Layoffs and other job changes associated with the economic downturn have caused workers to question career-related sacrifices, including time away from family, less leisure, time and fewer self-improvement activities.

In a survey of more than 1,100 full-time workers by the Florida State University College of Business, respondents said experiencing the recession:

  • Increased their appreciation of family (48%)
  • Promoted thoughts that work isn't as important as it once was in the grand scheme of things (37%)
  • Helped them recognize the value of people over things (49%)
  • Increased their awareness of an overcommitment to work at the expense of family and recreation (27%)
  • Confirmed that most of what happens at work is out of one's control regardless of commitment and effort (42%)
  • Increased their motivation to be a better person rather than just a better employee (43%)

The survey also found more than 70% of employees acknowledged that most days at work "seem like they will never end."

Researchers cast the findings in a positive light. The fact that many employees spent time evaluating the importance of nonwork factors may be the first step in reducing the stress associated with imbalanced lives, they said.