“If it wasn’t for the money, I’d be out of here.”
“Work sucks – I can’t wait to get home.”
These phrases are probably heard more often than is healthy, but with the current economy, quitting a crappy job might not always be an option.
“It’s true that when the economy is bad, there are more dissatisfied people because … there’s not as many options to switch jobs,” said Alice Stuhlmacher, an industrial and organizational psychologist at DePaul University in Chicago.
A report released in January found that “only 45 percent of those surveyed say they are satisfied with their jobs, down from 61.1 percent in 1987.”
But what causes job dissatisfaction?
Paul Spector, an industrial-organizational psychology professor at the University of South Florida, said work dissatisfaction can be caused by individual differences.
“Some people for whatever reasons just are more satisfied than other people – satisfied in life, satisfied in lots of things,” Spector said, which can be associated with personality.
There are also work occurrences that can impact satisfaction, including fairness, treatment of employees, and satisfaction relating to the actual work employees have to do, he said.
“People have an overall attitude about their job, but they also can be satisfied with some aspects of work and not with other aspects of work,” Spector said. “You might really like your coworkers but not like the work you’re doing.”
Valerie Sessa, an industrial and organizational psychology associate professor at Montclair State University, said in an e-mail that research has shown that fair or just treatment; achievement; and “warm, interesting and cooperative relationships on the job” are factors that lead to satisfaction or dissatisfaction.
Malissa Clark, an industrial and organizational psychology assistant professor at Auburn University, said in an e-mail that job insecurity can lead to dissatisfaction.
“Many employees have seen their co-workers get laid off, and they are uncertain about whether their jobs are safe,” Clark said.