Thanks for your reply. I will try my phone for and extended period without security and with a more generic pass phrase. If all goes well with the generic pass phrase then I will just use a less cryptic one and deal with the short term whining when all of the wireless devices in the house need to have their pass phrase changed.
just for my curiosity, is your work's network certificate based or is it key (WPA2) based? if it's WPA2 based, hopefully it will have some special characters in it that you could use as a reference point for "valid" ASCII characters.
if it doesn't have any, then it reinforces the idea of the need for a "generic key", but i wouldn't bet on this being the case necessarily..