In recent years when I meet other Americans who are visiting my city, I often get this vague feeling that they're just trying too hard in one way or another. Maybe they're working too hard, or trying too hard to impress someone, or get attention, or assert themselves. I don't know if I've changed or if America is changed or if it's something else entirely.
What I do wonder is, what's with all these Americans working themselves to the bone? I own an agency which is one of the types of businesses called out in this article. I tell all my employees very clearly, whenever possible, work 40 hours and then call it a week. We also happen to be mostly remote so I tell them, within reason, respecting a small number of important calls/meeting times etc. you can put in those hours whenever you want, preferably after a great night's sleep.
There's nothing like "you're measured by how many hours you bill out," nor does there need to be, if we have more than 40 hours of work per person per week, we hire more people.
Where does this all come from? This is an honest question. Why are people working themselves to death in the US and having this crazy mindset that doing stuff which puts you on the verge of a breakdown is good? When did this start?
Is it good for health/happiness? Definitely not
Is it good for productivity? Maybe, but I doubt it
I disagree. That only makes sense if you assume you (and everyone like you) are politically powerless and the rot and decay are inevitable.
There's also another option: redirect that excess effort you're expediting to hoard for the failure into fixing the system before it fails. Your personal efforts to fix it might fail, but some other group that heeded the same call might succeed, and that's all it takes.
Hoarding wealth might seem like a safer bet, but it's just as prone to failure. The kind of wealth you could accumulate through hard work might not be enough to give you the security you want, and to get more you have to take big risks anyway.
We need a way for improving things where, when a community improves its own space, the gains don't immediately get privatized.
Other public infrastructure issues could be lack of cheap, affordable internet access, clean water, and health care.
Go down to Figure 53 of this: http://www.nzchildren.co.nz which shows only 1/3 of the poorest 20% attain a high enough level of education to even enter university, while 3/4 of the richest 20% do (the relation is fairly linear for the rest).
Financing the education of children with poor parents helps, it just doesn't equalise on average. Of course it does help a few outlier children a lot.
In NZ we add extra subsidies to schools with poor parents through a system of deciles - but it doesn't offset the difference that much.
I think the idea with funding education more equitably is to remove existing barriers that are created by policy, not about creating totally equal outcomes.
I think that's the trap: you can't work yourself to the bone then have energy to work more to be active in your community, volunteer, run for office, pester politicians with letters, etc. Those are the kind of activities that I think could avoid the decay and perhaps even lead to some improvement.
I think it's a mistake to view "donating money" as meaningful response to many current social problems. Many of them are caused or propped up by people with more money than you could ever dream of having. Thinking that mere donations can win is like thinking a group insurgents could win in a stand-up direct fight against the US Army. The insurgents have different advantages than the US Army, and if they're smart, they'll use them rather than futilely attempting to reach parity with the US Army's strengths.
There's definitely some minimum amount of donations that will be required to really change things, but at a certain point I think the returns diminish.
I think it's a mistake to view "donating" as
meaningful response to many current social problems.
A guy on minimum wage can ladle out soup at a soup kitchen every bit as well as I can.
But can he convince my elected representatives that I care about soup kitchens? Or make soup kitchen users into my personal friends? Not so much.
Keeping people busy with real or artificial work is extremely common in dictatorships.
Not sure if this counts but this image of a soldier mopping in the rain comes to mind.
They all disliked unemployed people and often forced them into work or in the military, loathed artists and writers that were able to work independently.
They glorified "work for work's sake".
Created work artificially through gargantuan public works, bureaucracy and... war - the ultimate instrument to keep people busy and give them a common purpose.
Another approach is to build security through self sufficiency and community based initiatives. For example, growing your own food wherever possible, or community gardens on common land.
There is a long list of examples and ideas where future security, defining that as decent quality of life, health and education, doesn't need to be based around monetary wealth.
Growing your own food is work; where is the retirement plan? What if you're not able? Even if you are, many people want to do things other than farming when they retire.
It feels like the ultimate defeat: what have I achieved in this lifetime of work, when I'm reduced to land-to-mouth existence, like an ancestor tens of thousands of years before me? Where is the progress?
Theft is a problem in community gardens. If you just grow enough to sustain yourself and someone steals your produce, you're back to fucked.
There are simply too many of us to revert back to an agrarian society. We have to create food at a very large scale. Which means we have to become better at sharing it.
Like it or not we're all in it together and we're doing kind of a sucky job of it right now.
Healthcare and education are areas where a common option could make a major difference in people's lives. But I think the "community" has to be pretty large to make a meaningful impact.
Hunger is further down Maslow's pyramid. You can't even begin thinking about things like education until you are able to adequately eat.
We face many problems, to be sure, but this is nothing new.
For that matter, many of my non-tech friends (in their 40s) are already only one health crisis away from being homeless. I only have two couches and they all can't stay with me. I am doing relatively well and even I feel the pressure to overwork and "make hay while the sun shines", so maybe I can help support them when they need it.
It doesn't matter what the data says, the feeling that our society is crumbling is palpable, and that is what drives this overwork.
There is an interesting conflict of interest buried in there, "someone" who is benefiting from your work figures out that if you "believe" that society is crumbling, you will work harder (which generates them more benefit), and so they arrange it so that in spite of the data to the contrary you are left feeling that society is crumbling.
