When Anthony Weiner's bizarre Twitter, Facebook, and texting habits became public, where did he and his wife turn for comfort? Not to each other, not to religion, not to their friends—but to work.
A new, much-discussed article from the upcoming issue of the New York Times Magazine describes Weiner and Abedin's so-called "post-scandal playbook." They both have high-powered careers—Weiner as a politician, Abedin as an aide to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton—and it's clear that for both of them, their careers were an essential part of feeling normal again after Weiner confessed to sending intimate photos and messages to women he met online. But treating work as a respite from their rocky personal lives had mixed results for the couple.
It worked out well for Abedin. She discusses how, two days after the press conference where her husband came clean, she left for a two-week-long work trip to Africa:
"My compass was my job," she says. "It was where I could go and life was normal—nothing horrible had happened there."
Abedin's view of work as a sanctuary from the turmoil of home life is a common one. In her landmark 1997 book The Time Bind, University of California Berkeley professor Arlie Russell Hochschild explored why workers were spending more and more time at the office: between the '70s and the '90s, she reported, the average worker had lengthened his or her work schedule by 164 hours each month, and spent 14 percent less time on vacation. For white-collar workers the motivation to work more, she found, was not fear of getting fired or even the desire to make more money. Rather, it was that work was a more pleasant environment than home.