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robertogreco : vacation   27

The “parenting happiness gap” is real, new research confirms — Quartz
"It’s an almost immutable fact: Regardless of what country you live in, and what stage of life you might be at, having kids makes you significantly less happy compared to people who don’t have kids. It’s called the parenting happiness gap.

New research to be published in the American Journal of Sociology shows that American parents are especially miserable on this front, posting the largest gap (13%) in a group of 22 developed countries.

But the research also shows that it doesn’t have to be this way. Every other country had smaller gaps, and some, including Russia, France, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Spain, Hungary, and Portugal, actually showed happiness gains for parents.

The researchers, led by Jennifer Glass at the University of Texas, looked at what impact policies such as paid sick and vacation leave and subsidized child care have on closing that gap. It was 100%.

“As social scientists we rarely completely explain anything, but in this case we completely explain the parental happiness gap,” said Glass. In countries with the strongest family-friendly policy packages, “the parental deficit in happiness was completely eliminated, accomplished by raising parent’s happiness rather than lowering nonparents’ happiness,” the authors wrote.

It’s not just one policy, like paid parental leave, that makes the difference. It’s the magic of a package of policies spanning over a lifetime, that allow people to care for children, support them financially, and even enjoy them every once in awhile on a holiday.

The study looked at 22 European and English-speaking countries using surveys from prior to the recession, including the International Social Surveys of 2007 and 2008 and the European Social Surveys of 2006 and 2008. The group created a a three-item policy index including combined paid leave available to mothers, paid vacation and sick leave, and work flexibility, and then looked at the effect of the basket of policies, as well as the impact of each individual one, on closing the happiness gap.

They found that in countries high on the comprehensive policy index, there was no gap, or, parents were even happier than non-parents. Countries low on that index were less happy.

All policies are not created equal. Paid sick and vacation leave and subsidized child care showed the largest impact on improving the happiness of non-parents as well as parents, Glass said. This is important, because policies that spend tax money to help parents at the expense of non-parents tend to be less popular.

Studies like this present some obvious challenges. For one, people in the US are actually a weirdly happy lot overall. On a scale from 1-10, they log in around the 8-10 range. People in France rate their happiness in the middle of the scale, from 5-7. “We aren’t sure if this means the French are truly less happy than Americans, or just don’t think it is appropriate to use the extremes of any scale,” Glass wrote.

To allow for these cultural differences, the research focused on the differences between parents and non-parents in the same country. They asked: “What factors are associated with parents being less happy than nonparents, given their country’s overall average level of happiness?” The key is association (or correlation), and not causation, which is impossible to prove in studies like this.

It’s no big surprise that parents in Sweden, with its dreamy parental leave policies, are happier (compared to their non-parent peers) than parents in the US, where there is no paid leave for anything—having a baby, much less raising it. But the research helps point to which policies could help most.

Glass says it’s not that parents are unhappy. They often find parenting fulfilling, and wouldn’t have it any other way. But their stress levels tend to be high, which can overshadow any happiness to be gained from shepherding another human being through life.

And why should we even care about whether parents are happy? “Parental happiness does in fact determine our fertility rates, it does determine the types of bills we get for stress-related diseases,” Glass said. “When you have a system that is not very efficient in supporting parents, you can expect to have problems motivating people to have children and care for them.”

Conversely, she said, “People want to have more children when you make it possible for them to be effective parents and effective workers.”"

[See also: http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2016/06/us-has-largest-parental-happiness-gap.html ]
parenting  us  happiness  policy  culture  government  kids  sweden  denmark  france  finland  russia  spain  españa  hungary  portugal  norway  jennifer  glass  paidleave  maternityleave  parentalleave  paternityleave  sociology  europe  vacation  childcare  society 
june 2016 by robertogreco
Living in Switzerland ruined me for America and its lousy work culture - Vox
"Here are seven ways living abroad made it hard to return to American life.

1) I had work-life balance…

2) I had time and money …

3) I had the support of an amazing unemployment system …

4) I witnessed what happens when countries impose wealth-based taxes …

5) I had lots of paid vacation time and was never made to feel guilty about taking it …

6) I never had to own a car …

7) I had excellent health care when I gave birth — and then enjoyed a fully paid 14-week maternity leave …"
us  economics  well-being  switzerland  work  culture  society  2015  chantalpanozzo  vacation  employment  unemployment  taxes  taxation  inequality  qualityoflife  work-lifebalance 
july 2015 by robertogreco
What Your Culture Really Says — about work — Medium
[via: http://mike.teczno.com/notes/on-managers.html ]

"Toxic lies about culture are afoot in Silicon Valley. They spread too fast as we take our bubble money and designer Powerpoints to drinkups, conferences and meetups all over the world, flying premium economy, ad nauseam. Well-intentioned darlings south of Market wax poetic on distributed teams, office perks, work/life balance, passion, “shipping”, “iteration,” “freedom”. A world of startup privilege hides blithely unexamined underneath an insipid, self-reinforcing banner of meritocracy and funding. An economic and class-based revolt of programmers against traditional power structures within organizations manifests itself as an (ostensively) radical re-imagining of work life. But really, you should meet the new boss. Hint: he’s the same as the old boss.

