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It was thought at its start that the recession might recenter people on friends and family instead of status. But sociologists say the fear of loss and failure has just made the drive for status more intense. Being on call 24/7 now isn't a lifestyle choice; it's a survival strategy. Interestingly, the younger workers in Schieman's ongoing Canadian study report being considerably less stressed than their middle-aged and older colleagues. Having been habituated to today's all-demanding professional culture and having no memories of a time when work generally stayed at the office, they're desensitized, Schieman believes. "In the future, a lot of this actually may just be a normative part of everyday life, so it'll be less stressful, less disruptive and less problematic," he says.
Warner is a columnist for TIME Ideas and the author of Perfect Madness: Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety