This Generation is the Most Unhappy at Work, Study Finds

There is a generational divide happening in the United States workforce, and you might be surprised at who is most unhappy with their jobs.

GoodHire measured workplace happiness among 4,000 workers across multiple generations, and it found that Generation Z, or 18-24-year-olds, are the most unhappy at work.

The study broke out each generation as follows:

  • Generation Z: 18-24-year-olds
  • Millennials: 25-40 year-olds
  • Generation X: 41-56-year-olds
  • Baby Boomers: 57-75-year-olds

More than 20% of Generation Z’ers said that they hate their jobs. And, nearly seven in 10 admitted that they are not satisfied with their work-life balance. Baby Boomers finished a close second, with 63% reporting dissatisfaction with their jobs.

Why Do So Many Young People Dislike Their Jobs?

It could be due to unrealistic expectations about what their jobs mean to them. When I first entered the workforce after college as an eager 24-year-old, my expectations were lofty. I thought the people I was working with were highly-capable, engaged, and had a genius-level IQ.

But, it didn’t take long before I realized my coworkers were normal people, just like me. I did work with many smart people, but the majority muddled their way through the day, working for the weekend. I was underwhelmed.

Everyone Isn't Unhappy at Work

In fact, you might be surprised at which generation is the happiest. The study found that 57% of Millennials are satisfied with their careers, making them the happiest generation among those included in the study.

Almost everyone surveyed preferred a 4-day workweek, and very few said they were satisfied with their compensation. Only 30% of Baby Boomers are entirely happy with their salaries, followed by Gen Z (32%), Gen X (42%), and Millennials (47%)

Corporate America Looks Different Now

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way that we work in this country. For instance, coronavirus ushered in more flexible work arrangements as businesses were forced to close their doors during the outbreak's height.

Many organizations have adopted a permanent work-from-home policy, like Facebook and Twitter, Nationwide, Dropbox, Microsoft, Salesforce, and so many others. Today, more and more Americans are finding comfort in working from home, and the numbers show most workers are happier outside of an office.

“I see the 40-hour office workweek — an artifact of factory work — finally becoming a thing of the past. Instead, employees will escape grueling commutes and gain more control over their day,” Dropbox CEO Drew Houston told CNN.

The GoodHire study found that 68% of Millennials are happier working remotely. Baby Boomers, at 37%, are the least happy with remote work.

Across the board, studies consistently show that the majority of workers prefer flexible remote work options.

Four Ways to Find More Satisfaction at Work

Most of us spend at least 40 hours a week doing our jobs, so we might as well gain at least a little satisfaction from the time that we spend at work. If you’re struggling in this department, here are four ways to help boost your happiness at work.

  1.  Eat mood-boosting foods (aka not cookies and crackers). Certain foods have enough nutrients to help make you a happier person. Believe it or not, dark chocolate is a great source of this mood-boosting magic. Fermented foods like kimchi, kefir, and kombucha also contain mood-boosting properties. Also, Vitamin B6 in bananas could give you a nice jolt of happiness. Oats, nuts, seeds, and berries are other good options.
  2. Take advantage of office perks. A lot of us leave benefits on the table at work. For instance, one company I worked for offered a discount on health insurance if we went to the gym at least 12 times a month. Another organization I worked for reimbursed 100% of the cost of industry conferences throughout the year. There are some truly unbelievable company perks out there that can help make working your job much more pleasant.
  3. Exercise before work. If you’re used to hitting the gym after work, try working out before heading into the office. Early morning exercise has been proven to help boost energy levels throughout the day, and more energy means more productivity, creativity, and drive.
  4. Take more walks. Talking walks during the day let us clear our minds and think more creatively. While this may not be possible at all workplaces, you probably have at least a little time to get out and take a walk. Plan it into your day, maybe during your lunch break.

Here’s a bonus: Take your vacations! Unfortunately, more than half of Americans don’t take all of their vacation time during the year. Vacations not only help us to escape work, but they also help us catch up on our sleep, spend more time with our families and mentally process our lives.

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This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.

Featured Image Credit: Freepik.

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Steve Adcock is an early retiree who writes about mental toughness, financial independence and how to get the most out of your life and career. As a regular contributor to The Ladders, CBS MarketWatch and CNBC, Adcock maintains a rare and exclusive voice as a career expert, consistently offering actionable counseling to thousands of readers who want to level-up their lives, careers, and freedom. Adcock's main areas of coverage include money, personal finance, lifestyle, and digital nomad advice. Steve lives in a 100% off-grid solar home in the middle of the Arizona desert and writes on his own website at SteveAdcock.us.