Job design risk factors for hypertension and heart disease have often been assessed by the Job Content Questionnaire (JCQ). Job characteristics are typically assessed only once, however, which can result in misclassification and bias results toward the null. Newer approaches, which assess job characteristics over a working life, are hampered by the need to ask numerous questions about each job, increasing survey length and potentially reducing response rates. Participants in the Work Site Blood Pressure Study, a prospective study of psychosocial factors and ambulatory blood pressure, completed the JCQ about their current jobs. At later dates, 213 employed men, a subset of the original cohort, retrospectively completed the Work History Questionnaire (WHQ), a short version of the JCQ, for each past job. The WHQ exhibited moderate validity for assessing past job characteristics, a weak association with systolic blood pressure, and expected patterns of change over time. Thus, it may be a valuable tool for measuring the health effects of historical job characteristics, which often change over time.