In late October 2011 a very telling Gallup poll was released in regards to the state of American workers. In it, the Gallup poll revealed that 71% of American workers are either “not engaged” or “actively disengaged” at their jobs. Though this is hardly a shocker for the common worker, what this poll does provide us with is the official validation of what we have known all our adult lives and that is, work sucks. With the overwhelming number U.S. employment being low wage service sector jobs, it is hardly a mystery to why workers feel this way? How “engaged” can one actually be from behind the cash register? Or from behind a cubical for that matter, spending day after day staring into a computer screen punching in numbers. As for myself, in regards to those who are “actively disengaged”, I have stopped being surprised at bad customer service. Bad customer service is to be expected when a 20 hour a week employee is given a 40 hour a week work load for minimum wage. Furthermore according to another, separate, Gallup poll “American workers who are emotionally disconnected from their work and workplace — known as “actively disengaged” workers — rate their lives more poorly than do those who are unemployed.” (Gallup poll by Jim Harter and Sangeeta Agrawal)
Once again this should not be shocking because to be unemployed and struggling is one thing. But to have a job and still be struggling is a completely different class of its own. The issue at hand is not a matter of laziness but lack of purpose at the work place. Day after day we enter the daily grind of work but for what? Every day is the same, wake up, go to work, go home, go to sleep. Take that and combine it with the lack of work place autonomy and low wages and what you get is not just an unhappy worker but a very unhappy human being. Society is long overdue of a reevaluation of what it means to work, how work should be approached and if work, as traditionally practiced, is even necessary at this junction in time (hint, Resource Based Economy) but one thing for certain is that 72% of the working population knows that something is wrong in regards to work. The question is what will we do about it?