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Work = Misery?

Work!   Ugh you say.     You're not alone.   

An interesting op-ed piece by Lucy Kellaway in the Financial Times  (behind a paywall) looks at work in 2017 - and compares it to some 50 years ago. 

"If you type into Google "my job is –" the search engine predicts the way your sentence is going: "so boring" or "making me suicidal" or "making me miserable". If you start "my boss is –", Google offers: "lazy", "is bullying me" or (my favourite) "a cow". Even more alarming, if you type "my job is stimulating", it assumes you have made a typo and suggests that you must have meant "not stimulating".

The internet has a way of whipping up bad feeling. Yet in this case workplace disaffection is real and growing. We are in the middle of what Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, a professor at UCL in London, calls an "epidemic of disengagement". Most surveys show less than a third of workers care for their jobs, and the long-term trend is getting worse.

In Britain there is some evidence we like our jobs a good deal less than we did in the 1960s. This is most peculiar. I was not in the workforce in the 1960s. But I was in the 1980s, and can confirm things are better than they were back then. When I joined the City pre-Big Bang, it was stuffed with upper-class men in pinstripes, many of whom were astonishingly dim. Jobs were still for life, so if you landed one you did not like, you were trapped. Promotions took ages, and even then were largely based on Buggins' turn and who you played golf with. Bullying was so normal no one thought to complain. Office buildings were dingy, dirty and uncomfortable. There were no such thing as ergonomic chairs, and you were likely to get lung cancer from all the passive smoking.

Now, not only are offices bright and beautiful, we do not even have to go to them if we do not feel like it – we can work at home instead. Bosses have been taught not to shout. There are gyms and free fruit. And if you happen to be a woman, things have improved beyond recognition. In the 1960s you were limited to filing and shorthand, while now (at least in theory) you can run the show. So why are we so miserable?"





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