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在硅谷,朝九晚五属于失败者

更新时间:2017-9-3 11:10:18 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

In Silicon Valley, Working 9 to 5 Is for Losers
在硅谷,朝九晚五属于失败者

Silicon Valley prides itself on “thinking different.” So maybe it makes sense that just as a lot of industries have begun paying more attention to work-life balance, Silicon Valley is taking the opposite approach — and branding workaholism as a desirable lifestyle choice. An entire cottage industry has sprung up there, selling an internet-centric prosperity gospel that says that there is no higher calling than to start your own company, and that to succeed you must be willing to give up everything.

硅谷为“不同凡想(thinking different)”而自豪。因此,在许多行业开始更加注重工作和生活的平衡时,硅谷反其道而行之,把工作狂标榜为理想的生活方式之选可能看上去也说得通。那里已经出现了一个完全是作坊式的产业,贩卖以互联网为中心的成功学,称没有比创业更崇高的使命,还说要取得成功,必须愿意放弃一切。

“Hustle” is the word that tech people use to describe this nerd-commando lifestyle. You hear it everywhere. You can buy hustle-themed T-shirts and coffee mugs, with slogans like “Dream, hustle, profit, repeat” and “Outgrind, outhustle, outwork everyone.” You can go to an eight-week “start-up hustle” boot camp. (Boot camp!) You can also attend Hustle Con, a one-day conference where successful “hustlers” share their secrets. Tickets cost around $300 — or you can pay $2,000 to be a “V.I.P. hustler.” This year’s conference, in June, drew 2,800 people, including two dozen who ponied up for V.I.P. passes.

科技行业从业者用“奋斗”(Hustle)这个词来描述这种极客突击队的生活方式。到处都能听到这个词,还能买到以它为主题的T恤和咖啡杯,上面印着“梦想、奋斗、利润、重复”和“比所有人都更辛苦、更忙碌、更努力”口号。你可以去为期八周的“创业奋斗”训练营(训练营!),也可以参加只有一天时间的奋斗大会(Hustle Con),听成功的“奋斗者”分享他们的诀窍。票价300美元左右(约合2000元人民币),或者你也可以花2000美元(约合13000人民币),成为“VIP奋斗者”。今年的大会已于6月举行,吸引了2800人,其中20多人花钱买了VIP票。

But for some, “hustle” is just a euphemism for extreme workaholism. Gary Vaynerchuk, a.k.a. Gary Vee, an entrepreneur and angel investor who has 1.5 million Twitter followers and a string of best-selling books with titles like “Crush It!,” tells his acolytes they should be working 18 hours a day. Every day. No vacations, no going on dates, no watching TV. “If you want bling bling, if you want to buy the jets?” he asks in one of his motivational speeches. “Work. That’s how you get it.”

但对一些人来说,“奋斗”只是极端工作狂的一种委婉说法。加里·沃伊内楚克(Gary Vaynerchuk),又名加里·维伊(Gary Vee),是一位企业家,也是一名天使投资人。他在Twitter上有150万粉丝,还出版了一系列以《碾压它》(Crush It!)等为名的畅销书。他告诉自己的粉丝,他们应该一天工作18个小时。每天都这样。不能休假,不能约会,不能看电视。“想闪亮全场吗?想买飞机吗?”他在一场励志演讲中问道。“那就工作吧。工作才能让你得到这一切。”

Mr. Vaynerchuk is also a judge on Apple’s “Planet of the Apps,” a reality show where app developers compete to win funding from a venture capital firm. A recent promo depicted a contestant alongside this quotation: “I rarely get to see my kids. That’s a risk you have to take.” The show’s promotional tweet added: “For the ultimate reward, he’ll put everything on the line.”

沃伊内楚克还是苹果《应用星球》(Planet of the Apps)的评委。这是一档应用开发者争夺一家风险投资公司资金的真人秀节目。在最近的广告中,一名参赛者旁边的引语是:“我几乎见不到我的孩子。这是必须承担的风险。”节目的宣传推文接着说:“为了最终的奖励,他将投入一切。”

Good grief. The guy is developing an app that lets you visualize how a coffee table from a catalog might look in your living room. I suppose that’s cool, but is it really more important than seeing your kids? Is the chance to raise some venture-capital funding really “the ultimate reward”? (Apple pulled the promo after a wave of critical comments on Twitter.)

