U.S. Job Satisfaction, Quality of Life Nosedives

Eddie Braverman's picture
Rank: The Pro | 21,147

To read some of the recent reports these days, you'd come to the conclusion that Americans are some unhappy folks. With the recession in full swing and unemployment over 10%, it's somewhat understandable. But a few nuggets of data from a couple of surveys hint at pervasive problems that appear to only be growing worse.

The first report is the job satisfaction survey. Apparently, American job satisfaction has fallen to an all-time low. This got me thinking: have I ever had a job I enjoyed? Or even one I was at least satisfied with? For me, the answer was no. I've had a few businesses I've enjoyed running, but I can't say I've enjoyed being an employee since I drove a forklift in a warehouse when I was 17 and didn't know any better. To take it a step further, I can say that I actually detested every finance job I ever had (yes, that includes banking). I worked with some fun guys occasionally, but the job itself always sucked.

Only 45% of Americans are currently satisfied with their work, and only 51% of workers find their work interesting. Only 43% feel secure in their jobs, which is no big shock considering the economy. And 51% said they're satisfied with their boss.

The other report to drop in the past couple days was the annual International Living Quality of Life Index. This index measures the quality of life around the world and ranks each country based on Cost of Living, Culture and Leisure, Economy, Environment, Freedom, Health, Infrastructure, Safety and Risk, and Climate.

For the 5th year in a row, France was ranked the #1 country in the world for Quality of Life. Living here in Paris, I can't disagree. It is a great place to live, and even more so if you are not French and aren't forced to live in a squalid 120 sq ft studio apartment. The U.S. dropped to #7 on the list this year, down from #3 last year.

Before you go thinking that International Living is another lefty, let's-hate-America mouthpiece for the U.N., let me point out that the United States topped the list for 20 years (ever since the list was started), until it first dropped out of the #1 spot in 2004 or 2005 (I can't remember, I've subscribed a long time). At the time, it was a very big deal.

The U.S. took the biggest hit when it came to Cost of Living. Other problem areas were the Economy, Environment, Freedom, and Health. Where the U.S. shined was in Infrastructure (where else can you get eye drops at 3 in the morning?). On balance, the U.S. didn't do too bad. France scored an 82; the U.S. scored 78. Compare that to Somalia (at the bottom of the list) which came in with a solid 30. Here is the complete list of data.

Comments (11)

Jan 7, 2010

"Its tiresome bureaucracy and high taxes are outweighed by an unsurpassable quality of life, including the world's best health care." That sounds a little fishy. I think the qualifier might be FREE health care, not the best. Granted, Paris and the rest of France is beautiful and full of culture, art, and wine..

So basically we are beat by 6 other counties including Luxembourg, Switzerland and New Zealand. I don't feel that bad losing to those guys.

"But--as our editors and readers living overseas are quick to point out--convenience (and the frenetic pace that comes with it) is often overrated." Oh really. I don't know about Europe, but getting things done in a timely manner is pretty key in the USA.

Jan 7, 2010

Shitty liberal public school systems and a collegiate system filled overwhelmingly by theoreticians who have spent their entire lives inside academia are providing less real world education then ever before.

Nothing beats sitting in b-school getting org. behavior tutelage from a eastern block broad who has never spent a day outside academia, and you're fresh of a decade plus of running your own show.

Naturally, when a 22 year old fucktard straight out of puberty listens to such a character, they actually think they are learning something. How can they not be bitter when they step out of the aquarium and dive into the ocean? Shark don't give a fuck about Maslow's Hierarchy.

Multiply, spread, rinse, repeat.

Not that school's the only problem, but its just a microcosm of the issue at large. PEOPLE HAVE UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS, we are a silver spoon culture now and nothing cures that but a bucket of cold water over the head.

Reality is the last thing today's American wants to accept.

Jan 7, 2010

Here's some more "good news" about Timmaaaaaaaaay Geithner, the next you ask yourself what the "G" in AIG stood for. Yeah, this is the guy who's going to "clean up Wall Street". Perhaps if you feel a tongue bath is really what is needed.


Jan 7, 2010

Couldn't agree more with dweezy. The academics in la la land that have no real world experience can have a negative impact on outlook. Often times they spend most of their time on "research" to get tenured so they can sit on their asses.

