If you are unhappy, then you are, unfortunately, not alone. Only 45% of Americans are satisfied with their work. That was the lowest level recorded by the Conference Board research group in more than 22 years of studying the issue.
While income and health benefits were major factors in this, a key finding was that only 51% now find their jobs interesting — another low in the survey’s 22 years. In 1987, nearly 70% said they were interested in their work. The researchers noted that lack of interest leads to lack of innovation, which further hurts the US economy. Unhappiness at work in other studies has been connected with health issues.
When I read these kinds of statistics, I always wonder why.
Why are so many people staying in jobs that don’t satisfy or interest them? Of course, I realize, especially now, the answer may be financial. But my experience with clients tells me that this rarely if ever excludes starting to plan and take action toward long term (or short term) change.
One reason people get stuck and don’t change is that they get caught in a negative cycle with all-or-nothing thinking. Either I stay in a lousy job that I don’t like but get some financial security or I go broke looking for something wonderful that may not happen. That may seem a bit extreme, but I would suggest if you don’t like your work, then you look at your own thinking and see if it doesn’t boil down to this kind of belief.
If so, take an alternative approach. Use your current situation as a stable base to start planning and taking actions to move toward your dream job and career. You don’t have to immediately quit your current job or job search in most cases. Figure out what you’d love to do and either start applying for those kinds of jobs now or taking other actions to make that possible (volunteer in related activities, take classes, etc.)
In other words, don’t make yourself stuck between a rock and a hard place. There are places between staying where you are and ditching it for a completely risky unknown future. But you ‘ll never find out what those places are, let alone how close you can get to that exciting but risky future if you keep thinking how unsatisfied you are while assuming it’s too risky to change.