In his 2001 book The Future of Success, Robert Reich devotes most of a chapter to reasons why work is taking over our lives. If our financial fortunes have declined, we may have to choose between working longer hours and reducing our standard of living. Or, if we are prized, highly paid workers, the financial rewards for working more are higher than they ever been. In the meantime, for all workers, the sense of certainty about future income is less than it was a generation ago. If you have a job now, you might not have one at the end of the year. Or, if you have highly marketable skills, those skills might fade or become less important or less distinctive in just a few years. You have to make money while you can. Even if you are making plenty of money, you might have to maintain a fast pace of work just to keep your career on the fast track or keep up with your field.
At the same time, communication devices and channels make it easy for work to spill out of its usual place and time slot. Phone calls and e-mail go with you, if you choose, and you might very well choose to stay connected in order to not miss a chance to do some work, knowing how uncertain the future is.