How External Perceptions Affect Pride in Your Job

As you know, I enjoy tackling topics outside the realm of natural medicine -- my love for science, technology and movies being three of them -- on my blog that may be interesting to many of you. With that in mind, I came across this great article in yesterday's USA Today whose headline cut across all professions and income streams: Are You Proud of Your Job?

This awesome piece, based on a recent Harris poll, found -- no matter how important what you do for a living truly is -- less than 10 percent of the people you may talk to on a given day believe your job carries great prestige. Moreover, the amount of prestige assigned to a given job -- let's say a physician, carpenter, entertainer or garbage collector -- plays a great role in one's job satisfaction.

What's more, the link between these perceptions is crucial, not only for the continued mental health of workers -- meaning all of us -- but the continued growth of our economy and the companies and employees we serve. That said, virtually every occupation has suffered a decline in prestige over nearly three decades. The lone exception to those declining numbers, comparing today's figures with those collected in 1977, is certainly a welcome one: Teachers whose "prestige" climbed 19 percent from 29 percent.

On the science side, physicians and scientists ranked highest in prestige among a list of occupations at 52 percent, still a major drop of 9 and 14 percent over three decades ago, respectively. Even more interesting was a separate unscientific online poll of doctors that found an amazing 70 percent would not recommend their children become physicians, which may explain why some experts believe there could be a severe shortage of them by 2020.

Other notable professional low lights based on the declining prestige factor:

  • Minister = 9 percent drop
  • Lawyer = 19 percent drop
  • Athlete = 5 percent drop
  • Journalist = 3 percent drop
  • Engineer = 5 percent drop

The most enlightening and hopeful comment came from Marcus Buckingham, author of The One Thing You Need To Know, and an expert on employee satisfaction. How engaged an employee in his or her work, no matter what that job is, is what's truly important. The key to the right attitude: Not settling for mediocrity in work and life.

USA Today May 24, 2005

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