These Are the Most Pessimistic Employees in the U.S.

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Entrepreneur Staff
3 min read

Every office has one -- the office pessimist. These are the people who believe the world is ending and the sky is falling. They feel every project is too risky and they’re one closed door away from being let go.

While pessimism can impact everything from health to wealth, negative thinkers aren’t always wrong. Studies show that pessimism is a far more efficient motivator than optimism and can help produce better work. It seems optimists are so sure they’ll get where they want, they spend more time on starry-eyed thinking than effort.

Those with low expectations can even be more prepared than the Pollyannas among us. Pessimists consider everything that could go wrong and as a result can be better able to handle whatever comes their way.

Related: 7 Strategies for Dealing With Negative People

That said, pessimists are in the minority, according to PayScale data from a survey of more than 425,000. Over the past two years, the group asked workers how confident they were about their company’s future. Most were optimistic -- more than 59 percent. Only a very small group, six percent, described themselves as strongly pessimistic.

The industries most skeptical about the future likely won’t surprise you. Tough jobs that deal with people and trash -- industries such as retail, accommodation and food services and waste management -- topped the list. Around 19 percent of each of these groups reported doubt in their company’s future.

As for specific jobs, those in laundry and dry cleaning reported thinking most negatively. It’s not a coincidence that some of the most pessimistic jobs on this list are some of the worst paid. Home health aides, for instance, were once dubbed by Fortune the “worst paying fastest-growing job in America.”

Related: Who Are America’s Most Optimistic Workers?

It's possible geography can also have an impact. In some cases, pessimistic states -- Wyoming, Alabama and Pennsylvania -- track with some of the highest unemployment rates in the country. Their unemployment rates are nearly double those of some of what PayScale says are the most optimistic states in the nation.

And in case you were wondering, the state with the most strongly pessimistic workers in the entire country is New Jersey. In fact, nearly one in five workers surveyed from New Jersey reported feeling pessimistic or strongly pessimistic.

To that, we say, chin up, New Jersey. Things will get better. We think.  

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