Want a Stress-Free Career?


According to CNBC your job as a librarian is one of the least stressful professions.

It's number "9" in the top ten.

"You're working in a comfortable environment. Your job is to help people use services as best as possible. Given that environment, stress levels are low. What's the most stressful thing a librarian faces? Teenagers with a paper due and you don't have the books. It's not really your stress," says Tony Lee, publisher of CareerCast.com.

Plus, there are mandatory "quiet" rules in libraries and you're surrounded by books. Books don't talk back or criticize the job you're doing!

Hat tip to Screwy Decimal for the lead.


Oh. My. Gosh. Is Tony Lee stuck in the 60's? Exactly what library is he working at that has no patron complaints and complete silence? He must be in an upper management position and not have to deal with the Circulation Desk where we handle fines, overdue and lost books, and other "weird situations". Libraries attract a wide variety of patrons, some who do not take the best care of their personal hygiene. Some can be mentally unstable. Don't get me wrong. I love my job, don't get me wrong. I wouldn't trade it for anything. But stress free-it is not. At a time when libraries are readjusting their collections to the "eBook world" and prove they are still relevant to society-most on a very tight budget-do not say librarians have no stress.

So far, CareerCast has not published my comment, but this is what I wrote in response to the original article:

Public and academic librarians constantly deal with drunk, high, abusive, and even mentally ill patrons. And then there are the patrons who defecate, urinate, masturbate, and even fornicate in the rows of books. Does that sound like a “peaceful atmosphere” to you? Do you think the police officers and security guards patrolling libraries are there to check out books?

I worked in a downtown library for 19 years and had all of the above experiences. My 20 year old daughter working as a dialysis tech had a patient have a stroke as she was caring for him. No, my library career is not stressful.

This shatters my belief that we are not so different from our British cousins. In recent years there have been actual studies, involving actual British working people, finding librarianship to be the most stressful occupation in the UK. And yet, in the US it is listed as one of the LEAST stressful. Thank you CareerCast for your infallible conclusion. Also, I feel so much better about CNBC, knowing that they have a blog called “There Must Be a Pony In Here Somewhere.” How could one doubt the truthiness of the copy/paste journalism found therein?

Problem is really that there is no simple definition of 'librarian'.
I'm sure their description is accurate for some people but the majority would indeed think back to the 60's for that to have been the case and their real jobs are nothing like that.

OF COURSE! Whenever you make an institution the catchall of information and resources, primarily accessed by those with neither the money nor knowledge to access them for themselves (you know, books, internet, general help with forms like uneployment applications, taxes, legal documents, etc) you have the recipe a stress-free occupation!

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