The Wrong Job

Writer and broadcaster Emma Kennedy studied law and worked as a solicitor for five years before realising she was in the wrong job.

A string of studies have produced worrying evidence that Emma is far from alone - they suggest that as many as 75 per cent of British workers feel they are in jobs which don't suit them or which they simply hate.

The figures come as little surprise to psychologist Professor Sir Cary Cooper who says it's no coincidence the UK's productivity rate is one of the lowest in Europe. He says unhappiness in the workplace leads to stress, illness and a £13bn cost to the economy.

In this two-part documentary, Emma discovers what has gone wrong and examines ways to help people find jobs that better fit their skills, aptitudes and aspirations.

Episodes

EpisodeTitleFirst
Broadcast
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Reinventing the Workplace2018071020180824 (R4)

Emma Kennedy finds out why so many people in Britain hate their jobs.

Emma Kennedy discovers why so many people in Britain hate their jobs.

In the second part of her investigation into why so many people in Britain hate their jobs, Emma Kennedy looks at ways to rethink the whole concept of work and the workplace.

A string of studies have produced worrying evidence that that as many as 75 per cent of British workers feel they are in jobs which don't suit them. One in five employees are actively trying to find other kinds of work.

In last week's programme Emma looked at the extent to which the problem is caused by a lack of career's advice and meaningful work experience as well as the failure of the worlds of education and employment to collaborate effectively. In this programme, she looks at the arguments for more fundamental changes to our whole work environment. And she asks why the UK appears to have one of the unhappiest and least productive workforces in Europe.

Anthropologist David Graeber says part of the problem is that a huge number of people are employed in "bullshit jobs" - meaningless activities which benefit no-one. Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the Royal Society of Arts led a major review of employment practices and says the political emphasis need to switch away from obsession with numbers of jobs to concentrate on quality of jobs. And Frederic Laloux, author of Reinventing Organisations, calls for the creation of "soulful" workplaces in which employees can feel valued and fulfilled.

Emma meets some companies who are trying to do things differently. In Brighton, she discovers how a major health care social enterprise is combining mindfulness and table-tennis to bring out the best in their workforce. And she finds out why global engineering consultants Mott MacDonald are regularly hailed as one of the best employers in the UK.

A 7digital production for BBC Radio 4.

Square Pegs in Round Holes2018070320180817 (R4)

Emma Kennedy finds out why so many people in Britain hate their jobs.

Emma Kennedy discovers why so many people in Britain hate their jobs.

Writer and broadcaster Emma Kennedy studied law and worked as a solicitor for five years before realising she was in the wrong job.

A string of studies have produced worrying evidence that Emma is far from alone - they suggest that as many as 75 per cent of British workers feel they are in jobs which don't suit them or which they simply hate.

The figures come as little surprise to psychologist Professor Sir Cary Cooper who says it's no coincidence the UK's productivity rate is one of the lowest in Europe. He says unhappiness in the workplace leads to stress, illness and a £13bn cost to the economy.

In this two-part documentary, Emma discovers what has gone wrong and examines ways to help people find jobs that better fit their skills, aptitudes and aspirations.

The first programme focuses on widespread concerns about non-existent careers advice in schools, inadequate work experience opportunities and an education system which fails to prepare students for a lifetime of work.

Emma begins her journey by visiting psychometric testing experts to find out what job she is really cut out for, and establish what part psychological testing can play in choosing work that suits us. In Emma's case, the conclusion comes as a bit of a shock.

She talks to former Education Secretary Estelle Morris who famously resigned from the post, admitting the job didn't suit her. And she meets 25-year old travel writer Emma Rosen who, after leaving university, found herself in a job she hated, so decided to explore her options by trying 25 different jobs before she was 25, with extraordinary results.

A 7digital production for BBC Radio 4.

01Square Pegs In Round Holes2018070320180817 (R4)

The first programme focuses on widespread concerns about non-existent careers advice in schools, inadequate work experience opportunities and an education system which fails to prepare students for a lifetime of work.

