Do you feel like your life is an endless to-do list?
September 23, 2020 12:27 PM   Subscribe

 
No joke: Reading the Inescapable Hellhole that is Work article, while "taking a break" from a giant document I'm working on, while tuning in and out of a conference call with 15 other people on it, while my IM is pinging off the hook with 2 different group conversions about various projects/fires, while my inbox gets approximately one email per 3 minutes. I don't know if other people's work day looks like this but truly struggling to figure out how to live this way
posted by windbox at 12:55 PM on September 23, 2020 [26 favorites]


The Inescapable Hellhole that is Work article made me tired and anxious just reading it. Like a horror story.
posted by The_Vegetables at 1:09 PM on September 23, 2020 [7 favorites]


Add in kittens who think that cannon-balling into and knocking over all the water bowls in the house so they can turn the living room into their personal Slip 'n Slide, and precariously organizing extra-work stuff that's actually very important to me but I don't have the time or energy to properly manage what with the ongoing economic freefall and Coronapocalypse, and It Me™.

Oh, and a large chunk of my work now consists of texting and calling people to let them know how much money they owe even though, yes, I am aware their business is failing. While maintaining a professional detachment that doesn't allow me to outright tell them to stop waiting for another stimulus or any aid at all.

I am losing my mind. This was bad before. Now it's significantly worse but we're all just expected to keep powering through the end of the fucking world.
posted by Lonnrot at 1:11 PM on September 23, 2020 [14 favorites]


Also: I just spent half an hour on hold to talk to someone else who's burning out for three minutes so I can confirm how much money the person I am about to talk to owes, and hooray! That amount has gone up!

Also: I still see weak pronouncements from older people that my generation and/or Zoomers will save the planet from runaway climate catastrophe even though everyone I know is bogged down doing utter nonsense that does not matter in order to survive and none of us have any institutional power.

Also: I spend a good half of my days spaced out in horror lately because, seriously, none of this matters, it is all artificial problems created to deliberately weaken society so that none of us have the energy or resources to build a world that is sane and not fundamentally omnicidal.

Also: Sorry. Needed to get that out. Much love. Ironic detachment resuming in 3... 2...
posted by Lonnrot at 1:24 PM on September 23, 2020 [49 favorites]


What these technologies do best is remind us of what we’re not doing: who’s hanging out without us, who’s working more than us, what news we’re not reading.

The negative emotions associated with social media really make me want to throw my phone in a lake. It's like my mother nagging in my ear all day - how come you didn't get the promotion? Why aren't you making more friends? Where's your new home? Why aren't you more active in your community/politics/work/whatever?

I am very fortunate that (pandemic excepted) there has never been an expectation on me to bring my work home. The nature of the work means that any cloud services or apps that can't be completely controlled by the company are out - no Slack, no Google Drive, no constant nagging. I was even given the choice of a desktop computer when I was hired! I picked the laptop because I knew I would be traveling, but otherwise it lives in a dock in my office. I declined a work phone and it was not held against me.

The presentism is still there, though. Our deadlines are often vague or so far in the future that I can sit here typing out this comment instead of doing real work, but I'm still reflexively reaching over to swipe the touchpad on my computer so Skype doesn't show me as "away." I open and close documents thinking I'll be visited by divine inspiration before being distracted by something else. I end the day feeling like my brain has melted and then beat myself up because I don't have the mental energy to practice an instrument or go to (now virtual) rehearsal or work on art or catch up with people or or or... It's never ending.
posted by backseatpilot at 1:26 PM on September 23, 2020 [4 favorites]


Wow, people really hate their jobs.
posted by Chickenring at 1:37 PM on September 23, 2020 [8 favorites]


I love my jobs, when my industry isn't entirely shut down.
posted by nevercalm at 1:38 PM on September 23, 2020 [4 favorites]


Replace "jobs" with "lives" and you're even closer
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 1:39 PM on September 23, 2020 [22 favorites]


Pretty much the only thing I like about my job at the moment is that my employer doesn't track what I do, here or at home, and I never have to bring it home with me. That should be the case for everyone, but too many people hate unions more than they value their personal freedom and dignity.

