Dissatisfied at work: Why changing and static life patterns need to be accepted by employers and employees to understand the dissatisfaction with their lot of the ‘job for life’ brigade.

A recent study showed that our dissatisfaction with the workplace peaks at age 35.

Changing expectations in our ever-changing work environment play a large part in our satisfaction at work. Having worked a lot recently with pre (1995-1999) and post Millennials it is easy to see how their snowflake culture affects their job satisfaction and work expectations.

Many of those that I come across don’t stay in one workplace for long and even change their jobs completely at regular intervals to stem their dissatisfaction with work and by the look in their eyes, the negative practices developed.

Conversely, one of the key aspects related to this dissatisfaction with the workplace in the post 35 generation is that they often feel hard done by because of the way in which younger workers strive quickly to become established and do not play; what those who have spent a long time in one job call, job related loyalty.

The striving to get ahead for the pre-and post-Millennials comes from the immediacy of their needs. They need to rise up the ladder quickly to keep them interested, they tend to slip from one job to in another in an ordered way to feed their need to achieve quickly. They have a different mentality to those who have worked in the same job for many years just plodding away to reap the benefits that they feel they justly deserve.

Remember the changing of workplace from one company or sector to another is not deceitful or underhand, it is different and many of those who have worked in companies for long periods of time have difficulty in understanding new trends and practices, which, in their eyes, destabilise their own safe working environment.

Many of these workers have settled into the pension trap where to move, or to change is alien to them and they would much sooner sit and take what comes along ensuring that their valuable pensions are protected and who could blame them.

However, the world has changed and those hitting the job market now have had new technologies as a centre of their universe for many years and they don’t remember a time without mobile phones or the internet and thus they cannot compare today’s working environment with that of thirty years ago, and why should they?

One person that I worked with recently is 22 and has already amassed a fortune working in the computer industry. He has a much bigger house than me, continually spends out on house developments, new flashy cars etc.

I don’t get jealous but often I can see why people resent this kind of new worker. But these people are working to fulfil that need to constantly change and have new things as they seem to feel that new, more, bigger and better represent the recipe for happiness.

Unfortunately, as I have found out over the years, this is not the case and as many have discovered by reading Fumio Sasaki’s ‘Goodbye to Things’.

It is the absence of things that clears the mind and make us happy.

The stress of work builds barriers, destroys relationships and makes us irascible and moody. As we get older we need to rid ourselves of baggage so that we don’t have to worry about it anymore. Remember how liberating dumping all the files from your computer that are over a month old can be.

It will take the pre and post Millennial’s and the 35 pluses some time to come to terms with what they are trying to find. Striving for the next luxury car or sitting on your pension are both positive and very negative. But it will take another thirty years for someone to figure out another recipe for happiness.

So at the moment I am sticking to throwing out everything that does not make me happy because for me this seems to do the trick.

No one ever had ‘I wish I had worked harder’ on their gravestone because it just isn’t true. Life is about balance and happiness, neither money, fame nor fortune ever seem to bring happiness but family, friends and experiences seem to go a long way towards it.


Professor Chris Kemp is CEO of Mind over Matter Consultancy and works with world leaders in their fields running Extreme Corporate Away Days for leaders and managers, as well as Executive Education and Team Development programmes.

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