Explaining Our Times…

Ok, I admit that I have been retired from the workforce for almost two decades now, so aside from what I read I am pretty much ignorant of it. When I left the workforce the mantra was “Do more with less”. Many of my coworkers were being laid off and I was told that I had to do their jobs in addition to my own.  I couldn’t imagine a more stressful situation today.

When I came across this article by By Ruth Whippman in the New York Times it helped me to have more empathy for today’s middle-class workers.  Ms. Whippman is the author of “America the Anxious: Why Our Search for Happiness Is Driving Us Crazy and How to Find It for Real.” I think I will pick up an e-copy of her book to understand it more. Here are the snippets from the article I want to concentrate on:

In this cutthroat human marketplace, we are worth only as much as the sum of our metrics, so checking those metrics can become obsessive. What’s my Amazon ranking? How many likes? How many retweets? How many followers? (The word “followers” is in itself a clear indicator of something psychologically unhealthy going on — the standard term for the people we now spend the bulk of our time with sounds less like a functioning human relationship than the P.R. materials of the Branch Davidians.)…

This is the future, and research suggests that it’s a rat race that is already taking a severe toll on our psyches. A 2017 study suggests that this trend toward increasingly market-driven human interaction is making us paranoid, jittery, self-critical and judgmental.

Source: New York Times Nov 24, 2018

One of the two main points of this article is that more and more companies are outsourcing their work. They no longer employ their own workforce but instead contract it out. 

The second point is that our social media has become critical to our future success. We need to show that we are popular and influential in order to get that “perfect” job. If our “likes” aren’t high enough it will raise suspicion. Being told that finding that perfect job is now totally our responsibility. That alone is tons of pressure for so many young people.  It’s no wonder that the suicide rate among this young group is so high!

I’m going to stop here with this particular post. But I suspect that I will be revisiting this topic in more detail after I have read the author’s book.


  1. If it were any other time in history, do you think a company like Facebook that has so many failures of control and ethics would still be a major force? Social media has become the defining force in much of our life. Even when it is dangerous we can’t seem to quit.


    • Everything is shades of grey in life it seems. Yeah, the social media sites help connect us with loved ones and give us info about things we need. But it also can be used for darker purposes. I think with the Facebook thing it is the demand for more and more stock value/dividends that drove some of the serious mistakes. Another reason is that it is still almost totally unregulated or controlled. A lot of this stuff could be stifled if we only required a positive ID for Internet connections.


  2. My kids are leaving social media.They are a mixture of millennials and Gen X. I wonder if this is a trend? They post pictures of their kids, but mostly they don’t bother. Now that I think about it, most of my nephews and nieces have left as well. They do have groups that they follow (much like column in the newspaper that I followed) and news medias that they trust on line. Otherwise, they are toooo busy,


  3. Hi Jan, it sounds like you have a seeming very rare collection of kids. Congratulations. According to statistics, the average 18-25-year-old spends over 4 hours a day on social media.


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