I can’t really take credit for the title of this post. I admit to borrowing from a new study released last week by The Conference Board, called “I Can’t Get No. . . Job Satisfaction, That is.” More information here and in this LA Times story.
A cute title for a serious problem. The report points out that US workers’ job satisfaction is at an all time low. Only 45% of those surveyed said they were satisfied with their jobs, a decline from 61.1% in 1987. (Personally, I think 61% satisfied is low as well.) This negative assessment spans all age groups and refers to all aspects of employment (not only compensation). As John Gibbons, one of the authors explains it, “the downward trend in job satisfaction could spell trouble for the overall engagement of US employees and ultimately employee productivity.”
Employee engagement—a strong sense of commitment and emotional connection to a job—is the key to job satisfaction. In most cases, employers shoulder the burden of enhancing employee engagement—easier said than done.
Zappos, the online shoe retailer, offers new hires $2,000 to quit their job. The idea is if someone declines the money in favor of the job, he or she must be committed to the company. If the new hire accepts the $2,000, it’s less expensive than retaining a dissatisfied, nonproductive employee. Read about A radical concept, but one that makes sense.
In the end employee engagement and job satisfaction have a lot to do with matching up the right person with the right job and the right company or organization. If your current job is not satisfying, what are going to do about it? You may not be able to make a change today or tomorrow, but if you knew you could not fail, what would you do?
At UCLA Extension, we have seen engineers become award-winning screenwriters, journalists become veterinarians, bankers become cookbook authors, and professors become songwriters . . . to name just a few. It’s never too late to reinvent yourself to become one of the lucky ones who truly loves his or her job.