纽约时报双语:“你只能活一次”:疫情让千禧一代拥抱冒险经济

“你只能活一次”:疫情让千禧一代拥抱冒险经济
Welcome to the YOLO Economy
KEVIN ROOSE
2021年4月23日
纽约时报双语:“你只能活一次”:疫情让千禧一代拥抱冒险经济

Something strange is happening to the exhausted, type-A millennial workers of America. After a year spent hunched over their MacBooks, enduring back-to-back Zooms in between sourdough loaves and Peloton rides, they are flipping the carefully arranged chessboards of their lives and deciding to risk it all.

疲惫不堪的美国千禧一代A型性格职场人士身上正在发生奇怪的事情。整整一年时间里,他们弯腰摆弄着苹果笔记本,忍受一个接一个的Zoom会议,抽空吃酸面团面包,踩动感单车。现在,他们掀翻精心安排的人生棋盘,决定赌上一切去冒险。

Some are abandoning cushy and stable jobs to start a new business, turn a side hustle into a full-time gig or finally work on that screenplay. Others are scoffing at their bosses’ return-to-office mandates and threatening to quit unless they’re allowed to work wherever and whenever they want.

有些人放弃了舒适稳定的工作,开始了新的事业,把副业变成全职工作,或者终于开始创作剧本。还有人对老板重返办公室的要求嗤之以鼻,以辞职要挟老板允许他们在自己选择的时间和地点工作。

They are emboldened by rising vaccination rates and a recovering job market. Their bank accounts, fattened by a year of stay-at-home savings and soaring asset prices, have increased their risk appetites. And while some of them are just changing jobs, others are stepping off the career treadmill altogether.

随着疫苗接种率的提高和就业市场的复苏,他们的胆子越来越大。他们的银行账户由于一年的居家储蓄和飞涨的资产价格变得丰厚,这也增加了他们的风险偏好。其中一些人只是换了工作,但另一些人完全放弃了职业生涯。

If this movement has a rallying cry, it’s “YOLO” — “you only live once,” an acronym popularized by the rapper Drake a decade ago and deployed by cheerful risk-takers ever since. The term is a meme among stock traders on Reddit, who use it when making irresponsible bets that sometimes pay off anyway. (This year’s GameStop trade was the archetypal YOLO.) More broadly, it has come to characterize the attitude that has captured a certain type of bored office worker in recent months.

如果说这个运动有什么口号的话,那就是“YOLO”(你只能活一次)。十年前,说唱歌手德雷克(Drake)让这个首字母缩略词流行起来,之后被一些乐于冒险的人使用。这个词在Reddit上的股票交易员中间成为一种流行语,他们在押下不负责任、但有时会得到回报的赌注时使用这个词。(今年的GameStop交易就是典型的YOLO。)更广泛地说,它已经成为近几个月来某类无聊的办公室职员的典型态度。

To be clear: The pandemic is not over, and millions of Americans are still grieving the loss of jobs and loved ones. Not everyone can afford to throw caution to the wind. But for a growing number of people with financial cushions and in-demand skills, the dread and anxiety of the past year are giving way to a new kind of professional fearlessness.

需要说明的是:大流行尚未结束,成百上千万美国人仍在为失去工作和亲人而悲伤。不是所有人都能把谨慎置之脑后。但对越来越多拥有财务缓冲能力和紧缺技能的人来说,过去一年的恐惧和焦虑正在让位于职业方面新的无畏精神。

I started hearing these stories this year when several acquaintances announced that they were quitting prestigious and high-paying jobs to pursue risky passion projects. Since then, a trickle of LinkedIn updates has turned into a torrent. I tweeted about it, and dozens of stories poured into my inboxes, all variations on the same basic theme: The pandemic changed my priorities, and I realized I didn’t have to live like this.

我是从今年开始听到这些故事的,当时有几个熟人宣布,他们将辞去高声望、高收入的工作,去追求有风险、充满激情的项目。从那以后,领英(LinkedIn)上的更新从涓涓细流变成了一股洪流。我发推说了这件事,几十个故事涌入我的收件箱,基本上都围绕着同一个主题:疫情改变了我的优先事项,我意识到我没有必要这样生活。

Brett Williams, 33, a lawyer in Orlando, Fla., had his YOLO epiphany during a Zoom mediation in February.

