Is your job on the list of top five most harmful to your health?

A survey of 1,600 Americans found that they're over worked and over stressed, with few solutions offered

Work, Survey, Health,


It’s probably fair to say that everyone thinks their own job is stressful and it goes without saying that Irish workers, having just borne the brunt years of recession and austerity, have had their fair share of worry and uncertainty. Across the pond, where they live to work, a new study into how employment and public health come face to face, and the results show what the five worst jobs for your wellbeing are.

The survey was carried out by the TH Chan School of Public Health at Harvard University. Led by health policy and political analysis professor Robert J Blendon, it examined more than 1,600 Americans in employment, posing numerous questions about the working life, their health, and how stressed they are.

According to the NPR report, 43% of “working adults told us their job negatively affects their stress levels. Others said their job negatively affects their eating habits (28%), sleeping habits (27%), and weight (22%).”

After sifting through the data gathered, five employment fields emerged as the worst for reported negative impacts on overall health. They are:

  • Retail outlet (26%)
  • Construction/outdoor work (23%)
  • Factory or manufacturing (21%)
  • Medical (19%
  • Store (16%)

According to the researchers, the reason for a split between ‘retail outlet’ and ‘store’ is down to how respondents selected their workplace from a list containing both of those terms.

What is clear, and perhaps not very surprising, is that working as a cashier in a busy retail outlet or lugging around heavy goods through the store can be stressful and unhealthy jobs. But the other major takeaway from the research was that men and women who work in traditionally high-paying, white-collar roles often feel that they are unable to take time off and stop working.

As Joe Neel writes,”Our survey found that even among those who get paid vacation days, less than half use all or most of the days they earned in the past year. And when they do take vacation, 43% of high-pay workers say they often or sometimes work on vacation, with 28% of average-pay workers and 18% of low-pay workers saying the same.”

The researchers discovered that nearly half of all white-collar workers don’t take all of their allotted days in the year, awarding their employers with what effectively adds up to free labour.

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