Even the most intelligent and rational person will take action against their own self interest if they believe that such action is necessary. You can see that principle in action all too often today as people get caught up in a conspiracy theory and then decide to take action on their own.
1) I have seen it become commonplace to have several generations of a family living in the same house.
2) I have seen my grandparents struggle to afford prescriptions even with 2 pensions and social security.
3) I have seen a sibling fall into poverty despite making bi-weekly efforts to establish an emergency fund. A totaled car was all it took despite full coverage.
4) I have been a part of the crowd commuting 4+ hours round-trip a day to jobs they can't move closer to.
It definitely feels as though institutions are failing us. I don't think social security will fail, but I do think they'll move the goal post on when we can retire.
There are conspiracies and there's anecdote..
Also the perceived society crumbling is self-imposed. Raging culture wars, terrorism as an excuse for totalitarian paranoia, freely accessible firearms, school shootings, obesity epidemic, trade tariffs, monopolistic corporations lobbying for laws, ecological disasters.
Frankly, I'm happy with my European backwater if the cost of getting off well after WW2 would be the list above. No wonder the US collectively is stressed out to the extreme.
This is true for people all across the board: blue-collar workers, office workers, and doctors.
When they don't get a commensurate benefit form extra work, they won't do it. If there are societies sliding downward it is because they are extracting too much wealth from the people who produce it. Among other things, just eliminating rent seeking would be a boon.
Given that the US is wealthier than most of Europe and yet people work much longer hours with little worker protection, people could could demand much better.
When I was in advertising, stories of people working and staying (as in sleeping over) during the weekends was not uncommon. Clients would call me at 11pm asking for a concall with my staff. 12 hours a day for weeks on end, including working weekends, were common place.
We were able to hire great talent just by promising that we'd never ask our staff to work weekends and hardly ever after 7pm on a workday. We had mostly US clients so that was an easy thing for us to day.
This culture shifted a bit when stories of young agency people in Hong Kong and other Asian cities dying from exhaustion became a big deal 4-5 years ago. But its still very workaholic culture.
Don't get me wrong, Americans work insane hours compared to Indonesians or the French, but parts of Asia is a whole other level of madness.
Our customers don't try to micromanage as long as we're getting results. I think our approach to work just comes down to me setting the tone. I was very lucky to have a teacher all the way back in elementary school who drilled the "Work smarter, not harder" mentality into my head from an early age.
And I've maintained 100% ownership of my company, therefore I exert the main influence over the culture. The way we do things works so I have no desire to change it.
If you can't compete with others at school, in the workplace, or as a business based on intellectual superiority the gap has to be made up somewhere. Usually that leads to hard work and then a vicious cycle.
In other words it comes down to good management -- this is just my pet theory, but as a ruminating introvert, when I did live and work in the US I felt that I witnessed a lot of extroverts get promoted into positions of authority because they were popular, and proceed to make poor decisions.
It's pretty similar in London (UK), for example.
Here, it's about the fact that most people are hilariously, almost comically underpaid.
The cheapest 1 bedroom flat I can find within an hour of the centre is going to be in the ballpark of 200K.
So if you don't have established wealth, or earn at least 50K (4x mortgage), you're a prole.
Unsurprisingly, people don't want to be proles, so they work their bollocks off to get out of that category.
For Americans, I imagine NYC or LA is similar. The traffic alone would keep me out of LA.
For example, in Clermont-Ferrand, which is roughly to Paris what Albany is in NYC, there is a well-established tram system that can get you to many places you'd want to go to without a car. This is especially essential if you're low income. Albany in contrast, just has buses (the CDTA), and pretty crap buses at that. The only other city in New York State with anything even remotely approaching the utility of the subway system is the light rail system in Buffalo, which is mostly useless since it only comprises one marginally useful line.
Believe me, as someone not involved in finance in NYC, if I could get the same services I get here in a mid-sized city like Pittsburgh, Cincinnati or Buffalo, I'd strongly consider relocation.
Strongly disagree with this. It might be better than the US, but to call it "decent" I think is a bit of a stretch.
Most journeys, in most cities, will be 3x faster by car or more. The exception is usually rush hour commuting into the city centre.
In my hometown for example the buses used to run on a 20 minute timetable in the middle of the day. I could cycle or drive into the city before the bus even arrived.
Inner city London is the exception. In the suburbs public transport is mostly useful for going in to Central London.
Underpaid compared to what? To what they might earn elsewhere? To the cost of buying a house or flat?
I live in an region where the population density is at least 50 times less than that of greater London. We have few Michelin-starred restaurants, a distinct lack of opera houses, and no top-ranked universities. I'm not bothered in the slightest.
Living in London (or NYC, or the Bay Area) is, just like so many other things in life, a choice.
Of course now the industry is digital there are a lot of people out of water and don't really get the internet an di am talking about people decades younger than me.
1) Working 40 hours a week does not support my long-term goals (house fund, retirement, vacations, etc). Which is another way of saying my job doesn't pay enough.
2) Companies will gladly have someone perform the work of 3 people and replace them when they burn out. It is rarely in the budget to increase staff with additional work (hah).
I only wish I had done it even sooner!
"Hustle" is almost always BS. And real hustle is a red flag. If people can't get what needs to get done within predefined work hours, it's either a reflection of incompetency or poor time management.
