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  • Heather Davis

Career Dissatisfaction Can Rouse Lifegiving Purpose

Global pandemic. Shaken job market and economy. Racial injustice. Let’s throw in an insurrection for good measure.

A time such as this that can jolt us from comfort zones and shift our priorities – ready or not. It’s left few of us without some sort of health or financial or professional or psychological uncertainty.

When we come out of this, there is some good news:

Psychologists Lawrence Calhoun and Richard Tedeschi have long-studied the impact of trauma and adversity. They’ve found that living through tough, adverse periods is what builds strength and resiliency.

No doubt we’ll be better equipped for COVID-28.

Not only do difficult times make us stronger, experiencing them can also inspire and create a sense of new possibilities or opportunities that had not existed, or been recognized, before the downturn.

It’s possible that buried in this mess somewhere lies an opportunity to reevaluate what we spend our increasingly valuable days doing.

Work satisfaction determines life satisfaction

In 2018, the average full-time working American spent over 250 more hours working a year than other, high-income developed nations.

With so much time devoted to our jobs and careers, it should be no surprise that decades of studies affirm the important link between work satisfaction and our quality of life: the happier we are at work, the happier we are in life.

There is no passion to be found playing small - in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” – Nelson Mandela

When I grow up, I want to be … actively disengaged?

One measure of job satisfaction is how actively we’re engaged in what we do while at work.

In May 2020, a Gallup poll showed engagement of U.S. workers at a 20-year high at 38% - just as the pandemic was settling in. A month later, that figure dropped to 31%.

Less than a third of workers surveyed consider themselves “highly involved in, enthusiastic about, and committed to their work and workplace”. The majority they found, do the minimum required to get a paycheck, are not psychologically attached nor passionate about their work and are quick to jump-ship if something better comes along.

A full 14% of workers, according to Gallup, are ‘actively disengaged’. This includes those miserable people who actively hate their jobs and have no compunction about taking everyone else down with them.

All in all, that’s a whole lot of people that dislike what they spending most of their lives doing.