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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Fear on the job?

Imagine that you like your job, because it's fun, challenging, interesting, and / or pays well. But what if your job required you to do something that you feared?  For example, and bear with me on this one, imagine that you like building things and always dreamed of becoming a construction worker and being part of the team to build one of the tallest sky scrappers on our blue planet.  But what if you were afraid of heights?  Okay, maybe that's a very bad example to segue into what I really want to talk about...a fear that few people know I have.

For someone who flew around the world last year, have flown 60+ segments this year, and has an upcoming 8 hour flight to Los Angeles, I'm probably the last person you'd expect to admit that he's afraid (or maybe anxious is the better word) of flying.  Mary Jones' process of desensitization has insofar failed.  So, I thought I'd try another approach to try to kick this phobia to the curb. I consider myself a rational human being - on most topics anyway - and so maybe some facts would help.  

I understand the basic dynamics / physics of flight, and know that turbulence is expected, but for some reason, my mind instantly goes to "holy crap, why did I get on this plane!"  So, I looked up some statistics. These stats are a bit morbid, but presumably most people who are apprehensive about flying it's because they're afraid something will go wrong with the plane they're on, possibly leading to a very undesirable outcome to say the least.

Odds of Death by:
Cardiovascular disease: 1 in 2
Smoking (by/before age 35): 1 in 600
Car trip, coast-to-coast: 1 in 14,000
Bicycle accident: 1 in 88,000
Tornado: 1 in 450,000
Train, coast-to-coast: 1 in 1,000,000
Lightning: 1 in 1.9 million
Bee sting: 1 in 5.5 million
U.S. commercial jet airline: 1 in 7 million

Number of Accidental Deaths:
100 (average of 1981 to 1994) on commercial flight
850 by electrical current
1000 on a bicycle
1452 by accidental gunfire
3000 by complications to medical procedures
3600 by inhaling or ingesting objects
5000 by fire
5000 by drowning
5300 by accidental poisoning
8000 as pedestrians
11,000 at work
12,000 by falls
22,500 at home
46,000 in auto accidents

These statistics have made me realized that my fear of flying is a bit irrational.  More importantly, however, I've realized I should be compensated more to 1) bear the risk of being in an auto accident since I wouldn't drive if not for work 2) bear the risk of accidental poisoning since, if not for work, I wouldn't be eating at so many James Beard and Michelin Star restaurants and putting myself at risk to accidentally consume rat poison because the sous chef thought it was chicken broth.  

Next Topic: Takes 2 to tango!


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