In this podcast by Rebecca Rashid and Ian Bogost, Rashid talks to Melissa Mazmanian, a professor and Chancellor’s Fellow of informatics from UC Irvine who co-wrote a book in 2020 called Dreams of the Overworked: Living, Working, and Parenting in the Digital Age. Her research analyzes why American adults struggle with overwork and this unmanageable busyness that she says goes beyond just schedules.
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Rashid: [Mazmanian] lays out three myths that motivate American adults to stay constantly occupied: the desire to be the ideal worker, have the perfect body, and be the perfect parent.
Bogost: Yeah, those are definitely dreams.
Mazmanian: In terms of the people that I’m studying, I will find that the people who buy in more tend to be more stressed and feel like more of a failure, right? So, the more that you feel like, “No, no, no, I actually should be able to be a perfect parent, and I should be able to run five to 10 miles a day, and I should be able to be seen as an ideal worker,”—the more you’re committed to that and unwilling to question what it looks like to be a good parent and a good worker in a healthy body—the harder it is. Because they are fundamentally impossible.
Read the full interview in The Atlantic.