I'm not a person who chooses a word for the year, but if I were, this year it'd be REST. Lately I've been read so much goodness about work and rest and how they should often operate in tandem. I haven't been seeking out this content; it's been finding me. Today's roundup includes two lengthy pieces from Atlantic, and a book.


Your Professional Decline is Coming Much Sooner than You Think

by Arthur C. Brooks for The Atlantic

In some professions, early decline is inescapable. No one expects an Olympic athlete to remain competitive until age 60. But in many physically nondemanding occupations, we implicitly reject the inevitability of decline before very old age. Sure, our quads and hamstrings may weaken a little as we age. But as long as we retain our marbles, our quality of work as a writer, lawyer, executive, or entrepreneur should remain high up to the very end, right?  
The data are shockingly clear that for most people, in most fields, decline starts earlier than almost anyone thinks.
This piece was... humbling, to say the least. It's all about when we hit our professional peak and how the "decline" can affect our sense of self worth. Lots of people talk about saving money for retirement, but then what? What will we do with all this knowledge and wisdom we've amassed over decades of professional development? I don't have the answers, but it's a valid question.

Workism is Making Americans Miserable

by Derek Thompson for The Atlantic

The second external trauma of the Millennial generation has been the disturbance of social media, which has amplified the pressure to craft an image of success—for oneself, for one’s friends and colleagues, and even for one’s parents. But literally visualizing career success can be difficult in a services and information economy. 
Blue-collar jobs produce tangible products, like coal, steel rods, and houses. The output of white-collar work—algorithms, consulting projects, programmatic advertising campaigns—is more shapeless and often quite invisible. It’s not glib to say that the whiter the collar, the more invisible the product.
I was hollering yes and amen all throughout this post. I've previously mentioned how I thoroughly reject hustle culture and the idea that work is more important for sleep, but this article put it into words in such a relatable way: by comparing it to religion and exposing our social media truths. Drag us, Derek.

Why Are Young People Pretending to Love Work?

by Erin Griffith for The New York Times

As tech culture infiltrates every corner of the business world, its hymns to the virtues of relentless work remind me of nothing so much as Soviet-era propaganda, which promoted impossible-seeming feats of worker productivity to motivate the labor force. 
In San Francisco, where I live, I’ve noticed that the concept of productivity has taken on an almost spiritual dimension. Techies here have internalized the idea — rooted in the Protestant work ethic — that work is not something you do to get what you want; the work itself is all. Therefore any life hack or company perk that optimizes their day, allowing them to fit in even more work, is not just desirable but inherently good.
To be clear, I don't think there's anything wrong with loving your work. It's a wonderful state of being when you can make a living doing something you're passionate about. However, finding a sense of purpose in your workload just for the sake of being booked and busy and not feeling like a slacker is problematic. This article does a great job of breaking down the difference.

Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less

by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang

Rest is not something that the world gives us. It's never been a gift. It's never been something you do when you've finished everything else. If you want rest, you have to take it. You have to resist the lure of busyness, make time for rest, take it seriously, and protect it from a world that is intent on stealing it. 
When we stop and rest properly, we're not paying a tax on creativity. We're investing in it.
This book was a fantastic read from cover to cover. It breaks down the history and science of rest, how it benefits our brain (and body), and the different types of rest needed during different seasons of life.

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