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我们为何如此拼命工作

我们为何如此拼命工作

我们翻译这篇文章的理由

按照上个世纪劳动关系变化的趋势来看,未来的社会人们将会工作极少的时间,赚很多的钱,有大量的时间来进行休闲。然而随着全球化和科技的发展,工作时间却普遍延长,且逐步侵入到我们的生活之中。
这些年经济巨大发展的收益并没有被均分,赢者通吃效应让收益逐渐集中到从事着更重要的工作的、位于收入阶梯上层的人手中。这些高级的脑力劳动具有更高的挑战性,也会赋予成功者更高的回报和更强的成就感。除了意义的变化,新时代的工作不同以往,他们不再只是一个赚钱的手段,而是拓展成为一种身份认同,一种社交体系,一种生活方式。
——张松

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我们为何如此拼命工作

作者:RYAN AVENT

译者:张松 & 郭嘉宁 & 王宇琪

校对:何翔宇

策划:张松& 伍豪

Why do we work so hard?
我们为何如此拼命工作
When my father was a boy on the family farm, the tasks he and his father did in the fields were gruelling and thankless. I once visited the textile mill where my grandmother worked for a time. The noise of the place was so overpowering that it was impossible to think. But my work – the work we lucky few well-paid professionals do every day, as we co-operate with talented people while solving complex, interesting problems – is fun. And I find that I can devote surprising quantities of time to it.
在我爸爸还是个孩子的时候,他和我的爷爷在家庭农场的田里做的工作又辛苦,又不讨好。我还去过我奶奶工作过的纺织厂,那里震耳欲聋的噪音让人无法思考。但我的工作不同,我们这些少数且幸运的专业人士每日从事的工作不仅薪水高,而且要和有才能的人一起解决复杂而有趣的问题——这个过程很有意思。而且我甘愿在这份工作上投入的时间也令人惊讶。
What is less clear to me, and to so many of my peers, is whether we should do so much of it. One of the facts of modern life is that a relatively small class of people works very long hours and earns good money for its efforts. Nearly a third of college-educated American men, for example, work more than 50 hours a week. Some professionals do twice that amount, and elite lawyers can easily work 70 hours a week almost every week of the year.
我们是否应该这么投入工作这个问题也困扰着我和我的同龄人。现代生活中的一个现实就是,一小群人会工作很长时间,也因此可以拿到与成果相对应的不菲的报酬。比如说:将近三分之一的上过大学的美国男性每周工作超过50小时;一些专家工作时间甚至是他们的两倍;高端律师律师经常每周工作70小时,而且几乎全年无休。
Work, in this context, means active, billable labour. But in reality, it rarely stops. It follows us home on our smartphones, tugging at us during an evening out or in the middle of our children’s bedtime routines. It makes permanent use of valuable cognitive space, and chooses odd hours to pace through our thoughts, shoving aside whatever might have been there before. It colonises our personal relationships and uses them for its own ends. It becomes our lives if we are not careful. It becomes us.
在这个背景下的“工作”意味着主动的,可计费的劳动,然而在现实当中,工作不会局限于此。它随着智能手机一起跟着我们回家,在我们傍晚出去的时候或者在孩子临睡陪他们的时候拉扯着我们。它永久地利用了宝贵的认知空间,并选择奇怪的时间来践踏我们的思想,不管之前我们在想什么,都会被抛到一边。它侵占了我们的人际关系,并将关系用于工作的目的,如果我们不够小心,工作将会变成我们的生活。它会变成我们。
When John Maynard Keynes mused in 1930 that, a century hence, society might be so rich that the hours worked by each person could be cut to ten or 15 a week, he was not hallucinating, just extrapolating. The working week was shrinking fast. Average hours worked dropped from 60 at the turn of the century to 40 by the 1950s. The combination of extra time and money gave rise to an age of mass leisure, to family holidays and meals together in front of the television. There was a vision of the good life in this era. It was one in which work was largely a means to an end – the working class had become a leisured class. Households saved money to buy a house and a car, to take holidays, to finance a retirement at ease. This was the era of the three-Martini lunch: a leisurely, expense-padded midday bout of hard drinking. This was when bankers lived by the 3-6-3 rule: borrow at 3%, lend at 6%, and head off to the golf course by 3pm.
约翰·梅纳德·凯恩斯(John Maynard Keynes)在1930年思考到,一个世纪后社会可能会变得如此富裕,以至于每个人每周工作的时间可以减少到10到15个小时。他并没有凭空幻想,而是在推断。那时,工作周缩短得很快,平均工时从世纪之交的60小时下降到了20世纪50年代的40小时。伴随着更多时间和金钱而来的是一个大众休闲的时代,是家庭假日,是家人看着电视一起吃饭。在这个时代有一个美好生活的愿景,在愿景里,工作只是达到目的的手段,工人阶级成为休闲阶级。家家户户攒钱买房子和汽车,去度假,轻松的攒退休金。在这个时代,午饭都要悠悠闲闲的饮酒作乐,喝上花费不菲的三杯马提尼;银行家们遵守了3-6-3规则:以3%的利率借贷,以6%的利率放贷,然后在下午3点前就前往高尔夫球场。
The vision of a leisure-filled future occurred against the backdrop of the competition against communism, but it is a capitalist dream: one in which the productive application of technology rises steadily, until material needs can be met with just a few hours of work. It is a story of the triumph of innovation and markets, and one in which the details of a post-work world are left somewhat hazy. Keynes, in his essay on the future, reckoned that when the end of work arrived:
未来生活轻松惬意的愿景是在与共产主义竞争的背景下出现的,但这是一个资本主义的梦想:应用技术的生产率稳步提升,直到仅需要几个小时的工作就能满足物质需求。这是一个属于创新和市场胜利的故事,在这个故事中,后工作世界(post-work world)的细节有些模糊。凯恩斯在他关于未来的文章中认为,当“工作”结束后:

