Why Is Everyone So Unhappy at Work Right Now?

According to Vanessa Fuhrmans and Lindsay Ellis in their Wall Street Journal Nov. 27, 2023 article, Americans, by many measures, are unhappier at work than they have been in years.

-despite wage increases

-greater control over where they work

 -A BambooHR analysis of data from more than 57,000 workers shows job-satisfaction scores have fallen to their lowest point since early 2020, after a 10% drop this year alone.


In their interviews with workers, Vanessa and Lindsay explain why. 

-It is clear the unhappiness is part of a rethinking of work life that began in 2020.

-Inflation, which is erasing much of recent pay gains.

-People chafe against being micromanaged back to offices, yet they also find isolating aspects of hybrid and remote work.

-A cooling job market is leaving many professionals feeling stuck.

-Companies have largely moved on from pandemic operating mode, cutting costs and renewing a focus on productivity


So, what is a manager/leader to do? Here’s my take.


Help your people to feel more purpose in their work by understanding and leveraging their experiences, strengths and passions. 


According to a McKinsey study, “nearly two-thirds of US-based employees we surveyed said that COVID-19 has caused them to reflect on their purpose in life. Millennials were three times more likely than others to say that they were reevaluating work.”


Altho this won’t solve all their frustrations, it is a foundational fix. When people feel they are living their mission, the little things are much more tolerable.