Something to think about from today’s New York Times:
They work long hours, often to exhaustion. Many are paid by the piece — not garments, but blog posts. This is the digital-era sweatshop. You may know it by a different name: home.
A growing work force of home-office laborers and entrepreneurs, armed with computers and smartphones and wired to the hilt, are toiling under great physical and emotional stress created by the around-the-clock Internet economy that demands a constant stream of news and comment.
Of course, the bloggers can work elsewhere, and they profess a love of the nonstop action and perhaps the chance to create a global media outlet without a major up-front investment. At the same time, some are starting to wonder if something has gone very wrong. In the last few months, two among their ranks have died suddenly.
Two weeks ago in North Lauderdale, Fla., funeral services were held for Russell Shaw, a prolific blogger on technology subjects who died at 60 of a heart attack. In December, another tech blogger, Marc Orchant, died at 50 of a massive coronary. A third, Om Malik, 41, survived a heart attack in December.
Other bloggers complain of weight loss or gain, sleep disorders, exhaustion and other maladies born of the nonstop strain of producing for a news and information cycle that is as always-on as the Internet.
To be sure, there is no official diagnosis of death by blogging, and the premature demise of two people obviously does not qualify as an epidemic. There is also no certainty that the stress of the work contributed to their deaths. But friends and family of the deceased, and fellow information workers, say those deaths have them thinking about the dangers of their work style.
The pressure even gets to those who work for themselves — and are being well-compensated for it.
“I haven’t died yet,” said Michael Arrington, the founder and co-editor of TechCrunch, a popular technology blog. The site has brought in millions in advertising revenue, but there has been a hefty cost. Mr. Arrington says he has gained 30 pounds in the last three years, developed a severe sleeping disorder and turned his home into an office for him and four employees. “At some point, I’ll have a nervous breakdown and be admitted to the hospital, or something else will happen.”
“This is not sustainable,” he said.
Sleep? I have sleep up for Lent.
Colleen…try http://www.healthyback.com. That will take you to the website of The Healthy Back Store, a small chain that sells a variety of ergonomic chairs. They have stores in N. Va and the Raleigh-Durham area. My suggestion is the Eames Aaron chair. It’s a tad expensive, but worth it. It’s the kind of purchase you might wish to make on special occasions, so just remember…there are only 274 more shopping days ’til Elvis’ Birthday!
Thanks, Ron. I’m there. I just bought a new chair and it’s still not right…and not cheap either.
Over the past couple years I’ve bought at least 4 different desk chairs and not a one of them fits my back right.
The problem is, you can’t go to a store and sit in one for a few minutes, and know if it’s right. I have to sit in a chair for days, if not weeks, before you can really tell about the fit of a chair. By the time you know, it’s way to late to return the chair, so you’re stuck with it.
I wish someone would come up with a way to make a mold of my back, then mold a chair to fit the back mold. We all have different shapes, and there is no “one size fits all!”