For the first time since his creation man will be faced with his real, his permanent problem – how to use his freedom from pressing economic cares, how to occupy the leisure, which science and compound interest will have won for him, to live wisely and agreeably and well.

人类自从出现以来,第一次遇见了一个真实且永恒的问题,即当从紧迫的经济束缚中解放出来,应该如何利用它的自由?科学和复利的力量为人类赢得的闲暇,使人们过上睿智、愉快和满意的生活。(出自《我们后代的经济前景》)

Karl Marx had a different view: that being occupied by good work was living well. Engagement in productive, purposeful work was the means by which people could realise their full potential. He’s not credited with having got much right about the modern world, but maybe he wasn’t so wrong about our relationship with work.
卡尔·马克思有一个不同的观点:被好工作所占据是生活得很好的。从事生产性、有目的的工作是人们发挥全部潜力的手段。他对于现代世界的预测很多都是错的,但他对我们与工作的关系的看法也许是正确的。
In those decades after the second world war, Keynes seemed to have the better of the argument. As productivity rose across the rich world, hourly wages for typical workers kept rising and hours worked per week kept falling – to the mid-30s, by the 1970s. But then something went wrong. Less-skilled workers found themselves forced to accept ever-smaller pay rises to stay in work. The bargaining power of the typical blue-collar worker eroded as technology and globalisation handed bosses a whole toolkit of ways to squeeze labour costs. At the same time, the welfare state ceased its expansion and began to retreat, swept back by governments keen to boost growth by cutting taxes and removing labour-market restrictions. The income gains that might have gone to workers, that might have kept living standards rising even as hours fell, that might have kept society on the road to the Keynesian dream, flowed instead to those at the top of the income ladder. Willingly or unwillingly, those lower down the ladder worked fewer and fewer hours. Those at the top, meanwhile, worked longer and longer.
在二战后的几十年里,凯恩斯的观点似乎占了上风。随着发达国家生产率的提高,30多岁的普通工人的每小时工资不断增加,每周工作时间却在不断减少,这一直持续到70年代。但后来开始偏离这个轨道,技能较低的工人发现自己不得不为了工作接受越来越少的加薪。普通蓝领工人的谈判筹码不断减少,因为技术和全球化发展给企业老板们提供了一套缩减劳动力成本的方法。与此同时,福利国家停止了扩张,开始回缩,因为政府渴望通过减税和取消劳动力市场限制来提振经济增长。那些本来可以发给工人的收入,也是那些能让在工作时间减少的同时还能保持生活水平提升的收入,也是那些可以让社会走上凯恩斯梦想之路的收入,却流向了收入阶梯顶端的人。不管是出于自愿还是非自愿,阶梯下部的人工作的时间越来越少,而与此同时,那些处于阶梯顶层的人工作的时间则越来越长。
It was not obvious that things would turn out this way. You might have thought that whereas, before, a male professional worked 50 hours a week while his wife stayed at home with the children, a couple of married professionals might instead each opt to work 35 hours a week, sharing more of the housework, and ending up with both more money and more leisure. That didn’t happen. Rather, both are now more likely to work 60 hours a week and pay several people to care for the house and children.
事情会以这种方式发展出乎人们的意料。你之前可能会认为,男性专业人士每周工作50个小时,而他的妻子则呆在家里陪孩子;已婚的一对专业人士可能会选择每个人每周工作35个小时,这样可以分担更多的家务,而且得到更多的钱和闲暇。事实并非如此。相反,这两个人现在更有可能两个人都每周工作60个小时,并要雇佣几个人来照看房子和孩子。
Why? One possibility is that we have all got stuck on a treadmill. Technology and globalisation mean that an increasing number of good jobs are winner-take-most competitions. Banks and law firms amass extraordinary financial returns, directors and partners within those firms make colossal salaries, and the route to those coveted positions lies through years of round-the-clock work. The number of firms with global reach, and of tech start-ups that dominate a market niche, is limited. Securing a place near the top of the income spectrum in such a firm, and remaining in it, is a matter of constant struggle and competition. Meanwhile the technological forces that enable a few elite firms to become dominant also allow work, in the form of those constantly pinging emails, to follow us everywhere.
