Work Friend: Everyone Dies

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This is Choire Sicha’s final column as your Work Friend. You’ll have a new friend next week. Isn’t that just like you. Send questions about the office, money, careers and work-life balance to his successor workfriend@nytimes.com. Include your name and location, even if you want them withheld. Letters may be edited.

I work for a nonprofit that relies heavily on private sponsors. Our new boss loves to celebrate with wine or Champagne when any amount is donated — and we constantly receive donations. Even for a TGIF, the boss decided to bring in drinks just because. As a person who is not a heavy drinker, it makes me feel a bit uncomfortable. How do I rectify this culture change of constantly drinking in the workplace?

— Elmsford, N.Y.

Really though, aren’t we all drinking in the workplace? Drinking the rancid Kool-Aid of corporate eco-terrorism and capitalist larceny, that is!

But alcohol-drinking, honestly, isn’t that fun in the office. I do find it cute when people parade a bar cart around on Friday at 6 p.m. It’s charming! Yet I find it way less cute at 5:45, and reprehensible before 5:15. (I just pack up and go home when people start drinking. But as you can tell, I’m the funnest person in the room.)

I wish I was a chill bro who believed that everyone should crack open a cold one after lunch. But there’s no world in which it’s appropriate for a nonprofit to have regular drinking in the office, unless it’s a nonprofit devoted to housing for aging vintners and sommeliers.

Do you know who finds excuses to introduce alcohol into all life events? Yes. That’s right. Your boss is an alcoholic.


I’m about a year in at a new job that I’m very proud to have. I love the work I do, I’m happy enough with the pay and I feel respected. One big problem, though: I do not relate socially to anyone in my office. I’ve definitely tried — I send the occasional joke over Gchat, I ask how people’s weekends were when I run into them in the kitchen, all that, but I get nothing back. It permeates the office culture. It seems that no one here really socially interacts with each other.

I work long hours, and I’m a fairly extroverted person, so I’m thinking that the company culture just might not be right for me. I don’t need much, but I do know the occasional banter/dish about my weekend would help me feel a lot happier. A lot of it has to do with a pretty significant age gap. However, the lack of social interaction makes me pine to leave the office, thus I feel burned-out often, and that burnout has led to me tending toward laziness sometimes. Is this enough for me to consider leaving an otherwise great gig?

New York City

I think you’re having too many cascading experiences about this workplace, when instead you should be having cascading experiences of trauma over the fact that you are scouring the ocean bare of life with your daily existence. Sorry! Somewhere a plastic bag you once touched is choking the life from a dolphin!

I don’t think you’re burned out. I think you have a job, and you have a life, and perhaps they are meeting different needs, in some kind of “balance.” A balance of work and life, if you will, to coin a phrase.

You should probably check to see if your co-workers are just socializing behind your back because they don’t like you.


This question concerns media, the internet and work. There’s an album by The Promise Ring called “Nothing Feels Good.” It’s an emo record.

So I’m going to risk sentimentality here and say that there were places on the internet about 10 years ago that were exciting for me. These were lively communities based around art and experimental literature, variously called websites, magazines and blogs.

But I can no longer identify any exciting internet magazines; they all feel very antiseptic. This relates to work, because people read internet magazines at work, and because some people work for internet magazines. How did we get here? Pardon my emotion.

— Minneapolis

I’m listening to “Nothing Feels Good” right now for the first time and I absolutely hate it!

How did we get to this place where “content” that solicits you to consume it feels invasive, manipulative or basic? It may not surprise you that the answer is mostly about money, but is also about people and forms growing up. Also, the exciting internet magazines you liked the best should have requested that you pay them $2 a month.

Oh well! Now they are dead because they didn’t. Some of the eldest, like Suck.com, seem to even be completely obliterated. Their parts or people were absorbed by their betters and biggers. Many weird bloggers now work at major capitalist media institutions, it turns out. Also, many of them have gone all the way to the television, a.k.a. “the little screen.” From Julie Klausner and Julieanne Smolinski to Megan Amram and Cord Jefferson and Emma Carmichael, and yes also Diablo Cody before them: Never forget, a number of the internet’s most beautiful basket cases now make the fine television that you enjoy upon your streaming service of choice.

Now, otherwise, instead of reading, people gaze upon the many pictures of the duckfaces. Think about how mournful this generation will feel in a decade for what they will inevitably lose too, when the next crop of young people express themselves with — electric shocks? Mutilation? Who knows.

Nostalgia, however, is a very rainbow-tinted set of glasses. I recently briefly got my hands on a collection of “7 Days,” the fabled magazine edited by the legendary, just-retired Adam Moss that folded in 1990. It was fascinating and intriguing as a time capsule and a product. Also, lots of it was not really all that interesting.

Sooner or later, it’s all destined for the bird cage. But all these publications that rose and fell, at least they gave some people some jobs for a while. Speaking of! If you’ve enjoyed your time at all here in this first three-month installment of Work Friend, please tip your server by subscribing to The New York Times.


Choire Sicha, the Styles editor of The Times, is no longer your Work Friend. Next quarter in this space: Katy Lederer, a poet, veteran of a quantitative hedge fund, and author of the memoir “Poker Face: A Girlhood Among Gamblers.” Write to her at workfriend@nytimes.com.

This article is from NYT – go to source

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