Keep Working After the Lottery

By CHERY SABOL for the Missoula Job Service

Every once in a while, a bit of news penetrates the wall of information that pre-occupies us and we wind up really considering something novel. That happened to me when I read that the majority of people who are engaged in their jobs would keep working if they won the lottery. I really thought about that.

Imagine having $10 million socked away in the bank. The bills are paid, regardless of whether you push out of a warm bed on a pre-dawn Montana winter day to go to work or whether you spend that time counting seashells on the island of Lido or even just stay home to watch a marathon of Breaking Bad episodes. Can you reconcile rushing out the door to the job you’ve held for years versus a leisurely morning with good coffee and extra time with the newspaper? Volunteering in some way to help others who aren’t as lucky? Pursuing a new hobby? Traveling? Starting a business? Really, back to work?

Well, two thirds of U.S. workers surveyed by Gallup reported that not only would they continue working, they would keep showing up for the same job they have. Another 12 percent would continue earning a paycheck, but would change jobs. Only 25 percent said they would stop working altogether.

Lottery TicketThe key here is that those workers are defined by Gallup as engaged – involved in and enthusiastic about their work and their workplace. But even among those who are not as engaged in their jobs, only 33 would stop working entirely. Of those who are actively disengaged – you know exactly the kind of worker this is without a definition – only 40 percent would become actively unemployed. Consider this: 20 percent said they would continue clocking in at a job that alienates and aggravates them.

Is this a manifestation of our need for structure and routine? Or does it mean that there are rewards to working, even working jobs we don’t like, that have nothing to do with making a living? Gallup doesn’t extrapolate philosophical conclusions from its survey, but it has, for decades, gathered information on employees who are emotionally attached to their workplaces. Those workers, according to various Gallup surveys, are more productive, in better health, more immune to the stress of commuting, more likely to be thriving in their lives, exercise more and eat better, and are less likely to smoke or be obese.

The percentage of U.S. workers considered to be engaged has remained fairly constant at about 30 percent, even during the worst of the recession in 2008-2009. Those are the workers who are less likely to quit, less likely to have safety accidents or to miss work, and more likely to report good communication in the workplace and a sense of feeling important and capable. Why should employers care if workers feel important and capable? “There is a proven strong relationship between employees’ workplace engagement and their respective companies’ overall performance,” according to Gallup.

There is the challenge for employers. Are 30 percent of your employees engaged to the extent that they are moving your business in positive ways? Is 30 percent enough? Can you do better at making them want to do better? Are you hiring candidates who are more likely to engage? Have you considered the 12 core elements of great management that Gallup has identified as the road map to employee engagement?

What would it say about your business if an employee won the lottery and announced that he or she wanted to keep working because your workplace is too good to leave? That would be like winning the P.R. jackpot. No ticket is necessary, but understanding how to earn your employees’ enthusiastic and emotional connection to your business is the way to win.

Do you work for a great employer or have you seen one in action? Here’s your chance to bestow some recognition on an employer who does it right. The Missoula Job Service Employers’ Council is taking nominations for its annual Employer of Choice Award. The deadline is Friday, but the nomination form is quick and easy. For more information, go to: 

Nominate an Employer of Choice today!



Looking for a job in Missoula? Be sure to check out our Missoula Job Listings.  Be sure you “LIKE” the Missoula Job Service Facebook Page for daily post on job opening. You’ll also find Missoula-area information on Job Hunting ResourcesJob Hunting Tips, Job Interview Tips, tips for writing Cover Letters and Resumes.


Chery Sabol is an employment consultant at the Missoula Job Service, an organization that offers programs and services to assist employers and job seekers alike. Those looking for employment can view job openings on our website, as well as our Facebook Page  and Pinterest Boards. Employment consultants provide résumé reviews, conduct practice interviews, and offer skills testing.

The Job Service also provides a self-service area where job seekers have access to phones, a fax machine, a copier, and computers. Our qualified staff also offers business consulting services, including employee recruitment and retention assistance. Additionally, we provide financial support for businesses looking to train both new and current employees.

We are here to help our community!