Feeling stressed? EVCOM’s Jennifer Jenkins talks dealing with pressure

I have absolute respect for the industry folk behind the EventWell campaign. Not least for stepping forward and challenging almost every too-easy assumption about a career in the events industry and – the all too often implied – party lifestyle that goes with it.

The truth is, of course, so very different.

But, that said, I was taken aback by their statement that a career as an event co-ordinator is believed to be the fifth most stressful job of all. Surely, a job in event management is also often cited as one of the most exciting jobs of all.

So is the problem that the job isn’t really what it appears to be? And that we are presenting a job that is impossibly glamorous and always fun when, in fact, it is stress-loaded in the extreme? Or, is it this: That some of the anxiety that we feel pre-event, is necessary to feed the adrenaline rush we get post-event?

We must be more honest – as an industry – about what contributes to the feeling of stress. Long periods of time away from home and the inevitable unsocial hours prevent a great many young people in the industry – and especially women – from forming lasting relationships. Early morning breakfast meetings and late night awards ceremonies cause absolute havoc with school runs and help with homework. And, as people – and again especially women – leave the industry or fail to return after having children – there is less and less good talent; hence, more pressure on those new to the industry to step up.

I remember one good sound piece of advice I was given when I was new to the industry. To try to decide if I felt under “pressure” or if I felt “stressed”. The former can be quickly and easily alleviated by asking for help. I know this now. But the later does, of course, require a much more holistic and long-term approach to well-being and peace-of-mind.

So, let’s think about the real causes of stress in the workplace and continue the very honest and open discussions that we are now having. Meanwhile, thank you EventWell. I am following your work closely and, ironically, when life is less busy, will do more to support your campaign!