33岁的布雷特·威廉姆斯(Brett Williams)是佛罗里达州奥兰多一名律师。今年2月,他在调整Zoom的时候顿悟了YOLO的真谛。

“I realized I was sitting at my kitchen counter 10 hours a day feeling miserable,” he said. “I just thought: ‘What do I have to lose? We could all die tomorrow.’”

“我意识到自己每天都要在厨房工作台前坐上10个小时,感觉很痛苦,”他说。“我当时想:‘我还有什么可失去的呢?明天我们可能都会死。’”

So he quit, leaving behind a partner position and a big-firm salary to take a job at a small firm run by his next-door neighbor, and to spend more time with his wife and dog.

于是他抛下合伙人的职位和大公司的薪水辞职了,在他隔壁邻居经营的一家小公司找了一份工作,花更多时间陪妻子和狗。

“I’m still a lawyer,” he said. “But I haven’t been this excited to go to work in a long time.”

“我仍然是个律师,”他说。“但我已经很久没有这样兴奋地去工作了。”

Olivia Messer, a former reporter for The Daily Beast, also quit in February, after realizing that a year of covering the pandemic had left her exhausted and traumatized.

前Daily Beast记者奥利维亚·梅塞尔(Olivia Messer)也在今年2月辞职,因为她意识到,长达一年的疫情报道让她身心俱疲。

“I was so drained and depleted that I didn’t feel like I knew how to do my job anymore,” she said. So Ms. Messer, 29, announced her departure and moved from Brooklyn to Sarasota, Fla., near her parents. Since then, she has been doing freelance writing as well as pursuing hobbies like painting and kayaking.

“我精疲力竭,感觉自己都不知道该怎么做这份工作了,”她说。于是,29岁的梅塞尔宣布离开,从布鲁克林搬到了佛罗里达州的萨拉索塔,离她父母不远。从那以后,她一直从事自由写作,并追求绘画和皮划艇等爱好。

She acknowledged that not all people could uproot themselves so easily. But she said the change had been restorative. “I have this renewed creative sense about what my life could look like, and how fulfilling it can be,” she said.

她承认,不是所有的人都能如此轻易地将自己连根拔起。但她说,这种变化是一种恢复。“我对自己的生活可能是什么样子,以及它能有多么充实,有了新的创造性认识,”她说。

If “languishing” is 2021’s dominant emotion, YOLOing may be the year’s defining work force trend. A recent Microsoft survey found that more than 40 percent of workers globally were considering leaving their jobs this year. Blind, an anonymous social network that is popular with tech workers, recently found that 49 percent of its users planned to get a new job this year.

如果“备受煎熬”是2021年的主流情绪,那么YOLO可能是本年度决定性的劳动力趋势。微软最近的一项调查发现,全球超过40%的员工正在考虑于今年辞职。在科技工作者中很受欢迎的匿名社交网站Blind最近发现,有49%的用户打算在今年找份新工作。

“We’ve all had a year to evaluate if the life we’re living is the one we want to be living,” said Christina Wallace, a senior lecturer at Harvard Business School. “Especially for younger people who have been told to work hard, pay off your loans and someday you’ll get to enjoy your life, a lot of them are questioning that equation. What if they want to be happy right now?”

“我们都有了一年的时间,来评估我们现在的生活究竟是不是我们想要的生活,”哈佛商学院(Harvard Business School)高级讲师克里斯蒂娜·华莱士(Christina Wallace)说:“特别是那些被告知要努力工作,还清贷款,总有一天会享受生活的年轻人,他们当中很多人都在质疑这个等式。如果他们现在就想要快乐呢?”

Fearful of an exodus, employers are trying to boost morale and prevent burnout. LinkedIn recently gave the majority of its employees a paid week off, while Twitter employees have been given an extra day off per month to recharge under a program called #DayofRest. Credit Suisse gave its junior bankers $20,000 “lifestyle allowances,” while Houlihan Lokey, another Wall Street firm, gave many of its employees all-expenses-paid vacations.

由于担心员工流失,雇主们正试图鼓舞士气,防止员工倦怠。领英最近给大多数员工放了一周的带薪假,Twitter的员工在一个名为#DayofRest(休息日)的计划下,每个月都有额外的一天假期,可以用来充电。瑞信(Credit Suisse)为初级银行工作人员提供了2万美元的“生活津贴”,而另一家华尔街公司华利安(Houlihan Lokey)为许多员工提供报销一切费用的假期。

Raises and time off may persuade some employees to stay put. But for others, stasis is the problem, and the only solution is radical change.

