I Can’t Get No Satisfaction – JOB Satisfaction

It was all over the news yesterday. Heard it on the radio, read it in the paper and online as well. Job Satisfaction is at an all-time low. 43% of Americans are happy in their jobs nowadays. This is according to the Conference Board research group who has been tracking job satisfaction for over 22 years.

So what do they say are the reasons?
– Less workers find their jobs interesting
– Income hasn’t kept up with inflation
– Health Insurance coverage is costing more which equals less of a paycheck

Another possible reason for the decrease in the last couple of years could be the fact that we’re in the worst recession since the 1930’s. People are trying to find work, and the job may not be what they desire as far as suitability and providing a challenge for them.

Economists say that if the job satisfaction trend is not revered, it will likely decrease America’s competitiveness and productivity, as well as stifle innovation. They also say older workers who are currently dissatisfied in their jobs will be less likely to take the time to share their knowledge and skills with younger workers.

My take on all this:
What about dissatisfaction due to the fact that people are being furloughed, hours reduced, seeing hiring freezes implemented with no end in sight, benefits packages being cut by employers, bonuses cancelled, the toll of worrying about being laid off, surviving the layoff and the torture of watching co-workers get their pink slips, hearing about other employees who are asked and coaxed into taking early retirement, older workers who do leave are taking the knowledge with them leaving others struggling to produce, training and continuing education budgets are going away, doing your job with less resources, and being asked to do the job of two people for the same or less pay!? Definitely morale sinkers.

I wonder how government workers would compare if surveyed? I am quite certain there would be a huge disconnect in Government responses depending upon if you were at the state, federal or local level, as budget issues are of paramount concern for many states.

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Wow. That’s crazy.

There are some research on Best Agencies to work at from Partnership for Public Service.

I wonder how much expectations play a part as well. I wonder if the media has all glorified this Google-type environment where we work with smart people, get awesome food, get a day a week to work on whatever we want…so if we don’t get that, we are bummed. Not to say we shouldn’t but happiness often is correlated on what you expect.

Kevin Lanahan

Wow, Tricia, we’ve had all those morale killers you mentioned at our agency this past year.

I’ve worked for the state of Missouri for 15 years now and am acutely aware of the culture shifts that have taken place. The workplace is much more “business-like,” with more deadlines, more financial restraints, and pressure from above to change workflows and processes.

What do I want from my job? A sense that I am contributing to the good of the State of Missouri, time to spend with my family and friends, time to go canoeing or fishing.

I know I’m not going to get rich working for the government, but if I wanted to get rich, I’d be in the private sector. If my employer gave me awesome food and other perks, I’d assume that it’s because they wanted me working instead of having a life.

But I do get vacation time that I can actually take, lots of holidays (we get Harry Truman’s birthday off in Missouri), and other benefits. The ability to go home at the end of an 8 or 9 hour day is priceless right now.

Maybe we need a govloop survey on morale?



Thanks for sharing…things are pretty grim here in Arizona as well. I’d agree that one of the “perks” is not having to take your job home with you – in most cases 🙂 , which generally means giving up the pay.

As our hiring freeze continues into its 3rd year, I believe many staff is going from “stressed out” from taking on additional duties as positions are left unfilled, to “burned out” as it seems there is no end in sight (5% pay cuts are in the works by the legislature as I write).

As far as the future, employees have received no pay increases for three years, benefit costs went up (with less options), and they are facing further reductions in pay. I suspect that due to the fact this country is in a recession, along with the high unemployment rates, people will try to hold on to their jobs until the economy improves. However, I’m curious to see what happens when the economy does in fact improve – will people leave state government employment tired of it all?

Jim Reed

As one of my co-workers puts it, “We keep getting asked to do more with less, eventually we’ll be doing everything with nothing.” That pretty much sums it up. Resources shrink but demand doesn’t, and there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. Plus, being a “survivor” at a time of layoffs adds stress, as does seeing our personal income losing ground. But I’m thankful my position seems stable (knock on wood.)