I worked at one of the ad holding companies mentioned for a few years, and the magic behind the curtain is that there's no magic behind the curtain.
Agencies by and large blow smoke up the clients' behinds as a matter of standard practice. And the clients typically know this (though I'm not sure they know the full extent of it), but put up with it because the work they are engaging an agency for makes more sense to outsource to the agencies, and since all agencies are posturing, they simply pick who they think BS'ed best (as if that's a reflection of what will actually get done).
When I was there, it was all about BSing digital competency and foresight. Everyone was trying to claim a better finger on the pulse of change. Now that change has somewhat slowed down (no major hardware upsets in the past few or next few years), it makes sense to start behaving more like a commoditized service and trying to brand oneself as offering greater efficiency than one's counterparts.
Which is why if I was still in the industry today, my pitch deck would probably include a slide about how you won't hear us talking about "hustle" because it should only be necessary if you're not optimizing your work day (and including out of country examples of functioning companies working even less than standard hours and doing great work, and numbers about productivity tanking as hours go up). "So you could pick a 'hustle' agency, but are they spending their 'productive' hours on you, or are they billing you for those extra hours operating at lower efficiency? If you see an agency claiming to 'hustle', personally we'd suggest hustling in the other direction ASAP."
I think he's right. So many of these companies that value hustle are up to something ethically suspect. But if you go fast enough and apply enough pressure, nobody really has time to stop and say, "Wait, are we doing the right thing here?"
So although it'd definitely bad for worker health and generally also harms productivity, I think it's great for the profitability of whoever's at the top. And also for sweeping any ethical questions under the rug until after their pockets are filled.
It's what happens when economic inequality increases continuously for decades. The slope of the line between the haves and the have-nots gets steeper and slipperier every year. Every year, the bottom end of that line gets ever more grim.
When there are fewer jobs to go around, fewer safety nets for people who can't find jobs, and being unemployed means losing health insurance and possibly dying, yeah, people are gonna hustle. It's awful.
Intense competition among labor and companies’ willingness and ability to squeeze value out of employees.
Life is not getting any cheaper, but there is a perpetually larger and larger supply of labor willing to do your job for less. Employers are very efficient at capturing that value, so if you want to keep your job from someone willing to be paid N% less, you need to be N% more productive. The most visible proxy for doing that is to work longer hours. Or, be willing to work for less and work multiple jobs. Lots of people do that too.
A phrase by John Cleese in another context comes to mind: "operating at a very, very low level of mental health." Most people would find that offensive if they heard it head on, but then complain they're not happy in the same breath. But it should be considered an opportunity, "unhealthy" can also be another word for "a lot of untapped potential".
> For instance, what would you say is happening to man, American man, in relationship to his work?
> FROMM: I think his work is to a large extent, meaningless, because he is not related to it. He is increasingly part of a big machinery, social machinery, governed by a big bureaucracy......and I think American man unconsciously hates his work very often, because he feels trapped by it...imprisoned by it... because he feels that he is spending most of his energy for something which has no meaning in itself.
I would say people don't really breed well in captivity, and that's it. Even people who consciously want it, who are so broken they embrace captivity, are not exempt. They die in some way or other, sooner or later, in one generation or another, sometimes by creating the catastrophe that kills them. Maybe the additional "complexity" is really just invented by a.) prison wards and b.) prisoners who don't dare to meet their gaze, for obvious reasons in either case.
> There is a goal, but no way; but what we call a way is hesitation.
-- Franz Kafka
We have too many yes, but's. They kill the soul, and then the body leads a derpy life.
So create your own meaning. tell your own story. What's wrong with "i take in a job that feed me and my coworkers" for meaning ?
As for autonomy - that's different.
Different as in separate from meaning? I disagree.
Autonomy = the level of freedom of choosing your own actions , under the constraint that your goal must be met.
Meaning = knowing your work has some positive value, which means you can tell yourself(maybe subconsciously) that you are useful, which increases your motivation.
Example : a doctor that is forced to use an expert-system to guide him, would feel a lot less autonomy,even though he may understand that he's more useful to his patients - i.e. ,a lot of meaning.
> Example : a doctor that is forced to use an expert-system to guide him, would feel a lot less autonomy,even though he may understand that he's more useful to his patients - i.e. ,a lot of meaning.
Then why would they be "forced"? Either it makes their work easier/better or it doesn't, where does the force come in?
Autonomy doesn't just mean being able to do random things and not being subject to thermodynamics and gravity and everything, in the context of a human being's will to live, it simply has to do with being subject to the will of another human being, and the reasons for that.
As Hannah Arendt said in an interview:
> The whole of Kants morality boils down to the fact that every human has to consider if each of their actions could be general law. This means.. it's the the extreme opposite of obedience, so to speak! Everybody is lawgiver. No human has the right to obey according to Kant. [..] We obey in this sense, as long as we are children, because it is necessary. There obedience is a very important thing. But this should end at the latest at age fourteen or fifteen.
In that sense, I would also make a distinction between discipline and coercion. E.g. choosing (and keeping to reflect on and affirming) even the most rigid principles and living by them is not a reduction, but an expression of autonomy. If you are your own captor -- and you're aware of it, and it's a voluntary choice, rather than a rationalization like like with drug addiction or mental problems -- then you're not really a prisoner.
