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20140722-115205-42725242.jpgThe data is clear and the danger is present.

The talent we went to great lengths to entice, attract, and attain for our workplace grow cynical and disillusioned very quickly. Often far faster than the ROI of capitalizing on their skill, creativity, innovation, and ingenuity.

A Gallop poll released in July, 2014 illustrates the latest on job dissatisfaction in the 21st Century.

Rapidly, they evolve from polished professional to another person pulling a paycheck. And roaming the interwebs looking for something different.

It is not just millennial wanderlust.

America’s “Spirit of Satisfaction” is diminishing. There are multiple elements affecting this coast-to-coast dissatisfaction. A quick examination provides some clues to individual esprit d’corps. While many are directly related to compensation, benefits, and advancement (internal), external forces complicate and influence overall satisfaction that complicates productivity, longevity, and well-being.

1. POLITICAL

While this may have nothing directly related to job satisfaction, the American political scene is about as depressing as it has ever been. A nation once governed by men and women who understood compromise, cooperation, and collaboration has de-evolved into a sinister and disheartening political cavalcade of dunces. It is so difficult to read about in a blog or watch on television many are simply “tuning out.” Disconnecting from political discourse leaves many of our highly educated talent living a lifestyle of frustration and fear. Fear that tomorrow is not going to be better than today.

2. GLOBAL UNREST

Little needs to be said here. In so many corners, things have been poisoned by the vipers of violence, hatred, and oppression. Too much blood shed and too many innocents crushed. It a world growing smaller by technology, the threats and dangers appear closer than they really are — but none the less psychological toxins.

3. INCOME INEQUALITY

Blame this on social media. We have always been a nation of mega-wealth — but now we see constant Facebook, Reddit, and Twitter reminders that a very small percentage of individuals own the vast majority of treasure and power in our nation. We are more aware of the disparity of wealth and this affects every full and part-time worker who contemplates “am I really getting my fair share of the gravy train?”

4. TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY

For the most part, American business is honest and fair. But when individuals see major corporations and financial institutions disregarding laws, hiding assets, cooking books, cheating, and creating opportunities for their own greed and avarice, confidence and trust sink to zero. Many now ask, are the senior officers of my workplace only in it for their money?

5. INFLUENCE PEDDLING

Is Citizens United working for the American worker? Most will tell you it is not. Corporate manipulation and influence — lobbying, PACs, and other rewards — diminishes faith in our government and greater suspicion of corporate leadership.

6. A JOB ONCE MEANT STRENGTHENING FAMILY

American employment — bot blue and white collar — once meant having a partnership with your employer that if you worked hard you were blessed with a generous income and benefits. You did your job and went home to join you family for an evening of leisure and secure time together. You were confident that the company would grow and opportunities for advancement signaled a better life for you, your spouse, your children. Improved housing, more income for education and retirement, enhanced lifestyle. Ask most workers today and they will speak of uncertainty in advancement, part-time wages, irregular hours, after-five homework, technological disruption, minimum benefits, and diminishing morale in the workplace.

ONE SOLUTION

In the 1970s, the US Navy was undergoing significant disruption within the ranks. Most enlisted men were better educated, more diverse, had rising expectations of advancement, more individual personal expression, and a percentage wanted to have greater participation in the command & control process. The Navy was unprepared for this internal sea change.

Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, Chief of Naval Operations, recognized that the Sixties ushered in a “new sense of individuality” that even the military had to accept and adjust to in order to attract and retain recruits and veterans.

One of his first general orders went out to every command — ship and shore stations — for small “rap sessions” to be conducted with some degree of frequency. They were to include senior officers, junior officers, chief petty officers, and the lower enlisted ranks. Any topic could be discussed in a roundtable format — as long as each man was respectful and considerate in his tone and topic.

It was an amazing time. Issues of race, chain of command, food, leisure, privacy, work hours, dress on and off station, and other social issues surfaced. At first, lower ranks and ratings were a bit intimidated by senior officers possible retaliation and bias. Would this threaten authority? Would this lead to greater insubordination and foster discontentment?

No.

I was just a lowly third-class petty officer, yet I had some sense of contribution to the evolution of the Navy, of the heritage, of the strength, and effectiveness of our ship.

We made some modest changes, nothing shattering.

But we felt a part of it and that was satisfying.

How many companies have general discussions across the levels of hierarchy to discuss the current world situation and the organization’s mission and goals? Where do external elements fit in the day to day management of a firm? How will my viewpoint potentially help the evolution of a more socially relevant and profitable organization?

Expression, offered respectfully and with consideration of other viewpoints, dramatically instills increased connectivity, loyalty, and performance

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