SURVEY SAYS: What One Thing Would You Change About Your Job?

June 23, 2011 ( - Let’s assume for a second that the job satisfaction genie appeared to you tomorrow...  

And then assume that he (or she) would grant you one wish to change ONE thing about your job.  This week I asked readers what that one thing would be…. 

Starting with what it wouldn’t be, on my list, but chosen by no one (or almost no one) for the job satisfaction genie’s attention were: 

A bigger office 

A company car 

Better title 

“Remove” a subordinate 

From which I have discerned that this week’s readers are content with the size of their workspace, either have, or do not desire, a company car, have a title they are satisfied with, and have better ways of dealing with problem subordinates than turning to the job satisfaction genie.  Feel free to draw your own conclusions, of course… 

There was a next tier of choices: 

Better benefits 

Different location 

To HAVE an office 

“Remove” a boss 

“Remove” a coworker 

All of which led me to conclude that this week’s respondents are happy with their benefits package, are ok with where they work, content with their workspace, and – again – have better ways of dealing with problem coworkers and bosses than to impose on the job satisfaction genie… 


Now, before we shift to the top five job change requests, let’s take a minute to look over the suggestions provided in the “other” category: 

Replace the dysfunctional committee now making (or rather, not making) some of decisions around here 

Bigger budget 


Flex time 

Give boss the ability to make and FOLLOW through with decisions 

Boss needs to get facts straight before making decisions or forming opinions. 

More time off 

More appreciation and support for job 

Less hours.  

Have a plan in place for career progression 

Cooperative clients 

Better access to prospects and data on prospects 

The demise of billable hours 

Better paid time off policy 

More competent senior leaders 

A consistent boss 


4 DAY WORK WEEK (this was suggested by several readers - most of whom put their request in caps!)   

More consistent flow of work.  The roller coaster flow of work is either a wild ride or mind numbing. 


No more time tracking (our parent org is a CPA firm) 

More flexibility in hours worked 

Less Gov't regulations!!!!!!! 

A new employer! 

More Trust!! 

Stop the government from making so many changes in regulations - Affirmative Action, ADA, health care, etc. 

Stupid politically-based press about "lazy" public employees with "bloated" benefits. 

More interdepartmental support 

More paid time off - vacation, holidays, 4 day work week 

Absolutely nothing ( a rarity in this week's responses, but not the only one!) 

More authority to act without seeking approval 

More time, less stress  

Better overall communication 

Ability to go back to the days when benefits were considered a value to employees and thus an asset to the company, not a liability to be managed (i.e. reduced). 

Make use of available space in office building. 

Management that is willing to plan for the future 

Relocate it to where I intend to retire.  

Less stress from juggling too many demands 

Fewer hours 

As for the most cited change requests, if you thought “more pay” would win the day, you wouldn’t be far off the mark.  It was the most cited of all the pre-selected options in this week’s survey, though it was the top choice of a mere 26.5%.   

And, it was outnumbered, at least in aggregate, by those who opted for “other”.  That said, the rest of the top of the list was:   

16.8% - Ability to telecommute (more) 

13.3% - more help 

8.0% - Shorter commute 

7.1% - Change a boss 

And from those choices, I would glean that most of this week's respondents would like to spend less time getting TO work, would like some more help AT work, would like to change their current boss (perhaps to one that would support giving them more help and/or spending less time getting to work), and - when all else fails - be paid more for what they must contend with at work. 

Again, feel free to draw your own conclusions!

Of course, there were some great verbatims - and they (and our Editor's Choice) are on the pages that follow:








It's hard to work with a coworker who constantly tries to make it appear as if you don't know what you're doing - especially when that coworker created the problems you are then tasked to solve!

Money always talks.  Everything else on the list doesn't matter that much (to me).  Even a 10% raise would substantialy reduce stress at home and improve my focus and efficiency at work.  Those 2% or 3% raises don't help much when Uncle Sam ends up with about half of it.

I love my job, but there are days where I think I would be much more productive if I could work from home with no interruptions.

I love my job but also love going on vacation.

We have VP's of everything else, but not HR.  I am the "chief" but don't have the title and perqs. that go with it, along with the respect.  I have colleagues in other parts of the company who come to me for advice and counsel, for whom I manage a large variety of issues, but I still don't have the title.

What I'd REALLY like the job satisfaction genie to do is grant me the ability to be my own boss while making the same or higher income, enjoying the same or better benefits, all while being able to work fewer hours and not take my work home with me mentally or physically.  I guess that's why it remains a pipe dream!

I have another one that is not on the list--less hours

Much like the leprechaun at the end of the rainbow...they don't exist. Although that won't stop me from looking for them!

I could do my work remotely from anywhere in the world, say poolside in Palm Desert or beaches of Waikiki.  So my daily 2-3 commuting hours to an office are a total waste of time.  Telecommuting would enable me to actually have better work/life balance.  Oh, and since I have done 10 hour telecommuting days while in an exotic environment, I can say for myself that being poolside was NOT a distraction. 

That's life as a workaholic! 

We have very little flexibility here in regards to office hours and work time.  The perception is - if you're not visible, you’re not working.

