Explaining Southern California's economy

Coffee in the workplace: Who drinks the most?


Ryoko Iwata

Coffee. It's what America drinks when it drinks at work.

Ryoko Iwata — who runs the aptly named "I Love Coffee" site — put togetther the nifty chart above that breaks down the yearly Dunkin' Donuts/CareerBuilder survey of coffee consumption in the workplace. 

The revelation here is that...there is no revelation! Those jobs that one might think would require a lot of coffee intake — do! Writers, professors, and finacial professionals all make the top ten. Also, according to the survey, nearly half of U.S. workers say that without coffee, the economy would grind (Hah! Get it?) to a halt.

However, as Iwata herself points out, "IT workers, such as programmers and web designers, weren't on this list." Her commenters quickly pointed out that computer geeks get their caffeine from other, non-coffee sources. That sounds about right.

I completely sold on the "six cups of coffee a day will keep you from being dead" argument. I should probably work some water in there, but really, it's a lot more fun to drink coffee. Now if I could just score one of the mega-mugs with a new KPCC logo that we dispensed during our last pledge drive...


Why working hard is working wrong

There's a deep Calvinist preoccupation in the American workplace with hard work. Break the big rocks into little rocks all day long and you shall surely see a reward. And in fact, for some people, this is an excellent formula.

However, it may not be the way to go for most of us. I've been following the Energy Project for a while now, via the blog posts that president and CEO Tony Schwartz writes for his site and for Harvard Business Review. Schwartz offers a very different perspective, based on the idea that people aren't machines and that our energy is actually the most valuable capital we bring to the workplace:

The way we’re working isn’t working. Does anyone doubt that’s true?

Only 20 percent of us– 1 out of every five – feels fully engaged at work, according to one global study of 90,000 employees across 18 countries. Forty percent of us are actively disengaged. Over 100 studies have now demonstrated the correlation between employee engagement and business performance.

So where have we gone so wrong?

The answer is rooted in the false assumption that we operate best in the same linear way that our computers do: continuously, at high speeds, for long periods of time, running multiple programs at the same time.

That’s unsustainable. When demand exceeds our capacity, we default into the survival zone. We’re suboptimal. It’s not good for us, and it’s not good for our employers.