The surprising – and dangerous – new status symbol

The surprising – and dangerous – new status symbol

Do you find yourself feeling a little anxious about being slammed with work and swamped by life’s duties?

If your answer is “yes,” hold your head high. You may have more social capital than you think.

According to a recent study, complaining about being overworked has become the new status symbol. In fact, grouching that there aren’t enough hours in the day is today’s low-key way of saying “I’m more relevant than you.”

After reviewing 1,100 Twitter and other social media accounts, a Columbia Business School research team concluded that Americans see relentless work in a more favorable light than having lots of free time for play. In other words, by today’s standards, you’re likely to score more cool points catching up on work over the weekend than you would spending weekday afternoons on the golf course.

“In the past, living a leisurely life and not working was the most powerful way to signal one’s status,” says the study’s lead author, Silvia Bellezza., in a press release. But today, “People’s social-mobility beliefs are psychologically driven by the perception that busy individuals possess desirable characteristics.”

In spite of this, it’s important to keep in mind that climbing the social ladder by today’s standards could come at a cost. Enduring long periods of stress can cause a variety of health issues, which range from hair loss and upset stomach to stroke and heart attack, says Raphael Parayao, a registered nurse and an assistant clinical manager in Advocate Trinity Hospital’s busy Emergency Department.

Parayao offers the following advice to anyone who subscribes to an all-work-and-no-play lifestyle as a means for getting ahead in life:

  • Work smarter, not harder: Being busy doesn’t always mean you’re effective. Find ways to delegate and collaborate with others to lighten your load.
  • Don’t believe the hype: People often leave out mundane details, downplay the help they received or exaggerate the ease and speed of their accomplishments when posting online. Find inspiration from social media, but know you’re seeing a small portion of the larger picture.
  • Know your worth: Measuring yourself against others is the easiest way to become overwhelmed. Someone will always have more or be better at something. Set personal goals and priorities to determine success.

“Life can be stressful enough without adding the additional pressures of keeping up with celebrities and the people you follow on social media,” Parayao says.

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One Comment

  1. “Life can be stressful enough without adding the additional pressures of keeping up with celebrities and the people you follow on social media,” OR ANYONE (neighbors, co-workers, siblings, etc) Life should be a personal journey not a life long competition.

About the Author

Cassie Richardson
Cassie Richardson

Cassie Richardson, health enews contributor, is regional coordinator on Advocate Aurora Health's Public Affairs team. She has more than 10 years of experience in health care communications, marketing, media and public relations. Cassie is a fan of musical theater and movies. When she’s not spreading the word about health and wellness advancements, she enjoys writing fiction.