Who’s Job is Job Satisfaction?

Who’s Job is Job Satisfaction?

The Conference Board reports that 2010 is still a month young and already it’s set a new record. Almost half of all Americans (45%) report that they are dissatisfied with their jobs. That’s the highest the figure has been since the question was first asked, way back in 1987.

What’s behind this malaise?

Certainly, it would be easy to point a finger at employers. They’ve made huge cuts in the workforce and then piled work on the survivors. They’ve paid their top executives obscene amounts of money and lavish perks and argued against adding a measly couple of dimes to the minimum wage. And, of course, you could go on and on.

I think, however, there’s another equally as important cause of job dissatisfaction that you don’t hear much about. Ask any recruiter to identify their single greatest problem, and most will say the number of unqualified people who apply for their openings.

Now, I understand that in this difficult economy, people are desperate; they’ll take any job they can get. But, here’s the simple truth: if you wan to be dissatisfied with your job, apply for one where you aren’t qualified to do the work.

I’m writing a book called The Career Activist Republic. It describes the rise of a new kind of worker in America. This worker demands all of their rights of citizenship in the workplace as well as in the rest of our society. But in order to claim those rights, these career activists also accept the responsibilities that come along with them.

How does that relate to job dissatisfaction?

If you believe you have a right to the pursuit of Happiness at work—and I believe you do—then you also have the responsibility to put yourself in a role where you have the skills and knowledge and the cultural alignment to achieve it. Or to put it another way, if you’ve been wasting your time applying for jobs where you aren’t qualified, invest the time, instead, looking for and landing jobs where you are. You are much more likely to be hired and infinitely more likely to be satisfied with the job.

Thanks for reading,
Peter