A glance at the American work ethic


We have seen the future

Percent of male high school seniors who believe work is a central part of life

In 1976: 41 percent

In 1986: 35 percent

-- From "Monitoring the Future" survey, the Institute for Social Research

Baby boomers bowing out

Percentage of working women aged 26 to 45 who expect to reduce their job commitments in the next five years: 43

Percentage of them who say they will quit work altogether in next five years: 23.

Percentage of men who say they will quit: 11.

-- From magazine, American Demographics, December 1991.

All things considered, we'd rather be playing


Most common response to question:

What's more important, work or leisure?

In 1990: Leisure

From 1975 to 1989: Work

-- From the Roper Organization's annual survey, "The Public Pulse."

Still . . .

Percentage of Japanese workers satisfied with their jobs: 17

Percentage of European: 28

Percentage of Canadian: 39

Percentage of American: 43

-- From Louis Harris and Associates poll, 1991

Work more, enjoy it less

Number of Americans who added on extra evening or weekend hours in 1991: 1 in 3

Number in 1989: 1 in 4.

Average drop in job satisfaction during that same time: 5.5 percent.

Percentage who enjoyed their off-hours more than their work-hours in 1991: 68.

Percentage in 1955: 49.

Average number of hours worked per week in 1991: 43

Number they'd prefer to work: 38.7

-- From Gallup Mirror of America poll, 1991.

Gone fishing

Average number of paid days off in Germany: 29

Number in U.S.: 19

-- Industry Week, May 6, 1991

Why do you think they call it work?


Percentage of workers who say their jobs are no fun: 63

-- From survey by Industry Week, 1991.

But someone's having fun, at least some of the time

Average amount of work time spent goofing off per week: 7 hours.

-- From book "The Day America Told the Truth," by James Patterson and Peter Kim, 1991

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