I've been thinking a lot about work lately. Not just my specific job, but also the general nature of work. I've had great bosses and terrible ones, stimulating jobs and sleep-inducing jobs. By and large, I think I've been lucky. I've never been fired, and while I haven't gotten every job I wanted, I got some of them. Even if the job was a bad fit, I always met a handful of people who became (and remain) good friends.
However, I'm struck by how few people I know who truly love, or even like their jobs. Maybe they don't hate their work, but I can count the number who seem truly fulfilled on one hand. Part of that is because I have a lot of friends in the newspaper industry, which is imploding. But according to several surveys I've read, it's a widespread problem. This article said that only 50 percent of American workers are satisfied with their jobs, down from 79 percent in 1985. That is staggering.
From what I've seen, the problem isn't necessarily the work. It's crappy/incompetent bosses and office politics that get in the way of actually doing the work. I get the sense that many people don't feel empowered to perform their jobs to the best of their ability, and that's a shame. I know the world is also full of lazy people who do enough just to get by, who blame their problems on others. That's a given. But when smart, talented, energetic people feel stymied, that's depressing. The horror stories told by Florida's state workers are legendary. And since I live in Tallahassee, I've heard a lot of them over the years. I don't know that private industry is all that much better, aside from the pay.
The floor is open. Why does the modern-day workplace suck so much?