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Job Dissatisfaction

August 7, 2015




Our greatest fear should not be of failure… but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter. 


Hi, This is Greg Starkman with Platinum Method Coaching.  This is another installment of Your Blueprint for Success.  Today I want to talk to you about Job Satisfaction.   Boredom at work leads to job dissatisfaction.  The changes in the economy that began in 2008 indicate that more Americans are dissatisfied with their jobs than ever before. The Gallup Well-Being Index, which randomly sampled over 60,000 working adults from January through April of 2015, showed an increase in worker job dissatisfaction. The results of that poll suggest that employees feel detached from their jobs and the companies for which they work.


A major turnoff at work and a cause for job dissatisfaction is an unsupportive boss who isn't invested in seeing you get ahead. With companies downsizing and keeping resources at a minimum, managers become more concerned about the bottom line rather than the very people who can have a direct effect on the bottom line. Managers who disengage from their employees and focus only on results without providing inspiration, motivation or employee support are often unaware that they may be a adding to the problem as a major cause of job dissatisfaction.


The lack of meaningful work plays a big part in job dissatisfaction. Employees lose interest in work that offers no challenge, opportunities for growth or incentives for meaningful work. It's easy to disengage from a job and organization that doesn't value its employees or offer incentives for job growth. To feel happy at work, employees need to feel as if there is a chance to move forward and progress. When employees feel their contributions are significant, they feel happy at their work and work harder.


Many employees feel that they are Overworked and Underpaid


Employer staff and resource cutbacks leave remaining employees taking on more responsibilities with no increases in pay. While salary isn't always the motivator for happiness at work, employees who work long hours and still find themselves behind economically are frustrated and dissatisfied with their jobs. Employees with the lowest incomes are the most dissatisfied with their jobs, according to the Gallup poll. Concerns about high employment rates and job security are also playing a part in job dissatisfaction.


Work and Life Balance is important and Companies that fail to recognize the need for employees to maintain a healthy balance are ultimately affecting their own productivity levels. Even if a company can't offer salary increases, one way to improve job satisfaction is to create trade-offs for life and work balance. Instead of offering raises, companies might consider incentives such as paid days off, flexible scheduling, and rewards such as tickets to movies, plays, or sporting events.


Most Americans Are Unhappy At Work


Are you feeling dissatisfied with your job? If so, you are among the majority of Americans—52.3%—who are unhappy at work, according to a new report by the Conference Board, the New York-based nonprofit research group.


Every year since 1987, the Board has run a job satisfaction survey. Nearly three decades ago, 61.1% of workers said they liked their jobs. That number has slid over time, reaching an all-time low in 2010 following the Great Recession, when only 42.6% of workers said they were satisfied in their jobs. It has been ticking back up since then but rose only .4% since last year.


The survey asks workers how they feel about various parts of their experience, including job security, wages, promotion policy, vacation policy, sick leave, health plan and retirement plan. On all of those measures, workers were happier in 1987 than they are now.


As the prospects for long-term work with the same employer have eroded and employees have been saddled with ever-higher health plan deductibles and payroll deductions, the two categories where workers’ satisfaction fell the most were job security and health plan, both declining by at least 11 points since 1987.


This report also looks at satisfaction gains in the short term. As for income, the results highlight the gap in satisfaction between higher wage earners and those at the bottom of the income scale. Workers making more than $125,000 were the most satisfied, with 64.1% saying they were happy with their compensation, compared to 59.6% in 2011. Only 24.4% making under $15,000 were satisfied—also no surprise. That’s down from 27.3% in that group who were satisfied in 2011. In the mid-range, 44.4% of those making between $50,000 and $75,000 said they were satisfied, versus 45.8% in 2011.


What makes employees happiest at work? “Interest in work,” which 59% said satisfied them and “people at work,” which 60.6% said they liked.


What worries workers most: layoffs. Even though hiring has picked up, only 46.6% of employees say they feel satisfied with their job security, compared to 48.5% before the recession. That’s way down from the 59.4% who said they felt they had job security in 1987.

