Sunday, October 14, 2007

Most Depressing Jobs

A recent Associated Press report has ranked jobs by their depressiveness. At the top of the list was personal care (taking care of infants, the elderly), next was food service, and third was health care and social work. Yahoo News reporter, Kevin Freking, defines the effects as "[a] loss of interest and pleasure, and ... including problems with sleep, eating, energy, concentration and self-image."

So what is in a job that makes it more depressing? Is it that these people consistently get the short end of the stick somehow? Maybe. But there may be some other factors in play.

All of us can probably agree that the culture we live in has grown steadily more rude and selfish. We deal with this in every job, but when people are in a state of extremity, it tends to bring out the worst in their personality. When people are hungry, lonely, tired, injured or worried is when you can expect them to become hostile and rude. This is most likely going to be seen in restaurants, hospitals, and prolonged care facilities.

Also, could it be that these jobs attract a certain worker, one who is more likely to become depressed? Service, especially care service, requires an individual with compassion. Compassionate people tend to be more emotive and introspective. There may be the feeling of "do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

The mix between the emotive caregiver/service provider and the rudeness of the service receiver in extremity is hardly a recipe for happiness. So what is the answer? In all honesty, nothing practical. While care providers should foster their compassion, they should also work on developing a tougher skin. the society at large should work at becoming more compassionate as a whole, with morals and fair play being valued in business, politics, law, and school. Who sees this shift looming on the horizon? It is my humble opinion that it will not happen without the advancement of the Gospel and the pervasive influence of Christ upon our culture. Until then, let us share the Gospel with our health care workers and wait staff.

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