Monday, May 4, 2009



NEW YORK—Contrary to popular belief, Americans actually prefer employment and work to drinking and fun, according to a recent poll conducted by InformationPayz, Inc., a leading survey bureau serving Fortune 100 companies. “It’s true,” said InformationPayz’ senior statistician, Mr. A. Anderson Spotts. “No fewer than 93% of Americans say they like their jobs more than beer, wine, schnapps and malt liquor.” Moreover, according to the study, this is not because Americans need money from their jobs. “All those polled said that income had nothing to do with their opinions about alcohol. We can conclude on that basis that Americans like to work more than drink—whether or not they depend on their jobs for necessary income,” explained Mr. Spotts.

Americans gave detailed reasons for their opinions. Their answers were remarkably consistent across all racial, social and economic lines. Whether wealthy bankers or low-wage janitors, Americans revealed that they enjoy the feeling they experience when they work more than the feeling they experience when they drink alcoholic beverages. According to pollee Mrs. Mary E. Bickford, a Caucasian secretarial assistant at a Newark, New Jersey real estate brokerage house: “Just getting to work every morning makes me feel all tipsy and happy. Being around copy machines, paper clips and bitter women in cubicles who complain about their children gets me all warm inside. When I watch the clock and eat my bologna sandwich in the windowless coffee room for 30 minutes each day, I just want to get up, dance, party and find eligible men. By comparison, booze is a cheap high.” At the same time, Mr. Clarence F. Jackson, an African-American Senior Financial Advisor at a major New York investment bank, said: “Commuting makes me feel great. I love waking up at 5 AM every morning knowing that I will need to sit in traffic for two hours listening to bad talk radio, receive castigation from angry drivers, pay $40 for parking then spend 10 hours in an office speaking to an automated phone system. Who needs whiskey when you have a job? Just being at work—or sitting in traffic getting there—makes me feel like I’m on top of the world.” Finally, Mr. B. Jeff Puttz, Esq., a senior litigator at Puttz, Puttz & Stickett, LLP, said: “Nothing can quite match yelling at legal assistants who don’t file things properly. For me, there is something euphoric about waving papers in people’s faces while telling them they will lose their jobs if they put color-coded dividers in the wrong place again. And what’s better than reviewing financial records? Even if we have a losing month, I don’t have an ulcer when I look at cash flow spreadsheets. I start slurring my words, smiling goofily and getting chatty with the receptionists. By contrast, shots and beer don’t make me feel nearly as good as I feel when I’m in the office.”

Americans said they love to work for its own sake. Although critics may find it easy to dismiss InformationPayz’ findings on the ground that Americans must work to pay their bills, Mr. Spotts explained that: “Our findings are guaranteed accurate. We spoke to a representative sample of Americans employed in every significant field. Statistically speaking, our findings cannot reasonably be debated. They reveal that Americans categorically enjoy work for its own sake, not merely because they need jobs to survive. Over 98% of those polled said that work made them feel alive, free, euphoric, giddy, erotic, frisky and ‘young again.’ By contrast, 99% of those polled said that the emotions they experience at work are far more positive than the emotions they experience while drinking. Although these pollees said that work makes them get up painfully early in the morning, endure gossip, plod through mind-numbingly boring assignments, face angry superiors and customers, ignore family and health, expose themselves to contagion, fight for space on subway trains, rush carelessly down streets to avoid lateness, eat poorly, develop various health problems such as hemorrhoids, indigestion, intestinal polyps and stiff necks, beg for permission to use the rest room, attend emasculating quarterly performance reviews, lie to supervisors concerning work progress, betray acquaintances in order to obtain favorable work credit and miss daytime baseball games, they all would prefer facing these challenges than cracking open an ale and getting drunk. “Work makes me feel alive,” said a bathroom contractor in Florida. “Nothing can match the way I feel when I bicker over an invoice. Even a pina colada can’t give me the feeling I get when my boss calls me an asshole and threatens to fire me for forgetting an envelope. It’s not about the money. It’s about doing what you’re supposed to do. No alcohol gives you the high you get when you do that.”

Many pollees echoed these sentiments. They said that work gave them a “sense of direction and purpose” in life, as well as “identity, camaraderie, cohesion and belonging.” Mr. Spotts analyzed the data as follows: “Americans like being part of a team. Over 99% of those polled said they approached their jobs as they would a sports event. These respondents said they enjoyed ‘helping the company win,’ or ‘playing their position,’ even if they receive poor pay for it. For these respondents, winning the game for the team gave them the best possible feelings.” At the same time, the data indicated that pollees generally considered “healthy team feelings” better than “drunkenness.” According to Ms. Maria B. Lopez, a checkout clerk at a Dallas, Texas supermarket: “Putting on my apron and nametag makes me feel like my life means something. I handle a lot of cash every day for the store but I know it’s not mine. I never think about stealing it; I don’t deserve it. It’s my job to make change, smile at the customers and ask if they are having a good day when they come through the checkout aisle. I only make $6.75 an hour but I love my job. My paycheck does not feed my kids, but I would not give up this job for the world. Does it beat drinking? Absolutely. Sipping a margarita and dancing in a club can’t compare to standing on your feet for 9 hours, suffering back spasms, repeating the same words to 500 customers and counting back change every day. Slamming shots can’t compare to getting screamed at by the assistant manager for talking to the lady who works in Aisle 5, or for coming up 2 cents short at drawer check time. I’m part of a team. I like what I do. I like helping my team win. Customer satisfaction beats drinking every time.”