The monied, celebrated, nuevo-social, 1% poster children of startup life spread the mythology of their cushy jobs, 20% time, and self-empowerment as a thinly-veiled recruiting tactic in the war for talent against internet giants. The materialistic, viral nature of these campaigns have redefined how we think about culture, replacing meaningful critique with symbols of privilege. The word “culture” has become a signifier of superficial company assets rather than an ongoing practice of examination and self-reflection.

Culture is not about the furniture in your office. It is not about how much time you have to spend on feel-good projects. It is not about catered food, expensive social outings, internal chat tools, your ability to travel all over the world, or your never-ending self-congratulation.

Culture is about power dynamics, unspoken priorities and beliefs, mythologies, conflicts, enforcement of social norms, creation of in/out groups and distribution of wealth and control inside companies. Culture is usually ugly. It is as much about the inevitable brokenness and dysfunction of teams as it is about their accomplishments. Culture is exceedingly difficult to talk about honestly. The critique of startup culture that came in large part from the agile movement has been replaced by sanitized, pompous, dishonest slogans.

Let’s examine popular startup trends that are being called “culture” and look beneath the surface to find the real culture that may be playing out beneath it. This is not a critique of the practices themselves, which often contribute value to an organization. This is to show a contrast between the much deeper, systemic cultural problems that are rampant in our startups and the materialistic trappings that can disguise them.

We make sure to hire people who are a cultural fit
What your culture might actually be saying is… We have implemented a loosely coordinated social policy to ensure homogeneity in our workforce. We are able to reject qualified, diverse candidates on the grounds that they “aren’t a culture fit” while not having to examine what that means - and it might mean that we’re all white, mostly male, mostly college-educated, mostly young/unmarried, mostly binge drinkers, mostly from a similar work background. We tend to hire within our employees’ friend and social groups. Because everyone we work with is a great culture fit, which is code for “able to fit in without friction,” we are all friends and have an unhealthy blur between social and work life. Because everyone is a “great culture fit,” we don’t have to acknowledge employee alienation and friction between individuals or groups. The desire to continue being a “culture fit” means it is harder for employees to raise meaningful critique and criticism of the culture itself.

Meetings are evil and we have them as little as possible.
What your culture might actually be saying is… We have a collective post-traumatic stress reaction to previous workplaces that had hostile, unnecessary, unproductive and authoritarian meetings. We tend to avoid projects and initiatives that require strict coordination across the company. We might have difficulty meeting the expectations of enterprise companies and do better selling to startups organized like us. We are heavily invested in being rebels against traditional corporate culture. Because we communicate largely asynchronously and through chat, it is easy to mentally dehumanize teammates and form silos around functional groups with different communications practices or business functions.

We have a team of people who are responsible for organizing frequent employee social events, maintaining the office “feel”, and making sure work is a great place to hang out. We get served organic, vegan, farm-raised, nutritious lunches every day at work.
What your culture might actually be saying is… Our employees must be treated as spoiled, coddled children that cannot perform their own administrative functions. We have a team of primarily women supporting the eating, drinking, management and social functions of a primarily male workforce whose output is considered more valuable. We struggle to hire women in non-administrative positions and most gender diversity in our company is centralized in social and admin work. Because our office has more amenities than home life, our employees work much longer hours and we are able to extract more value from them for the same paycheck. The environment reinforces the cultural belief that work is a pleasant dream and can help us distract or bribe from deeper issues in the organization.

20% of the time, or all of the time, people can work on whatever they want to
What your culture might actually be saying is… We have enough venture funding to pay people to work on non-core parts of the business. We are not under that much pressure to make money. The normal work of the business is not sufficiently rewarding so we bribe employees with pet projects. We’re not entirely sure what our business objectives and vision are, so we are trying to discover it by letting employee passions take root. We have a really hard time developing work that takes more than a few people to release. We have lots of unfinished but valuable projects that get left behind due to shifts in focus, lack of concentrated effort, and inability to organize sufficient resources to bring projects to completion.

