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Gallup: Most People Hate Their Jobs or Have Checked Out
Old 06-18-2013, 10:05 PM   #1
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Gallup: Most People Hate Their Jobs or Have Checked Out

This recent poll shows only about 30% of Americans like their jobs, are engaged and committed to their companies.

Meanwhile, about 70% are either just going though the motions or are "actively disengaged", undermining their companies.

I have to admit, for the last couple of years before ER, I was shuffling between going though the motions and actively disengaged, and I brought a pretty negative attitude to work at times near the end.

The comments below the article provide a glimpse of some future ER.org members I think.

Most workers hate their jobs or have 'checked out,' Gallup says - San Jose Mercury News
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Old 06-18-2013, 10:46 PM   #2
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I was part of the 30% my first 13 years. The past year, I feel like I'm going through the motion and disengaged. Just trying to survive one day at a time. Moving up the corporate ladder and getting a fat bonus are no longer part of my job.
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Old 06-19-2013, 12:01 AM   #3
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I was part of the 30% my first 13 years. The past year, I feel like I'm going through the motion and disengaged. Just trying to survive one day at a time. Moving up the corporate ladder and getting a fat bonus are no longer part of my job.
I was part of the 30% the first 13 years. Then for a few years I was on autopilot. Now I waffle between autopilot and disengaged.
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Old 06-19-2013, 07:09 AM   #4
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Glad to know that there's an official status label for my current status: "Disengaged".

What's interesting about the term is that it implicitly opens a door to "Re-engagement" - if the company suddenly made engagement more attractive. I think for me a combination of recovery of compensation back to where I would have been if I had received annual COL raises since I was first employed, along with a substantial investment in new technology, additional resources, professional development and training would do the trick.

I'm not holding my breath.
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Old 06-19-2013, 08:12 AM   #5
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I was part of the 30% my first 13 years. The past year, I feel like I'm going through the motion and disengaged. Just trying to survive one day at a time. Moving up the corporate ladder and getting a fat bonus are no longer part of my job.
Looks like there is something magical (or unlucky? ) about 13 years. I hit a wall at around 13 years, survived it for a few more years, then the growing awfulness of the commute quickly overtook my waning enjoyment of the job. Working part-time for 7 years kept me afloat, barely, but still not enjoying my job. Then I left.
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Old 06-19-2013, 08:30 AM   #6
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I am a little surprised 30% are "actively engaged," I would have guessed lower frankly. And I think splitting the responses into the original 3 categories may be more enlightening than the 30/70 view. I can believe 20% hate their jobs, and that the largest group chose the middle.

With my Megacorp location specifically (about 80 employees), I always felt the resolutely positive employees and the resolutely negative employee groups were both smaller than this poll suggests (10-15% each), but probably my own (hopeful) bias. The majority in the middle did seem to go through the motions much of the time (work to live), doing their job plus a little most days, but stepping up when they faced new/important challenges.

I was actively engaged for about 33 years, and going through the motions for the last 2. I never reached the point of "hating going to work" or "undermining" my employer. One of the reasons I retired early was the resolutely negative group just got tiresome, there is a segment of the population that is perpetually unhappy/disatisfied that may/not have anything to do with work/employer. Trying to make those folks enjoy work is hopeless IMO, and they really diminish the quality of (work) life for everyone - not just management but peers, direct reports and external customers in some cases. But I don't think or worry about it anymore...

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The survey classifies three types of employees among the 100 million people in America who hold full-time jobs. The first is actively engaged, which represents about 30 million workers. The second type of worker is "not engaged," which accounts for 50 million. These employees are going through the motions at work.

The third type, labeled "actively disengaged," hates going to work. These workers -- about 20 million -- undermine their companies with their attitude, according to the report.
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Old 06-19-2013, 09:05 AM   #7
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I would have thought it was less than 30% as well. Although when I was teaching you would here other teachers talk about how much they LOVED their job....especially if there were a few people around who were listening (especially admin). But if you were just sitting around talking about winning the lottery or something...then they would talk about how fast they would quit if they had a bunch of money. I think some of those people who say they love their work were kind of like me. If I had to work (which I did)...then teaching was a good job for me. BUT....I would prefer not to work. As some German told me when I lived there....."You Americans, you live to work. We Germans work to live".
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Old 06-19-2013, 09:26 AM   #8
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Glad to know that there's an official status label for my current status: "Disengaged".

What's interesting about the term is that it implicitly opens a door to "Re-engagement" - if the company suddenly made engagement more attractive. I think for me a combination of recovery of compensation back to where I would have been if I had received annual COL raises since I was first employed, along with a substantial investment in new technology, additional resources, professional development and training would do the trick.

