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Kady's blog

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  • Writer's pictureKady Potter

A job that's easy on the eye (and stomach, and liver, and...)

"Spending all day staring at your computer screen must really hurt your eyes."

For some reason, I get this a lot. It's probably because I wear glasses. Can't see a damn thing without them any more...

In my line of work, everything's bad for you. Copywriting is not a 'healthy' career.

Let's start with the office/desk work basics. Squinting at your monitor for too long wrecks your eyesight (case in point: me). Drinking too much coffee is bad for you and your teeth. Free office snacks and Friday afternoon drinks will make you fat. Sitting down for 8 (or, let's face it, way more) hours per day is putting you on the route to an early grave, via office swivel chair.

Then there are the bonus hazards of being a writer. People judge your accidental typos far more than they do anyone else's. Endless typing will give you RSI. The bad feedback days really bring you down.

Look. Forget 'doing X or eating Y will eventually kill you'. I know what I just said, but forget it. Living will eventually kill you. We're not immortal.

So what if that next caramel latte's going to lower my life expectancy? I don't have a life expectancy. There isn't an age I expect to live to. And of all the things I may say on my deathbed, "Man, I wish I hadn't downed all that caffeine back in my 20's and 30's..." is unlikely to be one of them.

People who know me well know that 'diet', 'exercise', and 'salad' are words I rarely use unless it's for work purposes. I make no apologies for how unhealthy my lifestyle can be sometimes.

Besides, it isn't just me. How many (tens, or hundreds of) thousands of people have the same work routine? Bus, train, desk, coffee, lunch at desk, coffee, snacks, train, bus, fast food, coping mechanism chocolate, bed. Repeat until dead. (At the rate the retirement age is quietly creeping upwards, I don't think that's an exaggeration.)

There are careers I could move into that would make me a healthier person overall, but I don't want to. Teaching yoga does not appeal. Guided tours? I expect the tour group would walk faster than I can. Anything strenuous is out of the question, because I quite like being able to breathe comfortably.

Apart from the standing/treadmill desk, are there ways to make copywriting healthier?

I doubt there are. Voice-to-text would prevent carpal tunnel, but typing burns a few extra calories, you see. Giving up coffee would put more strain on my heart and nerves, not less. And if you're not in on the work drinks and snacks because you're cutting down, everyone will think you're a loner.

In the end, I'm probably doing the right thing for myself. Just don't be too surprised when I have a mid-life change of heart and retrain to be a Zumba instructor.


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