No one loves their job all the time. In fact, according to Gallup, only 30% of Americans are actively engaged at work. LinkedIn estimates that 66% of its 350 million users are actively or passively seeking a job. And a significant number of employees are seriously considering quitting their jobs to work for themselves or launch their own business.
It’s not the end of the world if your employees don’t love their jobs. In fact, loving their jobs is not necessarily a sign that they have a great job. It is often a mere reflection of their personality: optimistic, positive, and superficial people are happy with their jobs even in the absence of objective reasons.
But a fulfilling job has its benefits. Engaged employees are more productive and creative, which translates not only to higher levels of career success, but also organizational profits. So it’s important that you understand the key drivers of job dissatisfaction, which is believed to cost the U.S. economy $300 billion a year in productivity loss:
From Horrible Bosses to The Office, portrayals of inept and cruel managers produce cathartic enjoyment for viewers, particularly when their own managers have traumatized them.
This dark side of leadership is often triggered by toxic organizational systems that promote individuals to positions of power who are politically astute but interested only in their own careers. They are great at managing upwards, but unable or unwilling to manage downwards.
As a result, too many employees are left craving feedback, meaning, and leadership. And too many leaders are mischievous and narcissistic, which makes for great TV shows but insufferable work environments.
While it’s not easy for people to completely avoid obnoxious bosses or colleagues, they can mitigate the effect on their mental and physical well-being by making the decision to leave.
Although it’s fairly easy to evaluate someone’s career potential and where they would fit best, most people pick careers based on myths, inaccurate information, or amateur advice, ignoring their own personality strengths.
The result is a ubiquitous mismatch between people’s aspirations and their careers, and that is often exacerbated when employees are unaware of their talents.
For all the complaints about boredom, humans actually strive to make their environments as predictable and boring as possible. Routine means safety, and change injects anxiety and fear.
As the existential philosopher Søren Kierkegaard noted: "Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom." The promise of long-term jobs may have diminished, but that does not stop people from seeking stability in their careers, so much so that they are willing to put up with dismal jobs.
The idea that we may one day reach a point where every employee in the world loves their job—perhaps even their boss—is sheer utopia, but that won’t stop people from looking.