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Pay vs. Happiness 766

itri writes "A co-worker recently sent me and article about job burnout. Although it's a year old, the points seemed to resonate well with me. The nutshell of the article is that job burnout is caused by lack of the sense of accomplishment, working for a narcissistic boss, and a conflict between the employers and employee's values. Is it really better working for a company that cares about your satisfaction? Are there any companies like that and (more importantly) are they hiring?"
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Pay vs. Happiness

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  • by BWJones ( 18351 ) * on Monday September 26, 2005 @07:16PM (#13654591) Homepage Journal
    With respect to your question, I have to say that you are really responsible for your own happiness and 90% of the employers out there do not really care about it. If they are smart, they would want happy employees, but as society moves more towards a service based economy with pre-produced products, there will be less craftsmanship around and less care for average employees as they can be quickly and easily replaced. So, your task is to find the niche that you can provide a well crafted product that those (like myself) will pay more for. I would say that if you are not happy, then change jobs or change careers or go back to school or start your own business.

    With respect to pay vs. happiness, its a continuum is it not? There are those that would sell their souls to make the monthly payment on their Mercedes. I personally find that repugnant as it goes against my punk DIY ethos, but to each their own. Some folks simply find the job as a means for money to do other things with their life while others enjoy what they do for a living. I personally like to surround myself with people smarter than I am, have a passion for what they do, and treat them well to keep them around. That way, everybody is happy and things get done.

    Incidently, I have three positions I am hiring for:

    1) Board certified neurologist willing to relocate.

    2) Board certified cardiologist willing to relocate.

    You never know, but there are MDs that patrol Slashdot on occasion, so, why not?

    3) Most importantly for this forum: A programmer. Can you program for OS X? Have Cocoa experience? Do you know IDL from RSI? If you answer yes to all three of the above questions, I have a job for you. I have my own stuff to keep me busy and happy so I won't be breathing down your neck. You even get to work from home or the lab, it's your choice, but if you are in the lab, you can have access to an incredibly extensive and diverse shared iTunes library and crank all you want. You can also have all the flexibility you want with the hours, I just want the code done within a reasonable amount of time. This is a contract position and you will find me most accommodating to work with.

    If the meetings I have with the VCs next week go well, I might be hiring programmers with scientific robotics experience. Stay tuned to the Slashdot journal which gets updates from my blog.

    • by BushCheney08 ( 917605 ) on Monday September 26, 2005 @07:20PM (#13654617)
      but if you are in the lab, you can have access to an incredibly extensive and diverse shared iTunes library and crank all you want.

      Lots of tunes and all the crank I want? Sign me up!

    • I've found that I'm happiest when my employer's reason for being fits in with my core belief system. While I don't hold an employer responsible for my happiness, I know that when I'm in sync with my place of employ, I find joy. As my needs, desires, and goals drift away from those of my workplace, the pleasure I derive from working diminishes (and I usually move along).

      For me, I don't want or expect, the employer to stive to make me happy. I want an employer who understands what they do, why they do it,
    • by The Bungi ( 221687 ) <> on Monday September 26, 2005 @07:36PM (#13654749) Homepage
      Board certified neurologist willing to relocate.

      Good thing you're not in the IT industry...

      - "So, you're a neurologist?"
      - "Well, sorta. I play 'Operation' online all the time and I'm really good. I'm also halfway through the Wikipedia article on neurons. So... do I get the position?"

    • >

      Dude - relocate to _Utah_?! You gotta be kidding there hazard pay included?

      (joke!) [sorta]
    • by rbochan ( 827946 ) on Monday September 26, 2005 @07:39PM (#13654774) Homepage
      I'd rather die on my feet than live on my knees
    • by Alex P Keaton in da ( 882660 ) on Monday September 26, 2005 @08:54PM (#13655199) Homepage
      Ugh- Way to say it- you are 100% for your own happiness.
      I had a bad job for a while (It involved high temperatures and getting shot at) and the only thing that I was upset about was not seeing my wife for a year.
      I would put up with a lot of cr#p at work for more money- Why? I have a wife and a daughter, and another kid on the way. I have a house payment, 2 car payments and retirement in 40 years to worry about.
      I would shovel sh&t all day if it meant that my family could have a higher standard of living.
      My guess is how people would answer the question "would you take better work conditions for less money" has a lot to do with age and responsibilities. If I didn't have 2 (soon to be 3) other human beings depending on me, I would be much more ammenable towards taking a pay cut for better work conditions.
      If you hate your job, you have a couple choices- You can look for a better job, or you can change your outlook. Here in Ohio, tech jobs aren't easlily available- I make a good living, but I am grateful to be employed. There are a ton of people out there with 100K and more degrees who are under and unemployed.
      Life isn't perfect- being an adult is hard.
      • by MSBob ( 307239 ) on Monday September 26, 2005 @11:04PM (#13655801)
        OK. Time to challenge your assumptions. Do you really think your family will be happier because daddy is killing himself over so they can keep up the repayments on the plazma TV, or the second car? Do you think that when you draw your last breath you're going to exclaim "My dear God, I wish I had spent more time at the office!"?

