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Scientists Drink The Most Coffee. Are They The Hardest Working?

Submitted by on October 3, 2012 – 9:10 am5 Comments
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A new survey from CareerBuilder and (yup) Dunkin’ Donuts sought to find which American professionals drink the most coffee. And while java might be standard for everyone from office drones to NCIS agents, it’s scientists who reportedly down the most cups of joe.

While I’m all for recognizing the under recognized, tireless, and caffeine-demanding work of lab technicians and researchers, I think the popular write-up of this survey on science-heavy blog i09 got a little carried away. The title may suggest an article about coffee drinking, but it transforms without warning into a gripe about scientist working conditions:

And, of course, there’s never a time when a scientist can’t be thinking about his or her research. Often, this thinking permeates through scientists’ entire lives — not because they’re required to, but because they’re driven to. By curiosity, by pride, by the challenge of pushing knowledge forward. Scientists are workaholics. Caffeine-addiction likely fuels their work-addiction.

Scientists are driven workaholics with terrible hours? No argument here. But you might also look to healthcare professionals (#5, 6, and 13), educators (#3), and “personal caretakers” (#11). Scientists may have it rough, but last time I checked, they didn’t have to change many Depends.

Of course, the comments on the article erupted into a contest for bragging rights, as consumption of coffee was taken to mean “hardest working.” Some commentors noted that blue collar jobs, especially physical labor, might be at an unfair disadvantage because their occupants can’t drink coffee and work at the same time.

For what it’s worth, I would say that #4, Writer/Editors (ahem), is pretty accurate. Probably because most of us don’t have offices and work in Starbucks. But as for the statistic that I am most likely to add flavor to my coffee? Well, I never! If it’s good coffee, why would it need it?!

Is your occupation on the list? Should it be?

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