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author:Margie Culbertson

The Good News Gazette

Singing the Praises of Work

By Richard Morin and Claudia Deane

Copyright © Washington Post, August 28, 2001

Forget whistling while they work. Most Americans seem to be singing the Hallelujah Chorus as they blissfully dance through their workdays, according to a review of public attitudes by Karlyn Bowman of the American Enterprise Institute.

"Poll questions asked over the past quarter–century show little change in job satisfaction," Bowman said yesterday at an AEI panel that included Thomas Riehle of Ipsos–Reid Polling and Guy Molyneux of Peter D. Hart Research Associates. "The vast majority are satisfied with their jobs or the work they have chosen."

In surveys conducted over the past 28 years by the National Opinion Research Center, eight in 10 working Americans have consistently said that were satisfied with the work they do. Nearly half — 45 percent — reported last year that they were "very satisfied" while 44 percent said they were moderately satisfied with their work. Only about one in eight complained that they were "very" or a "little" dissatisfied.

Molyneux cautioned against reading too much into those claims. Admitting that your job is the pits — even if it is — is "an admission of personal failure," he said. And some jobs are more satisfying than others; his own surveys of teachers and nurses found that many were dissatisfied with their working lives.

Still, most of us seem happy enough in our work, Bowman said. So much so that seven in 10 working Americans would take the same job again "without hesitation," according to a 1997 survey by Louis Harris and Associates.

© 2001 The Washington Post Company
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