Posted: Friday, June 20, 2003

HOLIDAY FIBS: We're not above lies when it comes to extending our weekends.

One in five adults admit they have planned to call in sick to extend their weekend into three days, according to a survey by Orbitz, the airline-owned travel company based in Chicago.

Young adults 18 to 34 are more likely than older colleagues to call in sick when they're really not, with 32 percent in that group doing so.

But at other times, work can be the excuse for avoiding a trip.

Twelve percent said they have fibbed to their friends or family using a work-related excuse to avoid visiting. Again, younger people were more prone to lie 22 percent of respondents ages 18-34 say they've done so, while only 7 percent of those 55 and older say they have.

The survey involved 1,024 randomly selected adults last month.

STIFLED SOCIALIZING: Is work trifling with your social life? In Japan, nearly 80 percent of young workers say they would skip a date if asked to stay and do overtime, according to a survey.

The Japan Productivity Center for Socio-Economic Development and the Junior Executive Council of Japan polled about 3,700 workers fresh out of college or high school.

Of those who responded to the survey, 78.5 percent said that if they were asked to work overtime when they had a date after work, they would cancel the date. The figure was the highest since the annual survey began in 1972.

The survey also found that women were more likely than men to choose the overtime, rather than the date. Nearly 85 percent of the women polled chose overtime, compared with 75 percent of men.

The results reflect a heightened concern among Japanese over job security amid this country's prolonged economic slowdown. Unemployment rates are at record highs of about 5 percent and downsizing at major corporations is widespread.

In 1991, when Japan's economy was much more robust, only 62 percent of workers said they would work overtime if it meant canceling a date.

DISPIRITED DOCTORS: Physicians are not a pleased bunch these days, according to a survey of new doctors. Nearly a quarter of them, 24 percent, said they would choose another field if they could begin their careers anew.

Two years ago, only 5 percent of doctors said the same, according to the poll by a Dallas-based physician search and consulting firm, Merritt, Hawkins & Associates.

More than 60 percent said malpractice concerns were clouding their careers, up from 15 percent in the 2001 poll. Also, that same percentage said the issue of coping with managed care and other insurers had become troublesome to them, up from 25 percent in the previous survey.

The irony, however, remains a truly solid job market for new doctors, noted Joseph Hawkins, the firm's CEO. Almost 70 percent of residents said they had received 51 or more job offers, and more than 40 percent said they had fielded more than 100.

The survey was completed by 350 physicians.

Editors: Chisaki Watanabe in Tokyo contributed to this report.

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