Finally the report has some interesting data comparing men’s and women’s satisfaction at work. Men are happier in their jobs, with 47.8% saying they’re satisfied versus 46.3% of women. There are also signs that the glass ceiling persists, observes the report, shown in the differing satisfaction about promotion and compensation. Among men, 26.1% say they’re satisfied with their promotion prospects versus 21.4% of women and 38.3% of men are happy with their wages versus 34.3% of women.  Other findings include:

  • For the third year in a row, the largest percentage of respondents have indicated that respectful treatment of all employees at all levels was a very important contributor to their job satisfaction.

  • Trust between employees and senior management is gaining importance; this aspect increased 6 percentage points compared with percentages in 2015.

  • Compensation displayed the largest discrepancy between importance and satisfaction with 35 percentage points. One reason may be the nine percentage point drop in the amount of workers receiving bonuses in the year prior. However, the number of raises given to employees were consistent with previous years.

  • Although job satisfaction and employee engagement levels are relatively high, two out of five employees (40%) expressed, to some degree, the possibility of seeking employment outside their organization within the next year. Not surprisingly, the leading reason for workers to stay at or leave an organization was compensation/pay. 


The Conference Board relied on Nielsen, which conducted a mail survey of 5,000 households and got responses from 1,673 workers.  They examined 44 aspects of job satisfaction and 38 factors directly related to employee engagement. Among the topics explored are career development, relationships with management, compensation and benefits, work environment, engagement opinions, engagement behaviors, and conditions for engagement. This executive summary discusses the leading job satisfaction contributors, their degrees of importance and satisfaction, and implications and recommendations for improvement.


There is a level of job satisfaction for each person and each job performed. Problems occur when people are not happy with their jobs.


Job Dissatisfaction


Not everyone can be satisfied with their job. In a 2012 survey conducted by Right Management, 65% of individuals that were surveyed were either somewhat or totally unsatisfied with their jobs. Now, you might be thinking that this is a problem here in the U.S., but it is a worldwide problem. In a Mercer study of 30,000 workers worldwide, between 28% and 56% of workers around the globe wanted to leave their jobs.

With all these unhappy people, one would think there have to be causes that drive these high percentages. Additionally, one has to think about the reactions or responses from employees that do not have job satisfaction and how they act (or act out) on the job. When we are younger, we act out by pouting or stomping our feet - maybe even holding our breath - but it is important we understand how employees respond when they are not satisfied with their jobs. Understanding the responses helps companies to identify that discontent and hopefully address it before it goes too far.




Causes of Job Dissatisfaction


Many employees feel dissatisfied with their jobs at one point or another. Some employees leave their jobs for better opportunities, while others choose to stay. Employees with low job satisfaction can negatively affect a company because they typically lack motivation, perform poorly and possess negative attitudes. These symptoms can directly affect a company’s bottom line. Managers should understand the reasons employees are unhappy at work. Understanding the causes can help managers find the right solutions.


There are a number of specific causes for job dissatisfaction, but it is understood there are four main areas are:


Being underpaid: One of the primary reasons for job dissatisfaction results from companies underpaying workers . This one issue is the most challenging one to work with because it can be driven by interpretation or perspective that is very personal or individually focused. If a person does not think they are being paid enough to do their job, then they perceive themselves to be underpaid - even if the wages they make are in line with that position. If they research the wages for that job and find they are indeed being underpaid, then their dissatisfaction is warranted.


In addition, there could be analogous circumstance.  For example they could see someone who does the same job they are doing driving a better car or living in a better house - and thus, perceive that person to be making more money. And so, once again, they believe they are underpaid. So unless you know what others are making or research the wages from accurate sources that are appropriate for a specific job function, then the dissatisfaction that comes from being underpaid is totally based on perception. From a company's perspective, it is a valuable and important perspective because individuals who are dissatisfied with the money they are making, for the job they do, will most likely leave the organization.


Next is Limited career growth: Not having the opportunity to climb the ladder and grow your career is another area that can foster dissatisfaction. Although it is important to understand that not everyone wants to move up the ladder. However, for those who do, if the company does not afford them the opportunity of growth, they will most likely become disenchanted.   


Employees who feel stuck in their job position are less motivated to maintain high productivity than those who do not. Workers feel valued when employers include them in their long-term plans and show their appreciation through promotions. Employees who move up in an organization and receive just compensation to reflect their title and responsibility changes usually commit themselves to the company for the long term.


