The Grass is Brown Everywhere
Now that I’d decided to move back to Massachusetts, the next question was, what kind of employment would I target?
If you’ve read Year 4, you know I’ve ruled out going back to school or seriously searching for jobs in other industries. I’d come to believe that most jobs suck. My conclusion pre-dated readily-available science-backed research, findable via googling, which states that nearly everyone is unhappy at work. But speaking of more recent findings, currently my favorite study is this one by Forbes showing:
- Unhappy workers outnumber everyone else by a factor of 2:1
- Only 7% of the world’s workers are happy. This means in that 2:1 ratio above, the “1” does not represent happy people. It also includes people who are pretty meh on the whole thing.
- 24% of workers are actively miserable, that is to say, they undermine the work of others. Miserable = worse than unhappy.
- The rest of them are merely disengaged, which means that they show up to do an average job at best and go home.
The numbers are somewhat better for industrialized countries. Another Forbes study shows 19% of workers in the US and Canada are so-called “Satisfied” with their jobs. This doesn’t even mean they’re thrilled to be going to work every day. They’re just pretty OK with their jobs. You know, some ups, some downs, it’s generally humdrum and fine. From the article:
Another 16% said they were “somewhat satisfied.” But the rest, nearly two-thirds of respondents, said they were not happy at work. Twenty-one percent said they were “somewhat unsatisfied” and 44% said they were “unsatisfied.”
So we’re talking 4/5 people are something less than satisfied with their jobs.
These figures are so overwhelming that I have to conclude that my coworkers who tell me that they’re perfectly happy working for SoftwareCompany when I bump into them around the office are lying, or at the very least stretching the truth. I get it — I do the same thing, because I want to be well perceived — nobody likes a bad apple.
But it’s all a front — internally, people want to be anywhere but work. Again, they just won’t tell you to your face.
What I find of particular interest is that the same websites that tell you that 80%+ of workers are unhappy also suggest the solution.
They say things like “If you know what’s expected of you, and you feel empowered to reach it, plus you have a great manager and co-workers, then it’s far more likely you’ll be happy.”
I don’t agree with this analysis. They’re looking at specific features associated with office jobs rather than the general framework of employment. They’re saying something along the lines of : “Oh, you probably don’t like Microsoft Office because of Mr. Clippy — just try LibreOffice and you’ll be much happier.”
If you don’t like word processors, switching from one to another isn’t going to suddenly make things all better.