When I work on something I love, I sometimes work my ass off. I could never ever work this hard on command, outside of a slave camp with actual guns pointed at me. There is simply no way. But when I'm in "in the zone"? I love it, because there isn't just pressure, there is also grip that translate it into motion in a direction that fulfills me.
The same goes for helping people or doing chores that I agree need to be done. E.g. once I and people from an FB group helped clean the flat of a woman who was lethally scared of an upcoming landlord inspection.. and so ashamed of the state of her flat that she actually wasn't even there while we did it. I cleaned nicotine stains from surfaces with baking soda for two days and it felt good then, and still feels good thinking back on it. According to her best friend who had organized the thing she broke out in tears of joy when she saw the result. If I had to do it for money for someone who then complains about the result, it would have been degrading. Same work, different context, completely different result. Extend that to a lifespan and it's really no wonder.
I think people can't care deeply about things they don't have some kind of ownership of, and doing things we don't or can't care deeply about makes us sick. Which is good, because it also means doing things we care about makes us happy, so let's do that :D
This drives people who are not independently wealthy, to try and build that wealth in excess of what they might actually need for survival, and even for a happy life.
Is it good for productivity? I measure my productivity in terms of what I produce for my family.
I believe it all started when the Church of Pavlina opened and easy access to personal development blog fueled by Ferris and others. The ubermensch was promoted. At the same time Amazon and Facebook showed that you could make it big or be a slave so.. fear of doom and american success stories à la "you too can do it if you want" ?
It's all right there in his book, but like anything that inspires people, most people read what they want to read and not the actual words on the page.
The secret to this is that this doesn't require capital at all. You don't need anything to learn how to arbitrage, money, goods, or time.
People do this all the time with 14 day invoices etc. You have to be a little creative and very skilled but it's possible to make something out of nothing because you're providing value- especially when you get paid up front with a deposit.
It's still about being super efficient though (4 super efficient hours a week. Let's be honest anybody who could do that would do it more than once a week).
Steve Pavlina is one of the first superstar of the online self-help world (dating back to 2004 or 2006). It started with an article on a famous website for programmers (can't remember the name atm) about how he dig really deep with his first game and so others were playing catching up but he was raking in a steady monthly income (see where we are going and who would be interested ?).
Then he started his personnal weblog (yeah, we used to call'em weblog in my days) about self help and how he experimented with polyphasic sleep (sleeping 3 or 4 hours a days in twenty minutes increment, see the kind of folks that would bite that bait ?). So far, so good.
Then he went full crazy with psychic powers like talking to bird, being a telepath, reality shaping (aka the secret), etc.
His article were 10 or 12 A4 pages long (wonder how that goes nowadays) and it was kind of mesmerizing to see all that happening in real time (I admit I got first intrigued with his time management article and I kept reading for the crazy).
There was a funny experiment with polyamory and it ended with a divorce.
See http://edificial.blogspot.com/2006/08/church-of-steve-pavlin... for the church of pavlina and https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Steve_Pavlina for links and stuff.
Of course they guy was kinda successful (financially).
Americans have been convinced (largely by republicans) that the reason so many americans are struggling financially is because they're lazy and stupid. One of the side effects of this is people being proud of working non stop as proof that they're not lazy and stupid like everyone else.
And yet, American workers still hold fast to the dream that if they just work harder, they'll be more successful.
That dream doesn't exist. The nightmare that does is that workers are continuing to work for less and less each year.
It wasn't that long ago when agriculture was a very big employer. I have a lot of farmers in my family and basically, if the sun is up, they are working. When something needs to be done, they DIY-it mostly because that's all they can afford.
Or perhaps it's because a single income isn't sufficient anymore to support a household, and people without a partner still need to pay rent/mortgage.
I am sitting in a hotel bed as I write this, killing time before leaving to catch a plane home. Yesterday I extended my stay by a day; I noticed the front desk clerk was wearing a union button, and complimented him on it. When he mentioned their contract is up for re-negotiation at the end of the month, I wished the union the best of luck in getting a fair chunk of the profits they’re making for the owners. It felt great to be able to say things like that.
How is it possible that a political ideology which should appeal to the bottom 50% of the workforce has no representation?
- puts flashing colored boxes in front of our faces at any possible opportunity
- requires us to click through multiple popups to access almost any for-profit website
- has normalized the act of wasting human life at a mass scale by injecting multi-minute time-wasting sessions in activities
"How hustle culture took over"? It's a hustle by default. I'd call it a swindle.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xZbwTCrnktY - Cassidy - I'm a hustler
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sv6CbP4kVno - Lil Wayne - Hustler Muzic
Technically I believe it often meant any odd job to make money whether legal, illegal or a grey area. So selling weed, shoveling a driveway, and busking where you could get kicked out at worst all count.
A programmer programs, but one who programs isn't always a programmer...
If you spend the majority of your time working to abuse your fellow man, I don't respect that, and see no reason why I should.
That is not, and should not be accepted as, a "normal life".
Advertising companies are a disease.
The difficulty here is holding CEOs responsible for crimes with "piercing the corporate veil" is holding a high level, powerful decision-maker, with options, responsible... rather than a person who might be trying to support 5 kids and some elderly parents, and couldn't just choose to sweep the street instead of working at the Ministry of Information for 6 figures.