We don’t have managers and the company is managed with no hierarchy
What your culture might actually be saying is… Management decisions are siloed at the very top layers of management, kept so close to the chest they appear not to exist at all. The lack of visibility into investor demands, financial affairs, HR issues, etc. provides an abstraction layer between employees and real management, which we pretend doesn’t exist. We don’t have an explicit power structure, which makes it easier for the unspoken power dynamics in the company to play out without investigation or criticism.

We don’t have a vacation policy
What your culture might actually be saying is… We fool ourselves into thinking we have a better work/life balance when really people take even less vacation than they would when they had a vacation policy. Social pressure and addiction to work has replaced policy as a regulator of vacation time.

We are all makers who are focused on shipping.
What your culture might actually be saying is… Features are the most important function of our business. We lack processes for surfacing and addressing technical debt. We have systemic infrastructure problems but they are not relevant because we are more focused on short-term adoption than long-term reliability. We prioritize fast visible progress, even if it is trivial, over longer and more meaningful projects. Productivity is measured more by lines of code than the value of that code. Pretty things are more important than useful things.

Closing
Talk to your company about culture. Talk to other companies about culture. Stop mistaking symbology and VC spoils for culture. Be honest with yourself, and with each other. Otherwise, your culture will kill you softly with its song, and you won’t even notice. But hey, you have a beer keg in the office."
shanley  2013  business  culture  github  horizontality  hierarchy  hierarchies  control  power  meetings  homogeneity  organzations  vacation  policies  politics  work  labor  process  social  socialpressure  management  administration  illegibility  legibility  decisionmaking  powerstructures  criticism  valve 
march 2014 by robertogreco
Why More Vacation Doesn't Always Mean Happier Workers - Olga Khazan - The Atlantic
"The Dutch have incredibly short work schedules, and only about a quarter of women there are employed full-time, despite the government urging that they work more. Who wouldn't love a job that lets you do art projects or get coffee with friends at 2 p.m.?

And even for full-time workers, work-life balance reigns:

"The Dutch have a 9 to 5 mentality much more than other countries have. If it's 5:30, and you aren't at home with your family or on your way there, you're a freak. That means they can detach themselves from the stress more easily than elsewhere," Donnelly said."
netherlands  france  well-being  vacation  work  life  2013  balance  workday  universalbasicincome  labor  work-lifebalance  ubi 
august 2013 by robertogreco
This Life - A Plugged-in Summer - NYTimes.com
"I concocted a scheme. During weekends this summer, I would pursue the opposite of an unplugged vacation: I would check screens whenever I could. Not in the service of work, but in the service of play. I would crowd-source new ideas for car games and YouTube my picnic recipes. I would test the prevailing wisdom that the Internet spoils all the fun. With back-to-school fast approaching, here’s my report.

For starters, the Web supplied an endless font of trivia and historical tidbits to enliven our days. I learned that a great debate still rages over who was the “Benedict” in eggs Benedict; that ancient mythologists believed fish were so afraid of the ospreys that they turned up their bellies in surrender; and that care packages like the one we sent my nephew at camp had their origins feeding starving Europeans in World War II and initially contained liver loaf and steak and kidneys…"
technology  vacation  brucefeiler  connectivity  twitter  socialsoftware  socialnetworking  handhelds  iphone  ipad  instantgratification  search  crowdsourcing  learning  2011 
august 2011 by robertogreco
All Work and No Pay: The Great Speedup | Mother Jones
"You: doing more with less. Corporate profits: up 22 percent. The dirty secret of the jobless recovery."
culture  society  politics  economics  business  work  labor  us  world  comparison  productivity  2011  overwork  wages  growth  employment  unemployment  disparity  inequality  vacation  maternityleave  childcare 
july 2011 by robertogreco
Overworked America: 12 Charts that Will Make Your Blood Boil | Mother Jones
"In the past 20 years, the US economy has grown nearly 60 percent. This huge increase in productivity is partly due to automation, the internet, and other improvements in efficiency. But it's also the result of Americans working harder—often without a big boost to their bottom lines. Oh, and meanwhile, corporate profits are up 20 percent."
culture  politics  economics  business  work  labor  us  world  comparison  productivity  2011  overwork  wages  growth  employment  unemployment  disparity  inequality  vacation  maternityleave  childcare 
june 2011 by robertogreco
Vacation rentals, private rooms, sublets by the night - Accommodations on Airbnb
"Called the "Ebay for space"…online marketplace allowing anyone from private residents to commercial properties to rent out extra space. The reputation-based site allows for user reviews, verification, & secure online transactions. Listings include vacation rentals, private rooms, entire apartments, bed & breakfasts, boutique hotels, castles, treehouses, & many other traditional & non-traditional accommodations.