天哪。这名参赛者正在开发一款应用,它能让你直观地看到商品目录上的一款咖啡桌放在你家客厅里是什么样子。我想,这款应用很酷,但它真的比见到自己的孩子更重要吗?筹集到一些风险投资的机会,真的是“最终的奖励”吗?(在Twitter上引发批评浪潮后,苹果撤下了这篇宣传推文。)

This is sad enough for start-up founders, but rank-and-file workers are buying into this madness, too. Last year, Lyft published a blog post praising a driver who kept picking up fares even after she went into labor and was driving to the hospital to give birth. Critics saw dystopian implications — “horrifying” was how Gizmodo put it — and Lyft deleted the post. But people at the company, including the driver herself, seemed genuinely puzzled by the negative reaction.

这对创业者来说够惨了,但普通员工也相信这种疯狂。去年,Lyft发表了一篇博客,称赞一名在开始阵痛后仍坚持载客并自己驾车去医院分娩的司机。批评人士从中看到了反乌托邦的意涵——Gizmodo网站的评价是“骇人听闻”——Lyft删除了博客。但该公司的员工,包括那名司机自己,似乎真的对文章引起的负面反馈感到不解。

A century ago, factory workers were forming unions and going on strike to demand better conditions and a limit on hours. Today, Silicon Valley employees celebrate their own exploitation. “9 to 5 is for the weak” says a popular T-shirt. A venture capitalist named Keith Rabois recently boasted on Twitter that he worked for 18 years while taking less than one week of vacation. Wannabe Zuckerbergs are told that starting a company is like joining the Navy SEALs. For a certain type of person — usually young and male — the hardship is part of the allure.

一百年前,工厂工人成立工会并举行罢工,要求改善工作条件和限制工作时间。如今,硅谷的员工却颂扬自己遭受的剥削。一款流行T恤上写着“朝九晚五属于无能者”(9 to 5 is for the weak)。一个名叫基思·拉布瓦(Keith Rabois)的风险投资人最近在Twitter上炫耀自己工作18年,休假时间不超过一周。渴望成为扎克伯格的人被告知,创业就像加入海豹突击队(Navy SEALs)一样。对某一类人——通常是年轻、男性——来说,磨难也是诱惑的一部分。

The truth is that much of the extra effort these entrepreneurs and their employees are putting in is pointless anyway. Working beyond 56 hours in a week adds little productivity, according to a 2014 report by the Stanford economist John Pencavel. But the point may be less about productivity than about demonstrating commitment and team spirit.

真相是,这些创业者和他们的员工付出的额外努力中,很多是没有意义的。根据斯坦福大学的经济学家约翰·彭卡韦尔(John Pencavel)在2014年发布的一份报告,一周工作超过56个小时几乎不会带来生产率的增加。但重要的可能不是生产率,而是表现出责任感和团队精神。

“Everyone wants to be a model employee,” said Anim Aweh, a clinical social worker in the Bay Area who sees a lot of stressed-out tech workers. “One woman told me: ‘The expectation is not that you should work smart, it’s that you should work hard. It’s just do, do, do, until you can’t do anymore.’ ”

“人人都想当模范员工,”目睹很多科技行业员工压力过大的湾区临床社工阿尼姆·阿韦(Anim Aweh)说。“一个女人告诉我:‘对员工的期望不是聪明地工作,而是努力地工作。就是工作、工作、工作,直到再也动不了。’”

This has led to tragedy. Last year, Joseph Thomas, an engineer at Uber, committed suicide. His widow blamed the company’s gung-ho culture, with its long hours and intense psychological pressure.

这已经造成了悲剧。去年,优步(Uber)的工程师约瑟夫·托马斯(Joseph Thomas)自杀。他的遗孀将其归咎于公司工作时间长、心理压力大的拼命文化。

Now some are pushing back. David Heinemeier Hansson, a software developer, is on a crusade to persuade entrepreneurs that they can succeed without working themselves to death. (The sad thing is that this even needs to be said.)

