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The Engineer's Notebook

The Engineer's Notebook is a shared blog for entries that don't fit into a specific CR4 blog. Topics may range from grammar to physics and could be research or or an individual's thoughts - like you'd jot down in a well-used notebook.

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Are You Satisfied with Your Job?

Posted January 07, 2010 1:00 AM by Sharkles

How do you feel about your job?

If you're like 55% of the 5,000 Americans surveyed by the Conference Board research group, it's likely that work is unsatisfying, uninteresting, or for some, doesn't allow you to keep afloat.

The report, which is also based on a 2008 survey of 227 global companies and a 2009 pulse survey gauging the impact of the recent financial crisis, says that job satisfaction in America has hit a 22 year low. While many are quick to point to the recession as a main culprit, the Conference Board, an organization that conducts the survey each year, has said that the decline in job satisfaction has been on the rise for more than two decades.


The survey touched upon what the organization refers to as "four crucial drivers of employee engagement": job design, organizational health, managerial quality, and intrinsic rewards. This year, satisfaction was down across each of the four drivers.

With regard to job design, only 51% of survey participants said their jobs are interesting, another 22 year low. Comparatively, 70% of workers in 1987 were interested in their jobs.

Another major contributor to the rise in job dissatisfaction is weak wage growth. According the Conference Board, household incomes that were adjusted for inflation throughout the 1980s and 1990s have been shrinking since 2000. Similarly, the number of workers contributing to their health insurance has increased three-fold since 1980. From 1999-2006 alone, employee health care contributions nearly doubled.

Other findings include:

  • Job security: 43% of workers feel secure in their jobs in 2009. Some 47% felt secure in 2008.
  • Interpersonal relationships: 56% say they like their co-workers, a figure that is down 1% from last year.
  • Despite commute time increases, 56% of people are satisfied with their commute.
  • Just over half of the people surveyed (51%) are satisfied with their boss, down from 55% in 2008 and 60% in the 1980s.

Who's Happy and Why Does it Matter?

The largest group of dissatisfied workers is those under 25 years of age. The report claims that the recession was particularly tough on this demographic, making it harder to find jobs in general - and for a fair wage.

Those with the most satisfaction are between 25 and 34 years old. Nearly 47% of workers in this demographic answered positively, citing more opportunities for upward mobility as baby boomers retire as a factor.

According to Linda Barrington, managing director of Human Capital, The Conference Board, "The growing dissatisfaction across and between generations is important to address because it can directly impact the quality of multi-generational knowledge transfer-which is increasingly critical to effective workplace functioning."


I didn't think the Conference Board findings were particularly eye-opening, but I felt like I needed more information. Mostly, I'm interested in the types of jobs the 5,000 people surveyed hold or held at the time they were questioned now and in 1987 (the original year of the survey, used for comparison). The types of jobs available in the U.S have changed throughout the years; consider what would be more "satisfying," being a hands-on engineer, or logging engineering data into a computer.

What do you think?

  • Are you satisfied at your job? Why or why not?
  • What makes a job satisfying?
  • Does it matter if a job is satisfying?



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United States - Member - New Member Engineering Fields - Electrical Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 1152
Good Answers: 36

Re: Are You Satisfied with Your Job?

01/07/2010 1:11 PM

I think that the under 25 group is not an accurate reflection across the whole age group. What I mean is that I am willing to bet that there is a huge job satisfaction difference between those that are pre-college and post-college. Pre-college mainly have to do laborious tasks (like babysitting, cashier, stocking shelves, farm-work, flipping burgers, etc. - this is not to say that other age groups or other professions don't require this) and there are few jobs for them that includes using education as a tool. After college is (~20-21) is when education is usually implemented into the workplace. I think that grouping all of the under 25 group together was a misjudgment on the surveyors part as a huge life/job transition takes place within that group (college).

I think that if you are not satisfied with your job that you should find something that you actually like to do. Where there is a will, there is a way. Just because it may not be ideal to change jobs now does not mean that you shouldn't prepare for the possibility (job searches, reading educational books, etc.). I think that most every job is satisfying, because I believe that things are what you make of it. If you take a job that includes sitting at a desk, don't expect to be playing around in the outdoors. I believe that it is peoples expectations that keep them from being happy. A certain amount of expectations are necessary to keep self-improvement running, but unrealistic expectations cause stress and dissatisfaction. Take what you have at face value (and appreciate that little thing - the laughs amongst coworkers, the break where you notice free food in the break room, etc.) and don't make unrealistic expectations is the key to my job satisfaction.