The open platform allows users to post listings of their space. Prospective travelers can search by city or country, utilizing filters such as price & room type…Travelers contact hosts directly through the web site, which includes user profiles & friend recommendations. Dates are confirmed through on-site messaging, & the traveler books directly online using their credit card or PayPal account. Hosts receive a reservation request which they can accept or decline. Both parties then receive an itinerary on accepted reservations, & are set to go."
airbnb  housing  hotels  couchsurfing  travel  budget  apartments  alternative  b&b  accommodations  network  vacation 
september 2010 by robertogreco
Angela Ritchie's Ace Camps - HOME
"Ace Camps are vacations where you learn and create from the BEST, the most POPULAR and the most INTERESTING leaders.<br />
<br />
You and your group head on a journey to improve a skill, meet new people and experience different cultures. Along with your guide you will spend time with a professional. Ace Camps seek out the most interesting professionals, artists, photographers and creative people to spend time with and we want to pass on the experience to you."
travel  art  vacation  experience  creativity  lisacongdon  camillaengman  rolfpotts  teaching  learning  angelaritchie  education  lcproject  workshops  classideas 
august 2010 by robertogreco
The peak-end rule - Bobulate
"Psychologists and economists have advice about what really matters when it comes to vacations, and it’s not necessarily what we would expect:

# How long we take off probably counts for less than we think
# Taking more short trips leaves us happier than taking a few long ones
# We’re often happier planning a trip than actually taking it
# Interrupting a vacation can make us enjoy it more
# How a trip ends matters more than how it begins"
psychology  vacation  experience  memory  happiness  time  peak-endrule 
june 2010 by robertogreco
Kappan Magazine: The Perennial Reform: Fixing School Time Education: critics often call for longer school days and years. But there is little research to support such demands and several reasons why little will change.
"There is a homespun myth, treated as fact, that the annual school calendar, with three months off for both teachers and students, is based on the rhythm of 19th-century farm life, which dictated when school was in session. Thus, planting and harvesting chores accounted for long summer breaks, an artifact of agrarian America. Not so.

Actually, summer vacations grew out of early 20th-century urban middle-class parents (and later lobbyists for camps and the tourist industry) pressing school boards to release children to be with their families for four to eight weeks or more. By the 1960s, however, policy maker and parent concerns about students losing ground academically during the vacation months -- in academic language, "summer loss" -- gained support for year-round schooling. Cost savings also attracted those who saw facilities being used 12 months a year rather than being shuttered during the summer."
schools  change  reform  schoolreform  time  calendar  summer  vacation 
september 2009 by robertogreco
The Benefits of Vacation - The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan
"When we escape from the place we spend most of our time, the mind is suddenly made aware of all those errant ideas we’d previously suppressed. Furthermore, this more relaxed sort of cognition comes with practical advantages, especially when we’re trying to solve difficult problems."
science  psychology  mind  travel  imagination  vacation  benefits  bias  cognition  creativity  problemsolving 
september 2009 by robertogreco
Take Back Your Time
"Take Back Your Time is a U.S./Canadian campaign that challenges time poverty: the epidemic of overwork, over-scheduling and time famine. The campaign promotes the idea mandatory vacations and of rewarding gains in productivity with time instead of stuff. In our view, such a strategy would leave Americans healthier, happier, and more connected to each other, their communities and the environment."

[via: http://www.worldchanging.com/archives/010270.html]
work  culture  us  society  politics  business  vacation  environment  simplicity  slow  organization  gtd  happiness  sustainability  well-being  government  health  time  lifestyle  community  activism  life  productivity 
august 2009 by robertogreco
apophenia: obsessively recording and sharing our vacations
"The processes of recording & sharing help make things "real" by expanding their significance in our lives. These are tools to aid us in building memories. We forget most moments in our lives, but when we record and share, we take the steps to solidify these memories. Vacation is a luxury and it's (usually) filled with happy times that we want to remember. So when we record and share, we seek to keep these memories close. I cannot fault people for wanting to do this (especially in a country where people get so little vacation on average). I understand the desire to just be present on vacation, but I also understand why people are so determined to lock down these memories and contribute positive stories to the information flow of their friendships. I can't fault them for this, even if I'd prefer that we all took a break and just enjoyed the moment...let's also recognize that this is just one in a long line of recording and sharing tools...not the most annoying one yet."
vacation  memory  danahboyd  technology  culture  sharing  flickr  twitter  photography  lifelogging  history  moderation 
july 2009 by robertogreco
Brigid Schulte -- The Case for Year-Round School
"Done well, a modified calendar offers the possibility of transforming schools and the way children learn. One night in early January a few years ago, my son, who struggles in a regimented setting, lamented that school would be starting the next day.

