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Why are millenials workaholics?

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.

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Nadal v Federer!

Sticking with my tennis theme, I’m so very excited about the Nadal victory (sorry, I spoilt it, but if you didn’t watch it, that’s rather your own fault!). This is the third time Nadal has trounced Federer in a final, and it’s wonderful to see that the worm has turned. I can’t help finding Federer a little overly arrogant, so hopefully the three losses (barring him from his 14th Grand Slam win) will cause an attitude-shift. On the other hand, Nadal’s joy when he wins a match (Wimbledon’s final is still fondly in mind) is heart-warming.

7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (3), 3-6, 6-2.

I’m not sure whether or not Nadal prefers to play his matches so long, but they’re certainly much more exciting than Federer’s previous slam-dunks, and Nadal seems to recover very quickly (his semi-final was yesterday and of the same length).

I’m very happy. BBC write-up is here. Happy Nadal day!

P.S. Elmundo also has a celebratory write-up (I seem to remember that during Wimbledon, Nadal had a blog with Elmundo, and he was very interested in the footie, rather than the tennis!), and Elpais has quite a nice photo of Nadal and Federer! It’s a real heartwarming show of sportsmanship.

You didn’t think I wouldn’t have something to say…

… about this, did you?

It’s being talked about all over the place (NYT, for example), and I’m sure you’ve all seen it already, but if you haven’t, it’s Dating a Banker Anonymous. My first two thoughts when a friend pointed me towards it?

Bonfire of the Vanities (Tom Wolfe, very amusing) and the fair-weather wife, and The Razor’s Edge (Maugham, much adored) and, well, the not-so-fair-weather, but certainly bitchy wife. And that about sums up the DABA blog. I think that some of it’s in jest (we live in hope, don’t we?), but other posts obviously aren’t. A particularly hilarious quote?

I’ve seen some negative responses to your blog and I think they’re all transparent douche-bags.

The irony should be obvious when it comes from a blog written for and by women more interested in bottle service and Manolos than anything else.

My mother’s response was the best of all, I think:

Oh my God…just imagine what it must be like to be sooooo vacuous!!  We can only dream of such emptiness – thank God!  I did a book proposal review for [a university press] last week and took payment in Feminist texts instead of money.

There are some things in life that money can’t buy. The hilarity of the DABA blog and the responses from actual grown-up women are some of those things!

Yet still, one has to ask: What is the world coming to???

Right to self-determination

Liz Carr has written an ‘open letter‘ to Noel Martin, a neo-Nazi attack victim, regarding his decision to commit assisted suicide following being paralysed by his attackers.

In the past month or so, thanks to the US election, abortion and gay rights have come to the fore of public consciousness, and frankly, this is yet another instance of people’s attack on a right to govern one’s self.

Carr tries to tell Mr Martin several things:

1) that he has wonderful memories of life before his attack/before his wife died (of cancer a few years after his being attacked), which should sustain him

2) that he is now an inspiring figure in the fight against neo-Nazism

3) that there are plenty of places where disabled people can visit beaches and see the world

4) that he has been erroneously convinced by the media that as a disabled person, he is a second-class citizen and should want to die.

I find these points rather insulting and insensitive coming from anyone, even another disabled person. (Carr’s disability is the result of an illness at age 7, not a brutal attack as an adult, so immediately she is in a different situation to Martin.) She essentially tells the man that he hasn’t been making enough of his life; that he should live his life to be an inspiration to others; that he has foolishly allowed himself to be convinced by the media that he should want to die.

She met Martin for half an hour, and this is her basis for writing such a patronising and public response to his choice. It is a choice, he has a right to it, and she is not respecting it. Instead, she seems to be trying to force Martin to approach his disability in the same way that she has, the way that she declares is the right way.

She makes a very interesting claim that shows a total lack of compassion towards Martin:

“Until the day when good quality health and social care are universally available regardless of age, impairment, race, gender or location, I believe there is no place for legalised assisted suicide.”

This seems to say that Martin must continue living as he does—and he wouldn’t have made this choice if he wasn’t convinced this was not a way worth living—to put pressure on the government and society to repair all inequality.

Carr should respect this man’s choice. Although Martin will be making a trip to Switzerland to end his life, I fully support a (regulated and overseen) legalised euthanasia system in the UK. Carr’s behaviour shows that these rights are opposed not simply by people ignorant of the situation terminally ill and crippled people live in. Frankly, Carr is opposing ill and disabled people’s rights just as much as people who discriminate against them. Martin deserves the right to take control of his own life and body, and no one, particularly not Carr, should not be able to stand in his way.

Philosophy on film

That is essentially how I would characterise this film, Zeitgeist Addendum (click to watch it free on Google; 2 hours long). I would like to sit down and really pick it apart, as I might a written text, but film criticism is not my usual genre, and I’m still mulling it over.

Watching it is slightly uncanny (in the Freudian sense). Much of the information is very familiar, but it is put together and presented in a way that makes it feel very different.

I really wonder if the “banking failures [we] are seeing are just the beginning,” however. I think that the system will rescue itself. The actions that the film suggests are… well, they are all well and good, but they are also unlikely to take place and unmanageable at any rate.

I support the “use and protect the internet” suggestion, of course. I still don’t think the blogosphere has stolen power from the ‘system’, though. McCain and Obama’s campaigning on YouTube pretty much exemplifies how the ‘open-source’ sentiment of user controlled content can still be incorporated into the system.