Take this quiz and find out how your job is really affecting your overall health


When we ask if your job might be pushing you to an early grave, we’re not being hyperbolic. According to a new study by researchers at the Harvard Business School and Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, workplace stress is responsible for about 120,000 deaths each year. That’s more fatalities annually than Alzheimer’s or Diabetes.

Are you at risk? Take this quiz to see if the daily grind is shortening your life. For each question, mark down your score and then add them up at the end to see where you fall on our spectrum of work rut.

How do you commute to work?

A. Bike, walk, or run [0]
B. Short drive, public transportation [+1]
C. Long drive [+2]

Epic a.m. drives correlate with more belly fat and higher blood pressure, say researchers at Washington University in St. Louis.

People who walk or bike tend to have lower risks of diabetes and obesity, and those who use public transport aren’t far behind, likely because they’re hoofing it to train stations and bus stops.

If you must pay dues behind a wheel, don’t rush, text, or listen to aggressive music—a top choice for road ragers.

Your boss sends you an e-mail. What’s your first thought?

A. He’s confirming our Saturday tee time. [0]
B. Wow—it looks like he remembers me. [+1]
C. Oh, crap. [+2]

Being unappreciated factors into professional burnout, which can raise your heart disease risk by up to 79 percent, an Israeli study found.

Build a relationship by bringing up non-work topics, like weekend or holiday plans. And dress the part: A British survey found that most managers are partial to employees who follow their lead on office style.

Do your morning meetings include bagels or doughnuts?

A. Nope. My colleagues are too health conscious for that. [0]
B. Yes, but I fight the urge to take one. [+1]
C. Yeah, and they’re awesome. [+2]

Two weekly bagels with cream cheese could make you about 10 pounds heavier over a year. And according to a University of Minnesota study, fighting the temptation to indulge could put you at risk for eating something else later.

So stay fit by recruiting like-minded coworkers to take turns supplying fruit and nuts on meeting days, says Jake Koenig, founder of FitYourSpace.

How long is your lunch break?

A. 20 minutes [0]
B. One hour [+1]
C. Break? I’m chewing and typing e-mails at the same time. [+2]

A 20-minute break significantly reduces workplace strain, say researchers in Germany. But according to a study in PLoS One, you may be less productive when lunch drags on for longer than an hour.

So take time to enjoy your food, and then get back to work. And remember to eat slowly: A Greek study found that speed-eating may be linked to weight gain.

When your coworkers grab beers after work, do you join them?

A. Duh! I organized it. [0]
B. Maybe, if I don’t have plans [+1]
C. Nope. Those guys are idiots. [+2]

In an Israeli study, men with no workplace camaraderie were 2.4 times as likely as tight-knit workers to die within 20 years.

If your office isn’t a happy-hour kind of place, try corralling coworkers for a weekly coffee break, says Vicki Magley, Ph.D., president of the Society for Occupational Health Psychology.

And stick to non-work conversation. “Learning about them personally could help you relate professionally,” she says.

How many hours do you work a week?

A. 40, regular daytime shifts [0]
B. More than 40, long weekday shifts [+1]
C. More than 40, but with some nights or extended hours [+2]

Irregular shifts, whether in a factory or a squad car, can raise your heart attack risk by 23 percent, the British Medical Journal reports.

Other U.K. research found that shifts lasting longer than 11 hours could more than double your odds of depression. Sound familiar? Then have routine screenings for early signs of heart disease.

Your Score

Congratulations! You’re working toward a long life. Now try to assist those near you. According to the American Journal of Public Health, helping family and friends—lending a hand with a move, say—may curb stress-related health risks.

You could use some improvement. Start by addressing the areas in which you did worst in this quiz. Also, try to move more throughout the day, says Jake Koenig of FitYourSpace. Switch to a standing desk, if you can, or take the stairs and use the bathroom a few floors up.

You might want to rethink your job. Take the steps you can now, and write out a plan for the next six to 12 months, says Vicki Magley, Ph.D. “That may mean moving closer to work, switching companies, or adjusting your career path.”