06/28/2013 07:18 am ET Updated Aug 28, 2013

Do You Hate Your Job?

During my morning ritual of checking social media and morning television, my ears perked up when Good Morning America ran a news item about a recent Gallup poll on worker satisfaction.

As someone who recently left a job without the next job waiting in the wings, this was something that caused me to turn up the volume.

I almost choked on my coffee with the results of the poll: 70 percent of workers either hate their job or are, at some level, disengaged. Really??

At first blush it seemed like an outrageously high percentage to me. But as I thought of the co-workers I have known over the years, I had to concede it rang true.

It was a jarring thought, though. For the majority of workers to spend so many hours being unhappy, unfulfilled, resentful, bored and/or unproductive, well, to me it is a tragedy when you think about the brevity of life and our obligation to get the most out of it.

Now of course we would all love to win the lottery and spend the rest of our lives doing whatever pleased us, but barring that possibility, the workplace is where we will spend the bulk of our adult lives. What are the costs of worker dissatisfaction to businesses, and to us?

Businesses certainly suffer from lost productivity, performance issues, absenteeism and high turnover. In an economy struggling to get back on its feet, businesses can hardly afford the huge toll this takes on operations, estimated by Gallup to be between $450 million and $550 billion.

And us, the employees?

For starters, the cumulative effect of daily stress is known to be a health hazard. But even more germane is our personal investment in a job that can pay the bills but sap the life out of us. Granted, for most families a two-paycheck lifestyle is non-negotiable, but might there be a way to improve the work environment so that employees are inspired to put forth their best effort and feel a sense of accomplishment by doing so?

Managers need to be mentors as well as supervisors, pushing employees to achieve or surpass their potential and realize their goals. In turn, managers need an effective leader who sets the tone for the organization. A leader who is closeted in the office or too busy to make time to get to know each employee sends a clear message. If the leader isn't engaged, the workplace environment can not be healthy, and the employees will most surely be disaffected.

A leader who knows how to motivate and value each employee can create an organizational climate that inspires everyone to do their best. Workers need to know that they are an important member of the team. Appreciation for their work should be reinforced consistently by organizational leaders. Further, rewards and opportunity should be offered to those whose contributions to the organization help it grow.

The issue of job unhappiness also begs the question of whether it stops at the end of the work day or accompanies employees as they return to their families. What burden are spouses and children encumbering due to the baggage their loved ones bring home from work?

Earlier on Huff/Post50:

10 Great Ideas For Retirement Jobs