Every morning, you leave your apartment around 5 a.m. in order to avoid traffic. You drive for approximately two hours to arrive at your job as a clerk. Most days, you can barely stay focused because the work is so mundane and boring. You also hate your boss who is pushy and demanding. As a matter of fact, he refused to let you take your full two-weeks of vacation this year. And to add insult to injury, the company just cut the employee 401(k) matching program. Is your job making you miserable? You are not alone.
Misery Doesn’t Like Company
Have you ever worked for a great company doing a job that you loved? Well, I can tell you first hand that it’s a wonderful experience: when you love what you do and who you are doing it for. When you love your job, you are excited to get up and go to work every day. And you are energized, confident and passionate about every assignment because you enjoy doing it.
But a new survey reports that most U.S. workers haven’t felt that way about their jobs since 1987 when over 60 percent said they were satisfied. According to the Conference Board’s 2014 Job Satisfaction survey, fewer than half of U.S. workers are satisfied with their jobs. The Washington Post, however, focused on the population who hate their jobs the most: millennials.
“Interestingly, dissatisfaction among the youngest workers seems to be driving the trend,” said Catherine Rampell, an opinion columnist at The Washington Post, about the survey. “Just 28 percent of employed workers younger than 25 were satisfied with their jobs in 2013, versus about twice that share in 1987.”
Rampell added that much of the deterioration in job satisfaction among younguns seems to have occurred in the wake of the Great Recession, which “I suppose isn’t terribly surprising, given that lots of young workers (particularly recent college grads) are in jobs that they’re probably overskilled for.” In other words, you should be happy to have a job in this economy. But the fact remains, for whatever reason, you are not.
And there are a lot of issues associated with today’s workforce that could be contributing to American’s overall disdain for their jobs. In almost every individual measure—from wages and retirement plans to vacation policies and commutes—workers are less content, says the Wall Street Journal, with their jobs than they were in 1987, when the Conference Board started tracking the topic.
The Pursuit of Workplace Happiness
The survey, based on responses from over 1,000 workers, also found that the most important drivers of job satisfaction are growth potential, communication channels, interest in work, recognition, and workload. But without these components, what do you have? You still have a job.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate is still lingering around six percent. So resigning may not be a good option unless you already have another gig lined up or rich uncle willing to fund you while you look. So what other options do you have?
According to Psych Central, one option is to find a balance or the ability to differentiate between who you are and what your job is. Balance is ‘placing a higher value on self-care than boss-pleasing, connecting to the truth of your own worth, and loosening the grip of overidentification with your job’, says Psych Central.
Like Psych Central, there are plenty of resources online about how-to be happy at work. But I do not believe that you can ever be happy doing something that you really do not want to do. So I am going to recommend something entirely different: sing Pharrell Williams’“Happy” from the Despicable Me 2 soundtrack album. Seriously. Sing it on your way to work, at lunch and on your way home. And sing it while you are looking for another job. The more you sing it, the more that you will believe it and finally achieve it.
Image Source: My Voice Exercises