One in five of us are miserable at work

Civil servants are unsurprisingly gloomiest of all - but doctors, teachers and scientists buck the trend.

by
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Cheer up – it might never happen. Or perhaps it already has: a new survey has found that a fifth of us don’t enjoy our jobs, which doesn’t bode particularly well for the recovery of the British economy. Apparently, more than half of us would choose a different career if we had our time again. All well and good, but let’s not forget that even if you could go back and start from scratch, the odds of making it as a Formula 1 driver or a Premiership footballer would probably still be quite slim…

The survey, which was published to mark VQ Day, a celebration of vocational qualifications, found that secretaries and retailers were among the most depressed workers in the UK. At the top of the list, though, were civil servants, almost half of whom say they hate their jobs. And presumably, David Cameron and George Osborne's current plans to eviscerate departmental spending budgets aren’t doing an awful lot to motivate them. Let's face it, they're not likely to be getting a conciliatory pay rise any time soon.

It’s not exactly a shock that civil servants aren’t having a very nice time at the moment. But the careers at the other end of the happiness scale are more surprising. Apparently, health care professionals are happiest about their jobs (glossing over reports of record levels of alcohol abuse among doctors). Among the other cheeriest chaps and chapesses of the British workforce are scientists, who (despite complaining over cuts) still seem to be able to manage a smile while they’re at work. Astonishingly, teachers were also there or thereabouts – perhaps they actually enjoy working with snotty children and sullen teenagers all day – as were accountants. Yes, really.

It’s difficult not to sympathise with civil servants, who are bearing the brunt of the ConDem axe-wielding efficiency drive. One minute, they’re expensing first-class air travel; the next minute, they’re re-using paperclips: it’s heart-rending stuff.  That said, given the current unemployment figures, perhaps they should be grateful they’ve got a job at all. It might be a different story this time next year.


In today's bulletin:

Obama's bashing sends BP shares to 13-year low
OFT launches new probe into big investment banks
MT Leadership Visions: Barbara Stocking, CEO of Oxfam GB
Unemployment could hit 3m after Cameron's cuts, says CIPD
One in five of us are miserable at work

Find this article useful?

Get more great articles like this in your inbox every lunchtime

Leadership lessons from Jürgen Klopp

The Liverpool manager exemplifies ‘the long win’, based not on results but on clarity of...

How to get a grip on stress

Once a zebra escapes the lion's jaws, it goes back to grazing peacefully. There's a...

A leadership thought: Treat your colleagues like customers

One minute briefing: Create a platform where others can see their success, says AVEVA CEO...

The ignominious death of Gordon Gekko

Profit at all costs is a defunct philosophy, and purpose a corporate superpower, argues this...

Gender bias is kept alive by those who think it is dead

Research: Greater representation of women does not automatically lead to equal treatment.

How to be a resilient leader

Louai Al Roumani was CFO of Syria's largest private retail bank when the conflict broke...