The BBC has an interesting counterpoint to Sunday's New York Times article on librarian hipness. According to the Beeb, UK librarians are the polar opposite of the happy young hipsters taking over the field here in the US:
Fighting fires may sound taxing, chasing criminals demanding, but a new study says that working in a library is the most stressful job of all.
Librarians are the most unhappy with their workplace, often finding their job repetitive and unchallenging, according to psychologist Saqib Saddiq.
He will tell the British Psychological Society that one in three workers suffer from poor psychological health.
The study surveyed nearly 300 people drawn from five occupations.
They were firefighters, police officers, train operators, teachers and librarians and were intended to cover the spectrum, with the librarians first-thought to be the least stressful occupation.
Basically, the study defines librarians as "stressed" because they're underpaid, hate their jobs, and have high absenteeism. I'm sorry, that situation sucks, but it's not real stress. Dealing with IEDs and sniper attacks is stressful; having two BI sessions in a day isn't. Even during the new, toned-down Basic Training, I found myself pining for the days when my big worry was being swamped at the reference desk by students working on some of our least favorite assignments. Unfortunately, most of us in the West live such spoiled, sheltered lives, that we have little idea what real hardship looks like.
Update (7-11-07): Thanks to The Library Guy for pointing out that this item dates from January 2006, and to the other commenters for some good points. Somehow, I just happened to come across it a couple days ago. Still, an interesting juxtaposition after reading the Times piece.