The office space odyssey

Are you happy with your job? If you’re a young Canadian, the odds are you’re not. Find out why students are amongst the unhappiest working force in the country.


Lainie Pitchers doesn’t like her job. In fact, she downright hates it. Preparing and serving food to strangers under the watchful eye of mismanaged managers was never her career ambition but she tolerates it for the paycheque.


“At this point I’m a little bit confused,” explains the 23-year-old Western University graduate. “I know I want to go back to school for my masters [degree] but I’m not sure what place I have in the work field yet. So I kind of just walked into this job and sometimes you get really used to things and stuck in places and I know that’s for a lot of people I work with as well. But if I wasn’t saving up for my masters I don’t think I would be working where I do.”




Pitchers is not alone. According to a survey released by last November, young adults ages 18-25 are the unhappiest group of working Canadians in the country. Associate professor of management and strategy at Carleton University, Linda Schweitzer, isn’t surprised by these results.


According to Schweitzer’s research, young adults expect too much from their jobs and are left disappointed when their expectations aren’t met.


“Their [expectations] are not at all realistic. Not just in terms of money they’re going to get, but also how quickly they’re going to advance, the kinds of responsibilities they’re going to get and whether or not they’re going to find the ideal job,” says Schweitzer.


Catherine Elliott, Human Resources Management professor at the University of Ottawa’s Telfer School of Management, goes even further to say that the generational gap between the employers and millennial employees also contributes to the dissatisfaction.




“Sometimes the supervisors don’t recognize an employee’s value and they sometimes over manage or micromanage,” says Elliott. “[Generation Y’s] are not very big on hierarchy and they’re used to technology and people having more of an equal level.”


According to Ipsos Reid Canada, 41 per cent of Canadians aged 18-34 believe they have been the victims of age discrimination. What’s worse, 29 per cent of young working Canadians said that their place of work is often a source of depression, anxiety or other mental illness.


So is it time for you to quit your job? Or will you suck it up and stick it out?