Sunday, May 4, 2014

Should We Enjoy the Job We Do?

Erika Andersen, wrote in Forbes (October 2013) that “most people don’t love their jobs.  In fact, many studies show that only about 1 in 5 people really enjoy their jobs, about 1 in 5 actively dislike their jobs, and the rest are fairly neutral on the topic. Since most of us spend more time working than doing anything else except sleeping, this seems unfortunate. Unless you’re the kind of person who derives more satisfaction from complaining about something than you would from enjoying that thing (I know there are some people like that), it seems as though it would be better to like work more.”
We’ve probably all met people who don’t enjoy going to work – yet go through the routine day after day, sometimes until they die an early death from a heart attack or other nasty medical condition. I’ve often wondered what their last thoughts might be on their life and ‘work-life’ balance and choices. One can only imagine a shrill cry of ‘damn’ or something worse as they wonder why they put themselves through the daily agony just to have their life cut short, before they can enjoy the pension plan or other financial incentive that kept them blindly locked into a job they simply hated doing.
Admittedly money is important, but in the big scheme of things and considering life is indisputably finite, enjoying yourself as much as possible why you are here should be a priority – a fact that is sadly realized way too late in the game – when the best years are behind you.
A 2013 Gallup poll in the US painted a much worse picture finding that “an alarming 70% of those surveyed either hate their jobs or are completely disengaged, and not even incentives and extras can extricate them from the working man's blues. The other findings of Gallup's 2013 State of the American Workplace report were grim; at best, 30% of the 150,000 full and part-time workers surveyed honestly enjoyed their jobs and their bosses.”
The survey further highlighted that “a full 20% of respondents are what Gallup classifies as ‘actively disengaged,’ the ones who are muttering complaints at the water cooler and using their lunch breaks to scour job postings online. The remaining 50% of U.S. workers are ‘disengaged,’ according to the report, meaning that while they show up for work; they are not inspired by their managers.”
The Gallup report highlights how “many surveyed complained of ‘bosses from hell’ who ignored talent and didn't cultivate growth. But the implications of the report go much deeper. The report states that the dissatisfaction, anger, and boredom felt by US workers hurts the economy, (which has been feeble since the Great Recession of 2008). It also costs the U.S. an estimated $450 billion to $550 billion per annum of lost productivity, stolen goods, and missed days of work.”
Job satisfaction is a two-way street. Firstly it’s the employee’s responsibility to look for and find work that they genuinely enjoy doing. Where obviously a ‘why do I have to work’ attitude is simply someone living in a state of denial about what life actually entails.
But employers have a few responsibilities of their own – firstly to educate ‘kids’ about work and employment opportunities so that kids can start to target careers that genuinely interest them and for which they have the required skills, talent and drive; which means unfortunately ‘no’ you are unlikely to be a ‘celebrity’ of some kind.
Then secondly you have to hire the right people for the right job; and thirdly employer’s should make work ‘interesting and fun’ – understanding the simple philosophy that employees who enjoy their work, will be more engaged with your organization and from this you'll naturally receive improved motivation that will have a direct positive impact on productivity, customer service and your bottom line.
So the simple fact  is that you should enjoy your job, at least for the majority of your career – and if you’re not, maybe it’s time to take a long hard look at yourself and appreciate that you’re mortal and should make the most of the time while you’re here – as this isn’t a dress rehearsal.
Andersen, E. (2013). Six ways to like your job more. Forbes. [On-line:]
Stebner, B. (2013). Workplace morale heads down: 70% of Americans negative about their jobs, Gallup study shows. Daily News. [On-line:]

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