Going Back to Work Is Not as Bad as It Used to Be
I’m home after five months away, and it’s the first day back in my office. Before 2000, I would have viewed this day with great trepidation — piles of mail, numerous requests to do things for other people (referee papers, write promotion letters, etc.), and the possible heartbreaking rejection of a paper of mine by a journal (or the delightful event of an acceptance).
I would have raced into the office last night to check the mail. Today, no trepidation, no worries, no racing, and I’ve gone through the entire pile in one hour flat.
Technological changes have reduced my job stress because everything is electronic — all the requests, rejections, acceptances, etc. The only (non-virtual) mail is junk or journals (which are often not that different).
While higher income — a higher value of time — leads to more stress (see Hamermesh and Lee, 2007), and while improved technology raises our incomes, here is a case where technology has clearly reduced stress.