I saw this story about job stress on MSN this morning. The story outlines the highest stressed jobs out there in the world of jobs. The trouble with the article is that it measures the stress of the job based on the job not the people in the jobs. To be fair, here are the criteria used to measure the stress:

to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health,
occupational stress originates from a variety of issues, including:

– Long hours with few or no breaks

– Employees unable to participate in the decision-making process

– Job insecurity and large amounts of impending change

– Physical danger

I agree that the above "stressors" play a role in the stress of an employee, no doubt. Yet, over time, I’ve also noticed that the employee herself has a lot to do with how stress is handled. I now believe that we all "metabolize" our jobs in different ways. Just like our bodies differ in the ability to metabolize food, so our minds and hearts metabolize work (and the stressors of work) in different ways. A seeminly easy job may throw one person over the edge, based not on the job, but on the person (and vica versa).

There are numerous applications to the idea of one’s job/stress metabolizing skill–from the interview process to the development process to the evaluation process (not to mention coaching).

Perhaps we need to develop a metaboloism quotient with regards to job stress and effectivenss. It might be easier, wtih such a tool, to determine just how we all "digest" our work, and its stressors.