How Happy Are You in Your Work? Not Very, Apparently

It can be a bit of a downer to ask yourself how happy you are at work. The sad truth is the majority of us aren’t very happy at all. In a report about happiness in the work place, the Conference Board is concludes: "Americans of all ages and income brackets continue to grow increasingly unhappy at work – a long-term trend that should be a red flag to employers."

Based on a survey of 5,000 U.S. households, the report found only 45 percent are satisfied with their jobs. What’s really glaring is that’s down from 61.1 percent in 1987. "Through both economic boom and bust during the past two decades, our job satisfaction numbers have shown a consistent downward trend," the Conference Board says.

No age or income group is immune. Employees under 25 showed "the highest level of dissatisfaction ever recorded by the survey for that age group." Older folks are unhappy as well. Twenty years ago, about 60 percent of Baby Boomers were satisfied with their jobs. Now, it’s roughly 46 percent.

Perhaps stating the obvious, the report observes: "Widespread job dissatisfaction negatively affects employee behavior and retention, which can impact enterprise-level success." What’s less obvious, but still important: When both older and younger workers are unhappy, there’s much less transfer of institutional knowledge from one generation to the next.

It sounds like we’d all better cheer up soon.

— Don Willmott