This probably isn't an option for everyone, but my friend's daughter figured out that whatever tracking software her company was using to monitor how often she used her computer while working from home could be fooled by hooking a rigid wire up to her mouse, attaching it to a ceiling fan and then running the fan at the slowest setting, like Homer Simpson with the drinking bird.
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:41 PM on September 23, 2020 [49 favorites]


I spend a good half of my days spaced out in horror lately because, seriously, none of this matters, it is all artificial problems created to deliberately weaken society so that none of us have the energy or resources to build a world that is sane and not fundamentally omnicidal.


Work in a hospital providing direct client care and the amount of energy spent on administrative tasks, jumping through arbitrary hoops, finally getting proficient jumping through said hoops only to have it all change with administration insisting it MUST BE CHANGED TODAY (so someone above can look like they're getting something done in order to justify their superfluous position) and having to learn that new system etc etc etc . . . Its all just to us all with our hair on fire, barely keeping up, so that we are too depleted to unionize, push back or demand increases in patient care, etc. Its all garbage.
posted by flamk at 1:45 PM on September 23, 2020 [16 favorites]


Who knew that working in a library was so similar to working in a hospital?
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:48 PM on September 23, 2020 [6 favorites]


Some things that popped out to me were that a lot of our lives in general have a dichotomy in basic things. 99% of things you do don't require a checkbook? Done. Going to a DMV requires a checkbook or cash? And you don't know how long it'll take? Our digital lifestyles make things incredibly convenient if they're under the same paradigm. Apartment insurance with Lemonade? 5 minutes and a credit card. It might seem incongruous to other generations and even seem like we're depedent on our lifestyle but it is like I bought a new device for cooking and the first instruction is "Place copper kettle in open fireplace" and I'm left standing in my kitchen looking around for an open fireplace. It isn't that as a generation we're lazy, saying a generation is lazy tells me more about the author of the comment then an entire generation of people.

One thing I don't think that is touched on is marketing ourselves. By virtue of LinkedIn and having a digital presence has made finding a job harder, any gaps or inconsistencies become magnified. God forbid you have anything on your resume that prevents you from passing a background check. I am finding it increasingly common in anything government related to required an "FBI blue card" which is fine if you didn't have a bench warrant out for your arrest because you had a parking ticket you didn't pay. This isn't new but records 20+ years ago on things in small towns or even large towns weren't easily pulled. Now 20+ years ago is firmly in modern databases with backups.
posted by geoff. at 2:00 PM on September 23, 2020 [7 favorites]


The negative emotions associated with social media really make me want to throw my phone in a lake. It's like my mother nagging in my ear all day

I stepped back from Facebook recently, and have been surprised by how peaceful and restful it’s been to not be looking at it. I haven’t totally deleted my account, because I do have some friends & family I can’t really keep up with any other way. But I did delete the app and FB Messenger, and I check in maybe once a week, and I realize just how much noise there is. Hot takes, bickering, stupid jokes, all demanding attention. It’s exhausting.

For the same reason, I unfollowed most political commentators on Twitter. All of the hot takes and “Don’t get distracted by X! The real issue is Y!”, all demanding attention.

I can’t say as how I’ve been shockingly productive with the reclaimed time. I read more fiction, I stream more TV, I take a walk once in a while. But those things don’t feel like a list of items I have to address right away, whereas social media does.

Maybe I’m just getting old. Maybe 2020 has just shifted something in my brain. I’m just tired of being pinged by everyone all the time to worry/think about their thing.

