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Unhappy workers are
stressing themselves and
the American economy    
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[JAN. 17, 2003]  According to a recent Gallup survey, 55 million Americans hate their jobs and would leave them today if they could.

And the National Mental Health Association has determined that unhappiness in the workplace affects all aspects of one's life, including:

  • Drug abuse
  • Obesity
  • Depression
  • Excessive stress
  • Anger
  • Hostility

According to the American Medical Association, these are the very risk factors for America's No. 1 killer, heart disease.

"A national economic disaster"

The National Management Association claims that unhappy workers are the most costly group of employees in any organization. They become easily disengaged -- not only from their daily work but from their organization's mission as well. Unhappy workers often quit their jobs psychologically long before they quit physically. Many are more focused on finding their next job than performing in their present one.

"Unhappy workers pose a tremendous challenge to any organization's leadership," says L. G. Hall, Ph.D., psychologist, career counselor vocational expert and author of "Career Choices Inventory -- Fifth Edition." Negativity, hostility, low morale and blaming one's unhappiness on others can result in decreased production, diminished quality of the company's products and services, increased accidents, soaring absenteeism and tardiness, increased worker turnover, theft, and even sabotage. "Collectively, the impact this has on the American economy is incalculable," he says.

Unhappy careers are entirely preventable

Hall teaches his clients that "this sad waste of talent" not only causes an immense amount of human suffering, but it is entirely preventable. "The truth is, there is so much occupational diversity in America that there are probably a hundred different jobs that each of us could find meaningful and fulfilling."

How do so many workers get into the wrong job?


[to top of second column in this review]

Hall says most workers have never learned how to go about choosing a career, in fact, never considering their own:

  • Interests
  • Abilities and skills
  • Personal values
  • Psychological needs
  • Job characteristics, such as geographical location, work environment, risks, time demands, co-workers, monetary rewards

Working through the process

Hall's "Career Choices Inventory" helps workers negotiate through the self-assessment process so they can make better career choices. "The Constitution proclaims we are 'endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights,'" says Hall. "Likewise, we are all endowed with talents, abilities, interests, personalities and lifelong potentialities that are unique to each of us. Throughout the course of our work lives, we will need to use this career choice process again and again. We will change, our jobs will change, and even the meaning of 'job satisfaction' will change. Thus, the answer to 'happiness' is -- that the answer changes." Hall says we must be ready for change and anticipate it.

Shortage of skilled workers

According to the US Bureau of Labor, within the next six years there will be a shortage of some 10 million SKILLED workers. The nursing and teaching profession are already there. Because of that, Hall says "NOW" is the time for workers to pursue finding the right career fit. "It is the right thing to do, not only for ourselves, our family and our friends, but even for our country.

"We only live once," says Hall, "and we don't want to look back and realize we've squandered our time on earth and never really lived the life we dreamed of -- nor become the person we always wanted to be. It takes great courage to explore one's true calling in life. We need to break away from the expectations of others and give ourselves permission to live out our life's role -- as it is revealed to us. Nowhere is this drama more clearly highlighted than in the career choice process we each encounter."

[News release]

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