Thursday, September 29, 2011

Frustrated Workers, Few Options

Are you fed up with your job but have nowhere to go? You’re not alone.

Despite high rates of workplace frustration, fewer Americans are switching jobs today than at the start of the Great Recession.

According to a report released this month by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), two million people quit their jobs in July. This “quits rate,” used by the BLS to determine the American workforce’s willingness to switch jobs, was 40 percent higher in December of 2007.

Additionally, a recent Gallup poll found that fewer Americans are satisfied with their jobs than in early 2008.

The stubbornly high unemployment rate, which currently stands at 8.8 percent, is the likely cause of this convoluted phenomenon of low worker-mobility despite high worker-dissatisfaction.

“Like most people, I probably have issues with my job,” commented Vi Sherman, a systems analyst for MetLife’s Long Island City office.

“But if you’re in a position that’s paying all of your bills, it might not be what you want or what you hope or dream about, but it is getting you across the finish line… would have to be really horrible where you’re just going to abandon something and roll the dice on finding something out there.”

Not everyone, however, follows this pragmatic approach when evaluating future employment prospects. Danny Pfeffer, a freelance film producer, believes the long-term benefit of remaining capricious outweighs the security of a regular nine-to-five.

“I would rather jump ten dollar-an-hour to ten dollar-an-hour jobs, then have to permanently instill myself in a corporate office for too long because that’s actually a nightmare.”

In spite of all the negative employment news, there are individuals still able to find their ideal job. Sometimes, however, they have to tread off of the traditional job search avenues. Natanya Silverman recently found a teaching position at a private school in the Hudson River Valley north of New York City.

“What I found was the work that’s now going to sustain me was work that my friends connected me with.” She adds, “it’s really about who you know to help you get a foot in the door.”

The BLS did publish one bright piece of information recently. According to their future projections, the American economy is expected to add 15 million jobs by 2018, and as job creation gathers steam in the future, a related increase in the quits rate may follow.

If this forecast does not come to pass, Danny Pfeffer has an alternative life plan.

“Worse comes to worse we move to the Virgin Islands, live in a hut, eat fish and octopus all day.”

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