I used to feel like social media provided important interactions with people I care about or find interesting. Even here, some months ago, I defended staying on Facebook for that reason. But now I just… don’t have the bandwidth anymore. It feels like work.
posted by snowmentality at 2:14 PM on September 23, 2020 [30 favorites]


The frustrating thing for me is how normal people are taking the pandemic/election/etc. My job is basically the same except everyone is working from home, but the expectations are the same and the work is the same if not increased. They even got rid of flexible hours recently so things are worse than before. But people are expected to perform as if nothing is happening. Meanwhile I'm sitting here trying to not get so distracted as to lose my job. It looks like the world is burning down but I feel alone in that while everyone else is going along like everything's hunky-dory.
posted by downtohisturtles at 2:34 PM on September 23, 2020 [20 favorites]


Currently working at a nonprofit, formerly worked in journalism, though almost every single newspaper, magazine, or website I worked for has folded at this point. Same, even though I'm one of the few Millennials who's privileged to not be in tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt.

When my grandmother was alive, she repeatedly asked for an explanation as to why I was working such long hours, or weekends, or couldn't take time off, or couldn't take a bus across three states the night before Thanksgiving and arrive at her house at a decent hour, and her questions always ended with a self-righteous, "If my boss asked me to stay past 5 p.m., I would say, 'No thank you!' and walk right out!" because that was how her mid-century government job worked.

Fewer and fewer people can adhere to a strict 9-to-5 workday and expect to make ends meet. Not everyone has set hours, but even people who do are expected to correspond and complete things outside of that timeframe, which is not to mention the part where a whole lot of people are working on side gigs outside of their main job(s). Not everyone gets to take time off, and a lot of people end up keeping track of work when they do. I work a low-level admin job, but I've joined a conference call while wearing a paper gown and sitting on an examination table, and speed-walked from a work dinner back to a hotel room to dial into a meeting at 9:30 at night. I slept in my office more than once when I was working as an editor. It's awful, but so is being unemployed which I'm guessing most of us have done, too. And I am very aware that, in a job market where a whole lot of other people are desperate for work and/or have multiple degrees, I am nothing if not expendable, even though my rent comes due like clockwork either way.

The experience isn't entirely universal; I've heard European folks repeatedly express frustration with pressure to adopt what they see as an American lack of boundaries. Even so, I still sometimes get responses from them when I'm at my desk (or, thanks to COVID closures, forever on my couch) at 7 p.m. in New York.

So, yeah, I get overwhelmed when I need to go to the post office or schedule doctors appointments and can only do so by phone and during set business hours, because those are also the hours during which I'm answering emails or getting on and off of calls and also trying to get done the things I'm promising to do in those emails and calls, and taking the time off to attend appointments or wait on line at the post office is going to leave me with even less time to do things and more emails to respond to. Work or not, it's all multi-step errands competing for time and attention, and it never seems to end.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 2:35 PM on September 23, 2020 [15 favorites]


I feel we all need the wisdom of The Nap Ministry.
posted by tiny frying pan at 2:46 PM on September 23, 2020 [6 favorites]


I worked a series of high-pressure, long-hours jobs (with mediocre pay) for ten years. Got laid off because of covid in April and am still out of work. It's the longest I've ever gone in my life without either school or work. In some ways I've never been less stressed out. And I'm still plenty goddamn stressed out.
posted by showbiz_liz at 3:11 PM on September 23, 2020 [3 favorites]


The experience isn't entirely universal; I've heard European folks repeatedly express frustration with pressure to adopt what they see as an American lack of boundaries. Even so, I still sometimes get responses from them when I'm at my desk (or, thanks to COVID closures, forever on my couch) at 7 p.m. in New York.


See this is the benefits of working whenever. This is in contrast to office environments which are setup generally in the paradigm of an assembly line where the next person working is a bottleneck in the entire process.

So for me personally I might dilly dally in the morning and watch Sportcenter and not start working until 11AM, then work and take a long lunch break at 2-3PM, then work until 9PM. I do not expect people to answer outide of business hours but like you I have people literally all over. I don't care what time zone people are in. Rarely is something time dependent. If I need a consensus on something it can wait a few days for all responses to come in. I would not expect someone outside of working hours to answer unless it was really urgent and even then I haven't dealt with that in awhile.

