The good side of a bad job

British workers are an unhappy bunch. According to a survey by YouGov more than 1 in 4 of us are dissatisfied with our current jobs and as many as one-third don’t like the line of work we are in. The biggest niggle that many of us have is our increased workload. Indeed, Britons have the longest working hours in Europe and 46 per cent of people claim that they have too much to do in too little time, whilst 42 per cent argue that their salary is falling behind rising costs. And almost 1 in 3 of us claim that others are paid more money to do the same job. Taking all of this into consideration you may think that there is little to shout about with your own job but, even the dullest and most uninspiring job has its plus points.

For years employers have had the attitude that one sure-fire way to boost worker contentment and attract the best candidates was to pay them more money. But a number of studies have proven that this has entirely the opposite effect. Indeed, it seems that although a person’s take-home pay is important, the combination of a benefits and potential bonus package is a more attractive proposition for the majority of us.

Psychologist Maarten argues that “material rewards divert employees away from recognising/attaining other less tangible goals that are important to maintain good mental health such as good working relationships with colleagues, autonomy and job satisfaction.”

Indeed, only 48 per cent of employees are happy with their benefits package and out of a possible list of 24 benefits, most British workers will only receive an average of 3.6 which is increasingly made up of flexible working, private medical insurance and some form of bonus system. And although 3.6 may seem like a rather paltry figure it is worth remembering that a benefit’s package can add as much as 30 to 40 per cent onto the value of your salary – the key is to make sure that you have the right benefits for you.

Think about a recruitment consultant, for example. The Stroke Association has identified recruitment consultants as having the most stressful job in Britain today. With unemployment at a 20-year high and the economy in the throes of a recession, fewer jobs are available yet recruitment consultants still have targets to meet. And that places a significant amount of pressure on them to deliver sales results for their employer. But think about the plus side for a moment. Sure they have to cope with the stress factor however, they can make a hefty commission on each successful candidate they place and if they continue to do well, career progression within this industry is readily available. So what if financial gain is not a key motivator for you, are there other benefits to your job other than your salary?

Even the direst of jobs has its benefits. Who hasn’t been to a music festival such as Glastonbury of Reading and said, ‘I feel sorry for the poor so-and-so who has to clean this toilet’? With literally hundreds of people using the same toilet in the middle of a muddy field before it is cleaned you may think that there cannot possibly be any silver lining to working as a toilet cleaner at a festival. But with tickets costing in excess of £175 for the three-day weekend and free access granted to staff, scrubbing the porta-loos and donning a pair of Marigold’s doesn’t sound like such a raw deal after all.

Retail workers can feel that they also have a hard time of it too, standing on their feet all day serving customers, rotating stock or taking new deliveries. And although most sales assistants may only be paid the minimum wage they also benefit from getting a staff discount off goods in-store for them and their families. Or if you happen to work for a large organisation, you may be able to take advantage of free car parking, share schemes, reduced gym membership and season ticket loans.

Whatever your reasons for taking the job you are now in – maybe you simply needed ‘anything’ to help pay the bills or you only took the position on a short-term basis yet you find you are still doing it – the fact remains that all jobs have a plus side. Yes the work may be demanding, stressful or even downright dirty, however, take the routine out of the equation for a moment and focus on the benefits that come with your position. If you place a monetary value on each of these added benefits such as staff discounts or car parking, think about how much money you are actually saving by doing the job you do. For instance, if you commute to work by car and pay parking fees that adds up to a significant amount of money each week – money that you would probably prefer to spend on something else. Wouldn’t it be great if your employer could pay that for you? And after some consideration you may find that your job isn’t all that bad after all.

About yourcareermatters
CareerMatters was founded as part of MacKenzie-Cummins Communications in 2006 by Paul MacKenzie-Cummins MICG (Member Institute of Careers Guidance), regarded as one of the UK's leading career's advice and guidance writers and specialist PR consultant for the UK recruitment industry. Since 2006 Paul has been the leading advice writer for and - the two biggest careers website in the world -tackling all aspects of workplace and management issues, job seeking, career change and hiring trends. In 2006, 2007 and 2008 his writing contributed to Monster winning the Best Employment Advice on the Internet Award for an unprecedented three times beating the likes of The Guardian, Learn Direct and Personnel Today on each occasion. And his work was a runner-up for the same award in 2009. In 2009 Paul was a nominee in the prestigious HR Journalist of the Year Award and Recruitment, Retention & Motivation Journalist of the Year Award. Paul has been commissioned to write more than 500 careers advice and guidance articles for a number of lpublications, from regional and national newspapers to industry publications and various career-specific websites in the UK and USA. Recently, Paul was the Technical Editor for career psychologist Dr Rob Yeung's Job Hunting & Career Change for Dummies (John Wiley & Son, 2007). Dr Yeung is better known as the TV psychologist for Channel 4's Big Brother and the BBC's Who Would Hire You? series. Clients include: MSN Careers (Europe) TheLadders TotalJobs IntaPeople Recruitment Lifetracks/YouthNET MediaSalesJobs The Press Gazette

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