Tonight I am talking with Rosecrans Baldwin about his new book about Los Angeles. Presented by The Strand and The New Republic, so you know it’s extra-intellectual! Who does not want to hear two white men discussing Los Angeles after all…. Anyway, the book is very good! Skip the chat and just buy it even! It’s called EVERYTHING NOW and it’s bright green!
I’m looking forward to being out among other people again because I feel like a new man. But which one! As the old joke goes.
But. On your last day at The New York Times — and my last day was Friday — they come out with a big greasy cardboard box from the basement and return to you all the opinions you had when you started working there. Wait, imperialism … I’m against it??? Wow, what else is in here I wonder!
This is a big relief but also distressing in that now I must take responsibility for myself.
Relatedly — and I was only sending this email because I want to support Rosecrans, but here I am — I had lunch with a friend the other day and she was basically like, listen … you should talk about your burnout because men don’t talk about this and mostly just women are discussing careers and burnout and I should do my part but I was like, I’m actually very private? But in the interests of gEnDeR eQuAliTy I am happy to reveal exclusively here (MUST CREDIT MY SUBSTACK) that I quit my job running Styles at The Times because I did not wish to do it any more.
If you are unhappy, or if you frequently say you are “exhausted,” if maybe you cry at work a little more often than you personally think is reasonable, if you wake up in the morning and consider dying instead of going to work, you CLEARLY owe it to yourselves to do something else. Will making a change maybe make you poor or scared? SURE. Could the change be bad? ABSOLUTELY. But the alternative — staying put, degrading like an old yogurt — is to become a worse person. You can’t solve your own burnout, you can only change the system or your situation. And while it seems like becoming a worse person is a pretty common choice, do you really want to be common?
As it happens, lucky for me, if not for you, it’s a rare moment right now where it’s actually good to be talent. (This moment will pass … quickly.) Why would I want to work myself into dust trying and failing to solve someone else’s problems when instead I can simply be a problem myself?