Changing Attitudes

[The proposals of Carlos Slim and others to work fewer hours and to maximise leisure] are lovely utopian ideas, but they also seem quaintly out of place in an age where work has expanded, like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, to invade every hour of waking life.

Elizabeth Renzetti of the Globe & Mail sits on the fence somewhat, but nails the fact that we need to change our societal attitude towards work.

It’s fine to talk about taking more vacation or working fewer hours, but attitudes would need to be adjusted alongside punch clocks. As the Washington Post reporter Brigid Schulte writes in her enlightening new book Overwhelmed, we have become addicted to busyness. Psychologists, she writes, talk of “treating burned-out clients who can’t shake the notion that the busier you are, the more you are thought of as competent, smart, successful, admired and even envied.” To be on the brink of collapse, perversely, is the height of success.

Seeming busy is not important and it’s about time we all understood that. We need to develop the idea that the person with the most idle time–not the person most harried–is the winner.

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About

Robert Wringham is a humorist and the editor-in-chief of New Escapologist.

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