"People enjoy their jobs"
In 2001, the UK government announced
plans for a "work first" culture. Ministers spoke
of how work "holds communities together" and "gives
life meaning". The media lapped it up.
Meanwhile, back in the real world...
In 2002, the Work Foundation reported that
"job satisfaction has plummeted", and that so-called
"high performance" management techniques made workers
deeply unhappy and failed to raise output.
In January 2004, a marketing director at Prudential
was reported as saying: "Our research shows that an
alarming number of people appear to be unhappy in their employment
and unfulfilled by their work".
A British Social Attitudes survey revealed
that 6 in 10 British workers are unhappy in their jobs, with
a majority reporting feelings of insecurity, stress, pointlessness,
exhaustion and inadequate income.
A Samaritans survey found that jobs are the
single biggest cause of stress and that the link between
work and suicide is likely to be underestimated. In Japan,
around 5% of all suicides are "company related"
and suicide is an official, compensated work-related condition.
In a pathetic attempt to raise worker morale, employers
are giving high-sounding titles to mundane jobs. The recruitment
company, Reed, noticed these examples:
Technical Sanitation Assistant
Optical Illuminator Enhancer
Head of Verbal Communications
Senior Corporate Events Manager
A 2003 University of Cambridge study showed that more
than 1 in 4 British adults (aged 30-59) choose lower paid
jobs, or "downshifting", in order to have more free
Sources: Work Foundation, April
2002; Christian Science Monitor, 12 Jan 2004; BSA survey;
The Samaritans 'Stressed Out', May 2003; Hazards magazine
factsheet 83, 2003; The Japan Times, 10 May 2003; Study by
Reed, March 2002; University of Cambridge, 1/12/03 http://www.admin.cam.ac.uk/news/dp/2003112602