为什么会这样?一种可能是我们都被困在重复性工作上了。技术和全球化发展意味着越来越多的好工作是赢家通吃。银行和律师事务所积攒了极其丰厚的财务回报,这些公司的董事和合伙人有着巨额的薪水,而想晋升到这些令人垂涎的职位,必须要走一条年复一年的全天候工作之路。而能拥有全球影响力的公司,以及能主导市场份额的科技初创企业的数量都是有限的。想在这样一家公司里,获得一个顶尖收入的位置并保持住,是需要不断奋斗和竞争的。与此同时,能让少数精英公司占据市场的技术力量也让工作——常常是以响个不停的消息提醒的形式——与我们如影随形。
This relentless competition increases the need to earn high salaries, for as well-paid people cluster together they bid up the price of the resources for which they compete. In the brainpower-heavy cities where most of them live, getting on the property ladder requires the sort of sum that can be built up only through long hours in an important job. Then there is conspicuous consumption: the need to have a great-looking car and a home out of Interiors magazine, the competition to place children in good (that is, private) schools, the need to maintain a coterie of domestic workers – you mean you don’t have a personal shopper? And so on, and on.
这种无休止的竞争增加了高薪的需求,因为高薪人士聚集在一起,抬高了他们所竞争资源的价格。在大部分高薪人士居住的智力密集城市,要想登上财富的天梯,就需要长时间从事要职才能积累起来的资金。然后还有炫耀性消费:需要有一辆漂亮的汽车和一个像是从Interiors杂志搬出来的漂亮房子,争相把孩子安置到最好的私立学校,还需要一群打理家庭生活的助手(什么?你连个私人购物助手都没有?),还有数不尽的其他花销。
The dollars and hours pile up as we aim for a good life that always stays just out of reach. In moments of exhaustion we imagine simpler lives in smaller towns with more hours free for family and hobbies and ourselves. Perhaps we just live in a nightmarish arms race: if we were all to disarm, collectively, then we could all live a calmer, happier, more equal life.
当我们追求一种永远无法企及的美好生活时,金钱和时间就会不断堆积。在精疲力竭的时刻,我们想象着在小城镇里更简单的生活,会有更多的时间花在家庭、爱好和我们自己上面。也许我们只是生活在一场噩梦般的军备竞赛中:如果我们集体解除武装,那么我们都可以过上更平静、更幸福、更平等的生活。
But that is not quite how it is. The problem is not that overworked professionals are all miserable. The problem is that they are not.
但事实并非如此。问题并不在于过度工作的专业人士都很痛苦,而是恰恰相反。
我们为何如此拼命工作
Drinking coffee one morning with a friend from my home town, we discuss our fathers’ working habits. Both are just past retirement age. Both worked in an era in which a good job was not all-consuming. When my father began his professional career, the post-war concept of the good life was still going strong. He was a dedicated, even passionate worker. Yet he never supposed that work should be the centre of his life.
某一天早上,我和家乡来的朋友边喝咖啡,边讨论着双方父亲的工作习惯。他们都已经退休了。在他们那个年代,一份好工作并不会耗尽一个人的全部精力。在我的父亲开始工作时,战后美好生活的观念依然风行。他是一个富有敬业精神、甚至充满热情的工作者。然而,他从不认为工作应该成为生活的中心。
Work was a means to an end; it was something you did to earn the money to pay for the important things in life. This was the advice I was given as a university student, struggling to figure out what career to pursue in order to have the best chance at an important, meaningful job. I think my parents were rather baffled by my determination to find satisfaction in my professional life. Life was what happened outside work. Life, in our house, was a week’s holiday at the beach or Pop standing on the sidelines at our baseball games. It was my parents at church, in the pew or volunteering in some way or another. It was having kids who gave you grandkids. Work merely provided more people to whom to show pictures of the grandkids.
