When I met a friend recently, I asked him how work was. “Oh, just coasting,” he said. He’s not alone. According to a recent poll, one-third of the 3,000 people surveyed said they were “coasting” at work. This may come as a surprise in an age when so many people spend so much time complaining about how busy they are. But most of this talk about busyness is balderdash. According to a study by researchers at Oxford University, we do not, in fact, spend more time working than we have in the past. On some measures, the amount we work has gone down. Instead, many people just have jobs filled with tasks that don’t really need to be done.
The way we look at coasting has radically changed. In the past, being relaxed and not burdened with too much work was a sign of status. Now, being extremely busy shows you are important. If you are not insanely overburdened, then you are seen as a slacker.