I have (had in the past tense really) some people I work with that totally abuse this. I think this was a bigger deal when I was the only remote employee and someone tried to trump me or politically wanted me to make sure I looked like I was working. You want me 100% at your beck and call? Okay I'll give you 9-5 but you don't get outside hours. I don't need to explain something to you at night. I might if I like you and I'm bored. You have slack/text/e-mail/whatever? For some reason I don't respond immediately? I don't respond to each one I respond to whichever is more convenient if you're sending me messages via all the channels. If I didn't give you the response you wanted and you responded via e-mail to make it look like I didn't respond to you via slack and then CC a boss, I know that game and I'll call you out on it.

The modern workplace didn't invent politics and games, but it does make it infuriatingly infectious. I found it best to quickly (as in weeks after accepting an offer) exit office places that let this exit but that was in the Before Times when I was assured there'd be another job waiting for me somewhere.
posted by geoff. at 3:12 PM on September 23, 2020 [5 favorites]


I guess part of me also wonders how much of what she's discussing is generational and how much has to do with stage of life. The older Millennials are in that rough stage when a lot of people have both young kids and aging parents, and that's a recipe for burnout in any generation. I don't know if they're burnt out because they're Millennials or if it's because your mid-to-late 30s are kind of a tough time in most modern people's lives.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 3:14 PM on September 23, 2020 [8 favorites]


I guess part of me also wonders how much of what she's discussing is generational and how much has to do with stage of life.

Trust me. It’s not generational.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:15 PM on September 23, 2020 [3 favorites]


Yes, I am GenX, and could have written this.
posted by Miko at 4:21 PM on September 23, 2020 [8 favorites]


But I wouldn’t blame “stage of life” so much as “inhospitable society, ” “archaic norms” and “missing social safety net.”
posted by Miko at 4:22 PM on September 23, 2020 [24 favorites]


Years ago my father visited Tibet. He was really shaken by one of the long train rides, looking out the window and watching a local farmer physically wrangling a team of oxen to plow a muddy field. He was disappointed at his own naiveté, not fully realizing that such hard, manual, subsistence labor still exists, and he said he would never again complain about the rigors of his own corporate years. In a few weeks he was back to telling stories about the brutal stress of his corporate years, which had no doubt contributed to his heart attack.
posted by PhineasGage at 4:49 PM on September 23, 2020 [3 favorites]


like depression lies etc but also sometimes depression isn't lying and we really do have to work til we die. HOORAY.
posted by Grandysaur at 5:56 PM on September 23, 2020 [12 favorites]


Wow, people really hate their jobs.

Humans need health insurance and I will sell my soul to the devil for it. If I had had a job I loved, I would be out of work by now, possibly forever. My job fries my soul every day, but at least I may not die of medical bills if something goes wrong and I still have a home and for the moment they can't get rid of me because I'm needed, even if I am so drowned I am dead at the bottom of the ocean.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:38 PM on September 23, 2020 [8 favorites]


I wish I hated my job. It’s extraordinarily stressful right now but I care, so I have to keep trying. If I just hated my job I could quit.
posted by mai at 7:46 PM on September 23, 2020 [3 favorites]


not fully realizing that such hard, manual, subsistence labor still exists

I'm still trying to convince myself that it's not an either/or, that something can be difficult even if it isn't as impossible as something else, though I don't know if I'm buying it yet. All four of my grandparents had to leave high school early to work and support their immigrant families. My mom was a public school teacher who was on her feet in front of classes of 30+ students all day and graded papers and drafted lesson plans at night. She also taught after school, on Saturdays, and through the summer, and occasionally taught teachers on top of that. My dad was a construction worker, and in addition to day-to-day physical strain, his job involved a whole lot of getting injured, watching other people get injured, and, sometimes, seeing people die in gruesome ways.