工作只是达到目的的一种手段,只是为了挣到钱,来购买生活中重要的东西。我还是大学生时收到的这一建议。当时我很困惑应该选择什么职业,才最有可能从事一份重要且有意义的工作。我猜我的父母很不能理解,为什么我一定要在工作中找到满足感。工作之外,才是生活。在我们家里,生活是海滩边的一周度假,是爸爸站在场边看我们打棒球,是爸妈去教堂坐在长椅上或参加志愿活动,是拥有孩子,看着孩子又诞下孙辈。而工作,只是为了给更多的人看孙辈的照片。
This generation of workers, on the early side of the baby boom, is marching off to retirement now. There are things to do in those sunset years. But the hours will surely stretch out and become hard to fill. As I sit with my friend it dawns on us that retirement sounds awful. Why would we stop working?
这一代的人属于婴儿潮的早期,马上就要退休了。退休后他们也是有事可做的,但时间会变得漫长,百无聊赖。当我和朋友坐在一起时,我们突然发现,退休听起来太糟糕了。为什么我们要停止工作呢?
Here is the alternative to the treadmill thesis. As professional life has evolved over the past generation, it has become much more pleasant. Software and information technology have eliminated much of the drudgery of the workplace. The duller sorts of labour have gone, performed by people in offshore service-centres or by machines. Offices in the rich world’s capitals are packed not with drones filing paperwork or adding up numbers but with clever people working collaboratively.
除跑步机理论外,还有另一种解释。在过去的一代中,职业生活已经逐步变得越来越愉快。软件与信息科技的发展消除了很多单调繁重的工作。劳动中无聊的部分没有了,改由海外的服务中心人员或机器完成。在第一世界国家首都的办公室里,最多的不是低头做文书工作、加法运算的人,而是聪明的人一起合作完成任务。
译注:offshore service outsourcing: 海外服务外包,指公司利用低税国家的价格优势,将一部分业务交给国外第三方提供商完成。
The pleasure lies partly in flow, in the process of losing oneself in a puzzle with a solution on which other people depend. The sense of purposeful immersion and exertion is the more appealing given the hands-on nature of the work: top professionals are the master craftsmen of the age, shaping high-quality, bespoke products from beginning to end. We design, fashion, smooth and improve, filing the rough edges and polishing the words, the numbers, the code or whatever is our chosen material. At the end of the day we can sit back and admire our work – the completed article, the sealed deal, the functioning app – in the way that artisans once did, and those earning a middling wage in the sprawling service-sector no longer do.
工作的快乐部分来源于过程,沉迷于解决一个难题,得出一个其他人寄予希望的答案。鉴于工作的本质是实践,有目的性的投入与努力是有巨大吸引力的。顶尖的专业人士是一个时代的工匠大师,包办高品质的定制产品。我们设计,制作,打磨,完善,锉平毛边,修改文字、数字、代码,或任何其它使用的媒介。一天结束后,我们坐下喘口气,欣赏我们的成果——完成的文章,达成的协议,运行正常的软件——就像工匠曾经体验过的,以及那些在无序的服务中心挣着中等收入的人不再拥有的。
The fact that our jobs now follow us around is not necessarily a bad thing, either. Workers in cognitively demanding fields, thinking their way through tricky challenges, have always done so at odd hours. Academics in the midst of important research, or admen cooking up a new creative campaign, have always turned over the big questions in their heads while showering in the morning or gardening on a weekend afternoon. If more people find their brains constantly and profitably engaged, so much the better.
工作寸步不离的现状也不一定是坏事。在认知能力要求高的领域,人们一直以来都需要在正常的工作时间外思考棘手的难题。对于正在进行重要研究的学者,或是正在策划新的创意方案的广告从业者,他们的大脑一直在高速运转中,不论是在早晨洗澡,或是周末下午做园艺工作时。如果有更多的人持续地利用大脑并获得收益,那就更好了。
Smartphones do not just enable work to follow us around; they also make life easier. Tasks that might otherwise require you to stay late in the office can be taken home. Parents can enjoy dinner and bedtime with the children before turning back to the job at hand. Technology is also lowering the cost of the support staff that make long hours possible. No need to employ a full-time personal assistant to run the errands these days: there are apps to take care of the shopping, the laundry and the dinner, walk the dog, fix the car and mend the hole in the roof. All of these allow us to focus ever more of our time and energy on doing what our jobs require of us.
