Life

Life Lessons in your 40s

Curated by CLAI

I think this is when most people give up on their stories. They come out of college wanting to change the world, wanting to get married, wanting to have kids and change the way people buy office supplies. But they get into the middle and discover it was harder than they thought. They can’t see the distant shore anymore, and they wonder if their paddling is moving them forward. None of the trees behind them are getting smaller and none of the trees ahead are getting bigger. They take it out on their spouses, and they go looking for an easier story.

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, Donald Miller

Mt. Rainier, Washington

Mt. Rainier (Photo: Christine Lai, 2014)

LIFE LESSONS IN YOURS 40S: By your 40s, you don’t want to be with the cool people; you want to be with your people.

  • There are no grown-ups. We suspect this when we are younger, but can confirm it only once we are the ones writing books and attending parent-teacher conferences. Everyone is winging it, some just do it more confidently.
  • There are no soul mates. In fact, “soul mate” isn’t a pre-existing condition. It’s an earned title. They’re made over time. In my 20s someone told me that each person has not one but 30 soul mates walking the earth. (“Yes,” said a colleague, when I informed him of this, “and I’m trying to sleep with all of them.”)

SF & DC logs most work hours. Millennials want work-me balance

Curated by CLAI

WORKING TOO MUCH? No big city in this country works as hard—or at least as many hours per week on average—as San Francisco, where people log more than 44 hours at the office each week. People in Washington D.C. and Charlotte work the second longest work weeks, tied at 43.5 hours, followed by several cities in Texas.

Meanwhile, New York City, the city that supposedly never sleeps, ranks 12th on the list, at 42.5 hours per week. However, people living in the Big Apple spend more than 6 hours each week heading to and from work, nearly an hour more than that endured by dwellers of any other large city.

Cities Where People Work the Most (New York City Comptroller, WAPO)

Cities Where People Work the Most (New York City Comptroller, WAPO)

WHAT MILLENIALS AROUND THE WORLD WANT FROM WORK…

  • BECOMING A LEADERS: Millennials are interested in becoming leaders — for different reasons. This ranged from 8% in Japan to 63% in India. Half of respondents from Central/Eastern Europe chose high future earnings as a reason to pursue leadership, while only 17% of Africans did. African Millennials seemed to care most about gaining opportunities to coach and mentor others (46%).
  • MANAGERS: in North America, Western Europe, and Africa, at least 40% of respondents said they wanted managers who “empower their employees.” Yet only about 12% of Millennials in Central/Eastern Europe and the Middle East chose that quality, instead technical expertise is the top pick.
  • WORK-LIFE BALANCE: Millennials strive for work-life balance, but this tends to mean work-me balance, not work-family balance. The dominant definition was “enough leisure time for my private life” (57%). Nearly half of respondents in every region said they would give up a well-paid and prestigious job to gain better work-life balance. Central/Eastern Europe was the exception, as 42% said they would not.
How Millennials Prioritize Life by Continent (HBR)

How Millennials Prioritize Life by Continent

 

Why a 40-hour Work Week? Are You Blue AND White Collar?

Curated by CLAI

FORTY-HOUR WORK WEEK: Western economies, particularly that of the United States, have been built in a very calculated manner on gratification, addiction, and unnecessary spending. We spend to cheer ourselves up, to reward ourselves, to celebrate, to fix problems, to elevate our status, and to alleviate boredom.

  • Can you imagine what would happen if all of America stopped buying so much unnecessary fluff that doesn’t add a lot of lasting value to our lives?
  • The economy would collapse and never recover.

Read More: Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed (True Activist)

David Cain (Raptitude)

Forty-hour work week. (David Cain, (Raptitude)

WHITE V. BLUE COLLAR: My perhaps naïve hope is that when I tell students I’m not only an academic, but a “survival” jobholder, I’ll make a dent in the artificial, inaccurate division society places between blue-collar work and “intelligent” work. We expect our teachers to teach us, not our servers, although in the current economy, these might be the same people.

Read More: Your Waitress is Your Professor (NYTIMES)

Professor or Waitress? (Roman Muradov, NYTIMES)

Professor or Waitress? (Roman Muradov, NYTIMES)

ZIP Codes: What Does it Say About You? West v. East Germany

Curated by CLAI

ZIP CODE DEMOGRAPHICS AND LIFESTYLE: Want to know what your zip code says about you? Learn about the people and culture of an area with ZIP Lookup.

  • Arlington, VA: 56% Metro Renters & 44% Laptops and Lattes. We’re affluent, well-educated singles or partner couples, who hold professions in business, finance, legal, computer, or entertainment. Young, mobile, or still in school, we live along or with a roommate in rented apartments. Long hours and hard work don’t deter us. Most of our income goes to rent, fashions, and latest technology. We live close to our jobs, so we can either walk or take a cab. We practice yoga, go skiing, and attend Pilates.
  • Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, NY: Asians, particularly Chinese, are concentrated here. Nearly half are foreign born and 1/3 don’t speak English. Long commutes are the way of life. Spending is careful; we’re not brand loyal and use coupons when we can. Dancing, casino gambling, eating out at our favorite restaurants consume our leisure time.
Income distribution in Arlington, VA.

Income distribution in Arlington, VA. (ESRI)

West & East Germany: Those in West Germany have greater disposable income, lower rates of unemployment, more young people, more foreigners, and more trash. East Germans have more childcare, bigger farms, and higher flu vaccination rates.

Disposable income in West Germany v. East Germany (WAPO)

German statistical office. Visualization: Gene Thorp, WAPO.

The Truth about Travel and Vacations

Curated by CLAI

THE MORE YOU TRAVEL, THE MORE YOU LOSE SIGHT OF WHO YOU ARE

  • Because you realize that the more you spread the breadth of your experience across the globe, the thinner and more meaningless it becomes. You realize that there’s something to be said to limiting oneself, not just geographically, but also emotionally. That there’s a certain depth of experience and meaning that can only be achieved when one picks a single piece of creation and says, “This is it. This is where I belong.”
  • The self is highly adaptable to its external environment, and ironically, the more you change your external environment, the more you lose track of who you actually are, because there’s nothing solid to compare yourself against. With frequent travel, so many variables in your life are changing that it’s hard to isolate a control variable and see the effect everything else has on it. You are in a constant state of upheaval.
  • Because uncertainty breeds skepticism, it breeds openness, and it breeds non-judgment. Because uncertainty helps you to grow and evolve.
Castillo de San Felipe in Cartagena, Colombia

Castillo de San Felipe in Cartagena, Colombia (Christine Lai)

WHY DON’T AMERICANS TAKE VACATION? Many people chasing the American Dream are working long hours and skipping vacation to reach it. Most employees strongly believe, compared with people in other countries, that hard work pays off in success. Americans who work over 40 hours a week are more happy than those who work less – so are they happy being overworked? Europeans, on the other hand, are different – they seem to value leisure time more, and accordingly those who work over 40 hours are less happy than those working less.