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Chronicles from a Caribbean Cubicle


The 60-80% that are Resigned

I want to make a crazy estimate.

I am guessing that some 60-80% of Jamaicans are in jobs that they dislike.

I have no idea if this is a true estimate, but I think it might just be in the ball-park.

The reasons?

  • An impossible education system that forced decisions at 16 about which 3-4 courses to take at CAPE/A' levels.
  • The narrow range of options available at UWI.
  • The way jobs are structured
  • Our moribund economy
  • The lack of information about opportunities
They all combine to create a mindset of scarcity in which a job becomes something to hold onto at all costs. People get stuck in careers and in positions for which they are ill-suited, by virtue of their lack of motivation or skill.

The effect on a company's productivity is cumulatively disastrous, as is the effect on our economy.

I'd be interested in hearing what other opinions are on this topic, and what might be done about it.

I'm not sure how this fits in with books such as Michael Carter's "Why Workers Won't Work," except to say that I think he was focused on studying rank and file workers.

(A copy of Framework's 2-page summary of the book can be obtained by sending email to fwc-whyworkers@aweber.com or by visiting our website under the Ideas section.)



  • This is a topic dear to my heart given my own attempts to change careers. I realized the numbers when I was at UWI and by third year a lot of my friends knew that they weren't really loving what they'd chosen to do ut felt it was too late to try change. And of course by time they get a job, there's no way they would give it up unless it's for more money.

    I definitely agree it has an effect o productivity because if everyone was working doing something they loved passionately or at least what they were best at, we couldn't help but succeed.

    By Anonymous B, at 6/09/2007  

  • I have to think that it is closer to 80% than it is to 60%. And I would venture to say that those stats also apply to the US as well. Now the reasons may be different but the outcome is the same. Here, there is a lack of trust between employer and employees and until the companies start realising the benefits of a happy workforce that percentage will stay constant.

    What I would love to find out though is what are those stats as it applies specifically to Caribbean Americans working here in the US. I think it would be nice to compare the two.

    By Blogger Mushtaq, at 6/09/2007  

  • Francis, I think you are spot on with your assessment of the percentage of employees who are 'resigned'. I provide training for corporate clients and it worries me when I hear some of the woes of employees who seem just to be holding on to the jobs or those who are just passing through.

    Let's join forces to help our leaders help those who follow.
    Georgia Donaldson

    By Anonymous Georgia Donaldson, at 6/26/2007  

  • I am involved in work that I love . I am a teacher , and I love the challenge of moving the black and white of the course outline off the page into a dynamic interactive learning space that is a classroom. I am fed up with my job . The salaries should be higher , and the resources need to be upgraded. I am tired of sitting in meetings where the principal lash the ones who not pulling their weight , while at no point have I heard him big up anyone. One day I just walked out the meeting . good thing I motivate myself.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6/27/2007  

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