Man bored, tired at work

Man bored at work (© Viacheslav Lakobchuk -

NEW YORK — Is your job exciting? Or does it put you to sleep? It turns out, nearly half of employed Americans are bored most of the time at work, according to new research. A survey of 2,000 employed U.S. adults reports that 46 percent are twiddling their thumbs at the office for at least three days weekly.

Ninety percent of those who have a college degree and feel bored at work never thought they’d feel this way when attending school. However, people don’t know that others share these feelings, as 70 percent believe their peers are generally happy with their job.

Interestingly, the numbers don’t seem to translate to widespread job dissatisfaction. While a majority of respondents are happy with their current role (71%), only one in eight admit to feeling the opposite.

Conducted by OnePoll for CSU Global, the survey shows that feelings of dissatisfaction typically come within two years of working in the same role (46%). In fact, 71 percent of those who have been in their role for longer than two years agree that their job feels too routine because they’ve been doing the same thing for such a long time.

Happy career, happy life

The survey also finds that being happy with your job is directly connected to having a happy life. Three in four respondents believe an important key to happiness is having a job you actually like (74%).

Many set professional goals to keep themselves motivated. Making more money is the top goal (54%), but striving to move up within the company (53%), and helping create something new (50%) also scored high.

The survey also asked what respondents liked about their current job. Results show that appreciating one’s work location (64%), a company’s overall mission (50%), and company culture (49%) are the top three aspects they enjoy about their current role.

Just 35 percent say they enjoy the work itself, which is a hurdle for the 59 percent who think that people need to love their job in order to be successful in their role. More respondents said their workplace tends to feel dated (44%) rather than modern (36%), hinting that it may be time for change.

Investment in employee development can provide positive returns in employee engagement and their ability to contribute,” says president at CSU Global Dr. Becky Takeda-Tinker, in a statement. “With the increasingly fast pace of work and change continuing to challenge employers of all industries, pathways of development that employees are seeking can be valuable tools towards ongoing organizational success.”

When work isn’t working for you

While a little over half of employed Americans see themselves working at their current company within the next year (54%), nearly a fifth of those respondents don’t think they’ll be there in five years (17%).

The power lies in the hands of employers. Seventy-six percent say it’s important for companies to invest in their employees. Yet a third of respondents currently think that their own employer doesn’t invest in them enough. While those who have worked at their company for over 10 years have averaged three promotions in their time there, results show that this may not be enough.

Respondents think they would feel more motivated if they had the opportunity to create a new process or project at work (48%) or if they had tuition coverage to earn a degree (28%). In fact, more than half of respondents believe that if they had a degree or an additional degree, their chances for a promotion would increase (53%). And a majority would be interested in returning to school to help move up within their current workspace or apply to a better job (73%).

“Continuing education through new degrees, certificates or industry certifications help provide new professional opportunities for individuals within and outside of their organizations, while also facilitating organizational and industry evolution,” adds Dr. Takeda-Tinker. “For working adults, fully online industry-aligned programs can provide the flexibility and skills needed to advance individual ability and careers, while also accommodating busy schedules.”

Survey methodology:

This random double-opt-in survey of 2,000 employed Americans was commissioned by CSU Global between July 28 and July 30, 2023. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).

About Sophia Naughton

Meet StudyFinds' Associate Editor, Sophia Naughton. Sophia graduated Magna Cum Laude from Towson University with a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communication directly focused in journalism and advertising. She is also a freelance writer for Baltimore Magazine. Outside of writing, her best buddy is her spotted Pit Bull, Terrance.

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StudyFinds publishes digestible, agenda-free, transparent research summaries that are intended to inform the reader as well as stir civil, educated debate. We do not agree nor disagree with any of the studies we post, rather, we encourage our readers to debate the veracity of the findings themselves. All articles published on StudyFinds are vetted by our editors prior to publication and include links back to the source or corresponding journal article, if possible.

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