Emma begins her journey by visiting psychometric testing experts to find out what job she is really cut out for, and establish what part psychological testing can play in choosing work that suits us. In Emma's case, the conclusion comes as a bit of a shock.

She talks to former Education Secretary Estelle Morris who famously resigned from the post, admitting the job didn't suit her. And she meets 25-year old travel writer Emma Rosen who, after leaving university, found herself in a job she hated, so decided to explore her options by trying 25 different jobs before she was 25, with extraordinary results.

Emma Kennedy finds out why so many people in Britain hate their jobs.

Emma Kennedy discovers why so many people in Britain hate their jobs.

The first programme focuses on widespread concerns about non-existent careers advice in schools, inadequate work experience opportunities and an education system which fails to prepare students for a lifetime of work.

Emma begins her journey by visiting psychometric testing experts to find out what job she is really cut out for, and establish what part psychological testing can play in choosing work that suits us. In Emma's case, the conclusion comes as a bit of a shock.

She talks to former Education Secretary Estelle Morris who famously resigned from the post, admitting the job didn't suit her. And she meets 25-year old travel writer Emma Rosen who, after leaving university, found herself in a job she hated, so decided to explore her options by trying 25 different jobs before she was 25, with extraordinary results.

A 7digital production for BBC Radio 4.

02 LASTReinventing The Workplace2018071020180824 (R4)

In the second part of her investigation into why so many people in Britain hate their jobs, Emma Kennedy looks at ways to rethink the whole concept of work and the workplace.

A string of studies have produced worrying evidence that that as many as 75 per cent of British workers feel they are in a job which doesn't suit them. One in five employees are actively trying to find other kinds of work.

In the first programme, Emma looked at the extent to which the problem is caused by a lack of careers advice and meaningful work experience along with the failure of the worlds of education and employment to collaborate effectively. In this second part, Emma examines the arguments for more fundamental changes to our work environment and asks why the UK appears to have one of the unhappiest and least productive workforces in Europe.

Anthropologist David Graeber says part of the problem is that a huge number of people are employed in what he calls "bullshit jobs" - meaningless activities which benefit no-one. Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the Royal Society of Arts, led a major review of employment practices and says the political emphasis needs to switch away from an obsession with numbers of jobs to concentrate on the quality of jobs. And Frederic Laloux, author of Reinventing Organisations, calls for the creation of "soulful" workplaces in which employees can feel valued and fulfilled.

Emma meets some companies who are trying to do things differently. In Brighton, she discovers how some private care providers are combining mindfulness and table-tennis to bring out the best in their workforce. And she finds out why one firm of global engineering consultants is regularly hailed as one of the best employers in the UK.

Emma Kennedy finds out why so many people in Britain hate their jobs.

Emma Kennedy discovers why so many people in Britain hate their jobs.

In the second part of her investigation into why so many people in Britain hate their jobs, Emma Kennedy looks at ways to rethink the whole concept of work and the workplace.

A string of studies have produced worrying evidence that that as many as 75 per cent of British workers feel they are in jobs which don't suit them. One in five employees are actively trying to find other kinds of work.

In last week's programme Emma looked at the extent to which the problem is caused by a lack of career's advice and meaningful work experience as well as the failure of the worlds of education and employment to collaborate effectively. In this programme, she looks at the arguments for more fundamental changes to our whole work environment. And she asks why the UK appears to have one of the unhappiest and least productive workforces in Europe.

Anthropologist David Graeber says part of the problem is that a huge number of people are employed in "bullshit jobs" - meaningless activities which benefit no-one. Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the Royal Society of Arts led a major review of employment practices and says the political emphasis need to switch away from obsession with numbers of jobs to concentrate on quality of jobs. And Frederic Laloux, author of Reinventing Organisations, calls for the creation of "soulful" workplaces in which employees can feel valued and fulfilled.

Emma meets some companies who are trying to do things differently. In Brighton, she discovers how a major health care social enterprise is combining mindfulness and table-tennis to bring out the best in their workforce. And she finds out why global engineering consultants Mott MacDonald are regularly hailed as one of the best employers in the UK.

A 7digital production for BBC Radio 4.