        You can give your family soooo much more than a McMansion and two shiny cars in the driveway. Take them for a walk, teach your kids to throw the ball, play tennis, whatever... In time they'll come to appreciate it much more than sterilized existence in a suburban McHouse. I promise you, I guarantee you they'll appreciate the time with you much more than having marble countertops in the bathroom.

        The American society is driven by greed to the point of obsession. The change has to come from within. Be a part of the solution, not a part of the problem.

  • After all, if your supervisor is going to channel their Inner PHB, they give you little choice.
  • Burnout. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Captain Scurvy ( 818996 ) on Monday September 26, 2005 @07:19PM (#13654611)
    Thoreau said, "A man is only as rich as the number of things he can let alone." Who cares how much money you make if you're so swamped you can't enjoy it? I am considering a career change for this very reason. Life's too flipping short.
    • Re:Burnout. (Score:5, Funny)

      by mattbee ( 17533 ) <> on Monday September 26, 2005 @08:46PM (#13655147) Homepage
      I'll see your quote and raise you another quote by actor Michael Caine: "The idea that money doesn't buy you happiness is a lie put about by the rich, to stop the poor from killing them".
  • by dada21 ( 163177 ) * <> on Monday September 26, 2005 @07:19PM (#13654612) Homepage Journal
    I have to say that this article makes me feel crazier than I normally do.

    With so many people out of work, it seems almost like biting the hand that feeds you to complain about your work conditions and expect your employer to care. Your employer's role is to provide work for you. Your job is to do that work. The employer should "care" in order to make you the most efficient you can be, but it is not their job to make sure you don't have other life ills that may cause you to take on more than you can handle. All my employees who have burned out in the past were replaced by people who accepted more pressure, more time constraints, and more deadlines without burning out. Those who burned out with me had burned out in the past and continue to burn out to this day. There are many reasons why they've burned out, and few of them had anything to do with the job.

    Job burnout has more to do with the lack of appreciation and reward an employee receives for his or her efforts than an increased work load. NO. Job burnout has more to do with the fact that the employee sacrifices himself for a crappy job, why? Maybe because he's in terrible debt! Get your finances in order, and you can walk away from ANY bad job. Never tell me you NEED your job because of financial struggle. Maybe his girlfriend is a manic depressive freak who constantly pulls him away from his other responsibilities. Maybe he's got a habit that he can't kick, or he's got some baggage that makes him want to succeed no matter what. You made your bed, sleep in it.

    Those suffering from job burnout feel no sense of accomplishment from and no control over their work lives. So walk away. Start your own company. SAVE. The Chinese are saving up to 40% of their income. The Americans are now saving 1%, 30% of all mortgages lately are interest-only. Why are you stressed: job or real life?

    Today to get ahead and save for a reasonable retirement, workers often must hop from company to company to get a promotion. Ahhh! The average employee puts almost 15% of his income away in Social Security that he knows he will never see! How about if he put 15% of his income into his own house, savings account, vacation, or whatever? How much happier would he be? Do NOT say that employers are responsible for YOUR retirement. What are we teaching our next generation? That is it someone else's responsibility to take care of us in our old age.

    Everyone is expendable, thanks to many employers' short-term, economic goals. I've run 7 businesses in the 15 years I've been in business. ALL of them had long-term goals, but I also realized that a LOT of my employees would be short term as they learned from me and found someone willing to pay the more. The wonderful free market allows people to do this. Those I invested the most in I had the most reason to pay better and give better fringe benefits to. Those who left because someone was willing to pay more than me found themselves in a better position. Those that complained I wasn't paying enough were not worth more to me, and not worth more to anyone else either it seemed.

    The job conflicted with my values. I was mentally and physically exhausted and suffered from chronic stomach problems. Oh, I didn't realize this guy was forced to keep this job. Did his employer put a gun to his head? Did he have absolutely no other options to get a job? Did he really LIKE the pain it caused him?

    Not dealing with a burned-out employee can undermine your organization's health and lead to a burnout epidemic. In the free market this is called "bankruptcy" and rarely has to do with employee's health. When all your employees are getting burned out, it is likely that the business was failing in many other areas.

    It is very important to realize that there are MANY reasons why people burn out in work, in relationships, in friendships, in life in general. To blame employers for this VERY complex situation is ridiculous, and I believe t
    • I tend to agree with many of your points, but not quite *all* of them.

      In a relatively "good" job market, sure - there's little to no excuse for someone to keep a "crappy job" that's making them physically ill, etc. But at least in my field (computers and I.T.), the overall market has simply NOT been very "healthy" at all ever since around 2001. I'm not sure I really see any signs of it "recovering" either.

      I've been out of work for over 6 months now, and it's not even that often I can find an opening to se
      • by dada21 ( 163177 ) * <> on Monday September 26, 2005 @08:58PM (#13655222) Homepage Journal
        Our lives sound almost identical (I just never had a kid).

        Yet how often were you trying to keep up with the Joneses?  A $60k a year job should eastily support a family of 4 if you start planning early.  I'm 31 and want a kid badly but I can't do it until I'm worth about double of my current value.

        IT is dying, you're right.  Horse-shoers disappeared, too.  IT is a commodity today.  I'd recommend moving possibily, or considering starting a business, but both are hard.

