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Study: We work more, but don't want to

This isn't likely to be a surprise to most people: We're spending more hours at work, so says a new privately funded study by the Families and Work Institute.

According to the National Study of the Changing Workforce, the work week for women increased to 44 hours in 1997, from 39 hours in 1977. Men reported spending 49.9 hours on the job, up from 47.1 hours.

The study, which has been conducted every five years since 1977 and was paid for by 15 companies and foundations, looks at workers' attitudes and personal lives.

The second non-surprise: We want to work less.

Nearly two-thirds of all workers, or 64 percent, would reduce their work hours by an average 11 hours a week if they could, up from 47 percent in 1992. Most cite a need for money, pressure from employers or a desire to help their companies succeed as obstacles to cutting their hours.

You say workaholic, I say just showing up

Those executives who are working long hours with the hopes of impressing the boss might want to reconsider.

Working "all out" at one's current job was only the fourth most important thing executives can do to get ahead in their careers, according to a survey of more than 1,000 executives, search firms and corporate hiring authorities. Networking outside the company, seeking out developmental assignments and building networks inside the company are the top three.

Of course, what those executives say and what they do are two different things.

Of the more than 500 executives surveyed who earn more than $75,000 a year, 39 percent defined themselves as workaholics and said they worked 58 hours a week, found the study by Exec-U-Net, a Norwalk, Conn., job, career and networking organization for senior executives.

What's interesting is that there were another 16 percent who did not consider themselves workaholics, yet they worked more than 60 hours a week.

"This lack of clarity between what executives feel does not define them as a workaholic says a great deal about the world of work in the '90s," said Exec-U-Net executive director David Opton. "Ten to 15 years ago anyone who admitted to working 50-plus hours a week would probably be viewed as a workaholic, a real "go-getter' and "fast-tracker.' In today's world, when for many even 60-plus hours a week doesn't meet the definition of workaholic in people's minds, it is clear the norm has changed."

Secret to success: charm your boss

The real secret to getting ahead in today's work world may be an old-fashioned tried-and-true method: impressing the boss.

And, guess what? There's a book out to tell you how.

"Nothing is more important . . . than managing your relationship with your boss," said Alan R. Schonberg, author of 169 Ways to Score Points With Your Boss and chairman of Management Recruiters International Inc., a large job search and recruitment organization.

Here's a preview of some of Schonberg's favorite tips from those offered in the book:

No. 11: Comments bound to turn off your boss. "That's not my job." "Why don't we get off President's Day?" "I'll do it when I'm through with my coffee break."

No. 30: Restaurant Etiquette. Don't complain about the food. Don't order the most expensive item on the menu. Avoid long conversations on your cellular phone. (This tip could be handy on dates as well.)

No. 37: Things your boss won't appreciate. A chain letter to him with your name on it. A copy of Soldier of Fortune in your office. Recruiting fellow employees to work for your part-time multilevel marketing organization.