally there's an environmentalist in a tree they're chopping down, but I don't think that would faze most lumberjacks.


Anyway, lists like these are on my list of things that annoy me. Reading them stresses me out. I just feel better when I'm listless.