We all want to be our best selves in our spoken communication particularly when we need to connect with and impress others with our knowledge of a topic, present information persuasively, report on action taken or offer a cogent argument. One of the key ways in which we may sabotage this objective is with our […]

Have you ever started a new job just to find yourself getting caught up in being the “perfect” employee? Has anxiety gotten a hold of you telling you you’re not performing well enough? Just remember – you’re not alone! Those unpleasant feelings of anxiety you get on your first day of a new job or […]

We all get stressed at some point in our lives, it’s not really something you can avoid unfortunately, it’s not a choice, it just happens when the going gets tough and things manage to build up and get on top of you. It’s around this time of year when it’s understandable that many students will be feeling a bit […]

My first job major after graduation from university was as a photographer at a TV station. I was up and around, carrying a camera, sometimes backdrops. I crawled under things, stood on chairs, held flash mechanisms while shooting, distorted my posture for just the right angle. In the darkroom (pre-digital age) I stood by a […]

Stressed out by exams and study overload? One of the best ways to relieve the pressure is to take some time out. Here are some slightly left-of-field ways to fend of that stress: Pat a pooch. Get some puppy love and hug something furry. Otago University has a puppy room where students can de-stress by playing with […]

Last minute panic – Oh no, exam is here! I used to stay up really really late when I have exams coming up, trying my very best to upload all the study material to the powerful CPU up in my head, making full use of every single minute left on the clock. However, I have […]

I’ve just been to a three and a half hour meeting where my team and I had to present to our wider service group. It’s always a little stressful knowing you’ll be presenting. I’m reminded of what Jerry Seinfeld said on the matter:

 I saw a thing, actually a study that said speaking in front of a crowd is considered the number one fear of the average person. I found that amazing.

Number two, was death. Death is number two?

 This means, to the average person, if you have to be at a funeral, you would rather be in the casket than doing the eulogy.


The presentation went just fine and we had a surprise special guest speaker as a small treat afterwards. That just didn’t sound all that promising. As it turned out the speaker was knowledgeable in meditation and relaxation techniques and that seemed really timely and a nice acknowledgement from our director that we’re working hard and deserve to unstress a bit.

 He spoke thoughtfully and with purpose and gave us some really easy techniques to become grounded and present. I know that by the time he had finished speaking everyone was enjoying the sensation of being much more centred and calm.

 And then when he asked if there were any questions he received this one:

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I read this interesting article yesterday which discusses the results of an Australian survey on how being in a job that makes you unhappy is as stressful as being unemployed. The company found that ”…although mental health improved when people moved out of unemployment into a good job, moving into a poor quality job was more detrimental to mental health than remaining unemployed.”

It got me thinking because I have been in both situations – unhappy job and unemployment – and both made me feel pretty miserable. The different contexts in which these situations occurred though altered the severity of my unhappiness. I’ve been unemployed when I was able to live with my parents so there was no immediate threat to my financial situation or stress levels but I’ve also been unemployed sitting in my old London flat stressing about how I’d pay my next  lot of rent and feeling completely helpless. In that situation I HAD to take any old job and it wasn’t a job I was very happy in, however the unhappiness was outweighed by the fact that I had money to pay my bills. That job though was only ever going to be a stop gap whereas the job I was trying to find living with my parents was not.
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