Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Are People Happier With Their Own Jobs During a Recession?

It would appear so.
At the same time that Gallup polls say 82% of Americans think this is a bad time to be looking for work, 91% of people in another survey are saying how satisfied they are with their own jobs. Does that surprise anyone?

Here is what Gallup says, “At a time when Americans' ratings of the country and of the nation's economy are near record lows, the percentage of U.S. workers feeling "completely satisfied" with their jobs -- now 48% -- is at the high end of the range seen in the past eight years”.

Add that to the other 42% of workers in the US say they were “somewhat satisfied” with their jobs and you are left with only about 9% sharing that they were dissatisfied to any degree with their current jobs.

It makes sense to me that as the job market becomes tighter and layoffs increase, people are more prone to reshaping their perspectives of their own jobs and looking at their work in a different way.

I think it is at times like this that the “glass is half full” principle takes over. Instead of thinking about their own career dissatisfaction at work, people begin to be more grateful about being able to work or having a job. A bad economy will make our own career issues seem not so bad.

I conduct a Career Makeover workshop every quarter for staff in a midsized company. My audience last week was smaller than they have been for the last 4 years. A quick poll of the group found, not surprisingly, that these working people were pretty satisfied with their own work. None were anxious to make any career changes, but thinking more long term.

In fact the audience for that session was much more optimistic about opportunities in their own company. They were much more willing to look for opportunities to build careers inside of the company rather than think about jumping ship.
It made me think about how bad it must be for the 9% who were "somewhat dissatisfied."

It just goes to show that so much of our care with our jobs and our careers is really in how we think about the situation. When we reframe our perspective on work and employment, we can probably become happier with our own jobs.

Reminds me of the old saying which internet research attributes to the Italians, “I felt sorry I had no shoes until I met a man with no feet.”


Hayli Morrison said...

All of a sudden, the grass ISN'T greener on the other side of the fence. In many cases, there isn't even any grass to admire on the other side of the fence! So yes, career optimism is the new trend, and a lot of people are going to become better employees in an effort to bolster job security. That's part of thinking long-term too, because better job performance will be beneficial when they decide to progress to higher-paying jobs (of which there are still plenty to go around, by the way). An obvious key for those even considering changing jobs now would be to research the company thoroughly, not just for office culture and work environment, but for stability!

Hayli Morrison
Mktng. Comm. Mgr.
$100k+ jobs

Marcia Robinson said...

Sure - people do tend to settle in where they are and gratitude for having a job overshadows all the reasons people tend to want to leave.

The prospect is truly scary if you are not doing something you love.


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