Oh, please. Someone setting up a targeted Facebook or Google Ads campaign is not 'abusing their fellow man'.
The advertising industry isn't the way it is because it has a will of its own. It ended up like this because a bunch of people shaped it to be like this, and even more people agreed that this is how things should be.
I can understand people who are just starting out in this activity getting a free pass -- they don't really know how things are going in this field, so it makes sense to be a little lax on accountability.
But after that? Why avoid responsibility after that? Or is "making a difference" something we're only allowed to say if you're making a good difference in the world?
> People who work in advertising have many career choices at their disposal
This is a rhetorical trap. If someone has no options left but to abuse their fellow man in order to survive - that doesn't make it respectable.
Inevitable - sure. Something we should tolerate? No, we should call it out, and work to eliminate the circumstances that lead to that sort of thing happening.
Respectable as an activity, no, but understandable -- yes. From the comfort of your own home after a light lunch, it's easy to say that you should refuse to participate in the advertising industry, even if that means starving on the streets. The people who choose advertising over seeing their kids grow up without a childhood certainly don't deserve the kind of wrath and disrespect that we (justly!) show to those who engage in this dubious kind of activity so that they can get a bigger yacht.
I don't think this sort of ad hominem attack is productive; it instantly puts people on guard and stifles debate.
I may be mistaken, but as far as I'm aware, you know nothing about me or my background.
That out of the way; I think the idea that people work in advertising because otherwise they'd be homeless and starve is a falsehood. It might be true in some cases, but there are literally millions of counterexamples.
Edit: other than that, I obviously agree that's an extreme (and rare) case. I just want to emphasize that it's worth keeping the exceptions in mind. The advertising industry is what it is, and everyone who chooses to work in it is responsible for what they do -- but that's true of every mentally-able adult, that doesn't mean everyone is also truly free to make a choice.
On the latter point - I strongly disagree that people don't have a choice, but I think this is outside of the scope of the comment thread.
It's the sort of thing I wouldn't mind discussing over a pint rather than in front of a screen. :P
If you're a summer intern, sure, you can go home and feel good about getting extra credit. If you're the CEO who pushes dark patterns and chooses to sacrifice security for profit, you should toss-and-turn at night. But at which point can we say, "you, the person who knowingly implemented this piece of shit pattern that enables malware to be delivered straight into my machine, did a bad thing, and are personally culpable"?
I don't think anyone should have force used against them (e.g. prison time, fines).
However, it's not only completely fair, but inevitable, that someone's actions influence how they're seen by others.
If your job involves being an asshole, then it's completely unsurprising that people will see you as an asshole. Because you are one. The fact someone pays you to do it is immaterial. You're not an actor at work, your actions have consequences in the world we all live in.
Unless the summer intern didn't accomplish a single thing, maybe not. I would say that you are guilty if you ordered something bad to be done, or carried out a bad order, and an accomplice to the guilty if you supported the actions of someone who was ordering or carrying out something bad.
My local bus stop has adverts (London).
My local metro station does too (London).
They're all over the roads (UK).
They're in pubs (UK).
They're on paid television services (Sky).
They're on paid programs (Windows 10).
They're shown before movies (cinema, UK).
Advertising is _everywhere_, in paid services, unpaid services, whatever.
Unless I'm in my own, or a friend's private home I could probably find an advert by spinning my head around.
Ask yourself - why haven't you included an advert on your comment? You could, and it'd allow you to comment on HN more, right?
Now, if you made an argument that the entire structure is screwed up and the people at the top deserve to make less and therefore not needing as much cash flow and therefore we should be able to cut the ads, THEN I might agree...
I don't believe that my train or bus would cost substantially more without the advertising.
And even if it did, it's just an internalization of costs.
The advertising (if it works) pulls money in through a side channel (someone sees an ad and later buys a thing).
It makes far more sense to just pay for the bus.
Other examples, like ads at the side of the road, don't even pay for anything. Driving along the road, I see an ad in a farmer's field. I'm not using that field in any meaningful sense.
edit: I actually looked up the transport example.
Transport for London had approximately a 1:20 ratio of advertising to fare revenue last year.
So, I'd have to pay approximately 5% more, or 7 pence per bus fare, to not have adverts plastered on the inside and outside of buses, tubes, station platforms, corridors within stations, and probably various roads under TfL authority as well.
I think the world in which we pay 7 pence more for bus fare and have nice artwork on the bus or something instead of hair loss adverts that call us ugly balds is better.
Even bought the Kindle with special offers. Preferred it to the one I have without.
I reckon if we ever get to that point, by then the pint alone might be 12 quid though. Soz.
Berlin just has... clean empty walls on the metro. I mean yeah there's advertising and particularly crappy screens on the actual trains but it's so much better.
1. Have less annoying ads that respect the user.
2. Charge money.
3. Some novel funding model that's unexplored because obnoxious ads dominate everything and suck all the air out of the room.
1. That's fair, but it takes time and talent to create these.
2. Clearly that isn't working; see almost any news site in existence
3. This is a hope, and a nice one. https://scroll.com/
This advertising model hasn't been around for very long. It's baffling how suddenly nobody can even conceive of how the world would work without malicious advertising and culture-wide psyops digging into everyone's brains. The advertising model is one of the worst inventions in history.
