If it makes you happy

The gender gap in work happiness, new acronyms for AI approaches, and more in The Memo
If it makes you happy

Hello, Quartz at Work readers!

If you’ve had any kind of talk about your career in the last year or two, you’ve probably picked up a new vocabulary dedicated to workplace unease. Is your career adequately cushioned? Are your Mondays the barest minimum? Our quittings, they’re quiet. Our leavings, they’re loud. We’re resigned and reshuffled and, quite curiously, refurbed. Labor market lingo, as former Quartz reporter Courtney Vinopal dubs it, has crowded our conversations about our jobs, aimed at naming a zinging zeitgeist of professional malaise.

So this news may catch you by surprise: Most people are actually pretty content at work.

That’s according to business research organization The Conference Board, which has been measuring worker satisfaction for more than three decades now. Its newest data records an all-time high for US employees who say they’re satisfied on the job—about 62%.

But while it’s an optimistic (and perhaps startling) finding, a closer look at the data also reveals a satisfaction gap: Women are significantly less happy at work than men. In fact, women reported lower satisfaction in every category and component surveyed.

One reason for the gender gap in job satisfaction is flexibility, which is a consistent top priority for women at work. As companies beckon their staff back to the office, women aren’t getting enough of it. Gabriela Riccardi digs into why workplace happiness has a gender problem.

📖 Read about how women are lagging—and what we should do about it.


Just as women are dropping behind in satisfaction on the job, more of them may be dropping out of the US workforce. According to new research by Motherly, an advocacy group, the number of stay-at-home mothers nearly doubled last year.

This year’s statistic—24%—means that 9% of mothers have given up their jobs over the past year, Cassie Werber reports.

US workplaces just aren’t working for parents, and not for mothers in particular. Family leave isn’t mandated (or well-covered) and childcare isn’t subsidized or free, as it is in plenty of other nations.

But the survey’s findings also suggest that more affordable childcare options might help women move back into the workplace. Here’s why.


❓ NORA (adj.): No One Right Answer, as in a “NORA reply.” That’s Google’s approach to generative AI search, as demoed in a live event last week showing off its latest artificial intelligence tools. The NORA approach is a case study in how to make AI chatbots work for you, too.

AI advisor Allie K. Miller says getting smarter with artificial intelligence starts with asking the algos detailed questions—then asking them again to prompt new, better responses.

🤖 According to her, there are a couple tactics you can pick up to prompt ChatGPT like a pro. It starts with two strategies.


Up to $1.5 million: The amount of money that failing to negotiate at the outset could cost ambitious professionals over their lifetime.

A majority of US workers don’t push for higher compensation before they accept a job. But if you can forget your sweaty palms and tangled tongue, you’ll probably end up landing more money. Two-thirds of people who try negotiating their starting salaries are successful at getting more.

Career coach Sam DeMase offers easy pick-up phrases for salary talks. And they can be divvied up in three acts.


Image for article titled If it makes you happy
Illustration: Vicky Leta

Plastic water bottles, plastic coffee cups, plastic grocery bags... no matter where you go, there it is. We’ve been aware for decades that single-use plastic causes significant environmental harm, so why is it so often the duty of consumers to do something about it?

In the latest episode of the Quartz Obsession podcast, host Scott Nover talks to Quartz editor Sofia Lotto Persio about what manufacturers could do to make a real dent in the plastic problem.

🎧 Listen right now.

📖 If reading’s more your thing, try the transcript.


🗣 It’s not just conversation—Gen Z is missing some essential nonverbal skills, too

🚪 What happens when exceptional colleagues leave?

💥 How OpenAI ushered in the generative AI boom

Made a mistake at work? Try this 3-step process to address it

🧠 How to hire for neurodiversity—and make workplaces better for everyone


Send questions, comments, and what the next Great thing in work will be to aoakes@qz.com. This edition of The Memo was produced by Gabriela Riccardi.