1996, 68 percent said they would continue to work, which represented virtually no change. In the intervening years, a low of 65 percent (1974) and a high of 77 percent (1980) responded similarly. These results are consistent with the percentages obtained in other surveys of the United States in this time period, which are reported in O'Brien (1992). These data reinforce the Morse and Weiss finding that Americans are highly committed to work as a central activity in their lives.
These findings are supported by the Gantz Wiley Research WorkTrends™ survey. Mean responses by year and occupational grouping are shown in Table 2.3 (the scale is from 1 to 5—1 is the most positive response). Responses to the item, "I like the kind of work I do," although showing minor fluctuations across time and occupational groupings, revealed no consistent trend. Respondents generally reported that they like the work they do (on average, 86 percent agreed or strongly agreed with the item). Professionals and managers tended to be most positive in their responses (approximately 91 percent of professionals and 89 percent of managers agreed or strongly agreed) and laborers were least positive (approximately 69 percent agreed or strongly agreed). Similarly, respondents reported substantial amounts of job satisfaction (on average, 68 percent said they were satisfied or very satisfied with their job), with little change from 1985 to 1996. Again, professionals and managers tended to be most satisfied (approximately 73 percent of each group answered satisfied or very satisfied) and laborers least satisfied (approximately 59 percent answered satisfied or very satisfied).
Work Values Trends in work values were assessed in the General Social Survey by asking respondents the following questions: "Would you please look at this card and tell me which one thing on this list you would most prefer in a job?" The card contained the names of five job characteristics and respondents were asked to rank them from 1 (most important) to 4 (fourth most important) (the job characteristic that was not chosen as one of the four most important was coded as 5).
The five job characteristics that were ranked were: high income (income); no danger of being fired (job security); short working hours, with lots of free time (hours); chances for advancement