“According to Gallup pollsters, only one-third of Baby Boomers and Gen Xers are engaged by their work. Jim Harter, Gallup’s chief scientist for workplace management and well-being, says about half of Boomer and Gen X employees fall in a second category that Gallup characterizes as “not engaged.” As Harter puts it, “They show up; they get their paycheck and do the minimum required.” And one out of five belongs in the category Gallup calls “actively disengaged,” which Harter describes as “a pretty desperate state.” This situation exacts a toll on more than just productivity: Gallup has found that, compared with engaged employees, actively disengaged workers of all ages are far likelier to report stress and physical pain. They have higher cortisol levels and blood pressure, and they are nearly twice as likely to be diagnosed with depression or to call in sick”.
I have read dozens of academic studies that concluded the same: unhappy careers lead to unhappy and unhealthy lives. I know that work is needed to pay the bills. But my mission is to help people find work that can lead people to happy careers that also pay the bills.
Mark is a project manager for a computer software firm based in Hartford, Connecticut. He “manages conflict” during much of that time since software implementation almost always leads to end user frustration. While he is dealing with multi-million dollar contracts and senior level IT executives, he says his job is just a higher level version of a customer service job for frustrated computer users.
I’m sure everyone has called a help center related to a personal computer issue. Most people make such calls because they are frustrated. When they get on the phone that frustration is unleashed on the call center service person who had nothing to do with causing the problem. Mark’s job is the same except he has to deal with very smart, very angry Chief Information Officers and their equally smart and equally angry underlings who bought a multi-million dollar computer platform and feel that it is not performing as promised. Quite often – as is the case with personal computer issues – it is the end user who is at fault but sometimes Mark’s engineering team made mistakes. Either way, Mark’s 8:30-6:30 day begins and ends amidst these conflicts.
Mark is 51. Blessed with good health and athletic genes, he’s never had health problems of any consequence. His doctor just told him that his blood pressure is unusually high and suggested that Mark go on medication.
Mark had gone to the doctor for a physical check-up and came out realizing he needed a new job.