        I _hate_ that so many mistakes people make are societal.  Go to school.  Spend 28% of your gross income on a mortgage.  Buy a big new car and big new TV.  Eat out.  Drink $7 martinis.  Go on expensive vacations.  Have a $50,000 wedding.

        Life takes planning, saving, and caution.  We used to know this as a society but now its all debt, debt, debt.

        16 year olds, listen and learn:

        1. Until you're 25, save every penny possible.
        2. Never rent or lease.
        3. Get one credit card for gas, insurance and groceries. Pay 100% monthly.
        4. Never get a college loan.
        5. Never buy new cars or clothes.
        6. Socialize at private parties with friends who live like you.
        7. Work your first jobs at small companies.  Trade good pay/benefits for actual positive, marketable experience.
        8. Buy a trailer or condo for cash.
        9. Marry once you own your family home, debt free.  Watch your girlfriend for a dark side.  Stability in spending habits and emotions is key.
        • by King_TJ ( 85913 ) on Tuesday September 27, 2005 @01:31PM (#13659729) Journal
          For starters, I've never had a $60K a year job. I've certainly done work where you'd assume or expect that's what I was paid, but actually - more like around $48K was about the most I've seen (and not for quite some time, at that!).

          Also, by the mere fact that I do have a kid, almost *everything* changes. For starters, there are a number of jobs I've had to skip over applying for because working in rotating shifts was one of their requirements. (How can you find someone who will take care of a 3 year old for you when you're alternating working mornings, days, and late nights every month or two?) In fact, even "overtime" is extremely troublesome for me, since I have to pick my kid up from daycare no later than 6PM each day. I don't have the option of just "agreeing to work late" with no advance notice, if something comes up. And many of today's employers simply expect that. That's why they're looking to hire people fresh out of college, who don't have a family yet to "get in the way".

          I always followed the majority of your listed "points for 16 year olds to learn from" - but a few of them just aren't realistic. For example, I always knew renting was a bad deal - but when I first moved out of my parents' house, I ended up renting an apartment with a roommate. At that point in time, I didn't have any credit history built up yet, nor did I have money for a downpayment on a house. But it was still time to move out (or just become a leech off of my parents - which I don't believe in doing either). When I got the opportunity, I did buy a small house (for well below market value, no less), and pay less on my mortgage each month than some people pay on their car loans. Waiting until a home is fully paid off to get married is ridiculous adivce, IMHO. Marriage should happen whenever 2 people in love with each other feel it's the right step to take. It really shouldn't be governed by how much property someone has paid off. Assuming a healty, normal relationship - both partners should simply be committed to the job of trying to get through life together. If part of that means both people doing their part to keep payments current on a house, so what?

          Your point #7, by the way, is very questionable advice in my opinion. That's exactly what I did, and I feel quite certain it's one of the biggest mistakes I made! When you work for small businesses, you don't end up with any recognizable/respectable names of employers to put on your resume, nor do you gain experience working in many scenarios that are only available to people in a very large workplace. Hiring managers see big company names on a resume, and feel more "secure" in a decision to hire you. There's an assumption that a large business has the resources to do more complete background checks and so forth; If you were good enough to get and keep a job with one of them for a length of time, you're probably good enough for the next position too. When you work for small places, it looks more suspicious - like perhaps the business owners were just personal friends who hired you as more of a favor?
    • Never tell me you NEED your job because of financial struggle... You made your bed, sleep in it.

      Yeah, because everyone grows up in great school districts, is able to go to a great college without racking up student loans, is able to get a great job in this wonderful job market we have, and has benefits that cover them if they get injured and have to spend 10's of thousands of dollars on medical bills.

      Obligatory for Slashdot: I won't leave out those that have bullshit litigation brought against them and ha

  • by Spy der Mann ( 805235 ) <spydermann.slashdot@ g m> on Monday September 26, 2005 @07:20PM (#13654618) Homepage Journal
    Is Steve Ballmer rich? WAY YES! But is he happy? Oh no wait, Steve, get that chair down HEEEEELP!!!
  • by cjkinniburgh ( 915605 ) * on Monday September 26, 2005 @07:22PM (#13654639)
    Maslow's hierarch of needs ('s_hierarchy_o f_needs []) would say that a job can, over time, satisfy an employees physiological needs and safety, however, once these demands are met with money, an employer will look upwards in the hierarchy to love and belonging, and see that he could be doing better. I think that this is what happens, people see that once they are 'safe' from their basic needs, they look to expand both their emotions and themselves as individuals. People wish to do as well as they can, and doing so they look up the pyramid, leading them to change jobs, even if this produces a pay cut, as long as the pay cut allows them to live without any hardship.
    • by rainman_bc ( 735332 ) on Monday September 26, 2005 @07:30PM (#13654705)
      Maslow's hierarchy of needs is a commonly misunderstood theory. It's about motivation. You can't expect someone to do something for self actualization, when safety need isn't being met. He theorizes that in order to have self-actualization as a motivator, you need to first fulfill physiological, safety, belongingness, esteem etc... A employee who cannot meet physiological needs will not be motivated by esteem needs. Maslow's hierarchy of needs is a motivation theory. Of course, Alderfer's ERG theory [] is also important to examine.
    • by DarkSarin ( 651985 ) on Monday September 26, 2005 @11:00PM (#13655790) Homepage Journal
      As the sibling post points out, Maslow's Hierarchy of needs is a motivation theory. As someone (psychologist in training--only 2 years to PhD), who studies motivation as their primary area of expertise, allow me to be the one who says that as a theory of motivation, it is woefully inadequate and outdated. There are valid points to it, yes, but generally speaking, it stinks.

