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Reality doesn't bite...much

( -- Recently, the gang at CareerBuilder commissioned Zogby International, one of the world's most reputable research firms, to survey 1,000 U.S. full-time employees to try and get a bead on the painful truths about today's workplace.

The news is actually pretty good. Although at the time of the survey, 53% of U.S. workers believed that the country was headed for a recession, only 12% of them are afraid of losing their jobs. Of course, afraid or not, 48% were either actively or passively scouting out a better opportunity and 78% said they would clean out their desks tomorrow if a better deal came along.

Most Americans are, unfortunately, living paycheck to paycheck, though. Some 53% said they could only hold out two months maximum if they lost their jobs and had no income. That same group said they were cutting it so close financially that they'd have to take any job that came along just to keep the wolf away from the door. But the rest said they could hold out, so that's encouraging.

On the brighter side, Americans are tired of living to work as opposed to the other way around. Nine out of ten in the survey said "quality of life" is important in their current job or their next job. If they don't get it where they are, they'll move on 'til they find it. More than six out of ten are so bent on having quality of life at work they would even take a pay cut to get it.

Americans want to be satisfied with their jobs in ways that transcend money and holidays. One-third surveyed their work had to be "fulfilling and challenging," while 22% ranked money at the top of their list.

Here's no huge surprise: Stock options are no longer the magic carrot on the stick they once were. Only 25% of respondents were willing to gamble lower salaries that their options would buy them the American Dream in no time flat.

It is heart-warming to note that after generations of globetrotting, Americans seem to crave something akin to the hometown again. A significant majority says they would take a cut in pay to remain in the same location.

© 2003

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