Friday - - Leisure -

New de­scrip­tive en­trants Lan­guage evolves and finds new words for change that is in­evitable in our lives. New words ap­pear on the scene to de­scribe new sit­u­a­tions, and some­times an old one that had not been served by a def­i­ni­tion yet.

In the 21st cen­tury the work­place has changed too, with new words be­ing coined as an in­evitable re­sult. Two years ago Joshua Glen wrote an en­ter­tain­ing book called TheWage Slave’s Glos­sary that lists and de­fines some 200 such ne­ol­o­gisms. Here is a small sam­pling:

Hurry Sick­ness: A new term for a con­di­tion that was ac­tu­ally iden­ti­fied (but not named) in the 1950s – an ail­ment in which the suf­ferer feels chron­i­cally short of time (“24 hours in a day is just not enough!”).

Funem­ploy­ment: The en­joy­able feel­ing of be­ing un­em­ployed, as ev­i­dent from the Twit­ter feeds of happily job­less men and women in their 20s and 30s. For a gen­er­a­tion whose sky-high self-es­teem won’t per­mit them to take jobs they deem un­wor­thy of their tal­ents, the re­ces­sion re­moved the stigma of un­em­ploy­ment – and, per­haps, of down­ward mo­bil­ity, too. The back­ing of old money or the mov­ing back into the parental home for free would make this lux­ury ‘af­ford­able’.

Leisure Sick­ness: The bane of many an or­gan­i­sa­tion, in which em­ploy­ees mys­te­ri­ously (and con­ve­niently) fall ill just be­fore or af­ter a week­end.

And its ex­treme op­po­site? The Af­ter-Din­ner Man! Here’s work­place strat­egy ex­pert Adrian Go­stick on the sub­ject: “Fifty years ago, most peo­ple worked hard un­til five or six and then went home to their fam­i­lies, friends and hob­bies. Busi­ness peo­ple who brought work home were the butt of jokes – they were worka­holics or those in­ef­fi­cient souls who couldn’t get their work done in eight hours. The term ‘the af­ter-din­ner man’ emerged to de­scribe them.

To­day, the aver­age North Amer­i­can spends more time work­ing than did me­dieval peas­ants in servi­tude. And even when we do leave the of­fice we don’t dis­con­nect. We are at­tached to our phones and lap­tops at all hours and even on va­ca­tion.”

Time to detox!

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