      From a graduate paper I wrote about burnout, I will state that what I remember indicates that burnout is a result of feelings of inefficacy, and inability to change the current situation. Thus, from an organizational behavior point of view, its simply the state where motivation to work approaches (but never reaches) zero. Note that motivation is a directed behavior, not an attitude. Certainly there is a set of emotions and feelings associated very strongly with that behavior, but motivation is most accurately described as a behavior (specifically the allocation of time and energy toward a specific task).

      Burnout is awful. It is real. Employers can, and should*, do things to prevent it. Those who suffer from burnout should be given access to resources and activities that will relieve that burnout.

      *This is what most employers get wrong. Leaving aside such fuzziness as "good corporate citizenship" and similar ideas, burned out employees cost money. They are inefficient, and the chances are that their replacements will burn out as well as costing money and time to train properly. Hiring new employees is often as expensive or more expensive as reviving and helping your current ones. I won't make an ethical argument here, although one exists, and shouldn't be ignored, because I know that the managers want a financial/business related reason to do things. This is utility analysis (something I am becoming more interested in).
  • Love what you do (Score:5, Insightful)

    by The Bungi ( 221687 ) <> on Monday September 26, 2005 @07:23PM (#13654652) Homepage
    It's that simple. If you wake up every morning and think "wow, I'm pumped up to get to work because I love the stuff I do" then you'll always be happy. It doesn't matter if you're writing software or doing landscaping, and it doesn't matter how much money you make at it.

    Of course you can love what you do and still burnout due to bad leadership, bad environments, crappy salary, etc. But when you already love what you do you know exactly what you want and you know what to shoot for. There are many people out there who don't even know what they want to do.

    So the trick is just to find a good place to do what you really love. Everything else falls into place after that. The world is a big place. Unless your specialty is the study of the mating habits of the black-striped vampire burrowing ferret that only lives in a remote region of Mongolia, you usually have choices about jobs.

  • by Tackhead ( 54550 ) on Monday September 26, 2005 @07:23PM (#13654655)
    > Is it really better working for a company that cares about your satisfaction? Are there any companies like that and (more importantly) are they hiring?

    Yes, but:

    Yes, but - a company that cares about your satisfaction is necessary, but not sufficient. You're partially responsible for your own satisfaction. The company can only provide you an environment in which your work is meaningful, and with bosses who aren't asshats. Some companies fail to suck, but if you keep that "I show up, I hide for 8 hours a day, I get nothing done, and they still pay me" mentality, you're not going to enjoy it any more (or any less) than working at your last job.

    Yes, and:

    Yes, and - they do exist. And they're often hiring. They're everywhere, but they're usually small companies, and you wouldn't know about them unless you knew people already working there.

    So, what to do:

    Network. In other words, do the same thing you ought to be doing every night, Pinky. Ask your friends who's worth signing up with as part of your plan to try to take over the world.

  • RTFA-Even the most enlightened, caring employers are facing conditions that can lead to employee burnout. Bob Kerr, Innotec Stainless operations manager and Welding Wire subscriber, wrote, "I hope that as a follow-up to the replies you receive from burned-out welders, you can remind them that their employer's constant efforts to increase productivity while decreasing costs are also an effort to compete in an increasingly competitive market. If the employer cannot compete successfully utilizing domestic labor, he is either forced to offshore or close shop. Therefore, it is in the best interest of each employee to strive for higher personal productivity. As Americans, we tend to forget that we are indeed competing in an increasingly smaller world."

    In other words, between the Clintonista Democrats and the Reganites and Bushies, we've signed too many free trade agreements for employers to actually be able to compete *and* care about their employees. So the second gets left in the dust because the federal government can't be bothered with the duties of the common defense and providing for the general welfare.
  • by rd4tech ( 711615 ) * on Monday September 26, 2005 @07:25PM (#13654669)
    From my humble experience, these guidelines help with the subject of the article
    1. Be at work 10 minutes before time
    2. Leave on time or up to 5 minutes after.
    3. Don't do overtimes unless it's happening at most once a week and it's paid.
    4. Have your own strong principles and be professional, do what you are paid for, but keep in mind rule number 2.
    5. When a 'funny' new idea/feature/concept is about to be discussed and possibly implemented, don't go nuts over it. Stay calm, state your view, sit down and shut up. The last part is important because regardless of the undesirability of the idea, if your boss wants it to be implemented, you'll have no choice anyway. Instead of being stressed out, refer to rule 2 and 6.
    6. Once work hours ends, forget everything until the next day regardless of the pressure. Work isn't your personal life.
    7. Remember that people treat you the way you've allowed them to do.

