One of the Most Stressful Jobs? Meeting Planning!

most stressful jobs, meetings
Meeting planning always ranks right up there with firefighting and law enforcement in rankings of the most stressful jobs.

Every year, rankings of the most stressful jobs include meeting and event planners. Right up there with firefighters and police.

In anticipation of 2019 surveys once again naming meeting planning as one of the most stressful jobs, we asked some of our favorite planners what stresses them out the most.

The Change Effect

“When someone makes one change, it changes 1-10000 other aspects of the event, and there’s nothing more stressful than last-minute changes to your event plans when working against critical deadlines.”—Remy Gordon, Univision

Beyond Logistics

“Having to constantly educate clients on best practices in working with meetings management professionals and helping them understand that we are strategic partners in creating and executing meetings and events; not order takers, administrative assistants or just there to ensure logistics are covered.”—Koleen Roach, Securian

Flawlessness Factor

“I think just the sheer desire to make everything flawless can create a tremendous amount of stress…and knowing that despite all your planning, things can happen that you have no control over. Add in some pretty crazy deadlines/turnaround times, and that’s a lot of pressure! We often make the impossible happen, but unfortunately it can take a toll.”—Heather Herrig, Every Last Detail

Wow for Less

“The workload and managing multiple events simultaneously, hence all of them being at different stages of the planning phase. There are unrealistic and uneducated requests surrounding some meetings. Also, delivering the wow factor when budgets have been dramatically cut but having to manage the same high expectations.”—Anonymous Planner, Insurance Company

Vendor Partners

“An analogy I’ve used before the launch of my 4,000 person conference is that it’s like walking down the wedding aisle and meeting your new spouse for the first time. You hope he’s all he is supposed to be and more but time will tell!
I’ve found that despite all the efficiencies planning and forecasting, a stressful component is trusting your third-party vendor partners to deliver on your expectations as you conceived and agreed upon. And, when they don’t, how easily and quickly a resolution can be implemented.”—Andrea Reno, YMCA of the USA

Don’t Get Sick!

The most stressful part of my job is timelines. That is a basic answer, but a very valid one.  We live by timelines and deadlines. There is no chance to get an ‘extension’ on a deadline, when the event day comes, it comes. And you can’t call in sick during an event. I was in India in bed with a fever, but we were having our event the next morning, and I had to get up and manage the event. You can’t call in sick from your hotel room!—Belinda Lucero, Inventures

Need For a Plan D

“Changes to the plan…even though there is a plan B & C in place. Also sometimes communicating and translating one to two languages other than English for a project…and having clear understanding.” —Virginia Mampre, Meetings & Incentive Travel

Dragging Out Decisions

“One of the most stressful aspects of this career include clients who simply take way too long to make a final decision on a site, which is of course outside of our scope, or they keep adding multiple sites to the selection process. The amount of communication that racks up from having to go back and forth with all contacts and advise that the process is delayed again to announce the new site is expensive to the planner can impact reputation, and may cause us to lose the space altogether and start from scratch.
Also, when clients throw a last minute event request in the mix without following our guidance on pros and cons of doing so. Then, they don’t understand why venues of choice aren’t an option, or the price is much higher than they want to pay because of short notice, and attendance was poor because of the short marketing window.”—Tya Bolton, Divinity Affairs
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Barbara Scofidio
Barbara Scofidio is editor of Prevue and heads up the Visionary Summits, our exclusive conference series targeting senior-level meeting and incentive planners. In 25 years of covering the industry, her articles have spanned topics ranging from social media to strategic meetings management. She is currently the media liaison for FICP's Education Committee and was the first member of the media ever to be invited to sit on a committee by GBTA, where she spent three years on the Groups and Meetings Committee. She has also been an active member of Site, chairing its Crystal Awards committee and acting as a judge. A familiar face at industry events, Barbara often leads panel discussions or speaks on topics close to her heart, such as green meetings or how the industry can help combat human trafficking. She is also on the board of ECPAT USA, the human trafficking organization. Barbara is based outside Boston, in Groton, Mass.

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