The Death of Job Satisfaction
I know that many people are dissatisfied with their jobs. I know I was at my last one, and that's why I quit. One thing that's been stuck in my head lately is the idea that people are unhappy at their workplace because nobody really has anything they can take pride in any more. Bear with me here...
It used to be at the end of the workday you'd have something to show for it. A roof put on a house. 500 shirt collars sewn on. 300 cars down the assembly line. An entire acre plowed.
But today there's very little tangible at the end of the work day. Most people I know work in the high tech community of Silicon Valley, where I worked myself for over a decade. And after your average 9 or 10 hour day, what do you have to show for it? Nothing, really. Another day's progress towards a project that will take a year to see light of day and be obsolete the day after it debuts. The delivery of words on a web page that will only be in existence for 24-hours. Four meetings for projects that may never come off.
People today don't have job satisfaction because, in many ways, there's no satisfaction to be had. You can't head home for the night thinking proudly of the engine you built or the supplies you delivered. Nothing is done in a day anymore. Everything people do is now tiny pieces of big puzzles. And (keeping the analogy going) you don't even get to put the puzzle together yourself. You work on the piece, pass it on, and someone else gets to tap it into place. So even the joy of getting that one piece in is denied to you.
I know many people still work the jobs where they can clock out and see the fruits of their labors. There are still people on assembly lines or construction sites. Still people who drive trucks and install kitchen cabinets. But for a huge chunk of the population, work now means just one day in an endless series of days.
No wonder people are unhappy.