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Re: Are You Satisfied with Your Job?

01/07/2010 8:37 PM

When I was 19, working as a Security Guard for Rochdale College, I told Lionel, I wasn't happy.

Lionel leaned back in his chair so far that he was on the verge of falling completely backwards, but did not.

He righted himself, and slapped both hands on the table between us and said, "It's not a happy trip, its a money trip."

You don't get wise because you got old, you get old because you were wise.

Join Date: Jul 2008
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Re: Are You Satisfied with Your Job?

01/08/2010 12:37 AM

I do not consider myself to be a disciplined person. I think it only fair that I acknowledge that up front.

To compound matters further, it appears I have the Edison Gene as I am easily distracted by new ideas and novelty and abhor the monotony of repetitive tasks.

Yet, when I am doing my "job" I am intensely focused to the exclusion of all else and what seems like an hour to me was actually 8 hours for all others. I can and have work at it to all hours of the night and early morning and do so voluntarily. The main ingredient that underlies all this outpouring of creative energy is rooted in one thing above all others: passion!

I am a firm believer in Joseph Campbell's counsel to: "Follow your bliss" and have done just that for most of my adult life. My ability to do just that was inhibited a great deal when I married and became a parent. I never worried about money until I married and it was not until I divorced that I was able to get out from under the insecurities inherited from my ex spouse and cease living as if I was in survival.

Something magical occurred when I stopped making my happiness a function of my circumstances. Attachments are what kept me stuck. Trying to make life, my marriage and my income conform to my expectations did more to make me miserable than anything else. And the irony of it all was that I chose that behavior. It wasn't forced on me.

I am a mechanical designer by profession and will be returning to a University to advance my education in two weeks, not for professional reasons but because I wish to gain some discipline specific knowledge to empower my designs.

What astounds many is when they find out that I am going to be 71 n April. Most think I am in my 50's and while I am fortunate to have been born into a physically youthful gene pool, I am convinced that my personal psychology, creative spirit and enthusiasm are the principle factors driving my activity.

  • Are you satisfied at your job?

You bet! If it's not satisfying I don' do it.

  • what makes a job satisfying?

The ability to self express, be creative, without fear of reprisal. The knowledge that I am needed and make a difference. Appreciation for my efforts and to be rewarded properly when I have satisfied the expectations I created.

  • Does it matter if a job is satisfying?

Self expression is the essence of what it means to be a human being. Everything we do, EVERYTHING (yes even THAT!) is an instrument, an opportunity for expressing who we are as individuals. People who believe they are trapped in their jobs and come up with reasons why are committing emotional Sepecu.

Life's too short. I will do what I love. Sometimes I make money. Sometimes I don't but I am having fun, always. The irony is that I am, earning more for my creative work, than at any time in my life.

Be true to yourself, Do what you love, or, as Josepph Campbell said:

"Follow Your Bliss!"


"Both the revolutionary and the creative individual are perpetual juveniles. The revolutionary does not grow up because he cannot grow, while the creative individual cannot grow up because he keeps growing." Eric Hoffer

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Re: Are You Satisfied with Your Job?

01/08/2010 1:12 AM
  • Are you satisfied at your job? Why or why not?
  • What makes a job satisfying?
  • Does it matter if a job is satisfying?

I am 71. Working full time as an engineering scientist for the past 51 years in multidisciplinary R&D. Enjoying every minute. Pure fun.

It is not a job. I just like doing it.

It matters very much if the job is satisfying.


Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 1

Re: Are You Satisfied with Your Job?

01/08/2010 4:42 AM

As a chinese,I don't know what situation Americans work;and I feel employees in china are worse than those in U.S.A.

In 2006,I was graduated from the university and come to another littoral province-Guangdong to work in a taiwanese company,as know,Taiwan company have not "four crucial drivers of employee engagement',here the salary is very low--1000RMB Per month equivalent to USD150 and the jobs are quite dull and bore.


Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: NW Ohio
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Re: Are You Satisfied with Your Job?

01/08/2010 8:32 AM

And how much taxpayer money went into telling us tripe we already know?

Sometimes you do what you have to do to survive. Why whine about it. Suck it up and get over it.

The Conference Board probably promoted art therapy for the Yemeni Gitmo guys who felt being a terrorist was "unsatisfying, uninteresting, etc".

