If You Have One Of These Five Jobs, It's Probably Ruining Your Health
It's not shocking to hear that working in an office isn't as dangerous as working in a factory, but a risky work environment isn't the only unhealthy part of having a job.
According to a new poll by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Harvard's TH Chan School of Public Health, American workers are super stressed out. In fact, high levels of stress impact our overall health in a major way.
A sample of adults working full or part-time who were not self-employed and worked over 20 hours a week at their main gig participated in the poll.
And the results show the overall health of America's working adults isn't great.
Basically, stress negatively affects 43 percent of working adults' health the most, next to eating habits at 28 percent, sleeping habits at 27 percent and weight at 22 percent.
On top of that, one out of five adults say their job exposes them to unsafe conditions. The job that is most dangerous and has the highest negative impact on health, you ask? Retail outlets.
Second place to retail outlets is construction/outdoor work, followed by factory or manufacturing work, then medical work and, in fifth place, working in non-retail stores.
The jobs with lower negative impact on health are in schools, offices and restaurants.
This is pretty straightforward. People who work outside risk putting themselves in more dangerous situations on a daily basis than people like me, who sit in an office all day with walls and a roof. The heaviest machine I operate in the office is probably the Keurig.
The biggest surprise from this study is the fact that physical safety didn't have the biggest negative impact on health in the workplace, though. The biggest factor is, in fact, stress.
The results from the poll back up America's reputation for being full of workaholics. Most people reported that they work overtime, but it's not because they have to. The data showed that people aren't taking full advantage of their vacation days, sick days and paid time off in general.
Taking breaks is a foolproof stress-reliever. The problem is, we don't really take breaks anymore. The poll found that even when people take vacation days, 43 percent of high-pay workers still work during their so-called "time off." This percentage is much higher compared to the 28 percent of average-pay workers and 18 percent of low-pay workers who don't fully unplug on their time off.
So, really, the stress caused by our jobs is somewhat voluntary. Why are people so addicted to working if it's literally harming their physical health?
Apparently, people work on vacation simply because they like it (50 percent), need the cash (37 percent) or find that it's important for their careers to work longer hours (56 percent).
There's no one simple answer to eliminating work-related stress, but maybe utilizing all of our vacation days would be a great place to start.
Unless you're a surgeon or something, no one is going to die if you aren't at your desk because you're taking the vacation you're allowed to have. Taking time off to properly de-stress will make you a better (and happier) worker.
If you're in the 56 percent who believes longer hours are important for career development, what do you think would happen if you took all of your vacation days or didn't work more than 50 hours a week?
Citations: Work Can Be A Stressful And Dangerous Place For Many (NPR), These Are the 5 Most Health-Destroying Jobs (Science of Us)