On Second Thought, Don’t Take This Job and Shove It

The phrase “disgruntled employee” has become a fixture of American speech. Type it into an online search engine and you’ll find listings by the thousand. One might infer from this that vast numbers of Americans hate their jobs, but one would be mistaken. In fact, a couple of new surveys find—as other surveys have over the years—that most people are happy with their jobs. In a Gallup poll on the matter, 41 percent of employed adults said they’re “completely satisfied” with their jobs, with another 44 percent “somewhat satisfied.” Just 4 percent said they’re “completely dissatisfied.” The same poll found 32 percent saying they “love” their jobs, versus 2 percent who hate their jobs. An Ipsos-Reid survey yields similar results: 56 percent of workers said they’re “very satisfied” with their jobs, and32 percent said they’re “somewhat” so, while 5 percent were “not at all satisfied.” It isn’t just the paycheck, either. Tellingly, the number of respondents completely satisfied with their salaries (29 percent) was about half as large as the number who are satisfied overall. Meanwhile, the number who find their job interesting “all the time” exceeds the number who find it “completely dull and monotonous” by a margin of 35 percent to 3 percent. When asked which they enjoy more—”the hours when you are on your job, or the hours when you are not on your job”—a sizable minority of the Ipsos-Reid respondents (19 percent) cited their on-the-job time. As the Gallup survey reveals, this enthusiasm for work often translates into loyalty, with 83 percent saying they have “a strong sense of loyalty” to their employers. (A smaller majority, 64 percent, feel their employers have a strong sense of loyalty to them.) Gallup also asked its respondents to choose between two ways oflooking at their jobs: “Some people get a sense of identity from their job. For other people, their job is just what they do for a living.” The “sense of identity” vote topped the “for a living” tally by 54 percent to 44 percent.