LAYOFF SURVEY: The job cuts that many big companies announced at the end of 1998 sent many highly-paid executives searching for work, reports Challenger, Gray & Christmas, an employment consulting firm. Challenger Gray found in a survey that the median salary of managers and executives before they were laid off during the fourth quarter was $92,000, up 18 percent from the median $78,000 earned by executives dismissed during the third quarter. The survey also found it's taking longer for managers to find new jobs than it took several months ago.

___

CUSTOMER SERVICE: A Web site set up to record customer complaints and kudos found consumers believe the service they receive from many businesses, institutions and government offices keeps getting worse. The site, created by Service Intelligence, a consulting firm, found the most complaints about workers in the medical field, retailing, airlines and the government. The best service was reported at hotels, followed by restaurants. Service Intelligence said 445 people responded to the online survey, with 46 reporting overall service in this country is getting worse. Thirty-six percent believe it's the same, and 18 percent see an improvement.

___

JUGGLING ACT: Parents find it hard to balance work and family, but many believe that having children makes them better employees. A survey of 1,002 adults commissioned by Lutheran Brotherhood, a financial services concern, found 52 percent of employed parents believe they're more productive because they have children. The survey conducted by Yankelovich Partners found only 11 percent say parenthood made them less productive. Gwen Kuhrt, the human resources manager for Lutheran Brotherhood, says the increase in productivity may be because, ``some parents may try to work more efficiently so that they have more time to spend with their kids.''

___

TRAVEL TAKES ITS TOLL: If you're frazzled from traveling for your job, you have plenty of company in your misery. Management consultants Runzheimer International reported that a survey of business travelers found many are stressed out and suffering from fatigue, loss of humor, aching arms and legs, paranoia, memory loss, hyperactivity and crying. Most of the stressed travelers point the finger of blame at airlines because of lost luggage, long lines and not enough air conditioning on flights.

___

End adv for use anytime