Monday, June 26, 2000

Daily grind


Money, jobs and bosses

By JOHN ECKBERG
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Talk about micro-managing!

        In a recent survey of 1,400 workers who responded online to questions about their jobs, bosses and aspirations, 168 people said they meet with their bosses about once a minute.

        Yes, once a minute. Impossible, right?

        No, this survey was scientifically accurate to plus or minus 2.6 percentage points, and that could mean that as many as 204 people of the 1,400 see their boss every minute of every day.

        Loss of control has always been the nightmare of many managers — but keeping in touch by the minute?

        That's extreme by any standard, and it's only one stunning facet of the Job Satisfaction Survey commissioned in February by CareerPath.com, a database of job listings from 90 affiliated newspapers across the nation.

        Respondents were Americans and 52 percent were 21 to 35 years old and 29 percent were 36 to 50 years old. Another 11 percent were under 21 years old and 8 percent were 51 years old or older. Men were 49 percent of the sample and women were 51 percent.

        If you think that meeting with the boss on a minute by minute basis is the outer edge, consider this: Another 16 percent of those surveyed meet with the boss at least once every hour of every day.

        The satisfaction survey also pointed out that growing discontent haunts the day-to-day life of many workers — four of 10 workers are likely to change jobs within a year.

Job hoppers
        Half of those workers planning a change will be pulling the plug within the next six months. Is job stability and inability to find a new position a concern? Not any more.

        Most of those job-seekers-to-be say they will use the Internet to find their new line of work. Others will use a newspaper classified advertisement to find work.

        Another significant finding was that going home each night with a feeling of fulfillment and job satisfaction is not what drives most workers to companies — despite the best efforts of managers to make us think that's what people really want.

        Contests are nice. Citations are nice. Notes of appreciation are nice. But what workers want is more dead presidents, that is, more jingle, more cabbage, more cake ... more money.

        In fact, according to the survey, nine of 10 workers responding to the survey figured you can take fulfillment and stick it on a shelf next to January's worker-of-the-month plaque.

Obvious answers
        There is a big dash of no duh when it comes to this survey.

        Even though the survey was anonymous, only a minute number of the folks responding admitted what is probably obvious to others.

        Only two percent of the respondents think they are overpaid, while about half the workers think they are underpaid.

        Only half? Three benefits make the paycheck shortfall more palatable: Workers think flexible hours are a nice perk, followed by casual dress and unlimited Internet access.

        The survey also found that 85 percent of the people polled work less than 50 hours each week. Do you think your job is nice? You must be in that 7 percent that meets with your boss every six months. Talk about a terrific job!

        John Eckberg can be reached at jeckberg@enquirer.com or 768-8386.