Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Twenty-Somethings Abuse Sick Days Most, Survey Finds

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Twenty-Somethings Abuse Sick Days Most, Survey Finds

Article excerpt

GENERATION Xers may have yet another reason to whine: A new survey says twenty-somethings are more likely to abuse sick days than boomers and the 50-and-up set.

The Gallup poll of 671 adults commissioned by Accountants on Call, a temp agency in Saddle Brook, N.J., found that one-fourth of employed Gen Xers call in sick one or two times a year when they're really not. Xers are twice as likely to feign illness as boomers (30- to 49-year-olds) and four times as likely as 50-and-older folks.

Apparently, Xers aren't dubbed slackers for nothing.

"These people are focused on quality of life," said Scott Snell, associate professor of business at Pennsylvania State University, "rather than quantity of life."

Or at least work life.

Xers, it seems, have no loyalty toward the company, especially when they find themselves in entry-level, low-paying jobs.

"There's no sense of obligation," Sid Kant, who will soon turn 30, said of his peers. He, himself, has called in sick once since he started working at Borders Book Shop in Philadelphia seven months ago. "I was really sick," he quickly added.

Besides differences among age groups, the nationwide surveym also found that part-time employees are more apt to take advantage of sick days than full-time employees and that Easterners are more likely to call in sick than residents of other regions, especially Midwesterners.

But the most curious survey finding involved 18- to 29-year-olds. While 25 percent of Xers called in sick (falsely) once or twice a year, only 14 percent of 30- to 39-year-olds and 13 percent of 40- to 49-year-olds did that. Among those 50 and older, only 6 percent pulled one or two over on the boss.

To be fair, this isn't a phenomenon unique to Gen Xers.

"I don't think this is a new trend," Snell said. According to Snell, younger workers - whether Xers or boomers - have always shown less job commitment than older workers.

"It's a life-cycle issue," he said.

"By the time you're 50 years old, you know what you're about, what you're doing," Snell said. (You also have a mortgage to pay, so you'd better show up at work.)

"If you're under 30, you're trying to find out who you are," he said. …

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