Desperate for a summer slowdown
Monday, Jun. 2, 2008 at 12:17pm
Hi. I'm back from one of the longest trips I've made in a while. I started in New York last week, went to L.A., from L.A. to San Francisco, then back to L.A., then home to New York again last night. I'm whipped. And I had to be in at 8:30 this morning for two hours of legal work on a matter I can't tell you about. It's not pleasant. But it has to be done, even though it's right after Memorial Day and traditionally the time when we're all meant to be thinking about other things. Like Summer.
It reminds me of last Holiday season, mid-December, when everybody was supposed to be out partying with great heartiness, but instead we were all thinking about economic woes and pending strikes and that kind of nonsense. Wasn't much of a Christmas. I don't even remember getting any figgy pudding.
The trend, it is now obvious, is that we're all heading for the 52-week year. Numbers must be reported each quarter. Deals are often done right around vacation times, like Labor Day and New Years. There is, quite literally, no down time, no slow season, no time to decompress and ponder.
- Dementia caused by constant digital communications, in which portions of the human personality are quietly being expunged over time, leaving nothing but constant communicators hooked neurologically into the System;
- Younger business people who see great wealth around them they haven't yet tapped into, with the energy and lack of personal life to dedicate themselves to doing nothing but making money all the time, every day, every minute of every day;
- Too many MBAs and investment bankers who only make money when deals are done, so deals need to be done all the time, even if no deals are around that make sense; the perfect time to cook up weird deals is during times when other people are trying to relax;
- Older executives who have jettisoned all human relationships, have too much time on their hands, their kids are grown, nobody really wants to hang with them unless there's some business reasons to do so, so they keep business going all the time to stave off the crushing loneliness of existence;
The outcome of all this is obvious. The month of April was hell, because we were all preparing for May. May was as bad as we feared, only worse. We lived for June. Now June is shaping up to be a killer as well.
Will July and August follow? When September arrives, will we all return somewhat refreshed from a slightly slower pace of those long, hot summer days? Or will it just be more and more and more and more of the same, only more so?
The Japanese have a word for it: Karoshi. It means death from overwork. So far, the word has only been a necessity in Japan. It looks like here, as in so much else, we're adopting their best practices.