Stressed Workers of the World, Arianna Huffington Feels Your Pain
If you’re having some trouble balancing work with the rest of your life, a wise, powerful mind is hosting a conference in her home to help come up with new ideas and approaches to help:
“The Third Metric: Redefining Success Beyond Money & Power” was the conference presented last week by Mika Brzezinski, host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” and Arianna Huffington, editor in chief of the Huffington Post, at Ms. Huffington’s new apartment in TriBeCa (some 200 people squeezed into her living room).
Panels, covering topics ranging from “Managing a Frenetic Life” to “Wellness and the Bottom Line,” featured a number of prominent people, among them the actress Candice Bergen and Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser to President Obama.
The message, one that Ms. Huffington is promoting in her publication and in speeches, is particularly aimed at women. “The way we define success isn’t working,” Ms. Huffington said at the conference. “More, bigger, better — we can’t do that anymore.”
The concepts seem a little fuzzy at times, but the overarching thesis is that it is time to rethink the common wisdom of how to achieve success: sleep four hours a night, work 20 hours a day, see your family rarely and never admit the need for downtime.
That system is wearing us down, Ms. Huffington said. In her commencement speech this year at Smith College, she told students, “If we don’t redefine success, the personal price we pay will get higher and higher. And as the data shows, the price is even higher for women than for men. Already women in stressful jobs have a nearly 40 percent increased risk of heart disease and a 60 percent greater risk for diabetes.
“Right now, America’s workplace culture is practically fueled by stress, sleep deprivation and burnout,” she said.
Wait . . . that Arianna Huffington? The one who runs the Huffington Post?
The one whose business model was once characterized by Tim Rutten of the Los Angeles Times as:
The Huffington Post is a brilliantly packaged product with a particular flair for addressing the cultural and entertainment tastes of its overwhelmingly liberal audience. To grasp its business model, though, you need to picture a galley rowed by slaves and commanded by pirates. Given the fact that its founder, Huffington, reportedly will walk away from this acquisition with a personal profit of as much as $100 million, it makes all the Post’s raging against Wall Street plutocrats, crony capitalism and the Bush and Obama administrations’ insensitivities to the middle class and the unemployed a bit much.
The fact is that AOL and the Huffington Post simply recapitulate in the new media many of the worst abuses of the old economy’s industrial capitalism — the sweatshop, the speedup and piecework; huge profits for the owners; desperation, drudgery and exploitation for the workers. No child labor, yet, but if there were more page views in it . . .
You’re sure we’re talking about the same woman whose publication inspired this bit of Onion satire:
Shocked and saddened witnesses at the Huffington Post’s news-aggregation facility have confirmed that employee Henry Evers, 25, died Wednesday after being sucked into the website’s powerful news-repurposing turbine, where his body was immediately torn to pieces.
The 200-ton content-compiling device, developed by Greek multimillionaire and site co-founder Arianna Huffington, sucks up original articles from around the web with its massive rotor assembly, re-brands them with the Huffington Post name, and then spits them back out on the company’s home page . . .
Since The Huffington Post was founded in 2005, its headquarters has consisted of two rooms: Arianna Huffington’s spacious, lavishly appointed office overlooking New York City, and the windowless 10,000-square-foot subterranean warehouse that houses the turbine. More than 700 low-wage workers, known as writers, clock in every day, and, dressed in their Huffington Post hard hats and coveralls, work in dark, unsafe conditions to ensure the machine runs smoothly and constantly churns out content.
(Judges have ruled it’s perfectly legal to not pay writers, if they understand the terms of the agreement. Of course, even Obama jokes about how the Huffington Post doesn’t pay some of their writers.)
Anyway, Huffington was trying to squeeze 200 people in her living room in the event in her apartment…
Ahem. The above image was from coverage of Huffington’s purchase of the $8.15 million, 4,200-square-foot loft.
Anyway, remember, in your most stressed moments, that Arianna Huffington, powerful publisher with a net worth of approximately $115 million, wants to help you “redefine success beyond money and power.”