Only 45 percent of Americans are happy in their jobs, which represents a record low in the surveyors’ 20-plus years of surveying Americans on their job satisfaction.
While the knee-jerk tendency is to blame such statistics (almost) entirely on monetary issues, my own historical insufficient job satisfaction comes from much more than just monetary issues.
I see these factors (not necessarily in any certain order) as contributing significantly to Americans’ low job satisfaction:
- Most supervisors at the workplace are baby boomers, and most baby boomers are in it for themselves. They’re in their supervisory jobs not to make everything better for everyone at the workplace, but to make everything better for themselves. They like their big salaries and they like telling others what to do instead of vice-versa; they get off on their power trips. They create toxic workplace environments in which the employees know that to complain or criticize, even nicely and professionally, probably will bring boomer retaliation upon them, and yet these very same boomers tell themselves, even though they have created such environments of fear and intimidation, that their employees just wuv them because Hey, their employees never complain or criticize! Anyway, the boomers’ focus isn’t to leave the workplace in better shape than they got it, but to leave the workplace with the most that they can suck out of it, such as in their too-high salaries and in their retirement and other benefits. And this shows. Every day.
- Following the boomers’ example, too many non-supervisory workers (and non-boomer supervisors) are in it for themselves, too. “Teamwork” is just a bullshit word that is tossed around the workplace, often used only or primarily in order to strong-arm others into doing things that aren’t their responsibility.
- Workers who live from paycheck to paycheck (or nearly so) see that although they’re performing the brunt of the work, it’s the clueless (usually baby-boomer) managers who are making all of the dough. Often the overpaid boomers brag about their latest big purchase or their overseas vacation, which does not improve the morale of those of us who cannot afford such things. Even the dullest of human beings know unfairness when they experience it, and it’s not fair that those who perform the lion’s share of the work get only scraps.
- The boomers won’t go the fuck away — you have to pry their cold, dead fingers from their jobs, like you would with a U.S. Supreme Court justice — and by the time that any of us who are younger than the boomers could ever ascend to a managerial position, out of disgust for the workplace we long would have lost the desire to do so. The boomers’ parents stepped aside in order to give the boomers the reins. But the spoiled-brat boomers refuse to do the same for those who follow them.
- Way too often, those in supervisory positions got those positions not for their competence, but for their willingess to shit and piss and to crack the whip upon their underlings, which is what those above them require them to do. (Interestingly, the boomer supervisors usually are being just as exploited by the plutocrats as are we underlings, yet the boomer supervisors seem oblivious to this fact.)
- In such a highly specialized society, too often the worker does not get to see the benefits of his or her work. He or she might actually be doing some very beneficial work, but he or she will never see it.
- We Generation X’ers (and others) have a highfalutin education that we can’t even use. We are qualified, more than qualified, even, for the higher-level jobs, but those jobs are all taken by the boomers (and were already taken by the boomers when we entered the workplace). Because the plum jobs were claimed long, long ago, we end up doing the shit work. (My fellow Gen X’er Ted Rall appopriately has called us X’ers the “overeducated underclass.”) Despite all of this, the boomers expect us to be bouncy and giddy at the workplace. The boomers want us to be smart enough to do our jobs and their jobs, too, but to be too stupid to realize that we’re being raped in the ass with ground glass as lube.
- Let’s face it: Corporations are in it for the money. (And most of us work for a corporation.) Whatever services or goods the corps provide are just a means of profiteering, and if there’s any quality in their goods or services at all, that’s only the minimum quality that they must provide in order to get their profits. I left nursing more than a decade ago when it was clear to me that profits were — are — waaaaay more important than are people in the wealth care — er, health care — system, and my boyfriend, who is a pharmacist, is clear that he isn’t much more than a prostitute for the big pharamaceutical corporations. What used to be noble professions are now basically prostitution gigs. (Thanks, boomers, for turning to shit everything that you put your grubbies on.)
Solutions? Turn the boomers into something that’s actually useful, such as Soylent Green, maybe?
In any case, it seems that the American workplace won’t be worth working at until the boomers have all finally kicked off. But by then, will anyone have an iota of workplace morale left?
P.S. I want to share with you Salon.com blogger Andrew Leonard’s succinct summary of the baby boomers:
In the ’60s they got all the good drugs, in the ’70s all the sex, in the ’80s all the money, and now … they won’t let go of all the jobs. It’s goes without saying that during the next decade they’ll gobble up all the good health care.
And Social Security, too.
The boomers won’t even leave us with the polar ice caps, for fuck’s sake.
Did I mention that I really, really, really hate the baby boomers?