Satisfaction

A WSJ article from Tuesday got me thinking about career satisfaction. 

I am intentionally leaving off the term "job" here as I think it biases the concept to people who work for others, although that is purely speculative and not based on cognitive interviewing. 

The article was referencing a Conference Board survey that has been done historically and was fielded again in 2009 asking 5,000 U.S. households about their job satisfaction. 

The trends are clearly headed in the wrong direction:

http://www1.kauffman.org/Blogs/DataMaven/March-2010/Satisfaction/US_job_satisfaction.aspx

Since we know that the proportion of people in the U.S. that are working for themselves as small business owners or in some form of self-employment hasn't changed that much over this period, I find it puzzling that decreasing levels of job satisfaction aren't leading to more business starts. 

In my mind, and I think in many conceptualizations of entrepreneurship, the entrepreneur is the dissatisfied employee who also sees an opportunity and eventually decides to strike out on their own. 

It is interesting to put the Conference Board research next to a similar question asked of population of small business owners courtesy of the NFIB:

http://www1.kauffman.org/Blogs/DataMaven/March-2010/Satisfaction/NFIB.aspx
 

It is amazing to me that the NFIB had only twelve percent of their sample reporting a satisfaction level of 5 or below. This particular survey was completed in 2001 so there might be macroeconomic effects here but doubtful they'd be of a magnitude large enough to make a difference. 

So, this is a post without much of a conclusion. Job satisfaction is down...new business starts are steady...small business owners overwhelmingly satisfied...what's keeping this system so out of equilibrium? I would conjecture that perhaps there is a possible measure of job lock somewhere in all of this but I don't know exactly what it would be.

Related post: Gallup Finds Business Owners Happiest

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