Being Busy as a Status Symbol: Why American Culture Values a Lack of Leisure Time and What We Can Do About it

November 10, 2014 9:56 PM

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One of the most startling discoveries since my move to New York City a few months ago is the standard response to the question, "How are you?" Whereas in the U.K., the standard response is "Good, how are you?", a common response in NYC is "Busy!"

Here, I suggest that while being busy can signal higher value to others in the specific American context, widespread busyness in today's society can be dangerous. Rather by understanding the underlying mechanisms, we can exert agency to still be perceived as high-status -- without the potentially de...

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