加薪和休假可能会说服一些员工留在岗位。但对另一些人来说,停滞不前才是问题所在,唯一的解决办法就是彻底改变。

“It feels like we’ve been so locked into careers for the past decade, and this is our opportunity to switch it up,” said Nate Moseley, 29, a buyer at a major clothing retailer.

“感觉在过去的十年里,我们都被职业束缚住了,这是我们改变的机会,”一家大型服装零售商的采购员、29岁的内特·莫斯利(Nate Moseley)说。

Mr. Moseley recently decided to leave his $130,000-a-year job before June 1 — the date his company is requiring workers to return to the office.

莫斯利最近决定在6月1日——公司要求工作人员返回办公室的那一天——之前辞掉他年薪13万美元的工作。

He created an Excel spreadsheet called “Late 20s Crisis,” which he filled with potential options for his next move: Take a coding class, start mining Ethereum, join a 2022 political campaign, move to the Caribbean and open a tourism business. He looks at it regularly, he said, adding new pros and cons for each option.

他创建了一个名为“奔三危机”的Excel电子表格,在里面填了接下来可能的选择:参加编程班、开始挖以太坊、参与一场2022年的政治运动、搬到加勒比海地区并开展旅游业务。他说,他定期打开看,并为每种选择添加新的利弊考量。

“The idea of going right back to the pre-Covid setup sounds so unappealing after this past year,” he said. “If not now, when will I ever do this?”

“在上一年过去后,回到新冠之前的生活听起来并不吸引人,”他说。“如果现在不做,我什么时候才能做?”

Disillusioned workers with money to spare have always gone soul-searching. And it’s possible that some of these YOLOers will end up back in stable jobs if they spend through their savings, or their new ventures fizzle. But a daredevil spirit seems to be infecting even the kinds of risk-averse overachievers who typically cling to the career ladder.

不缺钱的工作者在幻想破灭后总是进入深刻反省。而且,如果这些YOLO者花光了积蓄,或者他们的新探索不了了之,那么他们中的一些人最终可能会重新做起稳定的工作。但是,甚至连厌恶风险、执着于职业规划的成功人士都感染了这种冒险精神。

In part, that’s because more people than ever can afford to take a risk these days. Stimulus checks, enhanced unemployment benefits and a stock market boom have given many workers bigger safety nets. Many sectors now face severe labor shortages, meaning that workers in those fields can easily find new jobs if they need them. (Not all of these are high tech; many restaurants and trucking companies, for example, are struggling to fill open jobs.) U.S. job openings rose to a two-year high in February, and economists and business owners expect more turnover in the months ahead, as workers who stayed put during the pandemic start emerging from their bunkers.

在某种程度上是因为在这个时代有更多人能够承担得起风险。经济刺激支票、增加的失业救济金和股市繁荣为许多工人提供了更大的安全网。现在,许多部门都面临严重的劳动力短缺,这意味着这些领域的工作者在有需要的情况下可以轻松找到新工作。(这种情况并非仅限于高科技行业:例如,许多餐馆和卡车公司都在努力填补空缺职位。)2月,美国的职位空缺升至两年来的最高水平,经济学家和企业主预计这几个月的营业额会增加,因为在大流行期间待在家的劳动力开始走出他们的避风港。

“Lots of things were on hold during the pandemic,” said Jed Kolko, the chief economist at Indeed.com. “To some extent, we’re seeing a year’s worth of big life changes starting to accelerate now.”

“在大流行期间,很多事情都搁置了,”Indeed.com网站的首席经济学家杰德·科尔科(Jed Kolko)说。“在某种程度上,一年中会发生的重大人生改变正在加速发生。”

In addition to the job-hopping you’d expect during boom times, the pandemic has created many more remote jobs, and expanded the number of companies willing to hire outside of big, coastal cities. That has given workers in remote-friendly industries, such as tech and finance, more leverage to ask for what they want.

除了在繁荣时期可预见的跳槽外,这场大流行还创造了更多的远程就业机会,愿意在沿海大城市以外雇用的公司的数量也变多了。这就给诸如技术和金融等远程工作友好型行业的工作者提供了更多的筹码来争取他们想要的东西。

“Employees have a totally unprecedented ability to negotiate in the next 18 to 48 months,” said Johnathan Nightingale, an author and a co-founder of Raw Signal Group, a management training firm. “If I, as an individual, am dissatisfied with the current state of my employment, I have so many more options than I used to have.”

