Along with the numbers that we crunch for the annual Convene Salary Survey, we ask a handful of open-ended questions. Including this one: What do you like least about your job?
Although readers singled out problems including attrition and room blocks, cuts to hotel commissions, managing shrinking budgets, and dealing with inefficient work processes (“So. Many. Emails.,” was one response) the overwhelming majority of the answers to the question weren’t focused on logistical challenges. The most often-repeated responses, by far, fell under one of four broad categories: overwork, stress, managing work relationships, and a lack of respect or understanding for the profession.
1. Overwork. Nearly 1 in 5 of the respondents listed some variation of overwork as the thing they liked least about their job. It was the number one response, which is no big surprise, given the fact that respondents reported that the average length of the workweek is 46 hours and that nearly one-quarter of respondents regularly log more than 50 hours a week on the job. Responses were a variation on a theme: “crazy hours and pressure,” “all the hours”; “overtime”; “the pace of work”; “constantly being overworked”; “overwhelming workload”; and “long, long days.”
The extra-long days that often are demanded before and during meetings and events, only add to the strain. Being “overworked, underpaid, and with limited bandwidth means you’re working so many hours before an event, you go into it already burning out,” one wrote. Speaking of burnout, only 20 percent of respondents took all of their accrued personal and vacation time off in 2017, exacerbating the weight of their workloads.
“Drama,” wrote one reader, “and bullies.”
2. Work relationships. In addition to overwork, many of you — one in six — identified challenges related to working with other people as your least favorite part of the job. Co-workers who miss deadlines, difficult bosses, hard-to-please clients, and organizational leadership all surfaced as pain points. “Drama,” wrote one reader, “and bullies.” From another: “I continue to struggle with internal partners’ inability to meet deadlines — the cascade effect on the meetings team rapidly turns into a tsunami of additional work and hours in the office.”
3. Stress. The third most-frequent response was stress. Deadlines, having to meet registration and revenue goals outside of the planner’s control, “having a CEO that doesn’t understand how meetings work,” last-minute changes, and, again, the workload, all took their toll, respondents said.
4. Perceived lack of respect for profession. Many respondents identified a lack of respect — from both inside and outside their companies — as what they least like least. “Disregard for the importance of our industry and its professionalism,” wrote one. “Disrespect for my expertise,” wrote another, adding that the “struggle is great to achieve getting management to understand how things are done in the meetings industry.” Another response: “There’s a “lack of respect for what I do — the attitude that it’s just about picking menus and handing out name badges that any temp could do.”
You might think that the long hours and accumulated stress might be fueling major discontent, but that’s mostly not the case: Seven out of 10 respondents said that they were satisfied with their jobs.
There are a lot of reasons that might be so — and most of them are not money-related, despite the fact that the average 7 percent raise that respondents were awarded last year was twice the North American average. Stay tuned for an upcoming post where reveal what our readers had to say when we asked them what they like most about their job.