Survey Says…

Results from the How Much Is Enough? survey by Fast Company and Roper Starch Worldwide.

Here, question by question, are the results of the survey. Interestingly, the greatest disparities tended to occur between men and women: Women feel more pressure to deal with the stresses of work and life, and they tend to be more realistic about compromises that they need to make.


In general, are you achieving balance between your work and your personal life?

Yes: 60%
No: 33%
Not sure: 7%
These results cut across most categories, including gender and age.

“People who really want more balance between their work life and their personal life can get it — if they are willing to make some trade-offs.”


Agree: 87%
Disagree: 6%
Not sure: 6%

If money were not an issue, would you:

Work fewer or more-flexible hours than you do now?: 63%
Work the same number of hours as you do now?: 18%
Quit working?: 14%
Not sure: 4%


How much additional yearly income would you need in order to keep money from affecting your decisions about the type of work you do or the number of hours you work?

$10,000 or less: 10%
$10,000 to $20,000: 13%
$20,000 to $30,000: 16%
$30,000 to $40,000: 10%
$40,000 to $50,000: 21%
$50,000 to $60,000: 3%
$60,000 to $70,000: 3%
$70,000 to $80,000: 5%
$80,000 to $90,000: 1%
$90,000 to $100,000: 12%
$100,000 to $200,000: 3%
$200,000 to $300,000: 1%

How important to you is each of the following as a way of achieving balance in your life? (Percentages indicate how many people said “somewhat important” or “very important.”)


Making personal life more of a priority: 91%
Making more money: 86%
Focusing on personal issues and on work at alternating periods in my life: 83%
Using the Internet and other technology: 83%
Learning to live on less money: 63%
Not obsessing about raises or promotions: 62%
Getting more help at home: 58%
Getting child care that I can trust: 52%
Passing up work projects that are too demanding: 52%
Working part-time or job-sharing: 46%
Giving up the idea of being a superstar at work: 41%

The responses to this question point up a significant gender difference among our respondents. For example, 67% of women indicated that “learning to live on less money” was “very important” or “somewhat important,” compared with 60% of men; 66% of women selected “not obsessing about raises or promotions,” compared with 58% of men; 68% of women picked “getting more help at home,” compared with 49% of men; 59% of women chose “passing up work projects that are too demanding,” compared with 47% of men; 57% of women selected “getting child care that I can trust,” compared with 48% of men; 55% of women chose “working part-time or job-sharing,” compared with 38% of men; and 43% of women said that they were ready to “[give] up the idea of being a superstar at work,” compared with 38% of men.

If you could have one more hour per day at home or one of the following, which would you rather have:


A $10,000-a-year raise: 83%
One more hour per day at home: 17%
More challenging or more satisfying work: 41%
One more hour per day at home: 59%
More power or more prestige in your work organization: 32%
One more hour per day at home: 68%

It’s 5 p.m., and your boss comes to you with a request from an important customer. The work will take at least five hours and is due the next morning. You are supposed to go to a long-planned dinner with the family of your spouse or significant other. Which is harder:

Telling your spouse or significant other that you can’t make the dinner?: 38%
Asking your boss to find someone else to do the work?: 30%
Not sure/doesn’t apply: 32%


How much responsibility does each of the following have for enabling people to balance their work life with their personal life? (Percentages indicate how many people selected “a lot” or “some” as their response.)

Themselves: 98%
Their family: 95%
Their spouse or significant other: 92%
Their company or organization: 89%
Their boss: 88%
Their coworkers: 55%
The government: 47%

The following are possible reasons why we hear so much talk about working people needing more balance in their lives. Indicate whether you agree or disagree with each statement. (Percentages reflect how many people said that they “agree completely” or “agree somewhat” with each statement.)