The Third Major Factor is Lack of Interest


A lack of interest in the work is another reason why employees are unhappy. Most employees want to perform job duties that are engaging and challenging. Monotonous work causes an employee to experience boredom. Bored and unchallenged employees experience little incentive to concern themselves with workplace productivity. According to Lise Saari and Timothy Judge from the University of Tennessee, the nature of employees' work accounts for the most situational influence in workplace satisfaction.


The Final Major Factor is Poor Management


The management team plays an important role within an organization. Managers are responsible for motivating employees, planning, organizing and controlling within the organization. A key reason employees perform poorly in the workplace is poor management. Managers with poor leadership skills tend to offer little feedback on employees’ performances. Micromanaging and dictating to employees instead of motivating them can cause a decrease in employee productivity. Some organizations possess highly political cultures that tend to discourage workers from believing the roles they fill are important to the organization.

So now that we have examined the 4 Major Causes of Dissatisfaction at work. let’s Untangle the knot and Explore the Source of your Job Dissatisfaction

From wondering whether you made the right career choice to buckling under the pressure of a micromanaging boss, it might seem easy to point a finger at the cause of your job dissatisfaction. But before jumping ship — or to any quick conclusions — it makes sense to explore the deeper reasons you may be unhappy at work.


Aside from the four major causes we just examined, What causes job dissatisfaction for you may be something else like a minor annoyance (or hardly noticeable) to others. “The first step in achieving authentic job satisfaction is understanding yourself well enough to know where you can steer, where you can pivot — and when you don’t really need to do either.  Let’s say your values don’t align with the corporate culture. Can you live with that, or is it a deal breaker?


Perhaps you enjoy working with the people on your team, but opportunities for advancement seem limited. Is a promotion a priority at this time? Do you get frustrated by your boss’s lack of time for you? If so, can you come up with a proactive solution?


Sometimes, situations change in a variety of ways, turning a job you once loved into one that leaves you feeling frustrated or dissatisfied:

  • You may have been hired at one company, but find that the culture (and perhaps even your job description) undergoes a huge transformation if it’s acquired by a new owner or merges with another company.

  • Budget cuts at the corporate or department level increase your workload.

  • A boss with whom you really clicked leaves the company.

  • You’re hired as a programmer, but are moved into a project management position because that’s where the company needs you.


When trying to identify whether the source of your job dissatisfaction is your career, company, job, boss, the people you work with or perhaps yourself, the answer isn’t always clear. Unfortunately, there may not be a simple way to find the easy answer.

A career coach can help you decide your best course of action, whether that may be to explore other career options, go back to school, find a new job or look for ways to make your current position more engaging — even enjoyable.





While certain circumstances clearly point to a blatant mismatch between a person and their career or company, most of the time, the dissatisfaction comes from a decision (or series of decisions) that you made.  Knowing the decisions we made that led to it that can be very empowering.


You may not have the luxury of a great boss, but you always have the luxury of owning your own thoughts, perspectives and actions.

“You may find that, despite your frustrations, you’re not in a position to make a career or job move. It’s up to you to make the decision to carry out the responsibilities of your job, but with a different mindset, knowing that when and if your situation changes, you can take the appropriate action.”


When you experience intense job dissatisfaction, you tend to hold on to anger or emotional baggage. And that negativity can zap your energy.


“Sometimes, developing an acceptance that you can’t control the uncontrollable can be very freeing. “Letting go is not the same thing as ignoring. Rather, it’s making a deliberate choice.

“When things feel intolerable, you either say ‘I’m moving on’ or ‘these things need to change.’ At a certain point, each of us takes responsibility for stepping away. This point, indeed, may be a moment characterized by ‘I’ve had enough.’


One final thought, In general, people don’t regret making a shift — or even leaving a career, company, job or boss. Rather, they regret not doing it sooner.


This is Greg from Platinum Method Coaching.  I hope this was illuminating.    Remember, when one door closes, another opens; but we often look at the closed door for so long that we do not see the one that has opened for us.” If you have any career related questions, Please call us at (800) 217-7113 to take the first step to bring your life back into balance. You can also email me at   


Until next time, remember, “Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more!  So let’s make it a great day!  


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