Psychic Income and Job Satisfaction

Merriam-Webster defines psychic income as 1) imputed income and 2) rewards, such as prestige, leisure, or pleasant surroundings, for example, not measurable in terms of money or goods, but serving as an incentive to work.

Currently, workforce participation remains near record lows at 61.6% compared to a more normal rate of 63-4%.  There are a number of possible causes being cited in the media, including, child care, Covid-19, accelerated retirement and an increased appreciation of the value of leisure.  In addition, it may be that families are beginning to recognize the extent of the marginal, net value of a second paycheck.

All of this is not new, except for Covid-19.  In our blog of 18 May 2018, titled “Is the US Facing a Jobs Crisis?” we noted the narrow gap between available jobs and those seeking work.  The same issue is present today.

What to do?  First, consider that pay is not everything, witness the significant number of individuals who volunteer for jobs and services that have no paycheck.  Second, perhaps being more considerate to each other could help. 

Current and potential employees might respond to efforts by management and customers to express appreciation for a job well done.  Most people respond favorably to simple words like please and thank you.

This is not just a labor/management issue.  Customer responses are important.  It is not OK to verbally abuse or punch out flight attendants.

If we were all nicer to each other, maybe more of us would be interested in rejoining the workforce.

All comments and suggestions are welcome.

Walter J. Kirchberger, CFA