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Millenials are workaholics, research suggests. They are more likely to give up paid leave, and to see themselves as “work martyrs”, than previous generations, and the research seems to stand up to removing the variable of age from the equation. But why?
The HBR blog reporting on this latest piece of research ties the trend to an increase in narcissism, in a belief that one is an important person, as well as increased economic vulnerability: higher levels of personal debt, unforgiving housing markets, etc. So, it’s a combination both of a sense of self-importance and a fear of irrelevance? I guess millenials have got a lot of issues to work through…
I don’t really think of myself as a millenial, but technically I am (1981 feels like a really early start-date, demographers!). So I thought I would write something about loving work, and how we learn to love it.
|‘How it Works’, #385 from the brilliant XKCD.com|
Society does seem obsessed with them, when we stop to think about it. If this title caught your eye, then consider yourself part of society, and ask yourself why while reading this excellent article over at The F-Word, which I wholeheartedly recommend to everyone. Bold and wonderfully open, it can’t help but be a little troubling as well, particularly this paragraph, which I present to you now, teaser-style (somewhat ironically, given that it’s about breasts…):
Nowadays things are much better. I’ve got better at dressing to make my breasts look smaller (not that I should have to, although I would choose to anyway), and looking older means that I get less unwanted attention (not that I should have received unwanted attention when I was younger either, and not that I am exactly geriatric at 25). I no longer feel like a sex object every waking moment. I no longer hate my breasts and I no longer feel that they’re unwanted appendages. I would definitely like them to be smaller and I won’t pretend otherwise, but they feel like part of me, rather than the disembodied udders that they used to feel like. I’m still not happy though. Why should I ever have felt that way? Why should I have had to have struggled so hard to be respected and taken seriously?
My Spanish class, in the interest of tracing Spanish modernity into the now (or close enough), watched Todo sobre mi madre. If you haven’t seen it, it’s a wonderful film, and I love Almodóvar. But that is not where I’m going with this (although maybe I will make a post later about such things!)
Instead, we had the following interesting exchange in class:
Girl: But, I don’t understand how he could have gotten the nun pregnant while dressed as a woman.
Professor: (after a classroom-wide pause) Well, how one’s dressed is probably the least important thing when one’s having sex.
Now, I think it’s probable that, as we were talking in Spanish, she simply lacked the words to say what she actually wanted to say. On the other hand, such a literalist interpretation of performativity is certainly something I’ve never thought of before (at least as-relates to the actual physical world, rather than to fictional narratives).
(And I asked the professor later; apparently there is no word for ‘performativity’ in Spanish that isn’t considered a barbarous Anglicism, and he was criticised for trying to create one in an article he wrote. Languages are definitely tricky but fascinating.)
This semester I have perhaps the most interesting Spanish class I’ve yet taken: an investigation of the history of modernity in Spain. It crosses some departmental borders—Romance languages (obviously), history, literature, and sociology—so I sometimes feel out of my depth, but the class is riveting and strikes chords with both life and my own academic work.*
In particular, today the border of public/private existence was the topic of conversation. How do we interact with strangers when forced into close proximity with them, i.e. on public transport? Are we allowed to look at them? Are we allowed to talk to them? How do we interact with them?
Personally, I’m extremely reserved in most public situations, on public transport, in the street, etc. The tacit rules of ‘don’t look, don’t touch, don’t speak’ should be firmly upheld. I’m instantly suspicious of people who wish to talk, deeply annoyed by people who seem unaware of their own personal space of mine, and, I suppose, mildly annoyed/embarrassed by people who wish to watch me. Even though they are public spaces, I feel that they are private ones too. I’m not sure entirely how that works, but the existence of the tacit rules mentioned suggests that there is a general consensus that this is the case. It’s an interesting conflict/dichotomy that, if I had more time, I’d probably like to research.
Sadly, living in the modern world also means that there just aren’t enough hours in the day for me to do that…
* A focus of the class, naturally, is religion in/versus modernity, and el amor profano/sagrado—somehow, in English, ‘sacred/profane love’, feels like it has a different meaning—although it didn’t immediately strike me at first, seems to suggest so many fruitful links (many of which I’ll probably never have scope to explore) with my thesis work on Guinevere, adulteress-cum-nun, and chivalric love that borders on/transgresses the border into adulterous love.