“Most people don’t manage their time very effectively”: 91%
“People think they need more money or material stuff than they do”: 90%
“Juggling satisfying work with a satisfying personal life is tough”: 88%
“In order to compete, people have to work as hard as possible”: 84%
“Success is increasingly about more than making money”: 83%
“Working women’s concerns are getting more attention”: 79%
“Talk of ‘balance’ is a ’90s way for people to show that their lives are full”: 75%

Being really honest with yourself, indicate how much you agree or disagree with each of the following. (Percentages indicate how many people said that they “agree completely” or “agree somewhat” with each statement.)

“I don’t want to have to make trade-offs at work or at home”: 71%
“I am making the necessary trade-offs to get balance in my life”: 69%
“I am working extra-hard right now to try and get somewhere”: 68%
“It feels good to be as busy as I am now”: 63%
“I could be more efficient at work”: 63%
“My peers and friends work long hours”: 60%
“I like to be known for working long and hard”: 58%
“I’m not willing to give up money or material things”: 54%
“I’d drive an old car or live in a small home in exchange for more free time”: 52%
“I am not in control of how many hours I work”: 49%
“I feel more in control at work than I do in my personal life”: 41%
“Working is more exciting than being at home”: 30%
“I don’t feel I’ve worked hard enough if I work only eight hours in a day”: 24%
“I work long hours to avoid dealing with my personal life”: 14%


Pat has a chance to join a startup company. The job would be very similar to Pat’s current job, and the pay would be the same. Pat currently works late or on weekends a couple of times a month. The money is okay, but Pat will not get rich in the current job. The new job would mean regularly working 10-to-12-hour days for several years. If the startup is successful and goes public, there is a really good chance that Pat will receive a huge windfall in stocks and options. If you were Pat, would you:

Switch to the job at the startup company? 59%
Stay with the current job? 25%
Not sure 7%

What if Pat’s spouse or significant other also worked and if the couple had two young kids at home? If Pat took the new job, would you think that Pat was:


Losing sight of what’s important?: 43%
Taking advantage of a great opportunity?: 41%
Not sure: 16%

Men and women differ significantly in how they answered both parts of this hypothetical question. Men are more apt to see the new job as an opportunity in the first place: 62% of men said that Pat should switch jobs, compared with 55% of women. With the introduction of Pat’s working spouse and kids, a similar male-female disparity is evident: 47% of women said that Pat was “losing sight of what’s important,” compared with 40% of men; 46% of men said that Pat was “taking advantage of a great opportunity,” compared with 35% of women.

The Johnsons both work at jobs that they love. These jobs require long hours and lots of travel, but they pay very well. The couple can afford full-time child care, tuition at private schools, a great house, a house-cleaning service, new cars every few years, a nice dinner out every week, and wonderful family trips on holidays. The Johnsons are not always home by the time their kids go to bed, and their time together happens mainly on weekends. Which one of the following statements comes closest to your view of the life that the Johnsons are living?


“This is the kind of lifestyle that society pressures us to pursue”: 59%
“This is the kind of lifestyle that our employers pressure us to pursue”: 18%
“This is the kind of lifestyle that I personally want”: 8%
Not sure: 15%

Do you consider each of the following to be more a fruit of success or more a sign of excess?

Having a vacation home
Sucess: 73%
Excess: 25%


Flying your family to Vail for a ski vacation
Sucess: 68%
Excess: 29%

Flying overseas for a vacation every year
Sucess: 57%
Excess: 40%

Driving a BMW, a Lexus, or a similar car
Sucess: 54%
Excess: 43%


Having a home theater
Sucess: 51%
Excess: 45%

Living in a house worth $500,000 or more
Sucess: 51%
Excess: 47%

Paying someone to do all of your housework
Sucess: 48%
Excess: 49%

Eating at a fine restaurant several nights a week
Sucess: 44%
Excess: 52%

Having full-time live-in child care
Sucess: 35%
Excess: 58%

Having cell-phones or beepers for both parents and kids
Sucess: 24%
Excess: 71%

Spending $2,000 on clothes in one day
Sucess: 22%
Excess: 75%

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