I've spent most of my working life sitting and typing away in temperature-controlled rooms, usually with access to tea and coffee. Looking at it from that perspective I am entirely spoiled, but keeping on top of everything is stressful all the same.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 10:03 PM on September 23, 2020 [1 favorite]


I’m 47, solid gen x and I’m so damn depressed, exhausted, hollow. I went to nursing school later in life and by the time I got my BSN, I had $80,000 in student loans. I’ve been a nurse, making a “decent” wage for a decade and owe....$80,000 in student loans. I’m exposed to covid daily, I’m told that the hospital will let me know if I’m exposed and if I get sick without being told I’ve been exposed well, hope you have enough PTO or come to work anyway. They lay off nurses constantly while the c-suite get record bonuses. The patients were sicker before the pandemic but we are pushed constantly to get them out. I have a mortgage, car payments, a decaying body that needs health insurance, oh and did I mention student loans? I was told there was a nursing shortage and it would be a solid career but the emotional, physical and spiritual abuse wasn’t mentioned. We talk about it at work, failing marriages, a rash of suicides (on campus even, it was awful and I expect that one outcome of the pandemic will be more because nan, it’s been rough) newly acquired antidepressant prescriptions; one nurse told me she goes home every day and cries in the bathroom until she collapses from exhaustion so she doesn’t wake up the kids. I’m not working all the time like office staff with slack but I cannot seem to turn work off in my brain any more. We are sacrificing our mental and physical health to corporations that legitimately do not care if we die. When the first covid lull happened management told us to expect layoffs because those pesky covid patients were expensive but ya know, thanks for helping. Then another surge came and it was uhhh yeah so we need you to work mandatory OT again and here’s a free coffee. Hero! I’m babbling I know but holy shit I’m so fucking burned out and I can’t see any way to fix it. So to sum up, I’m not sure it’s generational or age, I think it’s just life now.
posted by yodelingisfun at 10:36 PM on September 23, 2020 [40 favorites]


> I spend a good half of my days spaced out in horror lately because, seriously, none of this matters, it is all artificial problems created to deliberately weaken society so that none of us have the energy or resources to build a world that is sane and not fundamentally omnicidal.

fwiw...
Jason Hickel: "If governments can create and spend money so easily, then why have they so long told us otherwise? Well, according to MMT economists, the narrative of 'fiscal responsibility' is a ruse that's intended in large part to prevent people from demanding that governments provide job guarantees and universal public services (remember, governments are happy to create money when it comes to financing wars and pumping up asset values, but when it comes to paying for public services, they say it's not possible). Why would governments do such a thing? Because if people have access to a public job guarantee doing socially useful work, and if they have access to high-quality universal services, then why on earth would they ever agree to do socially unnecessary, meaningless or degrading labour for private firms, if the goal of such firms is primarily to accumulate profit for the holders of capital?"

Andrew Yang: "We need to start measuring the right things in order to make sure our economy is geared toward maximizing our health and well-being. Instead of stock market prices, we should be maximizing our quality of life, health, mental health, childhood success rates, and environmental sustainability... We don't exist to serve the economy. It's the other way around. It's time to rebuild our country and stop failing both ourselves and the next generation. We must put ourselves to work, improving our way of life and investing in our people on a historic scale — only if we do can we begin to right the imbalances we built for decades."
posted by kliuless at 10:43 PM on September 23, 2020 [17 favorites]


Marx was right. Capitalism has eaten itself. The daily existence of the bourgeoisie is now as precarious as that of the proletariat they struggled so hard to escape.

Unfortunately he was only right about the problem, not the solution.
posted by Cardinal Fang at 11:56 PM on September 23, 2020 [1 favorite]


Then another surge came and it was uhhh yeah so we need you to work mandatory OT again and here’s a free coffee. Hero!

I've definitely come to see "hero" as being something the wealthy brand you as when they've decided that you're going to die for them.
posted by ryanshepard at 4:41 AM on September 24, 2020 [15 favorites]


I've definitely come to see "hero" as being something the wealthy brand you as when they've decided that you're going to die for them.

I'm pretty sure it's never been anything else!
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 7:08 AM on September 24, 2020 [4 favorites]


AHP's latest newsletter/essay/missive looks at the contours of clergy burnout.
Burnout is a symptom of working within contemporary, largely unregulated capitalism — and religious organizations, whether they want to or not, operate within that system. Not because they’re money-making enterprises (apart from the celebrity pastor cool Christian franchise cases in which they most certainly are) but because they have to function within society created by that system. When the cost of schooling goes up, and student debt goes up along with it, so too does the amount of student debt (many) pastors have to take on. When health care costs go up for everyone, they can also become too much for a congregation to bear for its leader.

