Chapters 10 and 11

Longevity Ch 10

Chapter 10 of The Longevity Project explores the relationship between career success and satisfaction and longevity. Overall, the chapter concludes that individuals with the most career success are least likely to die young, partly because they are more conscientious and resilient than their counterparts. As well, the authors assert that it is workplace stress arising from interpersonal conflict rather than demanding work itself that harms health. Although the authors focus on career success in men due to historical restrictions on female workplace opportunity, they hypothesize that results would be the same for women. Interestingly, when the chapter explores matches between individual type (artistic, realistic, investigative, social, enterprising and conventional) and occupational type, the authors find matches can be a risk factor, as personality predisposition and career reinforce unhealthy tendencies. As well,  older Terman participants that continued to be productive and motivated lived much longer than their counterparts, emphasizing the importance of prudence and perseverance. Overall, the chapter concludes that more important than education is personal motivation and career match is less significant than occupational accomplishment and fulfillment.

This chapter relates to my life as I often wonder about the tradeoff between stress and fulfillment in an occupation. However, it really rings true to me that work toxicity is less from demanding work itself than from harmful coworker interactions. For example, my mother works many hours on law appeal cases for the state of Connecticut, but loves her work and finds it immensely satisfying. This is largely because she gets along with everyone in her office and has a great relationship with her boss. This chapter also relates to me because I definitely agree that living one’s dreams isn’t a recipe for success compared to finding a career that allows for hard work and success.

Overall, this chapter makes me optimistic about my longevity because I am driven and goal-oriented. In this way, although I am often stressed, these characteristics and the resulting satisfaction from achievement will benefit my longevity.

Chapter 11

Chapter 11 considers the relationship between religion and longevity, beginning with findings that in the United States, religious people tend to be healthier and live longer than their counterparts. With the Terman participants, religiosity did not matter much for men but was clearly related to longevity for women. These women were close to their families, optimistic, less likely to use drugs and socially involved and outgoing. As well, the least religious women lived the shortest lives and were less extroverted, less likely to get and stay married and less likely to have children. Overall, the authors conclude that religious involvement itself is not important to long life but the community involvement and characteristics that go along with being religious. The authors also explain the lack of relationship between religion and health for Terman men as a result of the more important factors of their families and careers and the role of their wives in facilitating social ties.

This chapter relates to my mother as our synagogue is a huge part of her identity and social bonds. While I think her faith itself may benefit her health, friendships within our religious community and the role of our temple in allowing her to do service work seem to be the most beneficial aspects of her religiosity.

I am not particularly religious, so this chapter suggests a worse outcome for my longevity. However, I think religious observance is fluid over time and would guess it likely that at some point in the future I will become more involved. As well, because I find community involvement in other means, the communal aspect of religion is less relevant to me.

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