Recently, I ran across an article on Yahoo about low-stress "dream jobs." Try not to laugh when I tell you this, but included on that list was travel agent.
"Some aspects of this profession include computing costs of travel and accommodations, booking various tours and selling travel packages," the article said. "Although accuracy is paramount to success on the job, least stressful aspects include a comfortable pace and low frequency of conflict situations."
Low frequency of conflict situations? Maybe you’re thinking of one or two of your more difficult clients right about now.
Don’t get me wrong, I know that working in the travel industry is great — it’s certainly my dream job — but low-stress? How many of you felt stress-free these past few weeks as stock markets plunged and world economies crumbled?
As I read this issue’s cover story, "Jamaica Branches Out", I was thinking back to a trip I took to Jamaica earlier this year. Naturally, when I told people I was going to Jamaica for work, it conjured images of me sitting by the pool with a fruity cocktail at my side. In reality, I spent five days in this island paradise — and only took a brief swim on the last day when I managed to sneak away from my guide. The rest of the time was spent driving from city to city, interviewing officials and touring hotels, one after the other.
I’m sure many of you know exactly what I’m talking about. Have you spent more time walking around a beautiful swimming pool and taking notes rather than lounging in one? Have you seen more spas than you can count but rarely as the one on the massage table? Do you know the thread count of the sheets they use in the best presidential suites without ever having slept on them? These are just the facts of life for the travel agent.
While the job is not nearly as glamorous as some may think, I admit, it’s pretty darn good. And maybe, with all the madness in the world today, the time has come to slow down, take a dip in the pool and finally treat yourself to that massage.