You probably think digging for fossils is just about the least stressful job you could have. Spending your days chipping away at some prehistoric rock, ear buds blaring your favorite tunes while you gleefully block out the woes of the world.
No bills, no dirty laundry overflowing the hamper, and no uncomfortable fallout from last week's nasty breakup. It's just you, the rock, and whatever prehistoric creature you're trying to dig up.
Nice fantasy, but the reality is that even the paleontologist has some stress in life.
Somebody's paying you to dig and chip all day. You might be a full-time researcher, pulling down a salary from a private research firm or museum. Maybe you're an overpaid university professor who juggles his or her teaching load with the minimum amount of research required to keep your tenure. Either way, you're getting a nice little nest egg—but somebody's expecting results for it.
Too bad you've been digging for weeks and have produced exactly nothing.
Now let's say you've found some bones that basically serve as the final evidence for one of your pet theories. You know your jaw-dropping findings will put you on the cover of all kinds of paleontological journals.
That is, until the next day when your funding gets pulled because your research grant has run out.
If you think that's not stressful, imagine trying to live in that big hole you just dug in the ground, because that's all you'll be able to afford on your grant-less salary.