Occupational Wellness: Are Your Expectations Accurate?

I’m going to take a second and just do a quick pat on my back for multiple reasons, one being that I got the September Gallup Business Journal email yesterday and I’m already doing a post on it, Good work Vanessa, good work! 

There are a couple of interesting articles in this month’s newsletter, but one that caught my eye immediately is by Susan Sorenson and Keri Garman, More Educated, Less Engaged. This article looks at engagement from different workers based on their education. For me looking at it, the numbers are that crazy. 34% of workers w/ less than a High School Diploma are engaged in their jobs versus 28% of workers who have a college degree who are engaged in their job. Given that not earning a high school diploma is vastly different than earning a 4 year college degree (or being gifted one, that’s a rant for a different day), the numbers just aren’t that different or surprising to me.

U.S. Engagement Levels by Education

I mean, if you look at the numbers of workers who are not engaged, that is a little more wide spread vs. workers who are engaged. But there just aren’t any shockingly huge number differences. I suppose the real shock in this article is that you would think if you went and got your high school diploma, went through college and got your bachelor’s AND then went ahead and got your master’s (or higher) degree and 56% of those people aren’t engaged in their work? You went through all that schooling and spent all that money and you don’t even like your job? I guess that is where the big kicker is. Especially given that (and the article touches on this as well) that in America, it is pretty well accepted that if you want to make a nice living, you get at least a college education. In certain departments too, (say psychology) if you want to use your degree, you HAVE to get advanced education. Period.

So perhaps the shock value isn’t necessarily in the numbers, but it is in what you put into those numbers. And it is perhaps what your expectations were of the work you put in. Perhaps people who go on and get a postgraduate degree expect that they are going to be working a job that they love and they find out that isn’t necessarily true. If you think about people who don’t have a high school diploma, perhaps their expectations of their work life are more accurate versus those who have gone and gotten the education.


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