Not Just a Paycheck

I only got 4 out of 10 correct on the Health Equity Quiz. I definitely thought I would do better but was surprised by a few of the statistics and information provided. I think I was most surprised by the vast health differences across counties. Because of the close proximity, I never really thought that people living maybe 3 miles from their neighbors could have a life expectancy difference of up to 7 years!

After watching “Not Just a Paycheck” my heart sank. Maybe because it used examples from Michigan or maybe because I know so many people who are working so hard just to keep basic necessities present at their homes. As the case study associated with the videos states, jobs are very different from what they used to be. 40-hour workweeks are a rarity and one should cherish if they work only 40 hours. Today, you never know what time you’ll be home or what shift you’ll be working with all these 24hour lifestyle accommodations our culture is making; “nonstandard shift arrangements” as the case study calls them. I remember when I was younger; my mom was always home at five for dinner. Since having to move to find a better job, she works upwards of 50 hours a week plus being a 24-hour on-call physician 4 out of the 7 days.

Not only does this work lifestyle take away from time, it also takes away from your health. Health is more than just genetics and this is a prime example of that. Since you spend more time at work, there is a work-family conflict created. It becomes very hard to balance working so much and trying to spend quality time with family. This creates a base for a host of different things to develop such as anxiety or depression. As also seen in the video, some of the workers from the fridge company admitted to turning to alcohol consumption and other unhealthy habits to cope with job loss.

This was just a small clip about the employment and health situation going on in the U.S. There is a lot to be done to end the vicious cycle that has become a common way of life for too many Americans.

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  1. Paige Smith says:

    When discussing health and how to stay healthy, it is easy to forget the roles that work, school, and our environment in general play in how healthy we are. For nearly everyone in our society, it is necessary to have a job in order to maintain the type of lifestyle the individual desires and/or provide the basic necessities needed to survive. However, working or not working often generates stress, anxiety, and worry which negatively impact health and make life more difficult. The problem in this case, is our tendency to over-work ourselves and neglect tell-tale signs and changes in our bodies that tell us something is wrong. For those people who have health insurance, they most likely do not want to take the time off from work to see a doctor for fear that they may have to take more time off for recovery. A possible solution would be to require everyone, in every job, to take at least a week of paid vacation time, once each year. This way, they could take the time they needed to rest and take care of family business if necessary. Laws would have to be created in order for this to work, making it a political solution but I don’t think anything like this will happen during our lifetime. As Americans, we pride ourselves on our work ethic and this tends to overshadow health concerns. However, we all have a responsibility to ourselves, each other, and this world to create a stress free work environment with plenty of support and time for self-care. With that being said, it would be the responsibility of locals, doctors, educators, and the government to help fix this particular disparity. Policies would be needed to protect people’s right to a paid vacation; educators would need to teach people signs to watch out for about depression, anxiety, and how to provide support for those who need it; and locals would need to be a support system for their loved ones.

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