According to a Washington Post article, only 30% of us like going to work. 70% of us are disengaged in our jobs. The question is: why? Why do we not like our work?
Googling the question, “Why do people hate their jobs?” may provide some answers. The Forbes magazine, for example, cites several reasons. We choose our careers at an age when we are unaware of our options. Some of us feel pressured to have a career where we can make a lot of money. Some of us try to climb the corporate ladder but get stuck at a point. In addition to the official answers, some also cite the economy. Jobs do not pay well anymore and there is not any job security. Thus, there are many reasons we may not like our jobs.
Having read several articles on the subject in the past few weeks made me think. I asked myself if there was a greater reason we did not like our work. I did not have to wait too long to get an answer. The answer has arrived through a personal experience. I work in the security profession at a sophisticated workplace where everything is properly recorded. Every door swipe, camera angle, incident, visitor and contractor arrival is entered into a record. Nobody can even sneeze without our knowledge. We take care to accurately and neatly keep these records. Yet, I have recently witnessed what happens to them at the end of the year. All records, which are in printed out forms, are boxed up and shipped to a safe location to be stored for seven years. Then, the records go to a shredder machine. Having seen the records boxed up, I felt utterly disappointed. We do all this work just to send the papers to the shredder seven years from now? Suddenly, my work seemed useless, pitiful and meaningless. This made me realize that this is the reason most of us do not like our jobs: We do not find our jobs meaningful. That is probably the number one reason for not liking our work.
Can’t we just quit and find meaningful jobs? Well, most meaningful occupations do not pay good money. Many of us would love to be artists, environmentalists or inventors, just to name a few inspirational occupations, but can’t afford to do so. These occupations are not valued in today’s society. The economy favours jobs that come with either endless paper works and boring meetings or harsh physical labour and repetitive tasks. Basically, the jobs we have, that are available to us to pay our bills, are soul-murdering. If we wanted more meaningful occupations, we would have to do a major re-organization of the economy. I am not sure how many of us are up for this difficult challenge. So, for now, most of us will just unhappily work to pay the bills!