If getting up to go to work in the morning fills you with dread, you apparently are not alone in Boulder.
The list is based on 36,000 independent employee reviews between November 2011 and November 2012.
Employees were asked to evaluate, on a five-point scale, factors that affect workplace happiness: relationship with the boss and co-workers; work environment; job resources; compensation; growth opportunities; company culture; company reputation; daily tasks; and control over the work done on a daily basis.
Boulder scored 3.45, just below Reno, Nev., which scored 3.61. Boulder workers were the most displeased with growth opportunities, which scored a 2.81, and compensation, which scored a 3.29.
Leaf Van Boven, a University of Colorado psychology professor who studies the relationship among emotion, judgment and decision-making, was among those who questioned the list's validity Wednesday.
Van Boven noted that Boulder has routinely shown up on lists of the happiest cities in recent years. The results of an in-depth Gallup-Healthways poll released in early 2010 ranked Boulder at No. 1 on its list of the happiest places to live in America.
The CareerBliss findings appear to contradict that, but Van Boven pointed out the unhappiness list did not make a distinction between workers who live in Boulder and those who commute to Boulder, something research has shown can affect happiness.
"(Non-Boulder residents) may, in fact, be pretty dissatisfied, because one of the things that we know makes people unhappy is having a commute," Van Boven said.
He said the timing of the employee reviews last year might have also put a damper on respondents' spirits. Federal budget uncertainty might have left some employees of CU and Boulder's research laboratories questioning their job security, another important factor in overall happiness.
Some employees of Boulder-area businesses Wednesday questioned the accuracy of the "unhappiest" label.
Josh Kaiser, 33, of Boulder, is a software engineer for tech startup SendGrid, which has offices near the Pearl Street Mall. A former employee of Oracle's Boulder office, Kaiser said he loves working in the city.
"As an engineer, this is just a great culture here," Kaiser said. "And I think the employers really believe in taking care of their employees."
Longtime Boulder resident Carrie Simon, 52, has worked for more than 20 years at CU, most recently as a graduate adviser. She has a long list of things she loves about living and working in Boulder, including great restaurants, hiking and climbing just 15 minutes from her office, and great beer. While she admitted she might be less enthusiastic if she had to commute to work, she didn't give the study much credence.
"That's ridiculous," she said. "I'm not sure where they are getting their information."
Wichita, Kan., Fresno, Calif., and Little Rock, Ark., rounded out the top five "unhappiest" places to work.
Dayton, Ohio, had the happiest employees, with an overall score of 4.02, according to the study.
Contact Camera Staff Writer Joe Rubino at 303-473-1328 or firstname.lastname@example.org.