My friend, Don MacPherson, is awesome.

Don is the founder and president of a company called Modern Survey — but who cares about his job?

I count my blessings that our paths crossed back in 2011. He is a smart guy with a big heart who accepts my idiosyncrasies and encourages me to do better in life. I always wonder — what the hell does he get in return? I send him postcards and text messages. That’s pretty much all I have to offer. He likes me, anyway.

Don called me to tell me about his latest employee engagement research report. If you know me, you know that I’m highly skeptical about the sketchy field of engagement. Most companies sell invalid measurement instruments masked as comprehensive solutions for companies who can’t get their act together.

But I really like Modern Survey (and a few others). I’m not paid to say that, either.

So when Don told me that women are more likely to be engaged at work but less likely to be satisfied, he wondered if I had anything to say about the research.

I shared some thoughts with him for free that he included in an interesting white paper. Check it out. Here’s the summary: You can love what you do and hate the way women are treated in the workforce. You can be passionate about your job and your clients while being dissatisfied that women don’t earn as much as men. And you can be challenged by your work while simultaneously being challenged by the status quo that enforced a glass ceiling.

That’s my two cents. What do you think? Why might women be more engaged than men at work and less satisfied? Any thoughts?

I know one thing: it helps to have good friends at work. Even when I’m rolling my eyes at my job as a human resources and marketing consultant, I am constantly engaged and challenged by my friends like Don.

That’s what makes a difference in my life and keeps me engaged at work.


  1. Engaged and satisfied are two different axis. They are not a continuum. It is like being tall and heavy or short and thin. You can be both and either.

    I can hate the place I work and hate the people. But I can be very engaged with the job and the mission. I can be dissatisfied and therefore engaged in order to make a difference.

    I think the gender differential probably speaks to the gender differential in the executive ranks more than anything. If females believe (and probably are) underrepresented in the executive ranks they may feel dissatisfied and disconnected at that level – but still may enjoy their job and their immediate work team – whereas men may not have that same feeling.

  2. Laurie, as an executive coach, I agree with your conclusions. I also think someone can love their day to day work and be engaged on that level, but be disengaged with their manager or leadership of the company (and culture) as a whole.

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