The problem is that the perception of the advertising industry at a larger scale is that it's a blood sucking industry with no thought for anything other than taking the attention of everyone away from what they were looking for and towards what the industry has been paid to help sell.
It's ironic, I think, that the advertising industry is perceived so badly.
How could the advertising industry market itself? "Our knowledge of psychologically attacking the human mind is second-only to the CIA, but we're catching up!"
If you were to say working in advertising Girl Scout Cookies in Cannabis Advocate magazines you would get fired so very quickly even if it boosted their sales substantially because of the controversy.
It is part of how Google got their good reputation in the first place - they gave the people what they wanted and were loved for it. Obviously it has greyed over time since.
I find this comment fascinating, in that:
1. If more of the 'ad targets' (ie. consumers) knew this, then it wouldn't work so well.
2. The advertising industry, by keeping their clients happy, are treating the customers of their clients as a resource to be squeezed wherever and whenever possible, and the clients are obviously fine with this.
3. Point #2 results in the advertising industry being a lightning rod for angry anti-consumer sentiment, allowing the ad industry clients to remain relatively clean.
4. It would be 'good / right' if the ad-industry clients that sell the various products being shoved in our faces on most of the flat-surfaces to be found on the Internet could be held to account just as much as the ad industry itself, then the ad industry would have more reason to drag itself out of the sewer. See point #1.
Edited to add: @Nasrudith, just to clarify, your comment is a great point, and succinct. Well said.
Advertising is much worse on the internet because it's a lot easier to propagate, not being constrained by time slots in a broadcast. That means that an overwhelming amount of trash is allowed to survive, drowning out a lot of the things that are worthwhile and building up an audience that is low-value and perhaps even dangerous to society in some regards; I would argue such for the amount of "viral" tripe that sways how people view politics, science, religion, etc.
It seems like the future is getting a free refridgerator that you pay for by watching an ad before you can take out the milk. (Oops, did I just spoil someone's startup?)
The guy who thought of that deserves "Advertiser of the Year" award and a "Crime against Humanity" charge.
That reminds of this blog post by Jamie Zawinski:
"What is true is that for a VC's business model to work, it's necessary for you to give up your life in order for him to become richer.
Follow the fucking money. When a VC tells you what's good for you, check your wallet, then count your fingers.
He's telling you the story of, "If you bust your ass and don't sleep, you'll get rich" because the only way that people in his line of work get richer is if young, poorly-socialized, naive geniuses believe that story! Without those coat-tails to ride, VCs might have to work for a living. Once that kid burns out, they'll just slot a new one in."
An example: if im rebuilding the idler and pitman assembly on a fourteen ton truck, theres no hustle. there is no competition to do it "the fastest." You do it right, because if that assembly fails in a turn you could cause a pretty horrible accident. Depending on what that professional driver hauls (benzene, chlorine, pesticides, etc...), you might find your "hustle" on the evening news as the police evacuate some poor suburb.
If you're writing a web application, shouldnt you take care to make sure its secure and well written? Just because nobody had to pick hair out of a windshield doesnt mean a hacked webapp doesnt ruin just as many lives.
What always ends up happening because of this is that managers start to manage time spent instead of value outputted. Since the work done is all very vague for them, the best programmer is the one that finish their projects the fastest.
We do our own estimates and our subconscious is trying to "win" that race. Sometimes, we even get bonuses based on this. So we end up stamping time estimates that would only happen in a perfect world. Management use those estimates as hard deadlines. If you do not meet the deadline, it's your fault.
So you start to work crunch time at the end of months.
Since the work is virtual, nobody but the programmer cares about the quality of the work. Management pushes you to finish as quickly as possible.
You then start to work for free one or two extra hours a day every day to fix those things in the code that bring you shame.
The things management won't give you extra time to correct. You know this glaring security hole is going to end your career, even if management doesn't want you to correct it. So you correct it anyway.
You want better tools to insure the quality of your projects but since programmers have to build their own tools from scratch, management won't grant you time to build them.
You use some time out of your weekend to build them.
Nobody wants to use a dull blade so your sharpen your tools on your own time.
A few projects done the road, you work 20 extra hours a week without even noticing anything has changed.
... now imagine a new hire trying to compete without putting any extra time. On his first meeting, he gets asked why he takes double the time to finish projects. He quickly end up doing the same as everyone else. Everyone is working for free because everyone else is.
It's a vicious circle that's very hard to break. Most of the time you only notice it when you are a new hire... and nobody listens to new hire. Heck, what management would allow the situation to get back to normal? They are getting so much free work.
Hacker News has this narrative that programmers are always right and always smarter than "management" or any other non-programmer. That's not reality though. Programming isn't some special discipline where everyone is great. There are a lot of poor programmers out there like I describe above. Management often ends up not believing people because of this, just like in other professions.
Developers need to share the responsibility of the situation, it's not all just "bad managers". Developers need to start caring more about the people they build products for rather then simply their wallet and personal "fun".
What I've lived through a lot of time is teams of senior programmers led by junior managers. Sometimes they are fresh out of school and have never led any team. Heck, sometimes senior programmers turn into code monkeys because they are hired as nothing more than glorified trophies. IT teams having to answer directly to sales department managers, etc.
