Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Job Satisfaction


It's hard to get back to work after a nice weekend. It's even harder after a long weekend.

Had some time to catch up with old friends this weekend, and was surprised at how unhappy said friends were. (Note: they are not in medicine!!) Some are in law, some in business, engineering, biotech, banking. The consensus? Work is a highly overrated, time-consuming activity.

Seriously though, not one person I know works a 40 hour work week. Most people feel like they are stretched to the max. There's a sense of instability because the companies go through mergers ever few months, and the ax falls not too long after each merger. And jobs get lost from the merging but are never refilled. The excess work is just -- "absorbed."

Other common complaints: Managers that are incompetent. Office politics. Job instability. You're never really sure that you will have your job a year from now. Heck, a few months from now. No loyalty from employer to employee, and none the other way around.

Such, apparently, is the working world. From a big business perspective, I guess these changes have to take place to be competitive, but when's enough enough? At some point the employees are going to be stretched too thin, and then how will the next layoff be absorbed? How do companies keep employees? How will society function when a generation of young workers are already counting down the years until retirement?


There's quite a bit of a generation gap between our cohort and the one before. I'll work extremely hard while at work, but at the end of the day, work is work. Which happens to be part of a bigger picture called life. Which isn't supposed to be all about work. Ya catch the drift?

We've seen members of the previous generation throw themselves completely into their jobs. (not everyone in the previous generation, but you know who I'm talking about...) They lose their identity. Their families evolve without them. Life passes them by. And when they retire, they are at a loss as to who they have become. No hobbies. No relationships. Nothing to look forward too. We don't want to be like them. *stepping off soapbox*


Are we representative of the larger population?

TNS, a "market information company" performs a yearly study on U.S. job satisfaction. I don't know how they collected their data and how valid their calculations are. But they do the same survery every year for at least the past couple of decades, and the general trend is that there is an overall decrease in job satisfaction. They sample 5,000 U.S. households and got the following information:

% of people satisfied with their jobs: 50%
% of people satified with their >$50,000 job: 52%
% of people satisfied with their <$15,000 job: 45% % of people under 25 years of age satisfied with job: <39%
% of people satisfied with their pay: 33%

% of people who do not see themselves staying in the current job a year from now: 20%

% of people who feel disconnected from their employers: 40%

% of people that do not identify or feel motivated by employ'ers business goals and objectives: 60%

% of people content with workload, work/life balance, communication channels, potential for growth: 36%

Sombering results, my friends. What do you think? Agree? Disagree?


photo credit


Blogger Old MD Girl said...

A lot of my classmates hate medical school -- that they should have gone into business because that's where all the money is. Many of them never worked a real job before they came, and they feel that school takes too much time. They think that the 3 month summer job that they had between junior and senior year "counts" as real work. They complain that our 8 week summer vacation is taking FOREVER to arrive. After working in business at the kinds of jobs you described in your post, I just feel really really lucky to have the opportunity to slave away at something I care about. Because if you're going to work that much, it might as well be at least moderately interesting with people who don't repulse you.

I'm beginning to think that working full time 3-4 years at a real job where kids are actually supporting themselves should be required for med school. Maybe I'll dislike what I'm doing when I get to the clinics, but it really. REALLY. Cannot be worse than some of the jobs I've had in the past.

1:04 PM  
Blogger wandering visitor said...

Hi MD girl!
Thanks for posting.

My med school class was more non-traditional with an average age that was older than most. Most people had worked before. I think most really like med school.

For me, it's been a bit disheartening to see a lot of politics within academia - at a level that is NOT apparent to med students. It's no different than at previous jobs, but I guess I had (naively) hoped that an intellectual bastion would be somehow less petty than the business world.

As for the non-medical friends who are in the true business world, their plight is far worse than anything we'll have to go through. I could never do what they do. But hey, just goes to show that we're all different. Whatever floats your boat! :)

2:09 PM  
Anonymous Prudence said...

I like it that you presented the GR as if it's an article in a medical journal. Good work!

6:56 AM  

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