The boss of a friend recently gathered all his charges together for a ritual new year pep talk. “Each of you has the right to love your job,” he told them.
She thought this terrific and looked a bit dashed when I pointed out it was both dangerous and unrealistic. No one has the right to love their jobs. Not only that, most people hate them.
If you type into Google “my job is —” the search engine predicts the way your sentence is going: “so boring” or “making me suicidal” or “ making me miserable”. If you start “my boss is —”, Google offers: “lazy”, “ is bullying me” or (my favourite) “a cow”. Even more alarming, if you type “my job is stimulating”, it assumes you have made a typo and suggests what you must have meant “not stimulating”.
The internet has a way of whipping up bad feeling. Yet in this case workplace disaffection is real and growing. We are in the middle of what Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, a professor at UCL in London, calls an “epidemic of disengagement”. Most surveys show less than a third of workers care for their jobs, and the long-term trend is getting worse. In the UK there is some evidence we like our jobs a good deal less than we did in the 1960s. Continue reading Why is work making us miserable?