The Millionaire Next Door

Checked Out of Work

Last week, before the storms hit the Northeast, the gate agent on my flight from Atlanta to Philadelphia let us know we might be delayed because “we are waiting on one of our flight attendants.” I wondered why she was late and, if it wasn’t because of an emergency, if she had checked out of work. If you’ve worked long enough, you can probably empathize with the feeling (but maybe not the associated behavior).

How many Americans are satisfied with their jobs? The Conference Board suggests that less than 50% of Americans are very satisfied with their jobs, and The Pew Research center says it’s about 52%. SHRM suggests the number is higher, reporting that 86% of workers are satisfied, although this number includes those who indicate they are “somewhat satisfied.” I would argue the practical difference of someone being “very satisfied” and “somewhat satisfied” with their job is pretty significant.

My father wrote often about finding one’s passion in life, such that work would not feel like a daily slog. Finding that passion, however, involves experiencing setbacks, enduring lousy jobs and bosses, having the courage to take risks and challenges, and time. Recall the tale of Dan, who had nine jobs before finding one in which he loved and could excel.

If 76% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, is it safe to say that, based on the statistics above, at least 50% of that group is also not satisfied with their jobs? If you’re living above your means and you hate your job, this might be the year to change at least one of the two. If you’re already frugal, but find yourself at work but not really checked in at work, you’re most likely in a better position to consider and potentially make career changes that could lead to being in the 50% of those who are “very satisfied” with their jobs.


3 thoughts on “Checked Out of Work”

  1. You’ve got to do what you love! Then when you make money doing what you love it’s that much better. I’m doing what I love blogging about personal finances and playing basketball. I’m just trying to figure out how to make money doing it. In the process I guess you could say.

  2. Experiencing significant changes currently at my workplace regarding major operational changes.One thing I know for sure….we all need each other, and staying engaged is critical. That’s on me…I’m the old guy, they watch and are impacted. I need to step up.

    Thanks for this, the timing couldn’t have been any better! JLM

  3. Checked out – I can relate.

    I spent 5 years, and a few career changes, chasing dreams down one rabbit hole after another. After assessing where I was compared to where I could have been had I stayed at my old gov’t job, I realized that while I was richer in knowledge and experience, I was worse off financially, in spite of getting 2 graduate degrees at the insistence of employers who said they’d reward me if I did! Earlier this year my wife and I both got federal jobs.

    Recently, a good friend confided to me that he felt incredible guilt that he had joined the Peace Corps after law school not because he had a desire to help his fellow man, but because he didn’t want to get a real job when he could have an adventure.

    My reply: The reason Kim and I went back to government jobs is because we don’t want to work very hard in a profession when our kids and each other can have more as a result.

    Maybe I’ll regret it in my later years, but I have zero stress, and while there’s no big carrot in site, there’s also no big stick beating me as I pursue some goal.

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