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Jobs Worse than Yours: Martyr May 15, 2007

Posted by pointyhead in bad jobs, work sucks.
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If there is one common experience that unifies chogeys worldwide, it is the quiet, almost desperate resignation that they have the “worst. job. ever.” While it is probably healthier to look for the positive aspects of one’s current tour in chogeydom, finding the “silver lining” requires two traits that are often the first workplace casualties: hope and perspective. Therefore, the only viable alternative is to find jobs that are MUCH worse in comparison. This week’s “Jobs Worse than Yours”: martyr.

A common definition of a martyr is one who suffers (and often dies) for the sake of principle. On the surface, there is a pretty big upside to the whole martyrdom gig. The A-List martyrs typically secure a place in history, are prime candidates for sainthood (if they’re Christian), and usually are sold a pretty sweet setup in the afterlife (72 virgins, anyone).

Also, martyrs commonly don’t have to worry about when and how they are going to die. That is a pretty big source of stress for most people. Not martyrs, though. I mean, we ALL die ANYWAY…so why not go out with a bang (or crackle if you’re Joan of Arc) and be remembered throughout history? Sure, most martyrs would probably agree that it can get a little nasty and uncomfortable towards the end…but a place in history doesn’t come easy…unless, of course, you are a steroid-enhanced professional athlete getting ready to break some inane record.

Before you run out and grab that can of accelerant, consider the downsides of martyrdom. First, you almost HAVE to die–often in a horrific and terribly painful way–to be considered a martyr. Second, advances in abnormal psychology have created a pretty substantial “grey area” for the whole God-spoke-to-me thing. I don’t know about you, but I’d consider giving the meds a chance…just to make damn sure it was GOD talking to me and not bad brain chemistry. Finally, martyrdom is usually a one-shot deal that leaves in a less-than-desirable negotiation position. A charred corpse doesn’t have much leverage.

All things considered, martyrdom’s uncertain rewards, small margin of acceptable error, and gruesome end probably make it a worse job than yours.

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