Arthur C. Brooks on our love of work. An excerpt:
Ask yourself this: What proportion of Americans do you think are satisfied with their jobs? Twenty percent? Thirty? In fact, according to the 2002 General Social Survey (GSS) from the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, among adults who worked 10 hours a week or more in 2002, a surprising 89 percent said they were very satisfied or somewhat satisfied with their jobs. Only 11 percent said they were not too satisfied or not at all satisfied.
Of course, this statistic might be hiding big differences between people with “good” jobs and those with “bad” jobs. What about the people with low incomes and little education? They must be less satisfied with their jobs than we are, right? Wrong. Precisely the same share of Americans with above-average and below-average incomes are satisfied: 89 percent. Similarly, 88 percent of people without a college education are satisfied, as well as 87 percent of people who specifically call themselves “working class.” What about the middle class, who we hear from television pundits and politicians are so dispirited? Ninety-three percent are satisfied. Also, the proportion is almost exactly the same—around 90 percent—among people working for private companies, for nonprofit organizations, and for governments.
[Update: And what to do if you hate your job.]