    If you still don't agree with me, do read:
    workweek []
    Average work week in manufactoring []
    • Keep your sanity (Score:5, Insightful)

      by nuggz ( 69912 ) on Monday September 26, 2005 @07:33PM (#13654731) Homepage
      Good advice.
      Do your job, be professional, avoid getting into that other stuff.

      I enjoy my job, it's a good job. I take pride in my work, I do a good job.

      I leave on time, and leave work at the office, generally.

      I rarely take work home, and I try not to travel on weekends. I'm fair to the company and they're (so far) fair to me. It helps I've got a reasonable boss who believes in that balance results in better long term performance. Many other supervisors I've seen are less balanced in his approach, their people work more, but don't seem to be any more successful, and their turnover is higher.

      Makes you think.
      • I enjoy my job, it's a good job. I take pride in my work, I do a good job.

        Why then do I get an image of you polishing a rifle when I read that?

        In contrast to the article, my company told me to stop working long hours regularly because they were afraid I'd burn out. But I was happier when I was working longer hours! I got more done and felt less guilty about the occasional web surfing.
    • My job has long (LONG) periods where I have very little workload.. then we have weeks where there's no time to go get lunch or stop at the end of the day. If I worked in the fast food industry they'd put me on "casual" rates and send me home when there was no work to do. Thankfully I work for a megacorp on a salary and they pay me the same no matter how little or how much work there is to do. What pisses me off is the people who do nothing all day long for weeks and then refuse to work late when crunch t
    • If you need to remember any of those items, your job sucks. Personally, I don't mind coming in 30 minutes early and leaving 30 minutes late. My boss would never ask me to do that unless an extreme emergency happened, which it hasn't yet. My job is good, my boss is great and I enjoy it. I actually look forward to arriving at work in the morning so I can talk with my boss for a while about non-work and work stuff.

      My last job wasn't quite as good, but I still got along with the people I worked with and had a t
  • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) * on Monday September 26, 2005 @07:27PM (#13654679)
    The smaller the company usually the less politics you need to go threw, the chances you are working on an important job is higher. Because you are a big fish in a small pond you actually feel like you are needed. If you work in a large corporation the benefits will be better but in a smaller company you will get more experience and you will be able to achieve more.
  • Burnout/hardwork (Score:5, Interesting)

    by QuantumRiff ( 120817 ) on Monday September 26, 2005 @07:28PM (#13654695)
    There is bound to be several threads here about how hard work is important, and those that complain are lazy, and want instant gratification. Let me just point out, that back in the day, you worked hard, put in insane hours, and got promoted. It was not unheard of to go from entry level to corporate VP. However, in the last decade, things have changed.. excuse me while I badly paraphrase Office Space "they're going to lay you off and hire interns, so that lumburg's stock will go up a quarter of a point" If you read the article, it also talks about employee dedication being offset by managements short term goals..

    I work government, and while I do like my job, there is no real point in my putting in insane hours. Because in government, everyone has to be treated equally. I work about 45 hours a week, busy all day (and reading slashdot!). If we do raises, everyone gets a 2% raise, or x amount a year. Everyone. Even the people that sit around all day surfing the web. There is no reward for me implementing a system wide VOIP system in 1 month from brainstorm to going live. There is no incentive for me to put in tons of work, except for my own satisfaction, and resume building.

  • by bernywork ( 57298 ) * <> on Monday September 26, 2005 @07:38PM (#13654767) Journal
    Is it really better working for a company that cares about your satisfaction? Are there any companies like that and (more importantly) are they hiring?

    Yes, yes, and just to add it another time for good measure YES!

    Job satisfaction is a huge one on my priority list, it should be on your employers list, but most of the time it won't be. It's a shame that it works this way, but that's life I guess. I am self motivated normally because what I do the people who I work for can see the benefits of what I am trying to do. I also have a very good working relationship with them so if I need money for budgets or someone out of my way to do things, it's all very easy to organise. This means when I have to work two or three weeks straight and pull 12 - 14 hours days for that period I know that taking time off afterwards to see family / friends won't even be questioned. Anything else that I need during that time will also be taken care of without question too.

    It all comes down to the person / people who you report to, some people just aren't adept at keeping people happy by doing all those little things that keep staff. Most of the time, it's usually other members who care more and make your boss do things. I know that I bought a lot of alcohol (Bottles of wine, champagne) pens and other small gifts for staff. I managed to get one of our staff members sent away to a resort with one of her friends for a weekend away after finishing a project.

    A lot of the time I find it's all about the relationship you have with the people that you report to, if you can see them as friends and they respect you for what you are doing, then all problems seem to fade away. If you are consistently not seeing eye-to-eye on things, I would definitely move somewhere else.

    Just to let you know as well, from having managed teams before, and people that have been unhappy and going to leave, the company policy before was just to give them a pay rise and that would make them stay. Only problem with that is none of the issues about WHY that person is unhappy have been resolved. In two or three months they will want to leave again. Usually it comes down to job appreciation and giving them challenges to keep them thinking. If you do this I have seen people work for a lot less because they actually enjoy their work. When people are happy it's very very easy to correlate between their performance at work as well.

