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[3-1]英语话题评论 你觉得在家上班好不好?

      Two of my oldest friends have recently taken a strong dislike to their jobs. Both report the same symptoms — disillusionment, apathy and a conviction that the work is entirely pointless.

        我认识最久的两个老朋友最近对自己的工作生出了强烈的反感。他们诉说的“症状”也一样——幻灭、冷漠,深信工作毫无意义。

        These two are part of a group of four of us, all of whom have had long, steady and largely happy relationships with our employers. Between us we have notched up about 110 years service.

        这两人和我同属于一个四人小组。我们都和我们的雇主建立了大体上愉快的长久稳定关系。我们为各自雇主效力的时间加起来大概是110年。

        Why is it, I’ve been wondering, that these particular two are so fed up, while the other two of us are fine? It doesn’t seem to be the work itself. All of us do relatively stimulating jobs. Neither is it the pressure. We are all old hands at dealing with that. What I think is ailing them is the very thing that was meant to set them free: they work largely from home.

        我一直在思考,为什么这两个人对工作如此厌倦,而我们中的另外两人却感觉良好。问题似乎并不在于工作本身。我们所做的都是相对振奋人心的工作。压力也不是问题。在对付压力方面我们都是老手了。我想,困扰着他们的,正是一件原本旨在让他们获得自由的事情:他们基本上在家工作。

        One has a senior position in a large organisation that allows her to show up at work barely once a month. The other is an editor who goes in even less often than that.

        其中一个人在某大型机构担任高级职位,这家机构允许她一个月只出现一次。另外一个人是编辑,去办公室上班的次数比前一个人还少。

        This freedom made them both unbearably complacent when they started working from home about a decade ago. They were flexible and modern. They could play tennis mid-afternoon, efficiently dispatching work when it suited them.

        大概10年前他们开始在家工作,这样的自由曾经让他们志得意满到令人难以忍受的程度。他们过得既灵活又时髦。他们可以在下午三点左右打网球,以适合自己的方式有效地分配自己的工作。

        Ten years on, the cynicism and pointlessness they now feel may be a result of having spent too much time in their slippers in the study at home. Under those conditions all work eventually starts to seem meaningless. By contrast, if you are toiling away with people doing the same thing you somehow convince each other that what you do matters. From where I sit, surrounded by people all working for the FT, the importance of the newspaper looks ginormous. So, too, does the importance of who has taken my coffee cup, and who is about to get promoted/shafted. These stupid things are not stupid at all. They are what lock us into a shared enterprise.

        10年过去了,他们现在萌生出怀疑和无意义感,这或许是因为他们已经花了太多时间穿着拖鞋待在自家书房里。在这种情况下,一切工作最终都会开始显得毫无意义。相比之下,如果你和与你从事同一份工作的人一起辛苦工作,不知怎么的,你们会互相让对方信服你们所做的工作是重要的。我坐的地方周围全都是为英国《金融时报》工作的人,在这里这份报纸看上去无比重要。因此,谁拿了我的咖啡杯,谁即将晋升或挨整,看起来也无比重要。这些愚蠢的事情一点也不愚蠢。是它们让我们紧密地团结在一项共同的事业里。

        Yet when I suggested to one of my friends that the answer was to go to the office, she looked at me as if I had gone mad. There was no way, she said, that she was going to put up with the exhausting trivia of office life.

        然而,当我向其中一位朋友提议,答案是去办公室,她看我的眼神就像是我疯了一样。她说,她绝对不会去忍受办公室生活令人精疲力竭的琐事。

        Possibly her hostility proves I am wrong. But I don’t think so. I think it proves how hard it is to go back. Because the pattern of office work is so unnatural, if you get out of the swing of it, it is almost impossible to pick it up again.

