How's Your Work Life?

Of the 1,100-plus readers who responded, 48% say they now have fewer co-workers, and only 51% expect a raise in 2003

Americans feel lukewarm about their workplaces at the moment -- even as they worry that their jobs aren't particularly secure and that the Bush Administration is doing a poor job of creating employment opportunities. Those are some of the conclusions from our Sept. 24 Reader Survey.

About 53% of the 1,100-plus people who responded said their jobs are "O.K.," vs. the 19% who said they hate their jobs and the 13% who said they love them.

Those opinions likely reflect a number of factors: Some 36% of those who responded said they're working harder now than a year ago, vs. 26% who said they aren't working as hard.

WEAKNESS IN WASHINGTON.

  Moreover, 41% said they didn't get a raise in 2002, vs. the 45% who did. And 45% either aren't sure that they'll get a raise in 2003 or don't think they will, vs. the 51% who think their pay will rise.

Although 45% think their job is secure right now, a combined total of 48% either think their job isn't secure, or aren't sure.

Nor do a majority see much of promise on the horizon: Some 57% rate the Bush Administration's efforts to ensure that everyone who wants a good job can get one as "poor," vs. the 14% who think the Administration is doing a good job, and the 4% who give it a mark of excellent. About 66% think it would be "not easy at all" to find a new job right away, vs. the combined 27% who think they could land one pretty very easily or reasonably easily.

GLAD TO BE WORKING.

  The juxtaposition of opinions on staffing and productivity in the workplaces of the people who responded presents a striking picture. For instance, 17% said the number of employees in their workplace has risen over the past year -- nearly the same number (19%) who believe their company is "very productive."

Some 48% say the number of people in their workplace has fallen over the past year -- almost the same number that say their workplace is only "somewhat productive" (46%). Some 25% say the number of employees in their workplace has stayed the same in the past year -- nearly equivalent to the number that regard their company as "not very productive" (27%).

Questions on workplace likes and dislikes elicited a wide range of responses. People seem happiest with the nature of their work and "the fact that I have a job," with pay levels a distant third as a source of satisfaction. That was consistent with the answers on what people like least about their jobs, where pay nearly headed the list.

Here are the complete survey results, which as always is unscientific, since anyone who wished to could participate:

How do you feel right now about your job?

Option Total %  
I love it 157 13.34 %
It's O.K. 620 52.68 %
I hate it 225 19.12 %
Not sure 88 7.48 %
I don't have one 87 7.39 %

Compared with a year ago, are you:

Option Total %  
Working harder 428 36.39 %
Working about as hard 340 28.91 %
Not working as hard 307 26.11 %
Not sure 14 1.19 %
Not working at all (i.e., jobless) 87 7.40 %

Over the past year, has the number of people at your workplace:

Option Total %  
Risen 205 17.45 %
Fallen 562 47.83 %
Stayed the same 297 25.28 %
Not sure 34 2.89 %
I don't have a workplace 77 6.55 %

In your opinion, your workplace is:

Option Total %  
Very productive 229 19.51 %
Somewhat productive 543 46.25 %
Not very productive 317 27.00 %
Not sure 10 0.85 %
I don't have a workplace 75 6.39 %

What do you like best about your workplace?

Option Total %  
The pay 157 13.4 %
The hours 72 6.14 %
The people 155 13.23 %
The nature of the work 232 19.8 %
The fact that I have a job 246 20.99 %
All of the above 149 12.71 %
Other 20 1.71 %
I don't like my workplace 65 5.55 %
I don't have a workplace 76 6.48 %

What do you like least about your workplace?

Option Total %  
The pay 229 19.56 %
The hours 146 12.47 %
The people 151 12.89 %
The nature of the work 231 19.73 %
All of the above 58 4.95 %
Other 129 11.02 %
I like my workplace 146 12.47 %
I don't have a workplace 81 6.92 %

Do you feel secure in your job right now?

Option Total %  
Yes 524 44.86 %
No 350 29.97 %
Not sure 216 18.49 %
I don't have a job 78 6.68 %

Did you get a pay raise in 2002?

Option Total %  
Yes 528 45.13 %
I will get one before yearend 89 7.61 %
No 485 41.45 %
I don't have a job 68 5.81 %

Do you expect to get pay raise in 2003?

Option Total %  
Yes 601 51.15 %
No 280 23.83 %
Not sure 253 21.53 %
I don't expect to have a job 41 3.49 %

If you wanted to or had to find a new job right away, how easy do you think it would be?

Option Total %  
Very easy 40 3.40 %
Reasonably easy 283 24.02 %
Not easy at all 772 65.53 %
Not sure 83 7.05 %

How would you rate the Bush Administration's efforts to ensure that everyone who wants a good job can get one?

Option Total %  
Excellent 52 4.43 %
Good 166 14.15 %
Poor 674 57.46 %
Not sure 281 23.96 %
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