Is Busy the New Vacation?

Envious of friends with a leisurely lifestyle? That’s so 2016. According to a new study, Americans increasingly perceive busy and overworked people as having a high status. This seems to be true only for highly educated and highly paid workers; the same cannot be said for less skilled employees or for people busy with home-related activities. The researchers point out that busy people are unavailable, and therefore in demand. Just as with scarce products – a limited edition luxury accessory, for example – scarce people are valuable. People who work long hours are also seen as possessing positive qualities, such as competence and ambition. All of that said, overworking can lead to burnout, especially for working mothers who also tend to bear the majority of home duties. Additionally, there’s plenty of research proving that working long hours can negatively impact health, causing impaired sleep, depression, even heart disease. So, while busyness may carry caché in our current society, you may be better off working toward a different type of status symbol: good health.

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