I don't know how I could have missed it. But October 16 was National Boss Day, and I didn't do a damn thing about it. I didn't send flowers, candy, not even a cheesy Hallmark card (yup, they actually sell them for the occasion) to my betters.
Did you forget too? Don't worry. It seems everyone did. That's probably because there isn't much popular support for the day. In fact, it seems that most folks would rather have a Tell Your Boss to Go to Hell Day.
That's the upshot, according to a new survey by psychologist Michelle McQuaid, who interviewed over 1,000 American workers in a range of professions. Her finding: People are not happy campers at work, and the boss is the reason.
Here's a summary of McQuaid's study by The Wall Street Journal's MarketWatch:
- Only 36 percent of Americans are happy at their job.
- By almost 2:1, workers would choose having a "better" boss over money (65 percent say a better boss would make them happy, while 35 percent say they would rather get a pay raise).
- Almost a third (31 percent) of employees feel uninspired and unappreciated by their boss, and close to 15 percent feel downright miserable, bored, and lonely.
- 42 percent say their bosses don't work very hard, and close to 20 percent say their boss has little or no integrity.
- Almost 70 percent say they would be happier at work if they got along better with their boss.
- When stress levels rise at work, almost half (47 percent) say their boss does not stay calm and in control.
The good news is that 38 percent of employees describe their boss as "great"—not close to a majority, but much better than I would have guessed. The other good news is that older workers didn't seem as disgruntled (70 percent of boomers didn't complain that their boss lost control in times of stress).
This study of employee attitudes, like the one that I blogged about earlier this year, paints a rather dismal picture about managers' performance in general. It doesn't focus exclusively on lawyers, but I think it's safe to say that associates wouldn't have better views of partners.
To me, what's striking is that most people in the survey would gladly forfeit a fatter paycheck for a decent boss. Would those who work in Big Law have the same priority? Among partners, there's generally an attitude that associates have no grounds for griping because they're paid so highly. It's kind of understood that if you want to make the big bucks, you have to put up with a lot of garbage.
But my bet is that many associates would gladly trade higher earnings for decent treatment. Am I right? Or am I giving them too much credit?
Get The Careerist in your morning email. Sign up today—see box on upper right corner.
Do you have topics you'd like to discuss or tips to share? Email The Careerist's chief blogger, Vivia Chen, at [email protected]