Why American Workers Are So Unhappy – And What You Can Do About It

If you’re unhappy at work, you might be consoled to know you’re not alone.

On paper, things look good. Wages are higher than ever, remote and hybrid working is commonplace, while more and more organizations are introducing and expanding PTO, alongside other benefits and perks.

However, Gallup’s State of the Global Workforce, which surveys over 60,000 people in the U.S., and is now in its 24th year, says that workers are unhappier than ever.

Over half of workers are not engaged and are doing the bare minimum to get by; six in 10 employees are quietly quitting, while 18% are loudly quitting aka are actively disengaged.

Why are American workers unhappy?

Gallup asked respondents what they would change about their workplaces to improve it, and 85% of responses from quiet quitters can be divided into three main categories.

Engagement or Culture

Some 41% of answers fell to this category. Respondents wanted staff to be recognized for their contributions, for managers to be more approachable, to have more autonomy, for greater learning capacity, greater respect, fair chances for promotions, and for the clear communication of paths for progression with guidance.

Pay and Benefits

When it comes to pay and benefits, unsurprisingly, employees want salary increases, but also to be paid on time, for salaries to be proportional to qualifications and merit, monthly transport costs vouchers, fully-subsidized child care, and special rewards for employees when the company achieves excellent results.


In terms of wellbeing, communication of shifts well in advance was a priority, as was less overtime, more work-from-home, longer breaks, access to health clinics, for management to take workers’ health and life seriously, and to have a place to relax or get together with colleagues for coffee.

What can you do?

It can be difficult to muster up the energy to make changes when you’re unhappy in your workplace.

But one of the most straightforward ways is to develop your relationship with a direct boss. Ask for or schedule regular one-to-ones, and take control of your career by discussing upskilling, promotions, a sideways move, and new ways of working.

If your company is large enough to run a regular employee engagement survey, you can anonymously make suggestions for improvement. While those in smaller organizations may suggest starting a quarterly or annual engagement survey, or even implementing a virtual suggestion box.

If you’ve made an effort to improve your situation and are hitting blockers, perhaps it’s time to find something new.

In your job search, look for a strong emphasis on progressive management – and ideally speak to someone who works there already to get the inside suss on engagement and culture especially. These two can be difficult to ascertain through job specs and information available online.

If you’re ready to start your search, visit The Hill Jobs Board and browse a wide selection of open roles open right now, like these three.

Director, Communications, NACWA, Washington DC

The National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) is seeking a new Director, Communications to serve as the primary point of contact with all media outlets, to advance the organizations advocacy goals with media, plan and implement messaging campaigns, staff the association’s Communications & Public Affairs Committee, and develop tools and resources for NACWA members. This role will involve a lot of collaboration with the Director, Marketing & Outreach and requires a Bachelor’s degree or higher, preferably in journalism or public relations. A competitive salary is available, as well as comprehensive benefits. Find out more here.

Account Executive, CloudHesive, Washington DC

Consultancy and managed services provider CloudHesive is advertising for an Account Executive to grow cloud sales, while nurturing and developing existing accounts. Requiring two or three years’ prior experience, a Bachelor’s degree, a willingness to travel 40% of the time, and with a stipulation to complete AWS Cloud Practitioner certification within the first 30 days of employment, this role does come with a number of benefits and flexibility  in exchange. Open to remote candidates with 401(K) matching, dental insurance, health insurance, vision insurance, PTO and commission pay, this could be the right role for you if you’re interested in developing your sales skills to work in tech business development. Apply here.

Relationship Banker, Bank of America, Washington DC

With a continued push on self-service transactions like mobile banking, online banking and ATMs, Bank of America is hiring a Relationship Banker for the DC market to educate and engage individual clients to meet their financial needs. To fulfill this role, you’ll need to be an enthusiastic, highly-motivated self-starter with an intense focus on results, communicate effectively and confidently, and have critical thinking and problem-solving skills. You’ll also need experience in financial services, at least one year of sales experience in a salary plus incentive environment with individual sales goals, six months cash-handling experience, and a Bachelor’s degree or relevant associate degree. Read more here.

For more career opportunities, visit The Hill Jobs Board today

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