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Overworking Or Travel Employment: The New American 'Status Symbols'

Travelers Today       By    JC Santos

Updated: Feb 25, 2017 02:05 AM EST

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status symbol, working, employment, leisure, travel, Luxury, status symbols, underworking

Doing overtime is just another part of any Generation X or Millennial's workday--it's become a norm to work on projects and revisions post-shift. On the other hand, there are workers who boast of their freedom to travel the world and work their own hours through freelance and remote work in virtual offices. These two are America's new "status symbols" for the new generation of Yuppies.

According to Forbes -- citing the observation of Harvard Business School Associate Professor For Marketing Anat Keinan --the longer working hours, the loss of free time and "busyness" is now recognized as a status symbol. Keinan's research also coined the term "humblebrags" where social media has become a tool for ego boosts.

To update one's social media profile with posts such as "I have been working non-stop all week" posits that free time for this individual is rare -- and such is because they are busy, productive and employed. Keinan's experiment gathered 300 participants and had them place the wealth and importance of their fictional character Sally Fisher who made the claim.

The experiment yielded that people viewed the fictional Sally Fisher as a person with a "higher social status" and "greater socioeconomic wealth" given her "busy" impression to the audience. Another model used a leisurely status update that only said "enjoying a long lunch break" but failed to garner the same appeal.

On the other end of the spectrum, the freedom to work anytime and travel anywhere is another status symbol -- but to a less work-desensitized crowd. While overworking is seen as a status symbol of a good, productive life with all the toxicity it has to offer, Entrepreneur reports that 35 percent of the US workforce are all freelancers and most of them came from the same overworked and tiring environment that positioned one as a well-to-do in life -- one example being the man who had the best job in the world as an "island keeper."

The freelancer market is improving, thanks to established companies using freelancers as quick solutions for certain problems that would not require a long-term hire. The charm of working in one's own hours is self-explanatory as to considering it a status symbol; time is more valuable than money and to earn more money in a short span of time is in itself a luxury.

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