I love what I do but have to make a location change within the next several years and will be forced to quit my job.  As I rarely have face-to-face meetings, spend all of my time on-line or on conference calls, it would be easy to do my job from home.

Being new to my role and having everyone in our department new makes learning the job challenging.

Since my pay has been cut 20% since early 2009, I think my hours should be cut 20% to go along with the pay cut.

Having a micromanager for one of the owners of the business is extremely detrimental to the everyday workings of the business.  It makes for really frustrated/disenchanted employees who feel powerless to make any changes for the good.

Like most companies we have been downsized, however, it's time to get more staff so the clients get the service they should have and are paying for.

I was debating between "More help" & writing in "Fewer responsibilities" but since I like what I do & could do more with more help, that's what I chose.

This is the best job I've ever had. The boss, the boss's boss, and the boss's boss's boss all talk to me and listen and have recognized me publicly within the firm. I'll put up with the time tracking.  We've also finally assembled a great, hard-working staff, who are all interested in earning their pay, and are enjoyable to be around to boot.  I couldn't ask more for much more, except that time tracking thing.

This place has gone downhill for the past ten years.  Old managers that cared about people and had a sense of humor have been replaced with new managers from outside the office, no promoting from within at this place, that treat employees like cogs in a machine. 

When given a task, project or job to do, my boss's boss is constantly micromanaging and following up on minor details.  If you give me a job to do, trust me to do it till I prove otherwise!!  And if 2 levels up has time to dwell on what I'm doing, then he/she need more to do!!!

I think everyone has been running lean for too long now.  No one has enough help anymore.  Everyone is overwhelmed. Just more and more job duties.  It's starting to show in work product and morale. If anyone knows of a company out there not doing this, I'd love to know so I can apply for a job there.

My More Help reply means more help in the middle and at the bottom.  My company keeps hiring executives and directors and no "worker-bees" to do the actual work - it's killing the two of us in the "worker-bee/manager" category because we have to do the admin work in addition to managing benefits and payroll.  In addition to more help, a little respect please for our contributions.  (Come to think of it LITTLE is already in place.)

I just want everyone in the company to agree on the goal and mission and then work toward it!

I have the perfect job.  I telecommute from my home in FL and support offices in NYC, McLean, VA, Richmond, VA and Dallas, TX.  All my work is done by phone and computer.  I put in my time to get to this place, but it was worth every minute.  My firm values me and my work and provides great benefits.  There isn't another employer anywhere who could entice me away!  This is the classic old-school example of loyalty running both ways!

My boss is an information hoarder with absolutely no skills in delegating.  Although I work in HR I often get information about benefit changes from coworkers who have been briefed by the executive running their division.  It is very embarrassing to be asked about upcoming changes when you have absolutely no knowledge that changes are even being contemplated. 

I would be shocked if "more pay" doesn't win out on this. After all, we could get a lot more done in our personal lives if we had more pay from our jobs (or at least we THINK we would...some would totally waste it).

Interesting that most, if not all, the selections above are selfish in nature.  No suggestions about the work we do or how our companies could make that better.  What a fine culture we have developed for ourselves in this's all about me.  Maybe I am alone now in thinking satisfaction with my work should be more than pay, benefits, cars, titles, office size, where I work or my boss.

We've proved we can do more with less.  Is the next test how long can we continue before there's a breakdown?

My wish isn't on that list: to have others do their own jobs.  My job involves being responsible for others who feel they "don't have to do XXX"  and don't care because they do not answer to outside customers. So it falls to me to get it done somehow because I am on the front line, where others are behind the scenes.

I absolutely LOVE my job and my boss (an unusual event these days).  My only wish is to be able to have the time to stop fighting fires and be more proactive.  For that I need one or two more people, especially in light of increasing government regulations in both the benefits and compensation arenas.


My favorites include:

I haven't had a raise in 4 years.  Given a second choice, I would love to change my boss.

Our desks are so close together that I can hear the person breathing behind me.

my wife would say "more pay"; my kids would say "bigger office with more white board markers"

Job satisfaction genies? You are such a tease!

I just need to fire just about everyone and start over.

The President of our company is running it into the ground.  If he were gone tomorrow, our company just might survive.  Otherwise, we're all doomed.


But my MOST favorites were:

I enjoy my job and even though I'm well prepared to retire, they may have to pry it from my cold dead fingers (maybe you'll send the retirement genie next).

My ideal job satisfaction genie would be one that gives me a glass of wine at 4pm every day....I'd leave the office so relaxed each day!

Where is the "all of the above" option??

I think the selections you offered are like potato chips.  You can't have just one.  So my wish would be to have another wish and that wish would be to select 'all of the above'.

I'd also like all around improved IT systems that magically update and give me all the latest toys and program the plan changes overnight with no errors and intuits with 100% accuracy the decisions that the Plan consultants will not finalize for another year.

But this week’s Editor’s Choice goes to the reader that noted, “Tough choice between more pay and remove a coworker.  But I'd almost pay to get rid of this person, so....

Thanks to everyone who participated in our survey!