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Is your busy colleague more important?

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Being busy can be stressful, and being stressed can cause all sorts of problems like depleted cognitive skills, and people wanting to leave their job. What a busy schedule can also do, however, is increase your status in society, research has found.

According to a study of US-based respondents, Americans are increasingly seeing a lack of free time as a symbol of prestige. Among other things, the study examined social media posts from celebrities, actors and athletes, and asked a sample of people how they saw the people behind the posts.

It found that people who’s posts suggested they were constantly busy were viewed as more in demand. Additionally, it found that respondents were very likely to interpret “busyness” as a positive signal of status. Therefore, people who appear to be busy and in demand are given a higher status.

The study suggests the positive connotation attached to being busy does not only impact the way people view others, it is also leading people to try and increase their own status by constantly sharing how many things they have to do.

Referring to the study, Kari Paul at MarketWatch concludes that some of your loudest, busiest co-workers may be deploying this exact tactic at work. Knowing that “busyness” could make them seem more important, people tell any colleague willing to listen how little free time they have, in the hopes of gaining some status.

ALSO READ: 2017’s most and least stressful jobs

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