I'm fortunate to have a job right now. Are you? If so, how are you feeling about it?
I guess a lot of Americans who are lucky enough to be employed right now, in the worst economy since the Great Depression of the 1930s, aren't feeling so great about it. This is according to a survey by the Conference Board research group, as reported by the Associated Press.
This survey says that only 45 percent of Americans are satisfied with their work, and that this is "the lowest level ever recorded" by the resesearch group in more than 22 years of studying the issue. In 2008, 49 percent of those surveyed reported satisfaction with their jobs.
The Great Recession is partly responsible, researchers believe, because it has made it difficult for people to find challenging and suitable jobs. Besides having jobs that might be pretty boring, American workers are also dissatisfied because incomes have not kept up with inflation, and soaring health care costs are eating into take-home pay, the story says.
I know. I know. Those of you who have been out of work for a few months or longer are thinking that us horde of employed should quit griping.
But maybe there is something to this overall decline in job dissatisfaction, something that speaks to a general lack of confidence and fear about our individual and national future.
You know, I hear this dissatisfaction expressed among those who have hung onto jobs. These workers toil at companies hit by layoffs, pay cuts or furloughs. Their workplaces are in survival mode, playing it safe, without any shared sense of anything beyond survival.
With individual and organizational horizons becoming limited by a fear of dimming prospects, a workplace culture can become depressing, demoralizing.
Again, I know it might not be fair to gripe if you are employed. People who have been laid off are worried about keeping their unemployment benefits, paying for health care. Oh, they've also got to buy food, pay for rent or a mortgage, car insurance, and whatever continuing costs of basic living come their way...
Signing their kids up for soccer... Getting new tires for the car ...
Just so you know, while I still have my job right now, I have also been through a lay-off and dealt with unemployment and keeping up with Cobra payments to maintain our family's health insurance. We went a month without health insurance... a gap ... and it scared me the entire time...