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This New Work Trend Might Make Your Coworkers Dislike You, Reveals Study


If you are a working professional in today’s time, many people around you, both fellow employees and even friends and family tend to talk about how their jobs are so taxing and keep them so busy.

While some of it is just general thoughts, like how monotonous jobs can get, barely having time to themselves, and how bosses/managers don’t care for their subordinates, we’ve seen more than enough funny memes and Instagram/YouTube videos poking fun at those instances, some cannot seem to stop talking about how ‘busy’ their job keeps them.

This is actually being seen as a new work trend, called ‘stress bragging’ or ‘busy bragging’ where some people will almost boast about how busy they are, even if they are not in reality, in order to seem more professional and determined to others.

However, a recent study has revealed that doing so could actually impact how other colleagues see you and make you less likable.

Why Is ‘Stress Bragging’ Bad?

A recent 2024 study published in the Personnel Psychology journal has taken a look at the concept of ‘stress bragging’ or ‘busy bragging’. In the study, they observed through two methods, a lab experiment and a multi-source field study, 360 participants evaluate statements from imaginary colleagues returning from a conference.

Among the statements, some employees expressed joy and other emotions, while the busy bragger was complaining about how the conference was increasing workload and giving them stress.

According to a New York Post report, one statement of a busy bragger was “I was already stressed to the max … you have no idea the stress that I am under” and results showed that many participants did not like this attitude, terming them as less likable and competent compared to their colleagues who had a more positive outlook.

The study found that “stress bragging has resoundingly negative implications for the baggarts.”

The study stated, “Busy braggers seem to be more driven by recognition and rewards rather than the satisfaction of getting work done.” 

The study explained that people who busy brag “are evaluated as less competent and less warm by coworkers, reducing their receipt of citizenship behaviors.”

In the second study, the researchers found “that coworkers of stress braggarts also suffer by experiencing higher levels of burnout due to enhanced stress crossover effects.”


Read More: These Are Reasons Why Employees Stay At A Company, Salary Is Not One Of Them

Jessica Rodell, the study’s lead author and a professor of management at the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business further commented how “This is a behavior we’ve all seen, and we all might be guilty of at some point,” and that while people might be doing it as a way to show their worth, it instead has the opposite effect.

She said “When I was wondering about why people do this, I thought maybe we are talking about our stress because we want to prove we’re good enough. We found out that often backfires.”

Rodell also said “People are harming themselves by doing this thing they think is going to make them look better to their colleagues,” because the study also found that employees are less moved to help people who are constantly busy brag.

Rodell and her team also asked 218 actual workers about these busy braggers and how was it working with them in real life. They found that such behaviour, of bragging about one’s stress, can be contagious and can lead to issues like anxiety, worry, and burnout among other people.

According to Rodell, a person’s busy bragging can almost give the message that it’s a “good thing to be stressed,” potentially infecting the “co-worker next to them” and that “They end up feeling more stressed, which leads to higher burnout or withdrawal from their work. Think of it as this spiraling contagious effect from one person to the next.”

A few signs of one being a busy bragger and not actually busy are:

  • Getting a full 8 hours of sleep
  • Worktime is less than 47 hours a week
  • Email productivity, like getting or sending emails, is low compared to other employees
  • Spending regular time socialising with friends and family
  • Regularly use your breaks or vacation time
  • Are able to binge shows easily

It is important to note that this negative perception does not extend to those who are genuinely stressed. Rodell stated “It’s not the being stressed part that’s a problem,” adding “If you genuinely feel stressed, it’s OK to find the right confidant to share with and talk about it. But be mindful that it is not a badge of honour to be bragged about—that will backfire.”


Image Credits: Google Images

Feature image designed by Saudamini Seth

Sources: Moneycontrol, Fortune, Forbes 

Find the blogger: @chirali_08

This post is tagged under: busy bragging work, working busy, busy bragging meaning, busy bragging study, work, workplace, employees, career trend, new career trend, busy bragging trend, toxic, toxic work, toxic work trait, Work Trend

Disclaimer: We do not hold any right, or copyright over any of the images used, these have been taken from Google. In case of credits or removal, the owner may kindly mail us.


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