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javaz On January - 5 - 2010

The Conference Board Research Group has released the results of their survey regarding job satisfaction and the results show that 45% of Americans are content with their jobs. The lowest rate of job satisfaction since the study began over twenty-two years ago.
The study concludes that workers dissatisfaction with their jobs are for several reasons, and three of them are:
1.) fewer workers consider their jobs interesting
2.) incomes have not kept up with inflation
3.) The soaring cost of health insurance has eaten into workers’ take-home pay.

Americans’ job satisfaction falls to record low

This article provoked thoughts about the corporation that I worked for and retired from 14 years ago.
I’ve calculated the average salary from figures recorded from 2000 – 2009.

Salary Survey for Job: Mechanical Engineer

An engineer that obtained a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering has an average salary of $50,740.00 within the first four years of employment.

Last year, the corporation asked employees to take a 10% cut in wages –

$50,740.00 – $5,074.00 = $45,666.00 annual salary

The corporation also demanded employees take 2 days off per month without pay, two weeks off during the summer without pay and starting January 1st, 2010 – the first week of January off without pay.
That works out to 39 days annually without pay.

Engineering is rarely a 40-hour per week job.
Overtime is common and 55-hour weeks are the norm.
For this discussion, we’ll ignore the fact that due to drastic cutbacks in employees, the remaining engineers are putting in 60+ hour weeks.
To keep it simple, we’ll stick with the 55-hour week.

39 days x 8 hours = 312 hours off without pay annually

Normally, employers calculate the hour paid per year, including paid vacation and holidays at 2,080 hours for a 40-hour week.
Since engineers’ average 55-hour weeks without overtime pay, the annual hours increase to 2,640 hours.

$45,666 /2640 = $17.30 per hour

According to the PayScale site above, the median salary for a Home Depot Retail Assistant Manager is $51,000 annually, and a college degree is not a requirement.

Four years at a university studying calculus, logarithms, science, physics, statistical analysis, and Strength of Materials for a job that pays less and is more stressful than an assistant manager at a hardware store.

Is it any wonder employees are not satisfied?

Written by javaz

I am a retired aerospace engineer, happily married for over twenty-four years. My hobbies include blogging on PPOV, reading mystery/romance novels, playing guitar, learning the piano and writing. My husband and I love to travel in our camper/trailer, and have visited 45 states, besides having lived in France for 2 years and seeing most of Europe. "Today is the first day of the rest of your life? Well, that's true of every day but one - the day you die." American Beauty "All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then success is sure." Mark Twain "A man is never more truthful than when he acknowledges himself a liar." Mark Twain

28 Responses so far.

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  1. kesmarn says:

    j’avaz and friends, this economy really does seem to have a silver lining, doesn’t it? For the rich!

    I still remember, some months ago when I was still at that Other Place Which Shall Not Be Named, a guy posted that he had been in a conversation with his wealthy, business-owner neighbor. The neighbor told this fellow that he had called together all his employees and given them a sober speech about how the tough economy was making it necessary for everyone to sacrifice. Reluctantly, he would have to reduce all their salaries by 5 percent, he told them. They accepted this, of course. But then he laughed and told the poster that he was actually doing quite well and had no need whatsoever to reduce salaries. But, as he put it: “It’s great time to take a little more for ME.”

    I’m sure the business owner found this hilarious.


    • KQuark says:

      That about epitomizes the the “greed is good” mentality. Just screw as many people as you can until you get yours.

      • kesmarn says:

        I’m sure my blood pressure went up when I first read that post. And I have never forgotten it. Even just recounting the anecdote makes me feel aggravated! But, you’re right KQ, there are any number of real life Gordon Gecko types out there.

        I hope the ending of your second sentence will serve as a prediction for them! “….until you get yours.” 😮

        • KQuark says:

          I know exactly what you mean I watched 5 minutes of one of those financial shows maybe 8 years ago or so now. They were talking to this financial guru hedge fund manager who was in his early 30’s. I don’t remember much of what he said but he did say “what’s more important than money?”. I just thought wow what a fucked up way to look at life. Money is just a means to an end as soon as we made it an end to itself we are lost. That’s one reason I hate that other sites obsession with money.

          • kesmarn says:

            And that 30 something hedge fund manager is probably broke by now, KQ, but still scrambling for a dollar! That’s the irony of it!

            We had a psych instructor years ago who commented: “If you are addicted to anything, and cannot bring yourself to give it up, when the end of your life rolls around, you will be left alone with only the thing you were addicted to. Everything else will have been driven away. And it will be the final destructive force in your life.”

  2. nellie says:

    I think if we take a look at CEO compensation packages, we’ll quickly find out where the money for salaries has gone.

    • bitohistory says:

      I asked Mo about how the pay was controlled in Germany a few weeks ago. He stated that in both Germany and France the bonus system is controlled by law. The CEO’s there did receive a larger base salary than in the US but he bonus system is controlled by law.

      If the Obama administration(or the Dems) would even come close to proposing that, all hell would break lose! “much more worse” than now.
      “European Socialism”, “Communist”……….

    • escribacat says:

      You got that right. Compare it to CEO compensation packages from other countries. In Japan and Europe, the disparity between highest paid workers and lowest paid workers is much smaller. Only in this country is unfettered greed considered a stellar quality and downright patriotic. How twisted is that?