InformationPayz recognizes that its findings may surprise some readers. After all, many readers may find it strange that Americans actually would rather work than drink. To some eyes, it appears that Americans do not want to be at work. To some eyes, it appears that they would rather be doing anything except working. “We often get that reaction,” said Mr. Spotts. “But appearances can be deceiving.” Mr. Spotts pointed out that InformationPayz never publishes misleading reports. He also explained that InformationPayz uses the most advanced statistical and survey methods, aided by several Yale-educated mathematicians. “The numbers don’t lie. And our polling methods are trademarked. They work. Guaranteed.”

What do the numbers show? Mr. Spotts said they show that Americans love work more than life itself. “Who can dispute that drinking makes you feel good?” queried Mr. Spotts. “If 98% of all Americans say they prefer work to drinking, does that not show that work makes them feel even better than drinking? In our professional judgment, we believe that Americans get a bigger high from service than from stimulating their senses with alcohol. This reflects that Americans enjoy acknowledging their positions in life, as well as their desire to identify themselves through their work. Americans like life the way it is. Drinking, by contrast, distorts reality and makes people momentarily forget their problems. The fact that most Americans prefer work to drinking therefore shows that Americans like their lives. The do not want to distort reality; they want to stay in reality. In reality, they are dutiful servants with a job to do. They feel belonging when they do their jobs. Drinking obscures those emotions. That’s why they prefer work to drinking. Americans like service. They like to listen to their bosses and get projects done. They like being part of a hierarchy and wearing nametags. They like commuting and suppressing their true feelings to avoid censure. The numbers show all these things. In short, Americans like reality. That is why they prefer workplace reality to drunken escape. And money plays no role in their preference.”

If Americans prefer work to drinking, what explains the fact that Americans complain about their jobs all week, then flock to bars, pubs and dance halls as soon as the whistle blows on Friday afternoons? Mr. Spotts reasoned: “Statistically, there is a tiny but vocal minority—less than 2%--who prefer drinking to work. These are the individuals who convey an impression that Americans would rather drink than work. In short, these ‘bad apples’ give all Americans an undeserved reputation for laziness. Additionally, even Americans who love work sometimes say they would like to drink, even though they do not really mean it. Experts from our psychiatric department advise us that this is perfectly natural. They inform us that all Americans are raised to respect their workplace superiors and to feel shame if they do not work. These entrenched values hold firm, even if an American employee may sometimes wish to suppress reality with alcohol. In short, these ‘passing desires’ to get drunk represent statistical aberrations. Even Americans who say they would ‘love to get plastered on Friday’ still love their jobs. If they were asked the question ‘Do you prefer beer to work?’ they would invariably answer ‘No.’ The mere desire to drink once in a while does not mean, in other words, that Americans intrinsically prefer alcohol to employment. In short, employment provides far more joy to Americans than beer, whether compensated or not. In short, employment fulfills the program to which all Americans aspire. Alcohol contradicts that program. That is why Americans reject alcohol for work.”

Americans do not like to drink because drinking induces unjustifiable pleasure. According to InformationPayz’ poll, Americans reject unjustifiable pleasures. Before Americans experience pleasure, 95% said that they must “earn” it through work or merit. Because alcohol produces pleasurable sensations without a “job” or “task” to complete beforehand, most Americans revile it. Respondent Mr. James G. Cork, a senior actuary at a Pittsburgh life insurance company, said: “I cannot feel good about anything unless I work for it. When I complete assigned projects at work, I feel terrific. But when I sit at a bar and drink tequila, what have I achieved? Who told me to drink? Not my boss. Basically, I cannot feel good about anything unless I first receive an order and carry it out properly. If I don’t deserve something, I don’t deserve to feel good. That’s one reason I love my job: I know I deserve everything I get, because I know who’s giving me orders. I know what my boss expects, and I deliver accordingly.” When it comes to pleasure, Americans believe that they must earn pleasure through hard work. InformationPayz’ poll reveals that they recoil from “cheap, unearned pleasures” like alcohol, sex, movies, amusements, games and parties. Mr. Cork put it best: “If I don’t receive an order to do it, I will not feel good about it.”

At Reason, Commerce, Justice & Free Beer, we believe in employment, just like the American people. InformationPayz’ studies provide a refreshing insight into American sensibilities about employment. Put simply, they confirm our abiding conviction that Americans love to work, achieve and win—as a team. Once again, fact contradicts cynics who believe that American workers watch the clock all day and secretly dream that they could be off fishing, drinking, dancing, carousing or just watching television. Fact tells us that Americans enjoy service. It even tells us that they cannot feel good about themselves if they are not serving someone in a superior position. From lawyers all the way down to checkout clerks, all Americans relish their jobs. They relish the spirit of achievement and hard work that makes this country great. Despite every contraindication, we now know that they actually prefer showing up at the office to showing up at the tavern—and money has nothing to do with it.

We salute every American who works for a living. Congratulations on living the dream. We do not live to drink; we live to work. After all, the numbers show one thing: Working makes us feel better than drinking. And who can argue with numbers?

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