Do You Enjoy Your Work?
The number of people dissatisfied with their work seems to be growing. Are you one of them? Can your work be made more pleasurable? If so, how would this benefit you?
SOME call their work a dream. Others would sooner call it a nightmare. Apparently, the number of people belonging to the second group is not small.
A recent study, prepared for the U.S. Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, says that “significant numbers of American workers are dissatisfied with the quality of their working lives.” They include “workers at all occupational levels.”
Among West Germans, long known for their industriousness, work has now been pushed out of its perennial number one spot. It has been relegated to fourth place—behind family, leisure and friendship, in that order.
A drop in work satisfaction exists in many parts of the world, and various things have contributed to this trend. Can anything be done to counteract it? We shall see. But first, an important definition.
What Is Work?
“Work” is often thought of as “paid employment.” This definition, however, seriously limits what we are talking about. For example, it would mean that a woman who cares for her home and children is not working, whereas if she accepted payment to care for someone else’s home and children, she would be working.
A better definition of “work” might be the one used by the above-mentioned U.S. study. According to it, “work” is “an activity that produces something of value for other people.”
How Important Is Work Satisfaction?
“If the opportunity to work is absent,” this study continues, “or if the nature of work is dissatisfying (or worse), severe repercussions are likely to be experienced in other parts of the social system.” These repercussions can include a decline in physical and mental health or a breakdown in family relationships. Some dissatisfied workers become apathetic, others even antisocial in their behavior. Such factors can lead to excessive drinking, drug abuse, aggressiveness and crime.
Obviously, then, we have much to gain by trying to counteract work dissatisfaction, at least in our own lives. The late Albert Camus, French writer who won the 1957 Nobel Prize for Literature, once said: “Without work all life goes rotten. But when work is soulless, life stifles and dies.”
Who wants his life to stifle and die? So is it possible to put life into our work so as to make it more interesting and rewarding? Just how satisfying is your work? To check yourself, consider the questions in the box below.
[Box on page 4]
Is Your Work a Pleasure?
□ □ Do you feel well trained for your work?
□ □ Would you consider your job performance above average?
□ □ Do you have enough to work with in the way of
information, materials or tools?
□ □ Are the surroundings in which you work pleasant?
□ □ Do you see other people benefiting from your work?
□ □ Is quitting time often “too early” and does the
weekend come “too soon”?
□ □ After a long vacation, are you anxious to get back to
□ □ Would you enjoy pursuing your type of work as a hobby
or as volunteer social work?
□ □ Does your work provide you with benefits other than
monetary ones, such as opportunities to increase
knowledge and develop abilities?
□ □ Does your work offer you rewarding association and
social contact with worthwhile people?
The more questions you have answered with “YES,” the more satisfying your work is. The more “NO” answers you have given, the less satisfying it is. What can be done to change some of those “NO” answer to “YES”?