The Laboring Masses

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Americans are working harder than ever before, logging in almost one week more cubicle time than they did in 1990. On average, they punched in 1,979 hours last year, compared with 1,943 hours in 1990. 1 With the unemployment rate rising from 4.1 percent to 4.9 percent between August 2000 and August 2001, one would expect those lucky enough to have jobs to be content. But a surprising number are not. In fact, for many, those hours spent toiling at work are filled with a fair share of misery. Some 34 percent say that rude co-workers or clients leave them stressed, and 42 percent encounter yelling and verbal abuse at the workplace. 2 The stress takes a toll. One-third (34 percent) of workers say they have trouble sleeping. 3 Almost one-quarter (23 percent) shed tears or seek solace in chocolate (26 percent) or alcohol (11 percent). 4 Sometimes, the suffering moves in a vicious circle: 29 percent of employees choose to share their pain by yelling at another co-worker. 5 No wonder 70 percent of employees dream about doing something different from their current jobs. 6 In fact, only 24 percent plan to stay at their present jobs for at least two years, 7 while another 34 percent are neither committed nor planning to stay at their current job that long. 8 That might explain why 37 percent of employees are using work time to surf the Internet for jobs. 9 At least they won't need to brush up on multitasking.

1-International Labor Organization, 2001

2, 3, 4, 5-Integra Realty Resources, Inc., 2000

6-Families and Work Institute, PricewaterhouseCoopers, 2001

7, 8-Walker Information, 2001, 2000

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