Choosing a career soon? Here is a wee bit of advice: Check and double-check your priorities well. Decide now, how much your bed, your long night’s rest and your freedom to tap the snooze button means to you, as when it comes to ‘sleep time’, all careers are not created equal.
The American mattress company Sleepy’s recently commissioned a study to determine the most sleep-deprived and the most rested occupations in America. Just last week it was reported by Catherine Rampell writing in the New York Times. It’s an interesting read.
The lists are based on interviews with 27,157 adults as part of the annual National Health Interview Survey, conducted by a division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sleepy’s says its rankings were based on two variables: 1) average hours of sleep that respondents said they got in a 24-hour period, and 2) respondents’ occupations, as they would be classified by the Department of Labor.
The information is American and so you must decide how applicable it is for you based on where you are located. I think however, on the sleep deprived side, there is some broad, global relevance. (Maybe I am being a bit biased, being a future lawyer and all, but when I read it through after about 1:00 AM, I could totally relate.)
Most Sleep Deprived
|1. Home Health Aides||6h57m|
|3. Police Officer||7h1m|
|4. Physicians, Paramedics||7h2m|
|6. Social Workers||7h3m|
|7. Computer Programmers||7h3m|
|8. Financial Analysts||7h5m|
|9. Plant Operators||7h7m|
Is It the Same In Jamaica and the Caribbean?
You tell me. The majority of these careers are highly demanding, highly stressful jobs. There are two in particular however of which I have firsthand knowledge and about which I think it is important to say something.
Many people flock to these two fields because they “are glamorous,” without realizing that more times than not you may be too sleepy to recognise the glamour.
I expected doctors to be higher up (more deprived). The doctors that I know that work at the two major hospitals in Kingston, Jamaica work criminally long hours. They are usually “on call,” several times a week, which in some cases means going to work for 8:00 AM in the morning, and not returning home until around 5:00 PM the following evening.
Nobody had to tell me that lawyers were in the top 10 – I felt so vindicated as I saw the news article load on my blackberry with evidence of the truth I knew all along. As a law student it is always a spectacle for me to watch practicing lawyers toiling away in the library beside me. I often leave them there! If you are interested in doing law, be warned that the work never, never, ever ends.
The Most Well Rested
|1. Forest, Logging Workers||7h20m|
|3. Sales Representatives||7h15m|
|5. Construction Workers||7h13m|
|9. Aircraft Pilots||7h12m|
Do you notice that the careers here are mostly related to physical labor? I think one reason they may get more sleep is that with labor intensive jobs, your work ends when the work day ends. That’s a big plus.
That brings me to another point – I question the sleep-time difference for some careers here. Take construction workers – a man mixing cement on a construction site (a laborer) gets off at 5:OO PM and has no work to carry home. He gets a lot more than a few extra minutes in comparison to a doctor, I am sure.
Teachers should probably not be on this list either. Depending on the level, teachers always have papers to mark, lesson plans to create and if you are a Caribbean teacher – that means 40+ in a class sometimes.
Well, What Path Will you Choose?
A good study – gets one thinking about how careers may affect the rest of your life. Perhaps though, this is not something on which you should base the full of your career planning.
Please Let Me Know What You Think.