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Letters: CEO Stress Levels And 'Promposals'

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Robert Siegel and Melissa Block read from emails from listeners about CEO stress levels and so-called "promposals."


From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.


I'm Robert Siegel. And it's time now for your emails. First, thanks to United Nations audio engineer, Julia Paresse, for writing in to point out an error that we made yesterday. Some of you may have heard us say that Japan's prime minister would be addressing the U.N. General Assembly tomorrow, meaning Thursday. In fact, as Miss Paresse pointed out, he had already spoken. She would know, she recorded it. And we should have known, too. Sorry about that.

BLOCK: We also heard from some of you about an interview I did yesterday with Harvard researcher Jennifer Lerner. She's behind a new study that found people in top leadership positions show lower levels of stress and anxiety than the workers below them. She also found that it's the perception of being in control that reduces stress levels. Well, Seldon Deamer(ph) of Atlanta was one of several of you who wrote in to say, this isn't news. Deamer points to the work of Robert Sapolsky, a Stanford professor, and writes, Sapolsky demonstrated this more than 20 years ago with his field studies of stress levels among baboon troops in Kenya.

SIEGEL: And Anita Lee(ph) wanted to offer an additional explanation for why CEOs may not be as stressed as others in the workplace. She writes this, CEOs are not disposable people in this economy. Yes, they may lose their jobs, but their extravagant compensation ensures they will not be sent to the curb. By contrast, most people are stressed because they're afraid of losing their homes, health care and chance of retirement.

BLOCK: Finally, praise for our story on prom-posals - over-the-top invitations to high school dances. Thank you, NPR, for sending me ambling down memory lane, writes Brian Hall(ph) of Anchorage, Alaska. I grew up in Boise, Idaho, and these types of dance invitations were standard operating procedure for high school teens back in the early '90s. A couple of my favorite stops on the lane, dressing up as Santa Claus with two buddies and performing a rap to our desired Christmas formal dates in the middle of their music class. And get this one, Robert, sending my father and his colleagues, local prosecuting attorneys dressed in dark suits and superfluous sunglasses, to high school with a subpoena for my hopeful date to attend homecoming. Fortunately, she was a willing witness.

SIEGEL: Well, thanks for the stories and keep the comments coming. Go to and click on contact us at the bottom right hand corner of the page.

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