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More Workers Should Be Training to Move On, Get a Raise or Promotion

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- American workers should be antsy again (and with good reason), but they're not.

First up, last week's jobs report showed only minuscule gains in jobs in December.

The data also showed that hundreds of thousands of people looking for work have given up and stopped looking for a job (and are no longer counted as "unemployed" by the U.S. government dysfunctional workforce calculations).

Consequently, you'd expect U.S. workers to leverage 2014, up their game and make themselves more indispensable than ever on the workplace.

To some extent, they're doing that -- but not in the numbers you might expect.

A survey from shows that 32% of U.S. employees are putting pay raises at the top of their career checklists lists for the year. Another 22% say their biggest priority for the year is to find a new job, and 20% say they plan on using the maximum number of vacation and personal days allowable from their jobs.

At least some staffers mean to earn any pay upgrade, Glassdoor reports. Twenty percent of workers say they want to work on building more leadership skills that could launch them up the career ladder (but 80% of workers are content with the status quo and won't be working on any new management skills).

Despite last week's lousy employment figures (the survey was taken well before the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers came out Thursday), Glassdoor says employees have a remarkably sunny outlook on their career prospects, but it's an outlook highly dependent on a healthy job market.

"Employees are beginning to feel more surefooted in the economy and the job market, and in turn are hopeful and more confident about their chances of seeing their compensation rise," says Rusty Rueff, a Glassdoor career expert. "They are also feeling less fearful and are looking forward to taking a breather and taking time out to go on vacation."

"If economic and business news continue to show signs of furthering stability, we will undoubtedly begin to see greater employee confidence, which will in turn catalyze more movement within the employment pool," he adds.

One clue for that sunny outlook comes direct from the Glassdoor study. Americans may have doubt about the general economy, but they seem to have greater confidence in the financial health of their own companies.

According to Glassdoor, 42% of U.S. workers expect their company's financial fortunes to improve and 40% expect their company's prospects to stay the same. And only 15% of staffers are "concerned" about losing their jobs.

Maybe American workers are whistling past the graveyard or maybe they're really ahead of the curve and see the economy really improving, despite the sputtering jobs market.

Either way, the workforce has ditched the umbrella and is donning sunglasses -- and good for them. It's a glass-half full outlook, and one workers might really need if any more bleak jobs reports show up in the months ahead.

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