When people feel like they need to be working all the time, and don’t have time for rest let alone a whole Sabbath or the wherewithal for a weekly commitment, religious attendance goes down — and the ramifications of dwindling congregations (and maintaining existing members, while recruiting new ones) falls on the clergy. Being a religious leader has never been easy (or, for most, lucrative) but when the secular world is as exhausting and precarious as it is now, the religious leader, tasked with tending to the spiritual needs of their congregation, is going to absorb it to the point of overflowing. That’s enough of a psychological burden to bear. Now imagine doing it while not having health insurance and working a second job and worrying about defaulting on your loans.
posted by PhineasGage at 7:27 AM on September 24, 2020 [6 favorites]


Just so folks know, I don't even care about fighting about it, but myself and maybe more millennials just give up on having these conversations on the blue because I don't want to wade through arguing that generations might exist, might matter, and no, we're not saying other generations can't have these same problems as the price of just entry into the convo.
posted by nakedmolerats at 8:51 AM on September 24, 2020 [8 favorites]


Yeah, as a millennial like... I know other generations have problems, but the year I graduated was the worst economic recession, and things never got better, and now we're in a global pandemic with a fascist "president" that is most likely going to try and coup in the upcoming election.
posted by FirstMateKate at 9:13 AM on September 24, 2020 [13 favorites]


I feel like what makes this uniquely a millennial problem, if indeed it is, is the pure fact of our age. (Daily reminder that the oldest millennials are goddamn 40 years old; this isn't about The Kids Today.)

We are old enough that we will likely not live to see any improvement, and young enough that we will have to live an awfully long time in the shit-slog. Younger folks might have the hope of eventual change, or at any rate have grown up in the stew of bullshit and are better prepared for it; older folks won't have to deal with it for long. But we millennials just have a straight up 3-decade hellscape ahead of us, followed by an ignominious death most likely experienced in the midst of a demeaning and precarious gig job. It's a piece of bad luck, for sure.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 9:30 AM on September 24, 2020 [11 favorites]


I hate the shifting definitions. I am 40, almost 41. I am not a millennial. I am Gen X, born 1979.
posted by tiny frying pan at 10:03 AM on September 24, 2020 [6 favorites]


Yeah, it's kind of odd for people in our forties to hear that we aren't affected by the pandemic and incipient fascism because we're going to die soon anyway!
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 10:18 AM on September 24, 2020 [9 favorites]


Yes obviously i meant everyone even five minutes older than the official cutoff of "millennial" is on the very cusp of death. I definitely wasn't talking about the quite large segment of the population (dare I whisper the word, Boomers...) that is currently in their very late middle age or elderly years.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 10:37 AM on September 24, 2020 [1 favorite]


Yeah, as a millennial like... I know other generations have problems, but the year I graduated was the worst economic recession, and

and my cohort got the worst economic recession previous to yours ... which gave us Ronald Reagan etc. AND there was no internet, no free anything except shitty radio and worse TV.

My point being, we're all in this together, our own particular versions of shit-prospects coalescing in ... well, as yodelingisfun just put it:

So to sum up, I’m not sure it’s generational or age, I think it’s just life now.
posted by philip-random at 10:39 AM on September 24, 2020 [1 favorite]


AND there was no internet, no free anything except shitty radio and worse TV.

my god it sounds like absolute heaven

and people still had like health insurance and shit.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 10:43 AM on September 24, 2020


They really really didn't.
posted by tiny frying pan at 10:44 AM on September 24, 2020 [6 favorites]


I admit my memories of health insurance come from my own relatives, who somehow always had it despite working pretty low-wage jobs, but may have been weird outliers. (Midwest, early 1980s is the reference point)
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 10:45 AM on September 24, 2020 [1 favorite]


Generational cohorts exist and the differences are real, even if there has always been plenty of deprivation to go around. It is bizarre to me to look at the wildly disparate homeownership rates, productivity/pay gaps, credential inflation, and the cost of higher education over time and think "nope, millennials have not been uniquely exploited and fucked over".