        她的抵触或许证明我错了。但我不这么认为,我认为这证明了要回归办公室是多么的困难。因为办公室工作的模式是那么的不正常,一旦你脱离了这种环境,你几乎不可能再重新融入。

        At the same time as thinking about my ageing friends, I have been fretting about my young ones. I was talking last week to a recent graduate who has recently landed a great job as a researcher for a television company, but when I asked him how it was going, he made a face. The work was good, but there was no office to go to, and so he spent his time in his room at home and in cafés. He hardly knows the other people he works with, and with no one to copy he is not learning much either.

        在想着我年长的朋友的同时,我还在烦恼我更年轻的一些朋友的事情。不久前,我和一名最近毕业的本科生聊了聊。他刚刚找到了一份很棒的工作,为一家电视公司当研究员。不过,当我问他工作得怎么样的时候,他做了个鬼脸。这份工作不错,但是根本没有办公室可去,因此他在家中自己的房间里或者在咖啡馆里工作。他几乎不认识他的同事,因为没有可以模仿的对象,他也没有学到多少东西。

        When Marissa Mayer told Yahoo workers to renounce their slippers and come to work a couple of years ago the whole world turned on her. But not only was she right, she was even more right than she herself thought. She said people had to come to the office to be collaborative and innovative, but the truth is bigger than that. We need to go to the office for five more reasons: to convince ourselves that what we do has some purpose, to make us feel human, to help us learn, to give us a feeling of work as distinct from home — and to facilitate the flow of gossip.

        两年前,当玛丽萨•迈耶(Marissa Mayer)让雅虎(Yahoo)员工放弃拖鞋,去办公室上班的时候,整个世界都在指责她。但她不仅仅是正确的,其正确程度甚至超过她自己所想。她说,人们只有来办公室工作才能相互协作,发挥创意,但真相还不止这些。我们需要去办公室上班,还有5个理由:让我们自己相信我们所做的事情是有意义的,让我们感觉自己是个人、帮助我们学习、给我们一种与居家截然不同的工作的感觉——以及促进八卦。

        But despite all this, the work-from-home craze continues to spread. However, the reason may be not what we think — it has nothing to do with convenience, or even with saving our employers’ money on rent and electricity bills. According to a study published in the current Academy of Management Discoveries, the most powerful reason people work from home is not that it makes family life easier or saves on a commute — it is because others are doing so.

        尽管有这些理由,在家工作的热潮还在继续蔓延。然而,理由或许并不是我们所想的——这无关方便,甚至也无关节省我们雇主的租金和电费。根据发表在最新一期《管理学会发现》(Academy of Management Discoveries)上的一篇研究论文,人们在家工作的最有力理由,不是它让家庭生活更容易,也不是它省去了通勤——而是因为其他人都在这样干。

        The researchers asked employees of a big US tech company why they did not come to work, and they found that it was because they so disliked turning up to an office in which half their colleagues were not there, that they opted to stay away themselves. The conclusion is a worrying one — working from home seems to be developing an unhealthy momentum of its own, thrusting loneliness on people without it suiting anyone.

        研究者询问一家大型美国科技公司的雇员,为何不去办公室上班。这些研究者发现,这是因为这些雇员不想去一个一半同事都没来的办公室上班,因此他们选择自己也不去。结论令人担忧——在家工作似乎发展出了一种不健康的势头,它无法满足任何人的需求,只会让人们感到孤独。

        I am uncomfortably aware of an irony in writing this column. As I type out these words, I am not surrounded by colleagues, I am sitting alone at home. But that is not because I do not believe what I write. It is because I have an appointment in town and there is no point in going to work first. Teleworking is fine for some of the people some of the time. But for most of the people most of the time it is the most backward progressive policy that has ever been invented.

        在写这篇专栏的时候,我不安地意识到一种讽刺感。在打这些字的时候,我独自坐在家中,周围没有同事。但这不是说,我不相信我所写的东西。而是因为我在市里有个约会,先去办公室工作没有意义。在一些时候,对一些人来说,远程工作很棒。但在大多数时候,对大多数人来说,这是有史以来最落后的政策“进步”。

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