I'm not holding my breath.
bUU.... I was laughing so hard reading your post.... thinking... that is not going to happen

Glad you are not holding your breath.... probably would have expired by now....
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Old 06-19-2013, 09:55 AM   #9
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Marx was wrong about a lot of things, but one thing he was 100% right about is the alienation of the worker.

What color is your parachute? Puke green.

Long live FIRE!
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Old 06-19-2013, 10:39 AM   #10
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Gallup is making a lot of money doing "strategic consulting" for organizations whose employees are shown to be disengaged on their surveys.

Gallup Strategic Consulting - Leadership Advice and Strategy, Global Research and Education

Engagement is important, but you don't genuinely engage people that way. This is just the latest business tool on the market.

Call me cynical, but I saw this in the w*rkplace and it was just a distraction from dealing with the real issues.
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Old 06-19-2013, 10:48 AM   #11
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This is really too bad - for us. I hope that the people who produce our food, enforce our laws, work in our health care centers, take care of our parents, make our cars, drive our buses, trucks, and trains, design our buildings, etc...aren't having too bad of a time of it.
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Old 06-19-2013, 12:08 PM   #12
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Question: Why do you think people fall in the "actively disengaged" category? I haven't read the article so apologies if this is already discussed.

I've been in this career track for about 10 yrs now and I'm in the border line between actively engaged and the next category. I feel like the next stage will eventually come up and trying to see how I can avoid it... if it's possible.

I feel like the reason is because people stay in one job for too long and eventually not challenged. I think this can happen more often in Megacorp where there's repetition and not seeing the bigger picture. My thinking is changing jobs whenever I feel I'm not being challenged (that's usually about 3-4 yrs) or switching to consulting.
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Old 06-19-2013, 12:40 PM   #13
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My thinking is changing jobs whenever I feel I'm not being challenged (that's usually about 3-4 yrs) or switching to consulting.
That's probably an ideal way to maintain a good quality of work/life balance.

Too many (?) Some people are too risk adverse (or lazy) to give up 'a bird in hand' even if they are miserable at their present job, though they deny it even to themselves.

OTOH, some can't give up (vested) benefits/"seniority," or can't match their present income anywhere else (being paid above their skills/credentials), or simply can't afford to take any risk with income (living paycheck to paycheck for whatever reason), or other legitimate (or not) reasons.

More people could change jobs and reinvent themselves than do (benefitting the employee and former employer) - but not everyone can.
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Old 06-19-2013, 01:11 PM   #14
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I try to stay in the not engaged category (the middle category). It is easier to deal with the large majority of colleagues that are not engaged or actively disengaged.

Sometimes I start to care, and then I get frustrated, so in zen-like fashion I try to stop caring. I mean I want to care, but it is easier to not care, and there is no paycheck differentiation based on effort or results. My sign to tone down the effort a little is when others start to notice I am competent. Competency leads to more work, and can eventually brand you an "expert" if you do too good a job. The last thing you want to be is an expert at a workplace where vague indifference is the accepted norm. Total buzz kill.

So I keep a sign up in my office that reminds me "Don't be too competent". After all, my goal is to FIRE in a few years, not be running this joint.
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Old 06-19-2013, 09:22 PM   #15
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That's funny, Fuego.

I've been thinking about this a little. I used to be engaged. I am mostly disengaged now, like the middle 50%. There are still some parts of my job that I am actively engaged in -- tasks I enjoy, people I enjoy -- but overall, I have detached.

And I think that's pretty sad. There was a time I thought my job would be my Calling. Now it's just something I do without much interest or engagement.

I'm bored and dissatisfied, but I'm too lazy or unwilling to risk looking for work elsewhere that I'll just stay on here, mostly for the money. So I have a sort of acceptance about it all. It's just the way it is for now.
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Old 06-19-2013, 10:04 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Enjoy the Ride View Post
Question: Why do you think people fall in the "actively disengaged" category? I haven't read the article so apologies if this is already discussed.

I've been in this career track for about 10 yrs now and I'm in the border line between actively engaged and the next category. I feel like the next stage will eventually come up and trying to see how I can avoid it... if it's possible.

I feel like the reason is because people stay in one job for too long and eventually not challenged. I think this can happen more often in Megacorp where there's repetition and not seeing the bigger picture. My thinking is changing jobs whenever I feel I'm not being challenged (that's usually about 3-4 yrs) or switching to consulting.
I think it comes down to three things:
1) Do I have the power/autonomy to "do the right thing" at work? (Process, red tape, micromanagement are the opposite)
2) Are my employers expectations reasonable? (Versus being taken advantage of)
3) Do I generally enjoy my job duties and coworkers?

