The 2 Things Americans Hate Most About Their Jobs

Clear signs that people have their eyes on the exits.

Image courtesy of Unsplash.

This year’s Work and Well-Being Survey is mostly good news. The American Psychological Association’s annual glimpse into office life found that 78 percent of 1500 respondents felt they had average—if not better— levels of engagement in their daily.

But two stats stood out as less than stellar.

Half of respondents had experienced some sort of organizational change over the past year. And they generally did not take well to it: people in recent or current workplace change were twice as likely to feel chronically stressed at work compared to their more stable peers, and they were four times more likely to feel the symptoms of some sort of physical health symptoms while on the job. The brain can only handle so much instability, after all.

Trust, too, is a deal-breaker. People who didn’t trust their employers were three times more likely to say that they felt tense on the job, and they were four times more likely to be planning on finding a new employer within the next year — further evidence to the adage that people don’t quit their jobs, they quit their managers.

The ways to foster trust are really pretty intuitive. As Claremont Graduate University professor Paul J. Zak has observed at the Harvard Business Review, it’s a matter of giving people more control over how they approach their work, the projects they choose, sharing information with them, and investing more deeply in relationships. Put it together, and a clear message emerges: When people don’t feel like they’re getting autonomy and appreciation at work, they’ll go to a place where they can.