Friday, September 4, 2009

Labor Day 2009 : Unemployment and Job Satisfaction ( Part 2)

“I long to accomplish a great and noble tasks, but it is my chief duty to accomplish humble tasks as though they were great and noble. The world is moved along, not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes, but also by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker.”

- Helen Keller

Work for something because it is good, not just because it stands a chance to succeed.

- Vaclav Havel:

I have been waiting for today Friday September 4,2009. The US Department of Labor released the unemployment figures today…9.7% of the population who are unemployed an collecting some unemployment benefits. But the report also admitted that the real figure of total unemployed in the US must include those who are labeled “discouraged” or who no longer participate or are eligible to college unemployment benefits. This percentage is 16.76%!!!


As you know there has been much written about the relationship between work and heart conditions, health, and job satisfaction. Since it is Labor Day it might be interesting to revisit a few issues that seem to connect all of these topics.

Freud once suggested that in our society “work and love” are the most important aspects of life but we seem to “stress” the “work” more than the love. For example, in our culture we introduce ourselves to strangers by describing what we do at work. If we don’t have formal work we use work related terms to describe ourselves, such as: student; homemaker; disabled; retired; in the armed services; in between jobs or a “consultant.” Can you imagine introducing yourself “ I am married to this lovely person and parent to two wonderful children” or “ I try to love most people I meet and help where I can” or “ I try to pray constantly and to live a life of hope, faith and service daily?” We are even asked what will be children growing up “to be.” A response such as “I hope they will ‘be’ - healthy, happy, and a contributors to the solutions to the problems of the discouraged of the world” would not be considered an acceptable answer.

We seem to be fixated on titles and labels about our role in an economic world. What makes this a little more complex is that the Duke Cardiac Research Center has identified one (yes, one) common indicator and predictor of cardiovascular disease…stress as it relates to job satisfaction. Many heart attacks, strokes and diseases have their roots in job stress. It is also stated that they have found one time during the week where most men have their heart attacks…Monday mornings before work!

I read the headlines in a newspaper today about those who have survived lay offs.

“Left behind, less happy!” The article explored a variety of issues facing the survivors of downsizing activities... from guilt to pain.

Here are some current statistics found in the article about the world of work.

  • Even with today’s unemployment statistics over 62% of employed individuals in middle to upper level jobs are currently looking for new employment. Their managers underestimate the level of dissatisfaction and believe that only 30% of their subordinates are looking1 (Conference Board.)
  • 60% of those making more than $50k are more likely to have some satisfaction with their current job. This also means that 40 % of those making for than $50k a year are not satisfied are consider themselves non productive in their current employment. There is a higher percentage of dissatisfaction for those making less than $50k a year. (US Dept of labor)
  • The number one reason why an employee leaves a company for employment elsewhere is ---- conflict with their supervisor. (Us Dept of Labor)
  • The average cost to replace an employee who has quit or has been let go is around 33% of a mid level employee’s salary (US Department of Labor)
  • Only 5% of the companies with more than 50 employees say that they invest in their managers by training them in managerial or leadership (supervisory) skills (ASTD)
  • Trust in an organization can be measured by the quality of communication within that organization or group ( J. Woititz )
  • After two decades of constant decline in union membership there was a dramatic increase in union membership from 2007- 2008 of 12% and membership is expected to go up again in 2009. (US Dept of Labor)

Remember all workers and all those who desire work

Prayer to St. Joseph for Employment

Dear Saint Joseph, you were yourself once faced with the responsibility of providing the necessities of life for Jesus and Mary. Look down with fatherly compassion upon me in my anxiety over my present inability to support my family. Please help me to find gainful employment very soon, so that this heavy burden of concern will be lifted from my heart and that I am soon able to provide for those whom God has entrusted to my care. Help us to guard against bitterness and discouragement, so that we may emerge from this trial spiritually enriched and with even greater blessings from God. Amen.

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