手机不仅仅让工作形影不离,也让生活更加便利。原本需要在办公室加班完成的任务现在可以被带回家中。家长们可以先和孩子享受晚餐及睡前时光,再去完成手边的工作。科技同时也降低了后勤人员的费用,使工作时长变短。现在不必雇佣一个全职的秘书来跑腿了,有各种软件来网上购物、洗衣服、做晚饭、遛狗、修车,以及修补房顶的洞。这些让我们能够花更多的时间与精力来完成工作。
There are downsides to this life. It does not allow us much time with newborn children or family members who are ill; or to develop hobbies, side-interests or the pleasures of particular, leisurely rituals – or anything, indeed, that is not intimately connected with professional success. But the inadmissible truth is that the eclipsing of life’s other complications is part of the reward.
这种生活也有弊端。我们没有多少时间与刚出生的孩子相处,或去看望生病的亲人,或是去培养爱好,消遣,享受特定悠闲的仪式。事实上,任何与事业成功没有密切关系的事都不在考虑范围内。但人们一般不愿承认的真相是,遮盖住生活的其它复杂因素其实就是工作的部分奖赏。
It is a cognitive and emotional relief to immerse oneself in something all-consuming while other difficulties float by. The complexities of intellectual puzzles are nothing to those of emotional ones. Work is a wonderful refuge.
不论在认知还是情感上,将自己全部精力完全投入在一件事上,无视其他难题,都是一种解脱。智力难题的复杂性与情感问题比不值一提。工作是一个完美的避难所。
This life is a package deal. Cities are expensive. Less prestigious work that demands less commitment from those who do it pays less – often much less. For those without independent wealth, dialling back professional ambition and effort means moving away, to smaller and cheaper places.
生活就像一个薪酬包。城市里开销很大,那些不需要太多投入就可以完成的没什么名望的工作工资往往很少。对于那些没有独立财富的人来说,放弃职业追求和努力则意味着搬到更小、更便宜的地方。
But stepping off the treadmill does not just mean accepting a different vision of one’s prospects with a different salary trajectory. It means upending one’s life entirely: changing locations, tumbling out of the community, losing one’s identity. That is a difficult thing to survive. One must have an extremely strong, secure sense of self to negotiate it.
但是,走出单调的工作并不仅仅意味着接受一种有着不同薪水的未来。它意味着彻底颠覆一个人的生活:更换住所,从社区中跌跌撞撞地走出去,失去认同感。此时,生活会十分艰难。一个人必须有一种非常强烈的、稳定的自我意识来进行协调。
I’ve watched people try. In 2009 good friends of ours packed their things and moved away from Washington, DC, where we lived at the time, to the small college town of Charlottesville, Virginia. It was an idyllic little place, nestled in the Appalachian foothills, surrounded by horse farms and vineyards, with cheap, charming homes. He persuaded his employer to let him telework; she left her high-pressure job as vice-president at a big web firm near Washington to take a position at a local company.
我曾目睹过人们的尝试:2009年,我们的一对好朋友收拾好行李,从我们当时住的华盛顿特区(Washington, DC),搬到了弗吉尼亚夏洛茨维尔(Charlottesville, Virginia)的大学城。那是一个田园诗般的小地方,坐落在阿巴拉契亚山麓,周围是马场和葡萄园,有着便宜且迷人的住宅。丈夫说服老板让他远程工作;妻子辞去了华盛顿附近一家大型网络公司的副总裁的高压工作,到一家当地公司任职。
My wife and I were intrigued by the thought of doing the same. She could teach there, we reckoned, and I could write. It was a reasonable train ride from Washington, if I needed to meet editors. We would be able to enjoy the fresh air, and the peace and quiet. Perhaps at some point we would open our own shop on the main street or try our hand at winemaking, if we could save a little money.
我妻子和我都很想做同样的事。我们想,她可以在那儿教书,我也可以写作。如果我需要见编辑们,可以从华盛顿乘火车去。我们将能够享受新鲜的空气、安宁与平静。如果能攒点钱的话,也许将来有一天我们会在大街上开一家自己的商店,或者尝试一下酿酒。
