Get Me Out Of Here! Most Workers Regret Taking Their Job

no respect at workGiven the bad economy and poor job market most would think that people would be happy to have a job -- at least that's what our bosses and organizations tell us. Wondering whether this was the case, I recently asked AOL Jobs readers to share with me their feelings and attitudes toward their job and organization. The results are in and they are stunning.

Here are some of the highlights, or, should I say low points:

  • Over 50 percent of respondents regret having taken their job.
  • More than 70 percent of respondents would take another job tomorrow if they could.
  • 62 percent of those surveyed are actively seeking other employment opportunities.
  • 47 percent of people report that their job does not keep them engaged.
  • Less than 50 percent of respondents respect their supervisor or feel respected by them.
  • 42 percent of those surveyed do not believe in their organization or its future.

In addition, readers sent me hundreds of stories regarding their frustration and dissatisfaction. Here is one that falls into the category of "you can't make this stuff up."

"I worked for a hospital where my supervisor did not trust his employees to do their jobs correctly, did not believe anyone was honest and had so many rules put in place that it was impossible NOT to get fired. No one was allowed to get sick, even with a legitimate doctor's note. A woman went into labor during work and it was considered an unexcused absence."

Honestly, how is this behavior allowed to exist? It is as though in some organizations no one is at the helm when it comes to holding supervisors accountable for how they treat their employees. How could anyone do their best work under these circumstances? Here are a few more examples of poor behavior and the negative impact that it has on employee morale and engagement....

"I do payroll and was told by my supervisor to go talk to a few girls about their attire which was inappropriate for work. After doing a professional job, the CFO of the company had heard that I went to do my supervisor's job and told me that was not my position and to never do that again. 'Are you kidding?,' I was told by my supervisor, who praised the job I did, and made to feel like a child by the CFO, who talked to me like I was nothing."

"I did my job and cleaned up a mess left by another person and got in trouble for doing more than I was asked to do. My manager then asked me, like you would ask a 4 year old,"Now what would you do if you were me and you found an employee doing something they were not asked to do?" She was a b**** and I never went out of my way to do anything above and beyond at work ever again!"

"I made a suggestion on changing how an event should be run and was told: "That's not how it is in this town, darling."

"Just 2 days ago, I was told by my supervisor "not to get my panties in a wad." Great motivation!"

"My supervisor insulted me and told me that my brain was the size of a pea. Whenever something happens, he is NEVER at fault, it is ALWAYS my fault. I hate my job so much, I would quit right now if I could."

The Impact

To say that people are dissatisfied, discouraged and disconnected would clearly be an understatement. During better economic times and a healthier job market dissatisfied employees were able to find other employment opportunities. For many people, such opportunities simply do not exist. As a result, tens of millions of Americans are in jobs they don't want to be in. Along with dissatisfaction often comes stress, which in turn affects employees' physical and psychological well-being and, consequently, negatively impacts their families. The situation is much graver than employees simply not liking their jobs.

Employees and their families are not the only ones who suffer. How could an organization possibly thrive when 50 percent of their employees regret having taken their job and 62 percent are actively looking for other work? Employee dissatisfaction and disengagement leads to lower levels of productivity, quality and customer service, and to higher rates of absenteeism, tardiness and employee theft. Organizational leaders need to wake up and realize that their bottom line is directly tied to employee satisfaction and engagement.

The Answer

As grave as the situation is, the solution is not terribly complicated. If you examine organizations with high levels of employee satisfaction and engagement, they all have one thing in common: They treat their employees with RESPECT. There is no more powerful way to create a committed and dedicated workforce then by treating every employee with respect. I have never met a person who didn't care about being respected or who, when disrespected, didn't disengage.

Over the past decade of researching, consulting and presenting on the relationship between respect and employee satisfaction, motivation and engagement, my biggest surprise has been how ignorant supervisors, managers and organizational leaders are when it comes to how to demonstrate respect to their employees. People get the importance of respect but don't get how to actually show it on a daily basis. Hence, the reason for me creating the RESPECT Model and writing "Carrots and Sticks Don't Work." Below are the seven key drivers that supervisors and managers can use to show respect to their employees:

  1. Recognition – at the most basic level, we all fundamentally just want to be recognized and acknowledged for the contributions we make.
  2. Empowerment – providing employees with the training and resources, including communication that they need to be successful.
  3. Supportive feedback – the primary job of the supervisor/manager is to provide ongoing coaching and mentoring to his/her employees; not doing so sends the message that an employee is not valued.
  4. Partnering – developing a collaborative working relationship first within one's team and then across departments.
  5. Expectations – providing employees with clear goals and objectives, and holding employees who fail to meet expectations accountable.
  6. Consideration – consistently demonstrating care and consideration to individual team members.
  7. Trust – acting in ways that build a culture of trust which serves as the basis for both personal and professional relationships.


The United States is in a state of crisis when it comes to employee morale and satisfaction. The result is a highly disgruntled and stressed-out workforce who cannot possibly be engaged and maximally productive. While the impact on both individuals and organizations is immense, there exists a simple, low-cost solution, namely, training supervisors, managers, and organizational leaders to act in ways that leave employees feeling respected -- doing so is not only the right thing to do, it is also the profitable thing to do.

For more detailed results from the study, please email me. If you want to know more about how to create a culture of RESPECT in your workplace, please visit my website.

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