现在,一些人开始反击。软件开发人员戴维·海涅迈尔·汉森(David Heinemeier Hansson)正试图说服创业者,让他们相信不用累得要死也能成功。(遗憾的是,这一点居然还需要说。)

In a recent essay Mr. Hansson excoriated venture capitalists as brainwashing founders with “an ingrained mythology around start-ups that not only celebrates burnout efforts but damn well requires it.” He says V.C.s are exploiting founders. Their attitude is, “Make me rich or die tryin’,” he wrote.

在最近的一篇文章中,汉森指责风险投资人用“根深蒂固的创业神话”给创业者洗脑,“不仅颂扬掏空自己,还把这作为基本要求。”他说,风险投资人在剥削创业者。他们的态度是,“要么让我富起来,要么就死在尝试的过程中,”他写道。

“Die trying” is by far the more likely outcome. The vast majority of start-ups fail. The odds of striking a huge Facebook-level success are infinitesimally tiny. No one knows this better than the V.C.s, who improve their odds by spreading their bets onto dozens of companies and whipping them all into a frenzy.

到目前为止,“死在尝试的过程中”的可能性更大。绝大部分创业公司都会以失败告终。取得Facebook那种级别的巨大成功的几率微乎其微。没人比风险投资人更清楚这一点了。他们通过把赌注分散在几十家公司上,并鼓动它们都变得狂热来增加自己成功的几率。

Mr. Hansson’s essay singled out Mr. Rabois, the venture capitalist who worked for 18 years with hardly any vacation. This prompted a debate on Twitter, where Mr. Rabois sniped that Mr. Hansson’s take-it-easy approach to building a company would be perfect — “for lazy people who want to accomplish nothing.”

汉森的文章把工作了18年却几乎没有休假的风险投资人拉布瓦单独挑了出来。这在Twitter上引发了一场争论。拉布瓦抨击说,汉森轻松对待的创业方式堪称完美,但只是“对希望一事无成的懒人而言”。

Mr. Hansson and his business partner, Jason Fried, run a Chicago software company, Basecamp, that employs 56 people and turns a profit. The workweek is capped at 40 hours and gets pared back to 32 in summer. Mr. Hansson has enough free time that he competes as an amateur driver in endurance car races.

汉森和商业伙伴贾森·弗里德(Jason Fried)经营着一家名为Basecamp的芝加哥软件公司,雇佣了56名员工,公司已经在盈利。每周的工作时间上限为40小时,夏季削减到32小时。汉森先生拥有足够多的空闲时间,可以作为业余车手参加耐力赛车比赛。

In 2010, the two men published “Rework,” a book denouncing workaholism, and they’re publishing another one, “The Calm Company,” next year. Mr. Hansson told me that they’ve grown dismayed “seeing people being asked to give up their vacations, their sleep, their youth, their family and their morals on the start-up altar.”

2010年,两人出版了一本谴责工作狂的书《重来》(Rework),明年他们还要出版一本《平静的公司》(The Calm Company)。汉森对我说,“看到人们在创业的祭坛上被要求放弃假期、睡眠、青春、家庭和伦理”,他们有一种触目惊心的感觉。

They run workshops and do a lot of public speaking. Their talks usually go over well — although in San Francisco they often hear “incredulous gasps,” Mr. Fried reported. Mr. Hansson added: “People tell us we’re not ambitious enough. We’re not trying to change the world. The perversion runs so deep.”

他们举办研讨会,发表了很多公开演讲。弗里德说,他们的发言通常都被很好地接纳——尽管在旧金山,他们经常听到“不可思议的吸气声”。汉森则说:“有人对我们说,我们的雄心壮志不够。我们并不试图改变世界。这种扭曲的毒害太深了。”

The chance to become the next 20-something tech celebrity billionaire has not lost its power. Every year thousands of fresh recruits flood into San Francisco, hoping to be baptized into the religion of the hustle. As bad as things have become today, there might be worse to come.

成为下一位高科技界身家上亿的20出头名人,这种机会的吸引力依然很大。每年有数以千计的新人涌入旧金山,希望能够接受这种奋斗的宗教的洗礼。如今的情况已经很糟糕,但以后还可能更加糟糕。

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