Teams of juniors or intermediates are way more likely to make mistakes such as the one you describe. I've seen my share and I do agree that they exist. People migrating entire projects to the language-du-jour and creating a bad situation for everyone because they didn't master that language and ended up refactoring stable solutions into shaky messes.
In a perfect world, we would have a team of strong senior programmers leading a few juniors under a strong management team.
No. In fact, where I work (massive multistore ecommerce), this attitude is actively discouraged. They don't want developers spending valuable time worrying about what a malicious actor would do or how it can be protected against.
That would be an inappropriate use of company time on non-revenue-generating activities. We HAVE to spend all our time feverishly implementing whatever features business put in for development this quarter to bump conversions and average order volume. If we focus on endpoint security, we aren't adding features, and so we might miss the revenue budget and then stuff REALLY hits the fan.
> An example: if im rebuilding the idler and pitman assembly on a fourteen ton truck, theres no hustle. there is no competition to do it "the fastest." You do it right, because if that assembly fails in a turn you could cause a pretty horrible accident.
In this scenario, you don't have to be in the situation of some company in some other country figuring out a way to sell people a machine that'll rebuild the idler 50% faster. In the SaaS & ecommerce landscape, being beaten to market or having a competitor that can iterate faster than you means you're dead.
I understand how common this sentiment is, and maybe in some markets it really is true, but for the most part I just don't buy it that SaaS and eCommerce are zero-sum games.
I'm going against the grain here, but there are a lot of counterexamples -- look at all the time tracking apps, or all the fitness trackers, or all the file transfer software, or all the credit card processors. I'm pretty sure the number of actual zero-sum markets pales in comparison to the number that people believe exist.
I don't disagree with you, but it is shareholders & executives that determine how developer time is to be spent, not developers.
Also, more similar to what you are familiar with, dealership mechanics and jiffy lube style shops are closer to the hustle mentality than your professional role. They are bound by time constraints because normal consumers will only pay so much for your time and there are standard limits to charge for a particular job. If you take longer than the standard time you can charge for, then the loss is yours.
I take it you work in a relatively high margin part of the industry. The skilled trades is just as much of a rat race in the low margin shops where the vast majority of people start their careers.
Responsible managers (and, by extension, companies) don't encourage this kind of behaviour, precisely because when it goes south, it tends to blow up in your face, badly, especially in heavily-regulated fields where legal responsibility is involved.
Irresponsible managers (and, again, companies) encourage this kind of behaviour because they think it better aligns with their business goals somehow.
And the rationale isn't too different from this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ONKkoiszVSs&t=409
Unions are made up by people of a certain field/study...
There's your reasoning right there.
I've drank a bit of kool-aid myself. It feels normal now to overlay a level of 'hustling advertising' because that's what the business culture does and you don't want to be the one guy in a client meeting who looks pained to be there.
Another way of thinking about it: would you learn to do a little dancing for a good salary + benefits?
It quickly becomes second-nature to at least be engaged in the hustling adverts and culture meetings. The real trap (which is toxic) is feeling like hustling is a competition and a second job.
This stuff can push introverts to the sidelines though, and that can make their real world suffer if they feel isolated because they don't participate as much.
This isn't an appropriate analogy because dancing is harmless.
For example, instead of simply spending money for advertising, you create a valuable piece of content and share it in places your audience hangs out. Then repeat this and be consistent until you get to a result.
Instead of using quick and lazy methods, you achieved something, often creating value for others along the way, and the whole activity was a 'hustle'.
You can hustle 9 till 5 and be done with it. Though, I do get that if you were more persistent and focused on a result, this can easily become 9 till 7 or 12.
So yes, while the term in my opinion was a positive one, it is worth being cautious when explaining it.
'Please don't tell my mother I work in Advertising, she thinks I play piano in a whorehouse.'
I mean, for me it has almost no connotations of busyness or hard work, but its basically all about defrauding/image-projection.
The phrase "side-hustle" stemming from an almost ironic ghetto-esque-referential joke: like a scam or something a low level gangster or drug pusher is doing on the side to make money. But with complete openness that a hustle is, like his other activities, criminal and fraudulent...
Expand your horizons! Ad agencies are not unique. Boasting about the number of hours your work is one of the oldest, most tired tropes in many industries.
I have clients across all sectors that simultaneously boast and complain about their long hours and how committed they are to their business, or employer. Early rise, stay late, skip lunches, skip vacations, work from home even on holidays - I've heard it all - how is this unique to just the advertising / agency industry?
I do think we should aspire to better, but the extra image consciousness seems like the common thread here.
I have friends in law and its the same thing; If you aren't putting up 55+ hr weeks, you are going to get an awkward reference and won't get your next job.
The problem is universal in early careers, and entirely absent in mid to late careers. We all know that for X amount of entry level hires there's only Y amount at the top of the food chain, but when people are being pushed out of the field for not being able to devote all their available waking hours to an entry level position rather than rewarding real skill and prowess, the situation is completely untenable. In 25 years, senior positions won't be filled by the most clever or bright workers, but whoever was able to slog through being overworked and underpaid and put their life on hold for their first 15 years out of college.
Advertising, perhaps the ‘original’ fundamentally meaningless career field to spawn from consumer capitalism, used to be mostly about just communicating your product/service. Eventually it morphed into lifestyle marketing and at this point has reached its ultimate conclusion: advertising workers themselves have drunk the Koolaid that used to only be peddled to consumers.