    Employers like this do exist, but it's just a case of finding them. I would find out what makes you happy and ask questions about this in your interviews to see if the company that you could be working for is really what you are after.
  • by Alan ( 347 ) <> on Monday September 26, 2005 @07:58PM (#13654878) Homepage
    According to in depth research using googlefight, pay wins [].
  • by Anubis333 ( 103791 ) on Monday September 26, 2005 @07:58PM (#13654879) Homepage
    I would like to say that I left the USA and went to work for one of the best Game Developers in the EU: and I f*cking love this company. They seem to honestly care about the workers. We get ~25 days paid vacation, and OT is compensated with paid vacation days. (which is unheard of in the US) When they wanted to make a move to a larger city, they actually polled the workers to determine which city to move to! Sure, it's a Game Developer, so we stay long hours to finish things for deadlines, but it's so much nicer when you are working on a Sunday, being compensated; you get an email asking what you would like for lunch, and the CFO later walks around handing out ice cream bars to people saying "thanks for coming in on sunday, we will try to only ask you to come in on weekends when it is really needed." It really makes me want whats best for the company as a whole, and I would stay longer hours and work harder to make a better game and do better for the company I enjoy working at.
    • That is really good to hear. I am currently in the later stages of a possible such move. I live in the US.

      What I do not like about living in the US is how everything "seems" to be centered around materialism; You are what you make. You are your reputation. You are the car you drive. You are the suit you wear. In short. You are not "you".

      The stress level is also extremely high. At least, generally, those around me have that problem. Which is puzzling to me. These folks seem to think it was PUT on them by oth
  • by briancnorton ( 586947 ) on Monday September 26, 2005 @08:03PM (#13654899) Homepage
    There is no reason to stick around for a job you don't like. If you can't find another job that you will like, then you aren't looking hard enough.

    That said, perhaps you need to step back and ponder your situation a bit.
    Is it really the job that you don't like?
    Could it be that you just aren't good at it?
    Do your coworkers not like you?
    Do they have a good reason?
    Why do you think it's the company's job to make you happy?

    These and other questions sound silly, but are crucialy important. You may like your job just fine, but be unhappy with your personal life. You may not mesh with others in your office. Maybe you would be happier starting your own business. Don't automatically assume that all your problems are the fault of someone else. The only consistant feature of every unsatisfying relationship that you have ever had is you. Something to ponder.

  • by chia_monkey ( 593501 ) on Monday September 26, 2005 @08:03PM (#13654901) Journal
    I just came across a proposition to change my career yet again. When I was in Philly (ick) I was installing wifi all around the country. I dug the hell out of it but I really missed everything Santa Cruz, CA had to offer me. So I quit what I was doing and moved out to the west coast. I still had my consulting company out here but it wasn't a steady paycheck and bringing me the big bucks.

    So here I am in CA, doing tech support for the courthouse (we let our consulting company slowly fold as my biz partner headed off to law school and I sought a bit more stability). I get to ride my bike to work every day (about 10 miles each), have great weather, good people all around, the ocean here, the mtns, etc. However, just recently I was offered the chance to do the wifi stuff again with a 50% raise. I pondered it for about a week and realized it wasn't a lifestyle I wanted. 50% wasn't enough to travel all the time, have instability, won't get to ride all the time, etc. Paying the bills would be awesome, but it's just not worth the sacrifice. Apply this to all your job decisions and's interesting what you can come up with.
  • Yea...well, sorta... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by OneFix ( 18661 ) on Monday September 26, 2005 @08:21PM (#13655019)
    Education and Government.

    Education and Govt both pay poorly when compared to their private sector jobs...which really means they arent as demanding, but because the IT departments tend to be smaller, you get a good opportunity to try out new technlogies...the biggest drawback from both of these are low pay and yearly audits...

    For some, they would rather make $40k/yr and be happy and fairly secure than make $80k/yr with a job they hate...

    To get a job that you wont eventually hate you honestly have to be willing to accept lower pay or lack of freedom, or both...
  • by jht ( 5006 ) on Monday September 26, 2005 @08:26PM (#13655044) Homepage Journal
    Basically, here's the roughly-a-paragraph version of my career, followed by what I do now:

    Started mid-'80s with minor tech jobs and tech/sales jobs for crappy, now out-of-business retailers (Egghead, ComputerTown, etc.). Got hired by a customer to be their admin, spent 6 utterly frantic, insane years there. I worked at all hours of the day and night, dealt with issues constantly, but I was well-paid, respected, and treated well. I loved it. Went to another job as IT manager for an insurance company, paid a lot more money. Loved it and the people, until we were sucked in by a much bigger insurance company. Their strategic plan for us involved firing half the employees and turning it into a branch office. Lost my job there as one of the first overboard (I was management, after all) in mid-'03 after 5+ years - the first 3 solving problems and running operations, the last two having conference calls with my new boss in Minnesota.

    After that thoroughly disheartening experience with The System, I decided to give being my own boss a shot. I hung out my shingle in the spring of '04, and managed to eke out a living for the first year. Now, I wouldn't say my success is assured and I'm not making the kind of bank I used to, but I'm really busy, making a good living, and I love my job. My customers are actually grateful for my work, and they trust me to help steer them in the right directions. The experience I had is a real asset for them. And even if this doesn't work out in the long term, I've learned a lot about myself, learned a lot about business, and gotten the chance to actually use all the tech skills I've piled up over the years instead of rotting from the neck up as a PHB.

