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Labor Day labor: 42% will work
Nearly half of U.S. workers, motivated by ambition, won't take annual holiday off, study says.
September 2, 2005: 10:45 AM EDT
By Aaron Smith, CNN/Money staff writer

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) Labor Day is supposed to be a day of rest, but nearly half the nation's workers will be working, and many of them are so self-motivated that they choose to work even when they don't have to, according to a study.

A poll of 1,100 workers revealed that 42 percent will spend at least part of their holiday doing work, according to Development Dimensions International, a human resource consulting firm based in Pittsburgh.

Of the workers interviewed by DDI, 28 percent said they would be checking work-related e-mail and voice-mail messages, while 14 percent will catch up on paperwork and another 17 percent will venture into the office.

"It's amazing that half the American work force expects to be working on a holiday," said Rich Wellins, senior vice president of DDI. "It's not because of the boss. It is largely because of intrinsic motivation. People have high ambition. People have a high desire to achieve."

The report also showed that most bosses, even those who feel stressed-out and overwhelmed, are willing to sacrifice the day off to try and get ahead. In a survey of 4,500 supervisors, managers and organization leaders, 60 percent said they had poor work-life balance but were willing to sacrifice more to quicken their climb up the corporate ladder. Also, nearly 80 percent of the respondents said they did not feel pressured to work on Labor Day, suggesting that ambition is a stronger motive than a hard-driving boss.

The results of the study reveal that Americans have a strong work ethic, said Wellins, but the downside is that it could lead to burnout and high turnover.

"We've begun to blend work into life a lot because of technology," said Wellins, noting that some to choose to work even as they're sunbathing on a beach. "Some people have an addiction. It becomes a matter of importance to be on the Blackberry all the time."

To read about the August report for new jobs and the unemployment rate, click here.  Top of page

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