Links to Think: 07.02.12

July 2, 2012

The ‘Busy’ Trap – Excellent cultural observation via Tim Kreider. There was a time in our lives when Daniel and I realized that we were equating busyness with spirituality, and were allowing it to become our identity. I think there are a lot of spiritual applications and lessons to draw from Kreider’s observations; but, irony intended, I’m too busy to write on that for now.

“If you live in America in the 21st century you’ve probably had to listen to a lot of people tell you how busy they are. It’s become the default response when you ask anyone how they’re doing: “Busy!” “So busy.” “Crazy busy.” It is, pretty obviously, a boast disguised as a complaint. And the stock response is a kind of congratulation: “That’s a good problem to have,” or “Better than the opposite.””

“Notice it isn’t generally people pulling back-to-back shifts in the I.C.U. or commuting by bus to three minimum-wage jobs  who tell you how busy they are; what those people are is not busy but tired. Exhausted. Dead on their feet. It’s almost always people whose lamented busyness is purely self-imposed: work and obligations they’ve taken on voluntarily, classes and activities they’ve “encouraged” their kids to participate in. They’re busy because of their own ambition or drive or anxiety, because they’re addicted to busyness and dread what they might have to face in its absence.

Almost everyone I know is busy. They feel anxious and guilty when they aren’t either working or doing something to promote their work.”

“Busyness serves as a kind of existential reassurance, a hedge against emptiness; obviously your life cannot possibly be silly or trivial or meaningless if you are so busy, completely booked, in demand every hour of the day…I can’t help but wonder whether all this histrionic exhaustion isn’t a way of covering up the fact that most of what we do doesn’t matter.”

11 of the Best Customer Service Stories Ever – Self-explanatory, but some of these are pretty neat. Also interesting, as several of the companies were also ones that I’ve encountered in my business reading this past year.

“In August, author and business consultant Peter Shankman was getting ready to board a flight that was the last leg of a long day of traveling. It just happened to occur over dinnertime, and he knew he would be starving when he deplaned and headed home. “Hey, @Mortons – can you meet me at newark airport with a porterhouse when I land in two hours? K, thanks. :)” Imagine his surprise when he got off the plane to find a tuxedoed gentleman holding a bag that contained a 24 oz. Morton’s porterhouse, shrimp, potatoes, bread, napkins and silverware. Shankman noted that the Tweet had to be noticed, someone had to get approval for the idea, a cook had to make his food, the food had to be driven 23.5 miles away from the nearest Morton’s, and someone had to track down his flight information and figure out where he was landing to meet him at the right location. All while his stomach was grumbling on a 2.5-hour flight. Pretty impressive.”


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  • Chelo July 3, 2012 at 8:55 am

    I read the link about customer service. That is a pretty neat story! It’s about 11pm here and now I’m craving for steak and potatoes! 🙂

    • Keren July 6, 2012 at 11:08 am

      That happens to me, too, when I read about food at night (or, really, anytime ;)). Now that would be some super customer service if they could fly you some.