Monday, June 22, 2009

What is Weisure?

When I have get-togethers at my faboosh apartment, me and my friends love to bring out Table Topics. It's a cube filled with cards with questions on them to start conversation. Questions vary from, "Which celebrity would you most like to see in person?" to "If you had the means how would you address the problem of homelessness?"

But my favorite question of all these questions is, "What historical time period would you most like to visit?" Most of the time I answer Victorian age mainly because I love their dresses (and also because I had the American Girl doll Samantha growing up and I loved her stories/bedroom accessories). But these days I really think I'd like to be transported to the 50's.

All this 50's mumbo jumbo came up while I was reading an article on CNN about this new phrase workers have coined called "weisure time". This phrase pertains to the new work-lifestyle in which the 9-to-5 workday has started to become non-existent. Meaning everyone works all the time and they add in fun/playtime to their workday instead of vice versa.

NYU sociologist Dalton Conley coined the phrase and commented to CNN that, "Increasingly, it's not clear what constitutes work and what constitutes fun." He goes on to say that the two are becoming ambiguous and that worlds that once had very distinct lines are now being blurred.

Which brings us back to the '50s, where Conley remarks that there were "certain rules" in business - that people didn't do business with friends and people kept their social lives very far away from their social spheres.

Sometimes I wished we still lived in that era - where there were distinct lines - a world where we didn't update our statuses from minute to minute on the Internet, and times where taking a vacation really meant taking a vacation.

These days we have personal computers, Blackberrys and iPhones attached to our hands, and social media allows us to easier interact with one another throughout the day to the point where there really is no excuse NOT to be in touch with work (even on the weekend). Conley says this is world that creative types (aka PR, marketing, advertising peeps) are already very much submerged in. They use social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace to conduct work and they go to cocktail parties to do business. Conley thinks eventually everyone will become accustomed to this being the norm for all sectors of business and not just creative careers.

I'll admit that I'm guilty of mixing work and pleasure. Two years ago on Hoboken's St. Patrick's Day I fielded a multiple calls on a Saturday while I had over 20 people in my apartment drinking mimosas and playing Asshole because we had people at an off-site conference and I was the go-to girl for questions. Have I checked my email when I come home from work? Absolutely. Have I taken work home on a weekend? Definitely. And I mean come on people! I have a blog about work. If that isn't blurring the line of work and leisure then I don't know what is.

I committed the crime of combining work and pleasure. And it seems that our generation will blur the line even more as social media gets stronger and we start to combine work and play even more.

Sometimes I wish we still lived in the 50's, but then I remember that I would fail at making great cherry pies, I would probs have to quit my job after I got preggers, and I would really miss Twitter.

Which reminds me, follow us on Twitter (@workinggirlone & @workinggirltwo)! I love shameless plugs.


lisa said...

Interesting concept, and it seems to be the way workplace culture is headed now. I work in IT and it's a constant case of weisure: you work long hours on projects with your colleagues, and then after work you go for drinks or you make plans to go for a hike or a camping trip on the weekend. Your coworkers become your friends outside of work. It's a good system if you genuinely like your coworkers and it makes you look forward to going to work, although after a while it seems like you can't fully unplug from work.

Trouble.Thinks said...

So true! I still refuse to get a cellphone though, which apparently you need now when you try and set up a gmail account. Hard to escape it all!

Ashley said...

The 50s would be fun to see, but I agree with having difficulties adjusting to some of the social norms. My fiance does most of the cooking so that would definitely be different (though I really would like to learn). Hmm... maybe you're on to something with this 50s thing. Though writing out what we have been putting on our blogs might make our hands sore.

Bayjb said...

Um me in the 1950s would be fatal. I can't cook and don't do barefoot and pregnant very well.

Elizabeth said...

This is so true! I work in the creative/marketing industry and it is encouraged to do business on Facebook, Twitter and Blogs. I have a blackberry and check emails as soon as they are received (whether that is on the beach or in the office).

I just posted a tweet on the CNN story you shared. I think it is so interesting and wanted to share it with everyone. Thank you for sharing.

The Novelista Barista said...

lol yeah.... i agree with that.. i dont know if i would make it without social networking.. its hard enough when i go on vacations out of the country and my blackberry doesnt work and i cant access email. I get sad. Which is horrible!
But... we're so used to it that its hard to get away from that.

Jane said...

Technology sure does have a way of making everything more complicated.

maggie said...

I actually make it a point to keep my two lives seperate. I do not take work home (maybe 4 times in 3 years). I do not check my work email unless I'm home sick. Vacations I put up an out-of-office message and consider it dealt-with (I do try to wrap things up before I leave the office though). I have one work friend that I've seen outside of work, but other than that, they are work-friends (really more of acquaintances) only. Helps that I'm at least 20 years younger than them. Unless something really stressful is going on a work, I try to not even think about it once I walk out the door. And while I'm facebook "friends" with many coworkers, I won't feel guilty removing them as friends when I leave. And yes, I'm middle-management and in my mid-twenties. Not worried about my job as I'm a county employee and a union member.