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Depressing Jobs

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62707.  Thu Mar 30, 2006 6:44 am Reply with quote


There's a pretty good answer to this question but it's also a good excuse for a general conversation.


What's the most depressing job in the world?




Playwright, apparently.


About 6% of people in the West suffer from either depression (5%) or manic depression (1%). Though relatively uncommon among the general population, the incidence of depression rises steeply amongst creative people.

38% of all writers and artists have been treated for some form of mood disorder. Poets fare worse than novelists: 50% of poets have been prescribed lithium. The most depressed people are playwrights, with 63% receiving medical treatment. 89% of creative writers report at least some periods of abnormally productive activity, whether or not they seek treatment for it.

According to a study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry in 1996 based on the biographies of 100 dead British and US writers, poets suffer from higher levels of manic depression, but playwrights and prose writers are more prone to depression.

Perhaps surprisingly, poets had the lowest rate of antisocial, histrionic, and narcissistic behaviour, while playwrights had the highest. Over two thirds of playwrights had problematic marriages, compared with over a half of novelists and one in four poets. The study found that 42% of playwrights were notorious for their promiscuity, compared with 20% of novelists and 14% of poets. Over one in 10 of the 100 writers in the study probably never had sex.

Eight of the 100 writers (one of whom was Hemingway) committed suicide, and seven attempted suicide (one playwright, O'Neill; three novelists, Conrad, Scott Fitzgerald, and Evelyn Waugh; and three poets, Graves, Landor, and Poe). The three poets were also notable prose writers.

Highly creative, imaginative work is thought to cause excessively high neural network activity which in turn contributes to the depression. The study concluded that there is greater inner turmoil in writing prose and plays than poetry.

The poet Heinrich Heine was so depressed by the view from Waterloo Bridge that he considered killing himself.

The poet William Cowper was so depressed he tried to drown himself in the Thames near Billingsgate, but failed because the tide was out at the time.


GRIM JOB (or selection of jobs perhaps). Foundry worker? Man in sewer? Call centre in India? Famous person of some kind? Room for a lot of creativity (and funny pics) here, I reckon.

Suggestion from Fred the Monk: FULLER.


Gloomy looking PLAYWRIGHT: Beckett, maybe?

Technical details:


s: VTT
s: Stephen Bayley IoS 19.1.03
s: DMA 8.5.02

Last edited by JumpingJack on Thu Mar 30, 2006 7:06 am; edited 1 time in total

Frederick The Monk
62723.  Thu Mar 30, 2006 7:04 am Reply with quote

Fuller? - all that time standing in urine.

62725.  Thu Mar 30, 2006 7:07 am Reply with quote

Excellent notion: I have added it above.

62745.  Thu Mar 30, 2006 7:46 am Reply with quote

Link to underground fluffer too...

62749.  Thu Mar 30, 2006 8:05 am Reply with quote


What link?

Frederick The Monk
62751.  Thu Mar 30, 2006 8:08 am Reply with quote

This one.

62753.  Thu Mar 30, 2006 8:09 am Reply with quote

That's the chap.

63777.  Wed Apr 05, 2006 5:24 am Reply with quote

Link to Dolphins via the fact that swimming with dolphins has been scientifically proven to help treat depression.

Animal facilitated therapy with dolphins is more effective than "water" therapy in treating people with mild to moderate depression after the influence of the natural setting has been controlled for, as shown by our randomised, single blind, controlled trial.

Depressive symptoms improved after two weeks of treatment. In conventional therapy—psychotherapy or drug therapy—symptoms usually improve substantially after four weeks. No side effects were noted, although accidental injuries may occur

Frederick The Monk
63785.  Wed Apr 05, 2006 5:55 am Reply with quote

So we could cure all the playwrights of their depression by dropping them in a big tub of dolphins?

63791.  Wed Apr 05, 2006 6:09 am Reply with quote

Or just put dolphins in the audiences for their plays - would that work?

63792.  Wed Apr 05, 2006 6:12 am Reply with quote

I think it's the seals that clap inanely.

63830.  Wed Apr 05, 2006 8:13 am Reply with quote

I like Why should playwrights be thrown to the dolphins?

I'd like more endolphins in my blood stream. Perhaps I should turn to the bottlenose.

Frederick The Monk
63947.  Thu Apr 06, 2006 3:11 am Reply with quote

Nice question!

63954.  Thu Apr 06, 2006 3:43 am Reply with quote

I agree that it's a great question, but does it have the same potential for discussion as "what is the most depressing job"?

63960.  Thu Apr 06, 2006 3:53 am Reply with quote

That could work as a supplementary question, after the playwrights bit has been spewed forth. Stephen turns to the panel and says "So, what to you think is the most depressing job?"

Dunno, though. The original question might well have more impact right up front, as you say.


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