The Silicon Valley Voice

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Feelings

A reader recently wrote to complain about a boss who wanted her to share her “feelings.” The reader was willing to state her opinions or provide judgments based on her professional experience, but her feelings, she felt, were nobody’s business but her own.

I feel for her. It’s bad enough that our bosses have possession of our bodies for eight to 12 to 24 hours a day. Do we have to give them carte blanche on our emotions, as well?

I also have feelings about the boss’s desire to plumb the depths of his or her employee’s psyche. I feel certain that the boss didn’t read the results of a recent survey from Mercer Consulting, as reported by FINSwire in The Wall Street Journal.

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“One-Third of Employees Want to Quit,” was the headline of the article that detailed the survey results, including the not very startling fact that “one in three U.S. workers is seriously considering leaving his or her organization.” Equally unsurprising is that “another 21 percent aren’t considering quitting, but don’t like their employers.” That means more than half of the entire work force is either heading out the door or edging toward it. A mass exodus of experienced employees would leave most businesses in very sad shape, indeed, and it could happen — if there are ever enough available jobs to make these unhappy campers decamp.

What is causing these feelings of dissatisfaction? The survey cites “cuts to pay and benefits during the recession.” This is a little surprising since the salaries of bosses have been expanding exponentially. You would think that knowing that the fat cats in the company are getting a lot fatter would make everyone happy, but some workers, I guess, are just selfish.

Even if employees are not quitters, they’re not exactly ready to immerse themselves in work. “Workers are less engaged in their jobs,” the survey said. “Just 60 percent feel a strong sense of commitment to their employers, down from 64 percent in 2005. Measures of pride in the organization, willingness to go beyond job requirements and personal satisfaction from work are also down.”

The Mercer people see this sorry situation as a sign that employers need to make changes. I see it as a sign that merely thinking about quitting is not sufficient. If so many rats are thinking about deserting the ship, a mouse like you wants to get out well ahead of the gang.

Or maybe not! According to an Elizabeth Garone’s Careers Q&A column in The Wall Street Journal, workers who want to blast off from their jobs should cool their jets. “Don’t start packing up your desk just yet — at least not before you’ve fully evaluated your current situation.”

Of course, as someone who does little actual work, you’ve had plenty of time to evaluate before you evacuate. Still, Garone may have a point: “You’ll want to determine if the problem is really with the job and the company or whether there’s something else at play, such as your energy level or dissatisfaction with other areas of your life.”

There’s certainly nothing wrong with your energy level. It’s been stuck at zero for years. As for dissatisfaction with other areas of your life, I guess you could be pining for a more comfortable sofa at home, so your back wouldn’t hurt when you collapse after work to zone out on “The Bad Girls Club,” but basically, you don’t have any other areas in your life. You’re too tired after a hard day of pretending to work.

Still, if you insist on being all thoughtful and cautious, simply consider the evil, twisted, imbecilic morons who are your managers. Now, compare and contrast with the wonderful, intelligent, caring, good-looking person you are. The conclusion is irrefutable; it’s time to hotfoot it out of there.

Or maybe not! The career gurus polled by Garone suggest that you should first consider other opportunities within your company. Would you be happier as the senior vice president in charge of Mai Tai production at the Bora Bora branch? Well, it wouldn’t hurt to ask. Just in case the Bora Bora assignment doesn’t materialize, you’ll also want to extensively explore the opportunities available to you outside your current company.

Find out which employers need a lazy, lump of protoplasm to hold down an Aeron chair for eight to 12 to 24 hours a day and submit your application quickly. If this survey is even half accurate, you’ve got a lot of competition.

Bob Goldman has been an advertising executive at a Fortune 500 company in the San Francisco Bay Area. He offers a virtual shoulder to cry on at bob@funnybusiness.com.

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