    • whatsthatsound says:

      Bingo! In Japan, Germany, France, etc. the ratio of executive to lowest paid worker is between 1/10-15. In Britain, it is higher but not out of that same ballpark. In the U.S. CEOs might make three or four hundred times what their new hires and desk jockeys make. It’s simple gluttony, greed and arrogance. Today’s American CEOs are pharoahs, they are Bourbons; and they KNOW it!
      Japanese business people I talk to think it’s disgusting, and what sane person could argue?

    • KQuark says:

      Great point. It’s been proven that most pay increases have gone to corporate officer compensation and healthcare costs.

      Personally my job satisfaction dropped year after year when I was working. Every year your company wanted more for less. Every year your benefits got worse. Every year your hours got longer. Every year your job was more insecure and more of your colleagues were laid off. Every year you were given less resources to do your job. Every year management demanded shorter and shorter time frames to complete projects. Every year job stresses mounted while rewards diminished.

      I found out the last two or three years that I worked I was probably going into heart failure and in the end my job contributed to the severity of my illness.

      The constant insecurity provides employers with exactly what they want a scared workforce that does not demand fair compensation. Big corporations are just life and soul sucking mechanisms to take away our freedom. That’s why I have to laugh when teabaggers say the government wants to take away their freedom because in my experience big business succeeds at taking our freedom. Now to our biggest misfortune big business has it’s testicles so far in government that it will take decades to get our freedoms back if ever.

      • javaz says:

        Corporations go as far as to demand loyalty from their employees, but offer absolutely nothing in return.
        For years before I quit, I witnessed quarterly lay-offs, and initially it was the dead-weight being hacked, but when they started laying off longtime, valuable people, it was depressing.
        There is no such thing as job security anymore.
        The stress of the job and the stress of knowing that you could be next is not a healthy environment and they wonder why health care costs are rising.

        • KQuark says:

          Exactly I experienced the same thing. Once an employee got to a certain age no matter what they did for the company or even their value at the time their position would be eliminated. Then low and behold a couple months later that position was filled with a younger person with a much lower salary. It was all a shell game.

    • javaz says:

      Every single time there was a RIF -- reduction in force -- a few enterprising employees would post the CEO salaries and corporate profit margins.
      All that did was lower morale even more, and I cannot imagine what the employees are experiencing now, especially since the CEO and other top management have not taken the pay cut.

      • boomer1949 says:


        My former employer has had several of those RIFs you mention; I left voluntarily. Since then, I have seen many good friends — experienced, long term employees — be shown the door. No explanation has ever been adequate, although I do know long term = older = too expensive to keep on the payroll. As obvious as age discrimination practices may seem, it is often difficult to prove and many companies, including my former employer, figure out ways to circumvent the system (tossing in a few young ones to skew the data is one example).

        So many talented, dedicated, hardworking people were severanced. Yet, at the same time this was being done, Corporate continued adding layer after layer of Managers with six figure incomes + bonuses + benefits. Bottom line is the companies tend to keep those on the upper floors at the expense of the people in the weeds. The flip side is…managers are only as good as the people working for them…yet the people in the weeds continue to be thrown under the proverbial bus; and sometimes the drivers throw it in reverse to add insult to misery.

        I went off on a tangent because it makes me angry! Okay, time more blood pressure medicine.

        • javaz says:

          That’s what I did, too, I took a voluntary lay-off hoping to save someone’s job.
          I say I retired because it’s simpler!
          I’m just so happy not to be there anymore, but I do sympathize with those left.
          I am so glad to be the age that I am, because this is only going to get worse for younger people.
          Then again, it’s the younger people that better get more active politically, imho.

      • nellie says:

        I think the only solution to this kind of situation is to unionize. We will always be in a “manager’s economy” — there’s more work than there are people to do it. So the bidding always takes the price of labor down and down and down, especially with outsourcing.

        Unions are the only way to balance the power in salary negotiations.

        I’m sorry, but no one need to earn $10 Million a year.

        • javaz says:

          As far as I know, only 2 corporations allowed engineers to unionize -- Chrysler and GE -- but that is no longer the case today.
          Engineers are hired as salaried employees vs hourly union workers.

          I didn’t mention that health care costs starting January 2010 for all employees and retirees have risen 35%, which lowers the hourly wage even more for everyone.

  3. BigDogMom says:

    I hate to say this, but I swear the economic down turn for us was an economic opportunity for major and mid-size corporations in way of cutting salary overhead.

    They have their employees by the balls….Don’t like what we offer you, two days of month off with no pay or working 55 hrs per week no overtime, too bad. There are 100 people that would kill for your job right now…

    Corporations have used economic down turns to their advantage for ages now, I’ve seen it in the 80’s, 90’s and now. Some things never change.

    • javaz says:

      But the thing is when it comes to high-tech jobs, filling the positions would not be an easy thing to do.
      It would take all the engineers to agree to walk out and then what would they do?
      Sure, they could bring in a bunch of new engineers, but the time required to train them to corporate standards and then train them about the jobs in process would be a nightmare!

      But I do agree, BDM.
      I think the economic downturn has given corporations the perfect excuse to lower wages.

  4. dannie22 says:

    Could someone please tell me where to go to change my password?

    • nellie says:

      Just as javaz posted — go to the dashboard and you’ll see “profile” on the left.

      For future reference, you can post any questions about the site on the HELP DESK. There’s a link right next to the one for posting a comment. Editors are more likely to see your question on that thread.

    • javaz says:

      I think you go to dashboard and click on profile, but don’t ask me, because I can’t even post correctly!

  5. javaz says:

    Well, dognabbit, the image attached but is in the wrong place on the main.
    Oh dangit.

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