I just got through reading some troubling news in the New York Times this morning. 62% of workers now say that work-related pressure leaves them overwhelmed and overtired. And for lots of us, who bring work home from the office, the issue is even worse. So what’s happening? Why are most people so worried? I recall as I was growing up, my dad only had two jobs.

Let’s understand it

He was a high school teacher for the earlier part of his life, and later on he went to the real estate profession. Two jobs, and they spanned his entire life! And the 1 career change he made was something that he wanted to perform. He did not make the change because he was losing his job as a teacher. In actuality, the school district needed him to remain. But that is a far cry from how things are now.

In actuality, the times of job stability, and working for one employer for your entire working career are long gone. You’ll likely change jobs at least 11 times before you retire. Downsizing, rapid business expansion and outsourcing are terms that we are all too familiar with. Before I got involved in the health industry and began my very own indoor air quality company back in 1996, I’d already held 5 occupations in 5 completely different sectors.

Take into account

I was employed as a telecommunications technician (in the Army), as a framer, on the green chain at two different lumber mills, as a farm hand and as an Alaska fisherman for seven years (that was the hardest and most stressful job I ever had). Now, you might be thinking to yourself,”You have to’ve been a problem employee”. But the simple fact isthat nothing could be farther from the truth. I was actually a model employee for each company I worked for, and never left one company on bad terms. I started working as an Alaska fisherman in 1988.

My main motivation for doing so was that the cash. Quite honestly, that is the only reason I took the job. And if you’ve ever seen that movie “The Perfect Storm” or watched these shows on the discovery channel, you are aware about what it is like to fish in Alaska. My own story is not much different and it taught me being an Alaska Fisherman is know as “The Most Dangerous Job In The World”. The winter of 1995 was a particularly bad winter in Alaska. Fishing boats and fishermen’s lives were being maintained from the Bering Sea almost weekly.

Keep in mind

I had been working on the exterior deck after dark and we were in an incredible storm. It was the worst I’d seen in my 7 years of fishing. The type of thing you only see in the films. I was scared to death! But I had my own means of managing my fears. I’d never look out at the horizon when we were in a storm such as this because I did not want to see the big image. I didn’t need to know how large the waves actually were. So I’d just concentrate on my job, which was to receive all of the fish on the boat.

As long as I did my job, and did not appear, I could almost convince myself that the storm was not that bad. While this certainly was not the best way to take care of stress, at the moment, it was the only way I knew how. As always, the captain was in the wheelhouse forcing the ship. His job was to keep tabs on me and await the dangerous rogue waves that could come from nowhere and slam into us broadside. He’d tell me if I had been in any real danger.

And then it happened!

I heard the captain’s thundering voice over the intercom system. Kevin! Hit the deck! Before I could respond, I was buried under a wall of water that amazes me all of the way throughout the deck of the ship, face first into the railing on the other side. When the water settled, and I understood what had happened, my immediate thought was, “Thank God I’m still on the ship” The impact had knocked out my front teeth and caused severe facial damage, but I was alive, and on the ship.

If this wave could have lifted me only a few inches higher, I’d have been thrown right on the top of the railing into the freezing waters of the Bering Sea. And there’s 1 thing I knew for certain. In a storm like that, there is no way in hell that the captain could have got that ship turned around in time to rescue me. I would have died right then and there. It was at that moment I chose my life as an Alaska Fisherman was finished. While it was a terrific experience, I’ve never regretted my decision to leave the fishing sector. I just didn’t want to manage that much stress in my life.