WORKPLACE / OCT. 25, 2013
version 5, draft 5

How Hard Would You Work if You Knew When Your Time Was Up?

Fact – we’re all going to be working longer – much longer than our parents used to. The smart thinking is that we’ll be toiling till at least our 70s.

But ask yourself this - how would your career decisions change if you knew exactly how long you had on this mortal coil? Would you bother working so hard for that CEO job 10-15 years down the line, if you knew you only had less than that many years to live?

Impossible? Well, science-fiction may soon become science-fact. Experts in cell repair and degeneration are apparently not far off from being able to predict how many years each of us might have. And, just to really rub it in, a soon-to-be-launched new wristwatch, called – appropriately enough – the ‘Tikker’ - will tell us when our time's up.

The Tikker is different from normal watches, because instead of it advancing forward, telling the time with each passing second, the ‘death watch’ (as it’s been dubbed) – invented by Swedish entrepreneur Fredrik Colting – counts downwards to zero from the total days, hours and seconds it predicts you have left. It does this based on the results of a health questionnaire users fill in prior to wearing it.

The inventor claims it’s only when we see our lifespan ticking away like this, that our awareness of death can become more contextual.

Significantly, he argues that only by having this new knowledge can we all make more intelligent decisions about how best to use our remaining time.

Certainly, if accuracy is good, the watch has the potential to cause people to dramatically reconsider how they organise their career and home lives.

Former Apple boss, Steve Jobs, once said: “Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life,” and – let’s face it – few people have ever regretted not making it to that top job.

As palliative care nurse, Bronnie Ware – in her book ‘The top 5 Regrets of the Dying,’ – confirmed, the second-highest regret people have is wishing they hadn’t worked so hard.

So…is it time we all viewed our lives more in terms of what’s left? If we did, you could bet your bottom-dollar that we might not choose to work to live so readily.

Want to see how long you’ve got? Try this clever website: www.death-clock.org

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