The Unloved Bosses, Wishful Debtors, Etc.

It’s the hatred that dare not speak its name, at least until the job market improves. In a booming economy, a person who hates his boss can shout the traditional “Take this job and shove it” valediction and move to another gig. In the current economy, though, boss-haters feel obliged to bite their tongues, and they’re feeling the stress of doing so. A Maritz Poll finds 23 percent of American workers saying they’d fire their boss if they could. Putting the case in more emotional terms, an Ipsos-Reid survey in Canada finds 10 percent of workers saying they “secretly hate” their boss. Eleven percent dread going to work each day due to their boss. Women were more likely than men (12 percent vs. 9 percent) to say they’re covert boss-haters. Men were more likely than women (10 percent vs. 6 percent) to admit they’d “be willing to suck up” to their bosses to get ahead.

Americans’ financial goals were highly ambitious when the economy was booming. Now, people just hope to keep afloat until the good times resume. Asked in a Family Circle poll to list their “top money goals,” 71 percent of adults included “getting completely out of debt.” (Women were more likely than men to say this, 76 percent to 67 percent.) That far surpassed the number who cited “owning a home free and clear” (52 percent), “taking one luxury vacation every year” (33 percent) or “being able to buy a house” (30 percent). The debt-free day won’t come soon for many of these folks, to judge by recent polling for the Cambridge Consumer Credit Index by International Communications Research. Among consumers with revolving balances on their credit cards, “6 percent made no payments, 40 percent plan to make slightly more than the minimum payment, 37 percent expect to pay less than half the balance but more than the minimum, while 17 percent will pay more than half their balance.” A majority of respondents said they’re taking on debt because they’re confident of their ability to pay it off. Still, 44 percent said they’re doing so because they simply don’t have the money to pay for their purchases in full.

Who wears the pants in the family? The Census Bureau sensibly (if not timidly) refrains from asking that question. Its questionnaire does, however, ask that one person in each household be listed as “the householder.” According to a new Census analysis of data amassed in 2000, just 13 percent of married-couple households designated the wife as the householder. The figure was higher in New York (18 percent), which tells you something about the nature of wives in that state. New England also had above-average incidence of wives as householders. In U.S. households with opposite-sex unmarried couples, 46 percent listed the woman as the householder.

In hell, people look like they come from Baltimore, act like they come from Los Angeles and litter like they come from New Orleans. Or so one might suppose, anyhow, upon reading the results of a poll by Travel + Leisure and America Online. While ranking San Diego, Honolulu and Austin, Texas, as the American cities with the best-looking people, respondents to the online poll said Baltimore has the worst-looking locals. Nashville, Tenn., Honolulu and San Antonio were voted the friendliest cities; Los Angeles was voted the least friendly. Portland, Ore., was rated the cleanest city, followed by Minneapolis-St. Paul and Honolulu, while New Orleans was voted the dirtiest.

Insult the creatives, if you must, but don’t be rude to waiters. That’s the moral we draw from a poll of advertising/marketing executives by The Creative Group. Respondents were asked which of several actions at a business lunch would most damage their chances of impressing a current or potential client. Four percent said “dressing too casually”; 5 percent said “displaying poor table manners”; 36 percent said “arriving late.” But 50 percent of those polled said the worst faux pas is “being rude to the wait staff.”

It’s a gender gap of the heart. In a poll fielded by the University of Wisconsin Survey Center, adults in that state were asked whether they would prefer a man or woman as their primary-care physician. Overall, 25 percent said they’d prefer a male doctor, 31 percent would pick the female variety and 44 percent said it makes no difference. As you might guess, women were more likely than men to prefer a female doctor (45 percent vs. 17 percent); men were more likely than women to prefer the male doctor (35 percent vs. 15 percent). But what if they needed heart surgery? About three-fourths of men and women alike said the surgeon’s gender would make no difference to them. Among those expressing a preference, though, 17 percent of men and 20 percent of women opted for a male surgeon, while 5 percent of men and 8 percent of women would pick a female surgeon.

If stress were good for your health, the healthcare system could take credit for some of that salubrious effect. A study by the Kaiser Family Foundation documents ways in which Americans worry about healthcare. Cost is a prime concern, as one can gather from the chart. Apart from their ability to afford health coverage, people also fear that their health plans will be too chintzy to provide needed care. Thus, 32 percent of insured adults described themselves as “very worried” that their insurer “would be more concerned about saving money for the plan than about what is the best treatment for you.” Another 34 percent were “somewhat worried” about this. More broadly, 24 percent of adults are very worried (and 23 percent somewhat so) that they might not be able to get the health services they think they need. There’s also much fear about how good the care will be: 27 percent are very worried (and 30 percent somewhat so) that the quality of healthcare services they receive “will get worse.” Elsewhere in the survey, 26 percent said they’re very worried that they might not be able to afford the prescription drugs they need.