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Several months ago a good friend recounted a conversation with her 6-year-old son.
He was excitedly describing a cartoon that concluded "with a cat hopping onto a motorcycle and racing off with his girlfriend." Sensing a parenting opportunity, she asked if he knew what a "girlfriend" was. She explained the concept of boyfriends and girlfriends.
"As more young adults delay marriage into their 30s while career demands intensify, many increasingly feel overloaded," she reports.
"Many set high expectations for themselves, dating, staying in shape, doing volunteer work, and helping family -- while still getting stellar performance reviews." She cites a Mc Kinsey & Co.
For my purposes, I'm going to extend "all" to include the unmarried and childless.
In May, the Wall Street Journal's Sue Shellenbarger wrote about single people who are actively addressing the work-life conflict by "opting out" of their fast-track careers.
study in which mothers and non-mothers alike said they wanted to leave their jobs "to gain more control over their lives."In my adult life so far, I've logged roughly 12 years in full-time office jobs, so I know of what these women speak. You get home way too late, you don't exercise enough, you blow too much money on mediocre lunch options, you die a slow death in each long, pointless meeting.
When I look around at my married-with-children friends and colleagues, nearly all of whom are writers or editors, I see people who are somehow, by hook or by crook, making it work -- amidst a recession, in a touchy, insecure industry, in one of the most expensive cities in the world. If, as a culture, we haven't figured out how to define this brand of "having it all" in the pockets where it may currently exist, we're probably that much further away from the goal of being able to articulate how we could possibly be putting men and women in other situations on a similar path.Publishing and the media writ large are unique entities, obviously: technological advances make a non-office-centric-life more and more possible in these lines of work.