“员工在接下来的18到48个月内拥有绝对前所未有的谈判资本,”管理培训公司Raw Signal Group的创始人之一、作家乔纳森·南丁格尔(Johnathan Nightingale)说。“如果我个人对当前的工作的状态不满意,我比以前有更多的选择。”

Individual YOLO decisions can be chalked up to many factors: cabin fever, low interest rates, the emergence of new get-rich-quick schemes like NFTs and meme stocks. But many seem related to a deeper, generational disillusionment, and a feeling that the economy is changing in ways that reward the crazy and punish the cautious.

YOLO的个人决定可以归结为许多因素:幽闭烦躁、低利率、新兴的快速致富计划——如非同质化通证(NFT)和网红股。但是,许多因素似乎与更深远的、代际的幻想破灭有关,并且感觉到经济正在发生变化,奖励疯狂者,惩罚谨慎者。

Several people in their late 20s and early 30s — mostly those who went to good schools, work in high-prestige industries and would never be classified as “essential workers” — told me that the pandemic had destroyed their faith in the traditional white-collar career path. They had watched their independent-minded peers getting rich by joining start-ups or gambling on cryptocurrencies. Meanwhile, their bosses were drowning them in mundane work, or trying to automate their jobs, and were generally failing to support them during one of the hardest years of their lives.

几个奔三或30出头的人——大多是那些上过好学校、在备受瞩目的行业工作并且永远都不会被归类为“必要行业工作者”的人——告诉我,大流行摧毁了他们对传统白领职业路线的信念。他们曾看着思想独立的同龄人通过加入初创企业,或赌博加密货币致富。同时,他们的老板用乏味的工作将他们压得喘不过气,或者试图使他们的工作自动化,并且通常未能在他们一生中最艰难的岁月中提供支持。

“The past year has been telling for how companies really value their work forces,” said Latesha Byrd, a career coach in Charlotte, N.C. “It has become challenging to continue to work for companies who operate business as usual, without taking into account how our lives have changed overnight.”

“过去的一年让人们看到公司是否真的珍视其劳动力,”北卡罗来纳州夏洛特市职业教练拉蒂莎·伯德(Latesha Byrd)说。“我们的生活在一夜之间改变了,而对此置若罔闻的公司像往常一样经营,继续在这样的公司上班成了一种挑战。”

Ms. Byrd, who primarily coaches women of color in fields like tech, finance and media, said that in addition to suffering from pandemic-related burnout, many minority employees felt disillusioned with their employers’ shallow commitments to racial justice.

伯德主要在技术、金融和媒体等领域为有色女性提供辅导。她说,除了遭受大流行相关的职业倦怠之苦外,让许多少数族裔员工感到幻灭的还有雇主对种族正义的浅薄承诺。

“Diversity, equity and inclusion are extremely important now,” she said. “Employees want to know, ‘Is this company going to support me?’”

“多元化、公平和包容性现在极其重要,”她说。“员工想知道,‘这家公司会支持我吗?’”

Not every burned-out worker will quit, of course. For some, an extended vacation or a more flexible workweek might quell their wanderlust. And some workers might find that returning to an office helps restore balance in their lives.

当然,并不是每个经历职业倦怠的工作者都会辞职。对于某些人来说,延长假期或更灵活的工作周可能会减轻他们的远行想法。一些员工可能会觉得回到办公室可以帮助他们恢复生活的平衡。

But for many of those who can afford it, adventure is in the air.

但是对于许多负担得起的人来说,冒险无处不在。

One executive at a major tech company, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because she was not authorized to talk to the media, said she and her husband had both been discussing quitting their jobs in recent weeks. The pandemic, she said, had taught them that they’d been playing it too safe with their life choices, and missing out on valuable family time.

一家大型科技公司的高管说,她和丈夫最近两周都在讨论辞职的话题。由于没有得到与媒体交流的授权,她要求匿名。她说,大流行让他们明白,他们一直在选择自己的生活时过分谨慎,错过了宝贵的家庭时间。

The executive then sent me a quote from the Buddha about impermanence, and the value of realizing that nothing lasts forever. Or, to put it in slightly earthier terms: YOLO.

然后,这位高管发给我一句关于世事无常的佛教箴言,没有什么是天长地久的,以及意识到这一点的重要性。或者,用比较接地气的说法就是:YOLO。

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