by Meridith Levinson

Americans Less Married to their Work Today Than in the Past

Jan 14, 20082 mins
CareersPersonal Software

But U.S. workers are still more career-oriented than their Western European counterparts.

With their cell phones, BlackBerrys and workaholic ethic, Americans may seem more tethered to their jobs than ever, but the results of a new survey from indicate otherwise.

According to the survey, more Americans view their jobs as a means to an end—a way to pay the bills or help support their families—as opposed to being the end-all, be-all in their lives.

The online poll asked Monster users in the U.S., U.K., France and Germany to choose which sentence described them best: “I work to live” or “I live to work.”

A whopping 78 percent of American respondents selected “I work to live,” compared with 85 percent of British and German citizens and 83 percent of French citizens. Twenty-two percent of Americans “live to work,” compared with 17 percent of French workers and 15 percent of Brits and Germans. A total of 16,000 users responded to the poll, which was conducted from Jan. 1 through Jan. 7, 2008.

Norma Gaffin, director of content for, doesn’t think the survey results indicate that Americans take work less seriously today than in the past. She thinks Americans simply have a different orientation to their jobs. “It’s not a preference for not working,” she says. “It’s a desire to have work-life balance and have it all.”

Gaffin also thinks that American workers of all ages are learning a lesson in work-life balance from Generation Y, which is known for putting personal life above work. “There’s so much pressure [for Americans] to be defined by their work,” she says. “We’re learning from Generation Y that work isn’t all there is.”