More Reasons to Hate Getting Old
Getting old can have its share of challenges—aching body, disease, loneliness—but if you’re an older worker, you have two new reasons to hate getting old: unhappiness and dying on the job
According to a study in the UK, older workers tend to be less happy with their jobs than younger workers. Almost 17 percent of workers surveyed over the age of 35 reported being unhappy—more than double those under age 35. And 30 percent of workers over age 55 say they feel underappreciated at work.
7 Reasons Why Older Workers Are Less Happy
1. The thrill and novelty of the job has worn off.
2. Life tends to be more complicated, with more family responsibilities.
3. Increased cost of living adds financial stress.
4. Increased job pressures that come with moving up the ladder lead to less enjoyment, more stress.
5. Priorities begin to shift as they value family time more than in the past.
6. They begin to evaluate their lives and wonder what they are working for.
7. They feel disappointment at not having achieved various career and life goals.
5 Reasons Why Younger Workers Are Happier
1. They have fewer responsibilities.
2. They have lower job expectations.
3. They focus on their hopes for the future.
4. They have more energy.
5. They are less likely to feel burned out.
5 Ways to Be Happier at Work
1. Make friends at work—studies show workers are happier when they have friends in the workplace.
2. Find a project at work that is in line with your passion and that inspires you.
3. Learn new skills to stay motivated, feel inspired, and challenge yourself.
4. Pay attention to your work-life balance—all work and no play will make you very unhappy over time.
5. Take stock of your accomplishments and acknowledge your career achievements.
That older workers tend to be unhappier at work than younger workers is one thing. What is alarming is the rate at which older workers are dying on the job. Much attention is paid to new workers on a job site, but many of these new workers are not necessarily younger. Many baby boomers are foregoing retirement to continue to work, sometimes in new careers —sometimes with deadly results.
An Associated Press analysis based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that overall workplace fatality rates declined by 22 percent between 2006 and 2015 in the US. But for those 55 and older, the rates increased anywhere from 50 to 65 percent, depending on the year. During this time, workforce participation by older workers increased 37 percent, compared with only a 6 percent increase overall. The rates excluded death by natural causes.
7 Risk Factors at Work as We Age
1. Worsening vision – Peripheral vision, ability to focus, visual acuity (how clear things are), and resistance to glare are reduced.
2. Impaired hearing – Ability to hear high-pitched sounds is reduced, and background noise may impair the ability to hear instructions.
3. Reduced strength – People lose 15-20 percent of their strength between ages 20 and 60.
4. Slower reflexes – Nerve impulses are conducted more slowly resulting in slower reflexes, decreased sensation, and clumsiness.
5. Reduced flexibility – Joint motion becomes more restricted due to changes in tendons and ligaments.
6. Balance difficulties – Sensory integration between the eyes, inner ear, muscles, joints, and spine is reduced.
7. Reduced cardiovascular capacity – Between ages 30 and 65, capacity can be reduced by up to 40 percent, leading to quicker fatigue.
Sources: Bloomberg.com, cos-mag.com, ccohs.ca