Harvard study uncovers what makes for unhappy jobs. (Representative image: Pexels via Canva)
What does an unhappy job mean to you? Overworking, low pay, corporate exploitation, rude bosses? As per an 85-year-old study from Harvard University, the world’s unhappiest jobs have a common theme: loneliness. The Stanford team interviewed over 700 people all over the world since 1938 and found that the unhappiest jobs were most often the loneliest ones, where the employees don’t get to work with a team.
Robert Waldinger (MD), a professor of psychiatry and also the director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, explained one of the oldest secrets of what you need to have work-life satisfaction. According to him, teamwork boosts both productivity and employee morale, as per an Economic Times report.
According to the Harvard study, the unhappiest employees are found in workplaces where they don’t have opportunities to interact with their peers and also aren’t required to have much human interaction. Waldinger said that job satisfaction correlates with how connected you feel with people during work.
So if, since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, you have seen more and more people unhappy with their jobs and wanting to quit, this could be one of the factors responsible. When offices went remote due to the pandemic, it exacerbated the loneliness factor. Tech, food delivery, and online retail services were particularly affected since employees in these sectors often work in complete isolation.
Irrespective of things going online during the pandemic, some jobs have never provided much opportunity for interaction between colleagues; think customer service. In these cases, matters are more complicated because not only do they not get to mingle with colleagues, they also have to deal with angry and rude customers often. In fact, the stress in these jobs can reach such levels that employees end up becoming depressed.
According to Waldinger, if you build positive relationships at work, it would mean lower stress at your job and “fewer days when we come home upset”.
So if you find yourself stuck at a job that makes you unhappy, you might now want to consider taking a little break and reaching out to a colleague next to you.
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