Today we're asking experienced workers to rate their job satisfaction now compared with 20 years ago. Please vote.

Share story

Whenever I’m in a conversation that turns to work, unless I am among the most “positive” brightsiders or wealthy folk, people talk about how their job satisfaction has declined. To be sure, this is usually baby boomers or early Gen Xers. But it takes time for individuals to assess changes in their working lives.

What’s gotten worse? Pay, benefits, bureaucracy, pressure to do more with less, chasing fads, the intrusion of legal and human resources departments, the rise of the “always be selling” culture seemingly everywhere, and management that is more distant, removed from the reality of the work, and filled with new layers. Most of all: “The job used to be fun.” It’s remarkable how these conversations encompass people from so many different lines of work and life paths.

This is anecdotal, of course. Last year, a Pew Research Center poll found most Americans satisfied with their jobs, although with big differences across occupations and industries. To my knowledge, Pew also didn’t ask today’s question.

So, ahead of Labor Day — and on the honor system — how has your job satisfaction changed from 20 years ago?


Most Read Stories

Unlimited Digital Access. $1 for 4 weeks

This Week’s Links:

Inside the August employment report | CEPR

Why Congress made Labor Day a national holiday | Time

How workers are navigating the gig economy | Miami Herald

Who are today’s union members? | Economic Policy Institute

Is poor health hindering economic growth? | Atlanta Fed

Adam Smith on the benefits of public education | Tim Taylor

Zoning: Both sides get it wrong | Paul Krugman

It’s a myth that corporate tax cuts mean more jobs | NY Times

Oregon’s regional recovery gathers steam | Josh Lehner


Today’s Econ Haiku:

Wells Fargo again

A new fake accounts scandal

Runaway stage coach