December 20, 2009
How do you like your job now?
I've long been fascinated by the many polls telling Americans how unhappy we are with our jobs.
Since I began checking these numbers several years ago, outfits like The Conference Board and CareerBuilder heave steadily been reporting that at least one in two U.S. workers hates where they work (or, as CareerBuilder put it in 2006, a majority of Americans consider their co-workers "a bunch of monkeys").
Last month, CareerBuilder came out with an uplifting new survey on employee attitudes. In a poll of 2,900 U.S. employers, nearly a quarter said their staff morale was low.
If this figure seems conservative to you, you're not the only one. Of the 4,300 U.S. workers CareerBuilder polled at the same time, 40 percent said they've had trouble staying motivated on the job this past year. What's more, 47 percent said their workload has grown in the past six months, 40 percent said their stress level is sky high, and 20 percent said they're unhappy with their work/life balance.
The moral of the morale story: According to CareerBuilder, a quarter of us working stiffs do not feel loyal to our current employer.
Another set of poll numbers released in November are a bit more drastic. According to a survey conducted by talent and career management consulting firm Right Management, 60 percent of 900 North American workers polled said they plan to leave their job in 2010.
In addition, another 21 percent told Right Management they're considering jumping ship in the new year and have updated their resume and begun networking accordingly.
Right Management president and CEO Douglas Matthews suggested that his firm's figures "might alarm and surprise many employers." Indeed. This is a far cry from the 23 percent of disenfranchised workers that employers estimated in the CareerBuilder poll I just mentioned.
"Employees are clearly expressing their pent up frustration with how they have been treated through the downturn," said Right Management's Matthews.
While employers were busy obsessing about their bottom line and making the so-called tough cuts, workers told to do more with less began to feel pretty undervalued, he explained.
"The result is a disengaged and disgruntled workforce," he said.
Matthews then called for employers to embrace the work/life balance preferences of their staff, saying, "As leaders, we need to accommodate different lifestyles and work choices and find ways to balance these with business needs to ensure high levels of productivity and performance." (Hurrah!)
Now that 2009 is mercifully drawing to a close, what's your take on the topic? If you have a job, are you relatively happy with it? Or will you be looking to greener pastures in the new year?
Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl, a career guide based on her 59 jobs over 40 years in 22 cities.
Kristen Fife is a senior recruiter, career mentor, blogger and resume consultant based in the Seattle area.
Lisa Quast is a certified career coach, mentor, business consultant, former corporate executive and author based in the Seattle area.
Randy Woods writes about job-search tools, networking techniques and other tips to help you land your dream job.
Matt Youngquist is the president of Career Horizons, a career counseling firm.
Natalie Singer is a Seattle writer, editor and small-business owner.
Michelle Goodman is the author of "My So-Called Freelance Life" and "The Anti 9-to-5 Guide."
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