    The downside? Some weeks I can't find enough hours in the week to do everything, some weeks I hear crickets chirping when I sit in my office. And today was supposed to be a family day to go to a museum with my wife and son, but instead I had to finish a proposal in the morning, and then get called in to a customer about a half-hour from here to fix a server whose power supply had failed (installed before my time and soon to be replaced). But you know - it wasn't too bad. Because the proposal is for a nice bit of business, and that didn't take too long. And the other customer knew that I was giving up my personal time to help and they genuinely appreciated it. And appreciation is something that is often sorely lacking in the salaried, 9-5 world. Crises like that don't happen often, and it just happened to be today.

    So basically I'm saying that if you want to be happy, consider working for yourself. It's a much better life (at least for me), and it's nice to at least have some measure of control again. The worst case is you'll learn something in failing. The best case is you get to really be in charge of your career.
  • by HerculesMO ( 693085 ) on Monday September 26, 2005 @08:28PM (#13655055)
    Pay your employees what they are worth, treat them well, put the stockholders SECOND (and make your employees know it), and strive for success. If you need to build a molehill, engage your employees to built a mountain.

    The problem with most jobs is that (and it's true for me) I *know* I can do a better job than the person above me. And it's not the work itself -- I have ideas to make things work smoother, cheaper, more efficient, etc. Most companies fear change -- they do what they can to keep everything successful and change nothing for sake of their employees.

    Why do you think Google is the 'job' that EVERYBODY wants (myself included)? Their environment is key to their success. They give their employees free food, let them wear whatever the fuck they want, and pay them well. The idea of companies getting more for less is proven false time and time again -- you will just have more people staying under the radar and doing the bare minimum, as the article suggests.

    Here's a few tips from personal experience, that I can pass along to corporations:
    -- Don't have "End of the Month" meetings congratulating how great the company's 'numbers' were when 99% of the people in attendance gain NOTHING from it, and the 1% who do are the ones trying to "motivate" you to get better numbers for next month.
    -- Don't keep on incompetents, people with bad tempers, and just lazy fucking bastards just because they seem to be on a 'tenure' track and have a 'history' with your company. If you are detrimental to the employees in any way, get the fuck out.
    -- Offer a Christmas bonus, ever year. I don't care if I got a $10 gift certificate to Walmart, it's the THOUGHT (and yes folks, your parents taught you right) that counts here. To say after a year's work, in a time of holiday and giving, and that you KNOW the managers are getting HUGE bonuses, learn to give a little back to your employees. You have no idea how valuable that $10 may be.
    -- Offer advancement, even if it's fake. When I came in as "Janitor" (though I didn't but regardless), and I did a decent job and I earned my whopping (can you feel the sarcasm?) 4% raise, change my title too. I would love to be Janitor Level II -- head of vomit patrol for lavatories 1-4. Granted it was probably my job before but the fact I got a title change makes me feel just a little better.
    -- DO NOT EXPECT YOUR EMPLOYEES TO ABANDON THEIR FAMILIES/LIVES TO WORK FOR YOUR SHITTY COMPANY. I cannot stress this enough. I work a 50 hour work week. Unless somebody is about to die, do not call me on the weekend, do not ask me to finish up a project by staying only a half hour more, and learn that "results" are often measured in QUALITY and not QUANTITY of hours. If you stress that you want the best job that your employee can do, but NOT at the expense of their personal lives, then your company will benefit. Because employees will make sure to get their projects done in a timely fashion because they have ALL of the aforementioned 'tips' to look forward to, coming in to another day at work.
    -- And lastly, do not believe that YOU, as Management, are worthy of any praise. You are scum because you make boatloads more money than me for a LOT less work. Granted *some* of you worked to get there and some of you did not. As an employee, I don't give a flying fuck and I will always hold that against you. That's not negotiable. Your job as management is to be despised by all employees and looked at with scorn. So don't get mad about it -- just offer what you can to say that at the end of the day, with your fistfulls of cash, you are missing one dollar to give your employees an infinitely better workplace.

    But we won't ever stop saying how useless and stupid you are because let's face it dude... you are a fat dumb bastard and we all aspire to be in your position as well.
  • by Eric Smith ( 4379 ) * on Monday September 26, 2005 @09:49PM (#13655461) Homepage Journal to work in a field that you're personally interested in, for a company that is small enough that they do care about the employees. You'll rarely, if ever, find that in a large company; HP was once that way but Carly "fixed" that.

    Most large companies consider employees to be completely interchangeable and replaceable like light bulbs.

    That's not to say that all small companies are good, though. Many tech startups have a business plan that requires making their employees work long hours and weekends until they burn out. Avoid those like the plauge. They always tell prospective employees that they will reap big rewards on stock options, and in fact often insist that the employee should accept lower salary and worse benefits in exchange for the options. Don't buy it. Options *might* pay off, but it's a long shot. If they try to sucker you into such a plan, ask them to give you the salary and benefits you want and forget the options. They'll almost never do that, which tells you that their real opinion on the value of their own options is that they are worthless; obviously you shouldn't value them any more highly.