Goodness has nothing to do with it.
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Re: Are You Satisfied with Your Job?

01/08/2010 8:56 AM

Since people from outside the US have blogged, SO WILL I.

I trully believe that if the job you have is not satisfying, then leave it. When I wake up every morning and find myself trying to leave for work and I find myself pushing my body, because I don´t feel like it (doesn´t mean that I was out partying the night before), it usually is the definitive signal that I have to find myself another gig.

Usually, since I have been creative, assertive and have helped the bottom line, I am offered job options from which to choose from.

It`s real important that you feel satisfaction towards your job, but that feeling comes from inside. The challenges that are presented to me usually come from me and not the front office. Not that they don´t ask me for stuff or that I´m a suck up, but I need to feel pressure on myself that my ideas can move the world. That´s how I see it.

Am I satisfied? Usually. When I´m not I pose myself with another question, another challenge and satisfy myself by taking and completing the project.

I became an engineer out of love for what the human being can accomplish, can build and out of love for machines and how they work. The satisfaction of bringing to life an idea in the back of my head to reality and watching it work like I wanted to and seeing other people looking at it makes me feel awesome. Not great, awesome.

That´s how I see it.

Anything can be made... With time, money and brains.

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Re: Are You Satisfied with Your Job?

01/08/2010 11:11 AM

The real judgement on job satisfaction is some thing to do with the consciousness part of one's own-self.

It is more of a self testimony of self ensurance of accomplishment of levels of performance.

Basically if the job satisfaction is based on self laid targets and assessments, we all play a carrot and donkey game for ourselves.

Greatest achievers always play the self imposed carrot game.

In those context, there is no need for the very consideration on job satisfaction. Contentment and feeljng of satisfaction may fit on the mental make up or for a philosophical level and not much contribute to improved performance.

It is purely an individual based conception and likely to vary from person to person like this:





If we happened to measure the satisfaction levels of so much varied optioned levels of consumers/ audience- sure the satisfaction rating has no common basis.


Satisfaction has time based expectations and there is no end to desires and satisfaction. This desire for achievement is healthy sign of performance.

Un satisfaction in fact will trigger individual performance and activate to the line meeting or convincing goal levels.

It is very complex character to assess based on lots of dependant factors.

The best way is to go for self assessment, is the justification of performance based on end results.

That means to say the job was performed satisfactorily and the rewards had been fair. Returns or rewards for performance can not be equated with job satisfaction. It has to pass multi stage test1]self assessment 2]peer assessments 3] net result [positive or negative,4] measurably and so on.

As humans seeking more comfort and safety it can be bought only at the cost of efforts and exertions and not just a routine performance of jobs.


Nature is so graceful and naked. Human possession is ridiculous.

Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 27

Re: Are You Satisfied with Your Job?

01/08/2010 3:51 PM

I am satisfied, I really like what I do. My first (paying) job at 13 was detassling corn. It was miserable work that helped me appreciate everything I've done since then.

To me, a job is satisfying if it is challenging and encourages life-long learning. The job environment should encourage and support self-thinkers and motivators (no one should have to look over your shoulder constantly yet support should be readily available).

I don't think satisfying work is the whole answer. To me, a certain income is required regardless of whether the work is satisfying. What good is it if you absolutely love your job but you can't afford necessities.

Yes I am an engineer. No, I will not help you with your math homework...oh, okay, but just this once.
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Anonymous Poster

Re: Are You Satisfied with Your Job?

01/11/2010 1:44 AM


I very very hate my job. Because i am work in China.

Economy corruption occured every where. From goverment to national company; ftom Chinese personal ivested company to foreign capital company.

Every one have a feigned face, every one a gentlman professedly but a devil inside.

China it is a place where the costly is higher keep the peace than violate the law.

I hate my job because corruption every where every boss!


Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 1790
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Re: Are You Satisfied with Your Job?

01/11/2010 1:52 AM
  • Are you satisfied at your job? Why or why not?

I love my job. I am well compensated, I get to do very interesting stuff with some of the best engineers in the business, and I make a real difference.

  • What makes a job satisfying?

Good management, good peers, and interesting work.

  • Does it matter if a job is satisfying?

As has already been said, if you are not happy or at least satisfied with your daily work, please find something else. Life is too short to be miserable at work.

I also think that Maslow has it right, the higher up his pyramid you climb, the more that satisfying work matters. If you are fighting for food, then job satisfaction is less important.'s_hierarchy_of_needs

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