Tag: work

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Quote of the Day: Stress

 

I have been under an increasing amount of stress and pressure at work for the past six months. I’ve never dealt with stress very well and this time has been no different. It’s not helped by the wonky blood sugar issues I’ve been experiencing or the latest round of flu that I feel coming on thanks to co-workers who couldn’t be bothered to stay away from the office when sick.

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Artificial Impishness

 

(January 12, 2031) Joseph Damier came home to his high-rise San Francisco condo after a long day at Cestoda, a small but growing urban planning research firm specializing in the rather mundane business of working with various government agencies in the United States and internationally to reconfigure cities to be more diverse and socially just. […]

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Yes, AI Can Create More Jobs Than It Destroys

 
Sophia, a robot integrating the latest technologies and artificial intelligence developed by Hanson Robotics.

The Luddites and technophobes have a point. Machines do displace workers. Always have. From the cotton gin, machine tools, and punch cards to combine harvesters, industrial robots, and business software. And it is this “displacement effect” that leads to scary forecasts about AI and robots leading to mass technological unemployment and underemployment.

But MIT’s Daron Acemoglu and Boston University’s Pascual Restrepo argue in a rich new paper, “Artificial Intelligence, Automation and Work,” that there is far more to the story. For starters, automation may allow tasks to be performed more cheaply, increasing demand for them. The introduction of ATMs was followed by more jobs for tellers because it reduced the costs of banking, and banks opened more branches. Or the productivity effect could be broader: Agricultural mechanization lowered food prices and created more demand for non-agricultural goods and the workers producing them.

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Family Dinners and “Getting Paid to Write”

 

A few weeks ago, my boss asked if I would like to contribute to a school blog that would help with marketing efforts for our small school. Write stuff and have it count for work hours? He may as well have asked if I wanted to go for walks and get paid, or make comments […]

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The Heritage Without the Manure?

 

My nephew’s family just returned from a multi-week (amazing) trip to Europe. They (mom and four children 13-6 — dad joined them for the final week) hiked and toured in many countries. I was exhausted watching them via Instagram. As “payment” for parking their car in our side yard, instead of the airport, they brought us some Belgium chocolate, and an adorable little carved wooden Brown Swiss cow. It is about four inches long.

See, my nephew knew (correctly) that I would be absolutely delighted by this tiny gesture because he knows his aunts well. No matter what else we do in our lives, our identity will always be defined by our dairy farm upbringing.

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Quote of the Day – Work

 

There is joy in work. There is no happiness except in the realization that we have accomplished something. Henry Ford More

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Edward L. Glaeser joins Brian Anderson to discuss the great American domestic crisis of the twenty-first century: persistent joblessness, particularly among “prime-age” men. This 10 Blocks edition is the first based on City Journal’s special issue, The Shape of Work to Come.

In 1967, 95 percent of men between the ages of 25 and 54 worked. During the Great Recession, the share of jobless prime-age males rose above 20 percent. Today, even after years of economic recovery, more than 15 percent of prime-age men still aren’t working. Technological changes, globalization, the educational system, and government policy have all contributed to the problem. “To solve this crisis, we must educate, reform social services, empower entrepreneurs, and even subsidize employment,” argues Glaeser in his article, “The War on Work—and How to End It,” in the special issue of City Journal.

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America are pleased to see nine Senate Democrats claim to want an up or down vote for Judge Gorsuch. They also applaud Missouri passing right to work legislation but wince as opponents may be able to stall the law from taking effect for almost two years. And they scold President Trump for tweeting about Ivanka’s battle with Nordstrom.

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New Workspace/Hellscape

 

Just saw the new space they are moving us into at work. We are going from full cubicles with six-foot walls, which–though a nightmare in themselves–at least provide a modicum of privacy, to half cubicles with four-foot walls. In terms readers of Dante would understand, moving roughly from the third circle to the sixth. Supposedly […]

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The New Unworking Class

 

He that will not work shall not eat (except by sickness he be disabled). For the labors of thirty or forty honest and industrious men shall not be consumed to maintain a hundred and fifty idle loiterers. – John Smith, 1609

One out of six prime working-age adult males in the United States is not temporarily unemployed, or “between jobs,” or “looking for work.” No, a huge cohort of men in America is now neither employed nor looking for work. They are just skating by on a combination of girlfriends, wives, mothers, and government benefits. Their status, argues Nicholas Eberstadt in Men Without Work, is a “quiet catastrophe.”

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Ben Sasse on “The Crisis of Political Vision”

 

Though it takes him a while to complete the wind-up — the real substance begins at 7:45, but what precedes it is charming and substantive — Senator Ben Sasse recently spoke on how both parties’ domestic agendas are woefully out of date (the Democrats by a century, the Republicans by mere scores of years). Give it a listen and give us your thoughts.

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Breaking with Routine, and Reflecting on Trust

 

If there’s one thing I’ve neglected in my perpetually nose-to-the-grindstone life, it’s building alliances. It’s meeting and getting to know others outside my present work associations, cultivating relationships over shared interests, and laying the foundations to jointly pursue worthy goals. Isolation is easy, for those of us with a demanding vocation and/or a restless disposition […]

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Life, Death, and Retirement

 

shutterstock_77614246Many people don’t think they need to talk about retirement. These are the things that people say to me, young and old, when the topic comes up:

I’m too young to talk about it. I never want to retire. I like working. I need to work for the income. I like to keep busy, so it makes sense to do what I know and earn money for it. I don’t know what else I’d do. I think retirement is a lazy man’s game. One of us wants to retire and the other doesn’t. It’s complicated.

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The Desire to be Disabled and the Loss of Meaning

 

AcediaFor the life of me I cannot figure out why anyone would want to be disabled. I am among the accursed numbers of those unable to work, having been felled seven years ago after a nearly fifty-year fight with rheumatoid arthritis. (Thankfully, my law firm provided disability insurance, which keeps me off the government dole.) At the risk of singing my own praises, I have willingly submitted to being a guinea pig for a host of treatments, some of which have potentially deadly side effects (a duel at dawn with anyone who pities me). I did this because I needed not merely to feed my family, but because work, properly understood, offers a sense of purpose which keeps the Eternal Footman at bay. But the disease finally won the day. I am a lawyer by trade, and one little-known reality is that practicing law is highly demanding, not only mentally, but physically. I never really enjoyed my chosen occupation. Fighting for a living, especially trivial battles like petty arguments and personally insulting rhetoric, will tax the most patient of men. But the intellectual work was rewarding. I miss that.

These past few years, then, have not always been a joy. Yes, I have a wonderful life with my loving wife, devoted children (even though they call me “Old Guy”), and two fantastic granddaughters. But work is an essential need of man: Not only as a means of material production, but as a spiritual and psychological route towards acquiring virtue. Plus, while I don’t know whether there are statistics to back this up, from personal experience with others forced into early retirement, life expectancy drops when work comes to an end.

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