Yet the more seriously we thought about it, the less I liked the idea. I want hours of quiet to write in, not days and weeks. I would miss, desperately, being in an office and arguing about ideas. More than that, I could anticipate with perfect clarity how the rhythm of life would slow as we left the city, how the external pressure to keep moving would diminish. I didn’t want more time to myself; I wanted to feel pushed to be better and achieve more. It wasn’t the stress of being on the fast track that caused my chest to tighten and my heart rate to rise, but the thought of being left behind by those still on it.
然而,我们越认真地考虑这个问题,我就越不喜欢这个想法。我只想要几个小时的安静写作时间,而不是几天或几周;我会极度怀念在办公室里争论不休的日子。更重要的是,我可以非常清楚地预见到,当我们离开这座城市时,生活节奏将如何放缓,推动我们继续前行的外部压力将如何减少。我不想要更多属于自己的时间;我想要被推着变得更好,取得更大的成就。让我胸部绷紧、心跳加快的,并不是在快车道上前行的压力,而是想到自己被那些留在快车道上的人甩在了后面。
Less than a year after moving away, our friends moved back. They had found themselves bored and lonely. We were glad, and relieved as well: their return justified our decision to stay in the city.
搬家不到一年,我们的朋友又搬回来了,因为他们感到无聊和孤独。我们很高兴,也松了一口气:他们证明了我们留在城里的决定是正确的。
One reason the treadmill is so hard to walk away from is that life off it is not what it once was. When I was a child, our neighbourhood was rich with social interaction. My father played on the church softball team until his back got too bad. My mother helped with charity food-and-toy drives. They both taught classes and chaperoned youth choir trips. They socialised with neighbours who did these things too.
单调工作如此难以摆脱的一个原因是,工作之外的生活不再是曾经的样子了。当我还是个孩子的时候,我们的社区有许多社会活动。我的父亲在背部受伤之前是教会垒球队的队员;我的母亲帮助慈善机构开展食品和玩具募捐活动;他们都在课堂上授课,并陪同青年唱诗班旅行。他们与同样做这些事情的邻居来往。
Those elements of life persist, of course, but they are somewhat diminished, as Robert Putnam, a social scientist, observed in 1995 in “Bowling Alone: America’s Declining Social Capital”. He described the shrivelling of civic institutions, which he blamed on many of the forces that coincided with, and contributed to, our changing relationship to work: the entry of women into the workforce; the rise of professional ghettoes; longer working hours.
当然,这些生活要素依然存在,但正如社会学家罗伯特•帕特南(Robert Putnam) 1995年在《独自打保龄:美国社区的衰落与复兴》(Bowling Alone: America’s social Capital)中所指出的那样,它们在一定程度上有所削弱。他描述了公民社会的萎缩,并将其归咎于许多因素,这些因素与我们不断变化的工作关系相适应、并作用于这些工作关系:女性进入劳动力市场,职业聚集区的兴起,工作时间的延长。
One of the civic groups that Putnam cites as an important contributor to social capital in ages past was the labour union. In the post-war era, unions thrived because of healthy demand for blue-collar workers who shared a strong sense of class identity. That allowed the unions’ members to capture an outsize share of the gains from economic growth, while also providing workers and their families with a strong sense of community – indeed, of solidarity.
帕特南认为,工会是过去时代中社会资本的重要贡献者之一。在战后时期,工会的兴旺出于对蓝领工人的需求,这些工人具有强烈的阶级认同感。这使得工会成员能够从经济增长中获得巨大的收益,同时也为工人和他们的家庭带来了强烈的集体归属感——实际上是团结感。
The labour movement has unravelled in recent decades, and with it the network that supported its members; but these days a similar virtuous circle supports the professional classes instead. Our social networks are made up not just of neighbours and friends, but also of clients and colleagues. This interlaced world of work and social life enriches us, exposing us to people who do fascinating things, keeping us informed of professional gossip and providing those who have good ideas with the connections to help turn them into reality. It also traps us. The suspicion that one might be missing out on a useful opportunity or idea helps prod us off the sofa when an evening with “True Detective” beckons seductively.