I wonder if we’ll ever see a return to simple “hey, we make this thing, you might find it useful.”
It used to be that the advertisers used their control over the primarily one way distribution channels to promote their products.
Today it's the consumers who promote the products through the multiway channels and then only if you have exhausted most of your organic, social and viral growth channels do you promote through one-way channels again.
We are humans first and foremost, and economic actors second.
I encounter people all of the time that treat their job as being more important than, well, being human.
I generally find these individuals difficult to interact with in a meaningful sense, aside from in a professional capacity.
If you have a grocery store that has cantaloupes, and that's unusual because most grocery stores don't have cantaloupes most of the time, you just hang a sign in the window that says "Cantaloupes". Maybe you put a print ad in the newspaper. Those who decide they want them will come to your store. When they're all gone, well, your advertising did its job.
But if every grocery store has cantaloupes year-round, you're not going to sell many extra cantaloupes by hanging a sign in your window. You need to get clever. And behold, advertising-as-hustle is born.
Welcome to the 'the service industry is a job program for the middle class' view. It's not a rosy one, and the predictions it makes even less so.
This is something that bothers me a lot. The default answer to any question about who we are is something like "Ohh, I'm a $profession, I work for $company."
I suppose it's an easy ice breaker, but it is so rarely interesting or relevant.
I like riding BMX and Mountain Bikes, being outdoors, building stuff, and have some interest in open source/free culture. Those things are only at best tangentially related to my actual career in IT.
Please don't blame the victim. The slaves have no choice, they have to dance like their masters require them to. The "choice" to quit their jobs simply doesn't exist since there are fewer and fewer jobs for more and more hungry and desperate poor (payed just to live to another paycheck, making sure they end up in the streets should they put up some resistance at the pressure to dance as they are told).
First, things like "at-will employment", which is an offensive term in itself, is pretty much collectively "the workers" fault, since you just vote to not have that, and while you're at it, better labour laws also (see Europe). While we're at collective bargaining, it could be something as simple as everybody in the office agreeing not working past 5pm, or at the other extreme, unionisation.
The reason neither of these things happens is largely self-centred narcissists who ruin it for everybody, because either they can only think of themselves and not others (e.g. if you're single and don't mind staying late vs somebody has kids), or less charitably, they thought of others and then did it anyway. IMO here's the money quote:
> To be clear, hustle isn’t just hard work — it’s showing that you’re working hard.
Of course it is -.-
Edit: Before you say it doesn't work, or doesn't work in the US, consider some of the unions in the US, including the Screen Actors Guild.
I suppose when it comes to the advertising industry, hustle culture is at least better than misogyny and alcoholism
As an LLC you might also be entering a whole new world devoid of worker rights by being considered a contractor rather than an employee — which of course means you don't qualify for benefits. Ask a freelancer about how wonderful their healthcare options are.
The American variety of capitalism has successfully vilified unions and coined nonsense like "hustle" and "gig economy" to make it seem like this shift in work came from the bottom-up, but it's all just a guise to cut benefits and wages.
It's essentially a system that rewards executives for doing anything possible to exploit labor as much as the law allows for.
If you don't believe me, just look at the ever-increasing gap between employee and executive pay. Or check out the salary plateau despite the enormous increases in worker productivity. We've been suckered into doing more for less.
I often find that the people that try the hardest to make it appear they're working hard are only working hard at maintaining that appearance, and are often doing only the basics of their job.
If you're trying so hard to prove it, it's coming at the cost of actually doing the job you're trying to prove you're working so hard at.
The double-irony is that in many cases, this over-proof effort is needed because of Managers that are dis-engaged from their subordinates and only notice the sizzle, not the steak, because the Managers Manager is the same, and so on up the chain.
In time, the side-hustle will be all that's left. Which could already be the case given that people now live off their earnings as an "influencer", and if they have a day-job then that's just their side-hustle.
Most of the time the hustle is making sure the hours at work and at home are effective and not slacking off.
Sometimes it means that as you build a business shit happens at unexpected times so make sure that when an opportunity comes by you take it and don't say oh but it's 7pm and I'm tired.
However I never take it to mean that you should work 50 hour weeks until you collapse. And so far this has been the mentality pushed by fiverr and other companies because it means that they get to profit off your barely profitable labor.
Having to work 60 hours a week is not a hussle. It is a horrible situation.
This sounds really dystopian, a mindset like this genuinely frightens me.
We learn that you aren't really an "entrepreneur" unless you are a salesman. Business without "hustle" is unthinkable?
>"maximizing every last bit of energy you have in order to produce"
>To be clear, hustle isn’t just hard work — it’s showing that you’re working hard.
How anyone can imagine this is supportive of creative work, I just cannot get my head around.
Gary Vanyerchuk, IMO king of hustle culture BS, explaining why his glassdoor reviews by ex employees and employees used to be so bad.
Think of it in the small scale at a fast food joint. You bus tables, sweep etc. If you do just that you can do just that forever. You can also do more to try and get promoted. You can also do less and get fired. If you want more money per paycheck then you'll want to get promoted. To get promoted you have to hustle. You have to do more. No one will give it to you if you weren't already born into it.
I'd say you could get there with time. But how do you make future possiblities happen in the present without working harder.