It is also so weird that these articles/interviews don't more deeply go into the role of capitalism into all of this. Yes, the internet/social media/Boomer parenting all play a big role in the burnout, but at the end of the day, so much of it goes back to capitalism.

It's like acknowledging villagers are disappearing but pretending the giant Lovecraftian demon god hovering in the sky has nothing to do with said disappearances.
posted by Ouverture at 10:59 AM on September 24, 2020 [18 favorites]


Ah, here we go:
Although Petersen’s synthesis of the existing literature is cogent and clear, and although her anecdotal reporting nicely complements the studies she cites, little of what she writes is new or surprising. What is new is her argument that all of this—the need to work constantly, which began for millennials in childhood and never stopped—can be summed up with a diagnosis of “burnout.” Our generational affliction is more than poverty or precarity; it is endless fatigue. Can’t Even is convincingly argued, but it raises a question: Is a psychological diagnosis really appropriate for such a varied, and fundamentally economic, affliction?

When Petersen’s original “burnout” essay appeared in the first days of 2019, a number of writers of color chimed in to note that burnout operates differently for them than it does for Petersen, who identifies as white. “For millennials of color, not only do we have to combat endless emails and Slack notifications,” wrote Tiana Clark in a widely publicized response, “but we also get strapped with having to prove our humanity inside and outside of the workplace and classroom.” To her credit, Petersen clearly strove to include voices from a wide array of backgrounds in her book, often noting the racially and economically disparate impacts of current and historical drivers of burnout. “Decentering the white middle-class millennial experience as the millennial experience is an ongoing and essential aspect of this project,” she writes in the book’s introduction. She also periodically notes how burnout is experienced differently by undocumented millennials, disabled millennials, poor and working-class millennials, and queer millennials. Especially in her chapter on “The Exhausted Millennial Parent,” she delves into how burnout is experienced differently (and more intensely) by women than by men.
posted by Ouverture at 11:40 AM on September 24, 2020 [7 favorites]


I divorce myself from generational assignments!
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:40 AM on September 24, 2020 [1 favorite]


Ask A Manager post on this.
posted by jenfullmoon at 12:11 PM on September 24, 2020 [2 favorites]


Clergy burnout
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:13 PM on September 24, 2020


My favorite is that generic front line jobs employers still send out almost daily notices about people in the building being exposed to coronavirus, but they don't have to say what department or anything.

What's the total number? That's protected information! It's not helpful for anything! You'd just panic if you knew! Bonuses? Hazardous duty pay? You're lucky we said masks are mandatory, buddy.
posted by Jacen at 2:09 PM on September 24, 2020 [2 favorites]


From the Atlantic article on how the Millennials were parented:
Petersen: In the ‘60s and ‘70s, the middle class was larger and more prosperous, and a lot of Boomers grew up with at least a modicum of financial and class stability. But as adults in the ’80s and ’90s, they felt that stability slipping away, as well-paid middle-class jobs started disappearing. So a lot of the parenting decisions they made were attempts to add that stability that they felt had been lost over the course of their lives.
Which is *not* the "Boomers had everything and were lazy and that screwed up their children" framing that the article title led me to expect.
posted by clew at 2:42 PM on September 25, 2020 [1 favorite]


Generational cohorts exist and the differences are real, even if there has always been plenty of deprivation to go around.

Yah - personal example (and one reason I think this article didn't quite resonate with me), is I'm older GenX, and so (IMO) juuuuust old enough that social media doesn't have quite the hold on me (and many of my similar-age friends and acquaintances) that it seems to for Millenials and younger. And that pressure to constantly 24/7/365 create a public life & persona - both from economic necessity and to get that monkey-brain "push the button, get the treat" excitement and external validation is clearly a big factor in the burnout.
posted by soundguy99 at 7:41 AM on September 26, 2020


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