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Think your agency job is stressful? It’s nothing compared to working at the White House. The Washington Post‘s Michael D. Shear digs into the intense demands of working at the highest level of government, including thoughts from Press Secretaries past and present.

From Dana Perino, President George W. Bush‘s last Press Secretary:

“There’s the pace. There’s the hours. There’s the intensity. There’s the anxiety. There’s the pressure for results…I used to get up at 4 a.m. every day. It was like being shot out of a cannon.”

From current White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs:

“This is a place, because of the stress, the schedule and the sheer hours, that just chews people up and spits them out.”

“You go down to the mess [the White House cafeteria]. You have your coffee at five in the afternoon, and it just doesn’t do anything…Because you realize you’re so far behind [in sleep] that a jolt — you don’t even feel it.”

Read the full story here.