近几十年来,劳工运动已经瓦解,支持其成员的网络也随之瓦解;但如今,一个类似的良性循环支持着职业阶层。我们的社交网络不仅由邻居和朋友组成,还包括客户和同事。这个工作和社交生活交织的世界丰富了我们,让我们接触到那些做着有趣事情的人、让我们了解职场八卦、并为那些有想法的人提供途径,帮助他们把想法变成现实。它也困住了我们。当与《真探》共度的一个夜晚诱人地召唤我们时,那种“我们可能会错过一个有用的机会或想法”的怀疑,让我们从沙发上清醒过来。
This mixing of the social and professional is not new. It is not unlike Hollywood, where friends have always become collaborators, actors marry directors, and an evening out on the town has always been a public act that shapes the brand value of the star. Or like Washington, DC, in which public officials, journalists and policy experts swap jobs every few years and go to the same parties at night: befriending and sleeping with each other, exchanging ideas, living a life in which all behaviour is professional to some extent. But as hours have lengthened and work has become more engaging, this social pattern has swallowed other worlds.
这种社交与职业的结合并不新鲜。这就像好莱坞一样,在那里,朋友们总是合作者,演员和导演结婚,在城里的一顿晚餐总是成为一种塑造明星品牌价值的公共行为。或者像华盛顿特区一样,政府官员、记者和政策专家每隔几年就会互换工作,晚上参加同样的派对:交朋友、互相上床、交换意见,过着某种程度上所有行为都是工作的生活。但随着工作时间的延长、工作变得更有吸引力,这种社会模式已经吞噬了其他世界。
There is a psychic value to the intertwining of life and work as well as an economic one. The society of people like us reinforces our belief in what we do. Working effectively at a good job builds up our identity and esteem in the eyes of others. We cheer each other on, we share in (and quietly regret) the successes of our friends, we lose touch with people beyond our network. Spending our leisure time with other professional strivers buttresses the notion that hard work is part of the good life and that the sacrifices it entails are those that a decent person makes. This is what a class with a strong sense of identity does: it effortlessly recasts the group’s distinguishing vices as virtues.
生活和工作的交织不仅具有经济价值,还具有精神价值。和我们相似的人组成的社会强化了我们对自己所做之事的信念,高效地完成工作构建了我们在他人眼中的身份并得到尊重。我们为彼此加油鼓劲,分享(并暗自后悔)朋友的成功,同时,我们与自己社交网络之外的人失去了联系。与其他职业的奋斗者共度闲暇时光,支持了这样一种观念:努力工作是美好生活的一部分,它所需要的牺牲是必要的。这就是一个有强烈认同感的阶层所做的:它毫不费力地将一个群体特有的缺点重新塑造为优点。
Life within this professional community has its impositions. It makes failure or error a more difficult, humiliating experience. Social life ceases to be a refuge from the indignities of work. The sincerity of relationships becomes questionable when people are friends of convenience. A friend – a real one – muses to me that those who become immersed in lives like this suffer from Stockholm Syndrome: they befriend their clients because they spend too much time with them to know there are other, better options available. The fact that I find it hard to pass judgment on this statement suggests that I, too, may be a victim.
在这个职业共同体中,生活有它的弊端。它使失败或错误成为更难以面对、更丢脸的经历。社会生活不再是逃避工作中羞耻的避难所。当人们因为便利成为朋友时,关系的真诚度就会受到质疑。一个朋友——真正的朋友——对我说,那些沉浸在这样的生活中的人有斯德哥尔摩综合症:他们与客户交朋友,是因为他们花太多时间与客户在一起,而不知道还有其他更好的选择。我自己发现很难对这一说法作出判断,这表明,我也可能是一名受害者。

我们为何如此拼命工作

And I begin to understand the nature of the trouble I’m having communicating to my parents precisely why what I’m doing appeals to me. They are asking about a job. I am thinking about identity, community, purpose – the things that provide meaning and motivation. I am talking about my life.
我开始明白我和父母的交流障碍的本质,这也正是我所做的事情吸引我的原因。他们在询问一份工作,而我考虑的是身份、集体、目标——这些东西提供了意义和动力。我谈论的是我的生活。

我们为何如此拼命工作

  • 本文原载于 1843

  • 原文链接:https://www.1843magazine.com/features/why-do-we-work-so-hard

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