Sometimes it feels like you’re going to be working until the day you die, and depending on your race, education, and gender, that day may be coming sooner for you than for others. A new study conducted by researchers at Harvard and Stanford gives a sobering reminder of how your job can directly impact your life expectancy.
By analyzing 18 groups of people divided by race, education, and gender, the researchers estimated each group’s mortality based on 10 workplace elements — such as work-family conflict, long hours, and health insurance. Their findings show that the group that fared worst — black men with 12 or fewer years of education — lost nearly 3 more years of their lives to working conditions than the group that fared the best — highly educated white women. Less educated people are more likely to find work in unhealthy environments; women tend to fair better than men, and blacks and hispanics both fair worse than white people regardless of their gender or education.Researchers say the takeaway is that employers should strive to create better work environments, especially when it comes to jobs filled by those with lower education levels, instead of working these people, quite literally, to death. But as a parent, if you’re looking for an argument on why your kids should stay in school, how about this one: Those extra years you “waste” sitting in a classroom; according to this study, you almost literally get them back as added life expectancy years down the road. It almost makes you want to go back to school to get that PhD.