    I've had the good fortune to have several enjoyable jobs at small companies, including my current job. At a few of them I did eventually make modest gains on stock options, but not enough for a down payment on a house. Well, maybe a down payment on a house somewhere other than in Silicon Valley.

  • by mojoNYC ( 595906 ) on Monday September 26, 2005 @11:27PM (#13655900) Homepage
    Here's my story, in the hope that somebody will read it, and may be influenced to take a leap...

    briefly, I started as a graphic designer and production artist in 1990, first working for a manufacturer, then going on my own for a couple of years--my computer skills have been valuable because I learned the technical aspects of print production, rather than just making pretty layouts--in the mid 90s, I started learning web design and multimedia (Director) --wanting to be my own boss, I started a small design biz and went on my own--during this time, I had my own clients, as well as doing freelance work inside many top ad and marketing agencies in Minneapolis. then, I went to work for a homegrown ad agency, who was actually pretty good to work for, with lots of perks, but also having to put up with typical client BS.

    by 2000 i'd had enough, and moved to New York City, to get an advanced degree, learning multimedia art + design, and to see how i'd match up with the best. I was freelancing while going to school, which went fine at first, and then slowly dissipated with the dotcom bubble burst, finally falling on 9-11, which I saw from my classroom window. the next year and a half were spent trying to work out of this--I actually got a job at a remaining dot-com, but the founder split with the last 600k, and I was out of a job a week after I was this point, my rent wasn't being paid, much less my bills or student loans--also, I'd exhausted any credit I had, or even friends or parents to help me pay my bills--i was on my own, with no income and few prospects (freelance rates dropped through the floor at this time, and the competition became ever more fierce). bankruptcy was imminent...

    I still kept my work studio, though, because I found I *needed* to keep working--the silver lining is that with commercial work nonexistent, I could work on my own projects--I distinctly remember waking up to go to the studio being flat broke, knowing that the financial world was closing in on me. strangely, I felt free and ok with this, becausee even though I wasn't being paid, I was going to go and work on my stuff, because that's what I do.

    just when things were at their lowest, I met my future wife--she's European, and from a family of artists (and she's a geek;>--we fell in love and got married, and most of my concerns were eliminated...because my wife's father (who died when she was young) left her some money, I am able to work without having to submit to the most lucrative job--I teach interactive multimedia design and spend the rest of my time working on my own projects. Next year, I will be releasing my own creative work, (hopefully in conjunction with a major event that I am working on being a part of), while continuing to teach, and spend time with my beautiful (geek) wife...

    what's the point? Surely, I got incredibly lucky, however, that luck came after I stayed true to my own self, and pursued my dream--I was willing to take less, and put in more, in order to pursue my dream, and in the end, it came back to me a thousandfold--before that, however, I gave up a steady job, where I made good money, but got very little satisfaction putting together schlock work for anybody willing to pay.

    lots of people would trade places with me now, but which nobody would have done 2 1/2 years ago--I do believe that it was my willingness to stick it out to the bitter end that got me this far--that's the message that I want to send out--you *can* make your dreams come true, if you want them bad enough--they will never turn out quite like you expect in the beginning, but you can see it clearly, looking back...

    corporations are like casinos--they may pay you some coin, but they'll take your heart and soul in return--I can't blame anybody who takes a corporate job to feed themselves and their families, however, it's always a tradeoff, and make no mistake, they take as much of your heart and soul as they can. In return, many of the things that you think you need are actually modern 'convenien

  • by eggmit ( 685782 ) on Monday September 26, 2005 @11:30PM (#13655912)

    In 2004, I left a job as a software engineer to join the Marines as a Naval Flight Officer (think Goose from Top Gun). I was making good money ($70k 1 year out of college), had flexible hours, and had a great working environment (awesome boss and several friends), but it just wasn't satifying me.

    Now as a 2nd Lieutenant with 1 year of service, I make the equivalent of $42k (tax adjusted) and am loving it. The money is more than enough for everything I want & need.

    The only thing I miss is how academic & intellectual everyone was back at my job in the civilian world. Don't get me wrong; the people here are smart, but it's more in terms of technical proficiency and quick thinking. Running my own programming business on the side seems to satisfy that need, though.

  • We all got a price (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pvera ( 250260 ) <> on Monday September 26, 2005 @11:46PM (#13655961) Homepage Journal
    I have had jobs where I had to put up with a lot of crap. The pay was always reasonable, never too crazy. The hours usually sucked, and as a norm most of the first line supervisors were clueles. Since the pay was just reasonable it fell under the "I don't get paid enough for this shit" category, so once these became unbearable, I moved on.

    There have also been a couple of jobs that fall under the "damn, I *do* get paid enough to put up with shit." In that case the pay and benefits are a bit higher than usual, so you put up with the crap in the job for as long as you can hack it.

    Of course, once in a lifetime you get that one job where you get paid well, people listen to you and you can pretty much get away with murder. Hell, you might even get lucky and end up working for a first line supervisor that is not an idiot. If you are one of the very few lucky bastards in this position, STFU and try to get as much as you want out of it.

Were there fewer fools, knaves would starve. - Anonymous