I've been fully engaged since becoming a solo consultant. I pick my clients, never waste my time on stupid make-work, and I choose my workload. The power to "choose" is almost always more engaging than demands that we "comply." I believe this is why self employed people rarely go back to the W-2 life unless they have to.

SIS
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Old 06-19-2013, 10:28 PM   #17
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I try to stay in the not engaged category (the middle category). It is easier to deal with the large majority of colleagues that are not engaged or actively disengaged.

Sometimes I start to care, and then I get frustrated, so in zen-like fashion I try to stop caring. I mean I want to care, but it is easier to not care, and there is no paycheck differentiation based on effort or results. My sign to tone down the effort a little is when others start to notice I am competent. Competency leads to more work, and can eventually brand you an "expert" if you do too good a job. The last thing you want to be is an expert at a workplace where vague indifference is the accepted norm. Total buzz kill.

So I keep a sign up in my office that reminds me "Don't be too competent". After all, my goal is to FIRE in a few years, not be running this joint.

LOL. That's me. I try to look as stupid as possible so I am not considered an expert any longer. It hasn't really worked because they are still putting me on lead for projects. When they ask for volunteer, I stay as quiet as possible and hope they don't call my name, but they always do. Now that I don't want to climb the corporate ladder, I'm just doing enough to get by. Our CEO and Senior Executives tell us everyday how valuable we are. Then when we ask for help, they say, "you need to motivate your staff to work harder, smarter, and be more efficent."

How do they expect me to tell my staff that's already working 50 hours a week to work harder That's our CEO and our Seionr Exec answers for everything, work harder, smarter, be more efficent. Meanwhile...we still have typewriters and a copy that breaks down every day.
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Old 06-20-2013, 04:59 AM   #18
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I think it comes down to three things:
1) Do I have the power/autonomy to "do the right thing" at work? (Process, red tape, micromanagement are the opposite)
One of the aspects of #1 that I see quite often, these days, is the orientation by the company-as-a-whole to view "work" as that which is done by the VPs, SVPs, and CEO, instead of that which is done by production workers, engineers, developers, testers, etc. When performing due diligence, as part of an acquisition, for example, if you don't actually talk to key individual contributors, how could you really know the risks of the purchase? Unless there really isn't any specific, uniquely-identifiable value in the work of individual contributors, instead such work being the facilitation of the work of VPs. I know that is the polar opposite of that is micromanagement, but this idea that the work of the company is done by the VPs seems to inject a distinct lack of worth into the work done by their subordinates. In a situation where your work is simply filling white-space - an interchangeable cog in the machine that itself does the real work - I cannot see how one can remain fully engaged, except through self-deception, i.e., by becoming the prototypical "company man". I've never been good at self-deception. It seems the only way to remain sane in such an environment is to view work strictly as a financial arrangement, a trade of skills and effort for money.
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Old 06-20-2013, 09:32 AM   #19
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Question: Why do you think people fall in the "actively disengaged" category? I haven't read the article so apologies if this is already discussed.
You have to ask?

I am sliding into that category. Why? The work is meaningless drudgery, the bureaucracy is frankly unbelievable, and every month it seems I get a new impediment thrown into my path by the people above me. Someone asked me to describe our organization. I described it as most closely resembling a "squirrel king," a phenomenon in which several (or more) squirrels get the ends of their tails matted together and they cannot get unstuck.
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Old 06-20-2013, 09:50 AM   #20
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Looks like there is something magical (or unlucky? ) about 13 years. I hit a wall at around 13 years, survived it for a few more years, then the growing awfulness of the commute quickly overtook my waning enjoyment of the job. Working part-time for 7 years kept me afloat, barely, but still not enjoying my job. Then I left.
Now that you mention it, I had some turmoil around the 13 year mark. Had a co-worker try to get me in trouble, accused me of that vague catch-all phrase of "creating a hostile work environment", getting the big bosses involved, but it all backfired when, instead of backing down, I threatened to quit. And, management did a pretty quick reversal in their attitude, as our government customers value me a LOT more than they did this particular (since retired) employee.

Incidentally, I ended up getting a very nice raise that year. Since then though, I've been mentally detaching myself from the job more and more as the years go by. I'm pretty much just going through the motions right now. Sticking around mainly because they give me some flexibility in my work schedule, it's close to home, pay's not bad, and even though they've been cutting back, the benefits still ain't half bad.

But then, I came to the realization earlier this year that, if I truly wanted to, I could retire on a fairly bare-bones budget, and make it. I think that's been disengaging me even more!
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