The bottom line: Workplace fulfillment has plunged in the past year, with Americans leading the global list of the dissatisfied, despite recent signs of economic growth. And the perks aren't helping.
Working for a Paycheck
The slight uptick shown in the October jobs report may be too little, too late – the extended down economy may have already done its psychological damage to the American workforce. A Salary.com survey of more than 2,000 employees that was released in November suggests that a significant and growing chunk of workers in this country feel crummy about what they do. Among the findings:
World Leaders in Gloom
A study by Monster.com and GfK, a market research company, showed a somewhat rosier outlook on American job enjoyment. According to the report, a little more than 50 percent of workers in the United States like their jobs.
But these findings were couched in more dismal news for the United States among its peers, with the U.S. logging the largest amount of job haters globally – at 15 percent – among six other nations. The study of 8,000 workers also compared job attitudes in Canada, the Netherlands, India, the United Kingdom, France and Germany.
Perks Don't Work
These recent studies add oomph to Gallup's 2013 State of the American Workplace Report. This mammoth survey had more than 150,000 participants, and found that approximately 70 percent of employees are neither engaged nor inspired at work. The most miserable of the bunch, close to 20 percent, are "actively disengaged."
While office perks initially held promise for many employers attempting to bring smiles to their staff, perks don't really work that well after all, according to some management experts. In a CNBC.com story, Randy Allen, associate dean of Cornell University's Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management, expressed the view that intangible basic benefits, like job satisfaction, are more important than frills. What's more, perk-hungry employees leave jobs sooner than average. In the same CNBC.com story, Bob Nelson, a management consultant, says that millennials who place their priority on perks tend to stay at each job for a little more than a year, compared to the 4.4-year average stay.
What Can You Do?
Don't feel disheartened by the news of job haters. Instead, why not resolve to make 2014 a year of improvement when it comes to your head space about work? Here's how:
Robin Madell has spent over two decades as a corporate writer, business journalist, literary agent, and author on business, leadership, career, health, finance, technology, and public-interest issues. She serves as a speechwriter, ghostwriter, and communications consultant for executives and entrepreneurs across diverse industries. Robin has interviewed more than 200 thought leaders around the globe, and has won 20 awards for editorial excellence. She has served on the Board of Directors of the Healthcare Businesswomen's Association in both New York and San Francisco, and contributed to the book Be Your Own Mentor: Strategies from Top Women on the Secrets of Success, published by Random House. Robin is also the author of Surviving Your Thirties: Americans Talk About Life After 30 and co-author of The Strong Principles: Career Success. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.