Americans have a sense of entitlement in regards to nearly everything. Because we are Americans we feel that we deserve a better lifestyle and shouldn't have to get out there and earn it. This is part of what scares me about national health care. Obviously I am getting off topic of the post but where does it say in the Constitution that we should get free health care? Once entitlement programs are in place they are never taken away. We already pay retirements with the biggest ponzi scheme going (social security) and now we want everyone to have access to "free" health care. Politically these topics are killers, nobody wants to touch them. Until our gutless politicians make real changes I have a hard time believing in any "reforms".

Jan 7, 2010


My perspective comes from behind "the iron curtain" and whether you (or anyone else for that matter) want to believe the veracity of my statements and/or intentions, the FACT remains America is becoming the SSA (Socialist States of America----> Social Security Administration, take your pick...chicken/egg?) more and more day by day.

Trace Obamovtich's policies to that of FDREDsvelt...step by step...people forget that TINY LITTLE FACT...that the Depression was really two big recessions combined into one. The New Deal precipitated the second, when REDSvelt OPENLY stopped the Supreme Court from doing their job in upholding labor laws and a bunch of other issues I have no interest in delving into right now.

The point is anyone with a fifth grade education and an internet connection can research what I just typed and find out for themselves. Truth hurts. Americans no longer have a tolerance for pain. Luckily, the rest of the world is in even worse shape...but that's no excuse.

Jan 7, 2010

In addition to being free, health care in France is pretty solid. Your not paying for better health care in the U.S, just covering the cost of M.D.'s ridiculously expensive educations.

Jan 7, 2010

If their health care is 'solid,' how come the other day on the subway there was a woman from france who came to nyc to get treatment at Sloan Kettering?

Jan 8, 2010

That article doesn't surprise me.

Capitalism is the american way, unfortunately. There is no public good here (health care and education). There are certain things that americans should be entitled too. If I borrowed 180k for medical school, shouldn't I be entitled to a job making at least 300k so I can pay that loan back? Does a 22 year old, who borrowed 70k to graduate from say Brown, have a wrong sense of entitlement when he wants a job that pays him enough to pay the loan back and not live in complete poverty? What other country has such a high percentage of bankruptcies caused by medical bills? What other country has people under the age of 35 living in poverty because they owe way more on their degree than what they make? Things will never change because there's always some big dog getting richer off little people (Sallie Mae, Blue Cross, Universities, I-Banks that own payday loan stores, Credit card company execs) getting poorer. Isn't it interesting how some prestigious universities had the money to trade the markets and attempt to flip properties but watched numerous students drop out because they didn't have the money for school. Yes, French, Germans and Swiss come here for advanced medical treatment. Their government picks up the tab for it.....Not so bad, huh?

Jan 8, 2010

^^^there's a price that comes with socialism, kid...one that you don't see and that is what's unfortunate.

To answer your question: NO you shouldn't and (much more importantly) YOU AREN'T entitled to anything in life. Where do you think the money for your hypothetical medical school loan came from? Yes, the government, but how does the government make its money? I don't care if you borrowed all the money on earth...that is YOUR CHOICE, you have to make it work. As far as those French, Germans and Swiss you're hallucinating about...yes, their governments pick up the check in the case of the few EXTREMELY TALENTED (read Rhodes/Fullbright types) cases, but also require them to come back home and give anywhere from 5-10 years of service in order to repay.

Your logic clearly exposes as you as a barely post pubescent child who has never actually worked for a living, had a mortgage, a wife or a kid, in other words any real responsibility. If you didn't have capitalism, you would literally be getting crushed, eaten, chewed up and spit out by those physically and mentally stronger then you.

Bankruptcies happen when you don't pay, if you can't pay, you can't play. That's reality, hate to break it to you but life has a price and that price is very hard work. There are clearly people in your family who understood that concept, allowing you to babble from a glass house about things you know nothing about. Unfortunately, you haven't learned those realities.

But its okay, the time for liberal idiot children to grow up is here and if you don't we can resume this conversation in 20 years when you are happily pumping my gas and grabbing me packs of bubble gum.

Reality kid.

Get with the program.

With the attitude you have, you would literally be some psycho's bitch in an overwhelming majority of the world's nations. Too bad you won't realize that until you are, in your own back yard.

Jan 8, 2010

I have no doubt European health care is decent, but it does not compare to what we have. If it did you wouldn't have Saudi royalty flying here for medical treatments. When you don't limit income you foster a desire to create, work hard, invent. I am sorry, People in this country without insurance still get treated, but if you want the best then you have to work for it.

Jan 8, 2010