- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 27, 2002

Two polls reveal that workers on both sides of the Atlantic are vexed by life at the office.
"More Americans are expressing unhappiness with their jobs," noted the New York-based Conference Board Inc. research group in a survey of 5,000 U.S. households released last week.
Only half said they are happy in their jobs, down from 59 percent in a 1995 survey, and the discontent spans all ages and income brackets.
"The widespread feeling among many Americans that their jobs aren't providing the satisfaction they once did is likely to be a growing concern for management," research group spokeswoman Lynn Franco said.
Things have become bleak for the young.
Workers ages 35-44 are the least happy, with 47 percent satisfied, down from 61 percent the last time. This demographic was once the "happiest group" in the American work force, the survey noted.
Workers ages 55-64 were also pretty crabby: 48 percent say they are satisfied on the job.
Perhaps cushy sport utility vehicles, drive-time radio or a good book on the subway pays off: 59 percent of workers said their commute to work was the "best part of their job."
Discontent is also regional. New England has the most unhappy workers, with only 44 percent satisfied, down from 65 percent. Employees in the Rocky Mountain region are the happiest, with 57 percent saying they are content in the workplace.
Needless to say, satisfaction increases with salary. Households earning less than $15,000 are the least satisfied; those earning more than $50,000 are the most satisfied. Still, the well-to-do grumble: Satisfaction in those more than $50,000 households declined from 67 to 55 percent in the past seven years.
The workplace seems a perennial source of discontent or at least of polls that gauge such things.
A recent survey released by the Marlin Co., which manufactures office motivational posters, found that 82 percent of workers have stress at work, with half saying they had more work than they once did. And bosses can feel safe: 73 percent of workers said they would not want their bosses' jobs.
Office rage also remains prevalent. An Integra Reality survey revealed last year that 42 percent of workers said people yelled and fought at their office; 14 percent said co-workers beat up or damaged inanimate objects such as copying machines.
Things are no better in Britain.
A survey of 1,100 workers by London-based researchers Alliance and Leicester found that 59 percent said they were unhappy on the job, mostly because of money woes.
British incomes rose by almost 4 percent last year. Nevertheless, 53 percent of the women and 49 percent of the men polled said their salaries just didn't cut it.
Money, however, is a convenient target.
"Though salaries have been rising sharply over the past few years, levels of expectation have been rising even faster," survey director Gareth Williams said. "Employers need to recognize that salary gripes are often a reflection on other aspects of the job."
Time spent in the office also is frustrating. The poll found 28 percent citing long hours as a source of unhappiness, though this vexed more men (31 percent) than women (24 percent.)
The job duties were not the greatest source of woe.
Lack of benefits were cited by 18 percent of dissatisfied respondents. Fourteen percent criticized their pension, 11 percent their employment security and 9 percent their work location. Only 12 percent faulted the work they did.

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