"But you've been at school all week," I said. He'd been solving riddles in Code Breakers to hone his problem-solving skills and making volcanos explode with baking soda and vinegar in a science lab.

"That wasn't school," he said. "That was intersession."

So let's give students more time in school. But let's give them time with great teachers using more time in rich and exciting ways. The world is changing. Let's let Huck Finn go and not stand in the way."
education  poverty  vacation  summer  learning  calendar  tcsnmy  yearround  children  summers  administration 
june 2009 by robertogreco
Why We Should Get Rid Of Summer Vacation - Conor Clarke
"This is because wealthy parents can afford to given their children all sorts of edifying summer experiences that downscale parents cannot. And this, as researchers at Johns Hopkins have found, leads to backsliding: Educational advancement across classes tends to be fairly even during the school year. But downscale students actually decline in educational achievement over the course of the summer, while upscale students remain relatively stable."
education  poverty  vacation  summer  learning  calendar  tcsnmy  yearround  children  summers  administration 
june 2009 by robertogreco
Sweet Juniper! - Someday the world outside the Rust Belt is going to blow this kid's mind
"We parent on the theory of lowered expectations: if they don't know what they're missing, they won't get upset about it until they're already old enough to resent us for a whole host of other reasons. Disneyworld is, I'm sure, a totally magical pain in the ass. But when your kid has never seen a Disney movie and doesn't know Florida even exists, places like Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, and Cincinnati will do in a pinch."
parenting  childhood  disneyfree  simplicity  slow  vacation  children  perspective  expectations 
january 2009 by robertogreco
apophenia: Warning: Email Sabbatical is Imminent .. and other random thoughts
"For those who are unaware of my approach to vacation... I believe that email eradicates any benefits gained from taking a vacation by collecting mold and spitting it back out at you the moment you return. As such, I've trained my beloved INBOX to reject all email during vacation. I give it a little help in the form of a .procmail file that sends everything directly to /dev/null. The effect is very simple. You cannot put anything in my queue while I'm away (however lovingly you intend it) and I come home to a clean INBOX. Don't worry... if you forget, you'll get a nice note from my INBOX telling you to shove off, respect danah's deeply needed vacation time, and try again after January 19."
email  danahboyd  distraction  emptyinbox  vacation  academia 
december 2008 by robertogreco
A Tourist of the Everyday - Dwell Blog - dwell.com
"1x/week Kate leaves directions on telephone hotline telling how to find offbeat attractions in SF area. 3-4 times/year leads bus trips called Mundane Journeys...drops passengers at locations with handouts instructing them to admire sidewalk markings, cha
sanfrancisco  books  tours  travel  cities  experience  visual  senses  social  local  urban  place  color  glvo  gamechanging  fieldtrips  lcproject  katepocrass  vacation  walking  illustration  events  california  art 
november 2007 by robertogreco
Mundane Journeys: Field Guide to Color. by Pocrass, Kate. : William Stout Architectural Books
"San Francisco, 2007 San Francisco guide book. Kate Pocrass has distilled the unique beauty of San Francisco in astonishingly poetic moments of bliss, sensuality, and wonder. Destined to become a classic."
sanfrancisco  books  tours  travel  cities  experience  visual  senses  social  local  urban  place  color  glvo  gamechanging  fieldtrips  lcproject  katepocrass  vacation  walking  illustration  events  california  art 
november 2007 by robertogreco
San Jose Mercury News - Vacation policy at Netflix: Take as much as you want
"Across America, executives are searching for ways to keep experienced Baby Boomers at their companies and attract younger workers, many of whom are used to controlling which songs they listen to and where they get their news."
business  economics  vacation  work  society  time  productivity  management  life  freedom 
march 2007 by robertogreco
List of faux pas - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"the following list contains useful generalized information about ways that one might breach social expectations in various countries."
advice  behavior  business  culture  international  customs  etiquette  travel  society  world  wikipedia  vacation  language  rules 
november 2006 by robertogreco
Schlafstelle Beta
"Thomas Walde's Schlafstelle Beta (a place to sleep named beta), a beach house"
architecture  housing  homes  shelter  travel  vacation 
october 2006 by robertogreco
Why fly and miss the adventure? | csmonitor.com
"Driving across the Midwest from before dawn until after dark may not sound like the beginning of a relaxing family vacation. Growing up, I viewed the 20-hour trek from Minnesota to my grandparents' Colorado home - a drive my father is famous in our famil
travel  transportation  vacation  parenting  children  learning  education  memory  cars 
september 2006 by robertogreco

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