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Why Most Workers Can't Get No Job Satisfaction

Job SatisfactionIf you’re working, are you happy with what you’re doing and where you’re doing it?

If you are, you’re in the minority, according to the The Conference Board, whose recent research found that only 45% of employed Americans are satisfied with their jobs. Which means 55% are not.

The dissatisfaction is widespread across age groups, which goes to show that there is equality in fear, anger, and tension as we slowly emerge from a recession (which is what experts tell us). Almost everyone in the workplace has relatives or friends who've lost jobs, and many have also seen coworkers who got laid off, and had to pick up some of the work that went out the door with them. That combination can easily erode job happiness for the "lucky" ones left behind. When there is gloom all around you, chances are it will envelop you too.

But there’s something else happening here. When The Conference Board started measuring job satisfaction in 1987, it found that 61% of workers were satisfied with their jobs. Granted, we weren’t coming out of a recession then, but that figure has been dropping steadily since. What’s happening?

For starters, the days of mutual, everlasting loyalty between employer and employee are long gone. Mass layoffs have become more common and workers  are more willing to take risks by moving on to more challenging roles elsewhere. So if the employee is miserable at work, he or she is less likely to prolong the misery and more likely to tune up the resume and find another job.

One of our favorite bloggers, Laurie Ruettimann at Punk Rock HR, cited a few other contributing factors in her take on The Conference Board’s findings, specifically the erosion of raises and pensions, the higher costs of premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance, and the outsourcing of manufacturing jobs to other side of the globe.

Put it all together, and you might wonder why job satisfaction isn’t lower.

What about you? If you’re dissatisfied at work, why do you feel that way? Share your frustration in a comment below.

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