Another report of dubious origin is making headlines today that most (80%) people hate their jobs.  This comes out, interestingly enough, just on the heels of our current Administration, promoting that people really ought to be able to “opt out” of working if they want to, and I suspect that is because the Administration finally realized government doesn’t create jobs, except in working for government.  Even so, this report is nothing new although it blames new things, like technology,  mean, greedy owners, the recession, the evil Congress.  I always thought having a miserable workforce contributed seriously to the recession, but not according to this report.

This looks like one more crazy side trip to me because throughout history, it has been apparent that people who contribute something of value, doing something they enjoy, are more contented, have more self esteem and satisfaction, make a good impact on the lives of those around them and, as a by product, are more productive, which is helpful in avoiding recessions.

We cannot count all of the satisfaction surveys, reports and studies that have been done in the last 50 years.  No matter who does them, no matter who takes them, no matter the methodology, 75-80% have been dissatisfied with their jobs.  And, the reasons have not varied.
#1 – Relationship with the IMMEDIATE supervisor.  Always number one, always the most impacting, and even so, management promotions still have very little to do with whether a person can “manage” people, likes people, or could even do the job they are now managing.

#2 – Job does not match their interests, traits or skill sets. Eight out of ten say they are not doing work that has anything to do with what they are good at or like, or what they thought it was going to be when they took the job.  Of course, some employees also major in things that no one wants to pay for and get mad at companies because of it.

#3 – Gutless managers.  Failure to differentiate between good and poor performers and failure to support good performers.  Managers often spend more time and effort on the poor performers, pay them the same, and demoralize the dedicated and talented performers.

#4 – Meaningless incentives and rewards.  Incentive systems that do not acknowledge or differentiate between best and not best.  Everyone shares regardless of contribution or results.

#5 – Lack of clarity in expectations.  Performance is a moving target, communication is unclear and inconsistent.   Employees thrive when they know exactly what is expected and how they are doing without being told.

All of this occurs in an environment that runs away from good leadership and is uncomfortable with results as a barometer.   Good intentions and warm fuzzy ideas lull us from thinking leadership and results really matter.  Maybe we just need a few more studies but I think we need to liberate a few more courageous leaders, a reverence for common sense and rewards based upon results.

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