How often do you hear friends, family and colleagues complain about how much they hate their job? Chances are it’s quite often, so it may shock you to learn that a new WellPoint survey finds a majority of Americans consider their job to be a high priority (79 percent) and many also would feel lost if they were unable to go to work every day (55 percent).
The survey, conducted to commemorate May as Disability Insurance Awareness Month, finds that consumers consider their work a major aspect of their overall well-being (84 percent). In fact, many Americans would give up every day indulgences such as checking Facebook (71 percent), eating sweets (65 percent), or even drinking their morning cup of coffee (59 percent) if it meant landing their dream job.
A fair amount of attention has been paid in the past few years to the concept of well-being, popularized by bestselling authors Tom Rath and Jim Harter. In their book Wellbeing, they highlight the importance of job satisfaction, saying, "People with high career well-being are more than twice as likely to be thriving in their lives overall. If your career well-being is low, it’s easy to see how it can cause deterioration in other areas over time."
Underscoring the importance of our careers to our overall well-being, the majority of consumers surveyed agreed that work-related accolades, such as getting promoted at work (81 percent) or receiving recognition from a boss or colleague (78 percent), provide a boost of self-confidence.
To further explore how our identities are closely tied to career well-being, The Economic Journal published a study in 2008 that revealed losing one’s job might be the only major life event from which people do not fully recover from within five years.[i]
The survey finds that consumers would go to great lengths to get back to work as soon as possible rather than let an injury or illness hold them back. In order to get back to their job, 89 percent of respondents would seek the help of specialists to get the right care. Three quarters of consumers say they would make arrangements to work from home (75 percent) or find ways to stay connected at work (75 percent) if faced with an injury or illness.
Clark, A.E., Diener, E., Georgellis, Y., & Lucas, R.E. (2008). Lags and leads in life satisfaction: A test of the baseline hypothesis. The Economic Journal, 118(529), F222-F243.