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January 23, 2009

Midd Grads Get Huffy

Lattice fin copy Two Middlebury College grads blogged on the Huffington Post this week. They were promoting The Lattice Group, a global, StoryCorps-style initiative they founded after graduating from Middlebury in May 2007.

(Disclosure: One of the grads, Astri von Arbin Ahlander, is my friend.)

The Lattice Group aims to explore what members of "Gen Y-Fi " (read: college-educated, upper-middle-class professionals) think about "work-life conflict." As von Arbin Ahlander and Lattice co-founder Yelizavetta Kofman note on their website: "Career success increasingly means complete commitment. This may not sound so strange. Reasonable even. But put it in the context of a human life that has more in it than a job- such as family, friends, mundane errands- and it gets a lot more complicated."

No kidding.

In their January 22 Huffington Post missive, "Peaceful Revolution: What Gen Y Really Wants — And Why We Should Care," Kofman and von Arbin Ahlander report an interesting cultural contrast: In recent interviews, American professionals overwhelmingly told Lattice that the most desirable workplace benefit is "health care." But European yuppies, according to Lattice, mentioned a greater variety of wants, such as workplace flexibility and office childcare services, "freedom to work from home or a different country even" and "respect for family life."

Kofman and von Arbin Ahlander's Huff post concludes with a challenge to American employers and the Obama administration:

The wise employers, the ones who see possibility for change and innovation where others only see an abysmal Dow, will give the (young) people what they want — the ability to grow, to be given     difficult, meaningful tasks and to be entrusted to do them where an when they want. But in order for employees and employers to be able to think beyond the very basics, such as health care and social security, we must realize that certain protections should be provided no matter the employer. The Obama administration needs to step up and deliver New Deal 2.0, and quick.

Very thought-provoking... I wonder if most Europeans didn't mention health care because they're covered through the state and take it for granted? I can understand Americans putting other needs on the back burner till that basic and pressing one is met.

But there does seem to be a less Type A mentality over there, at least in some countries. Until recently, French small businesses shuttered up in August so the owners could have their vacances. The thing is, as long as there are people somewhere in the world willing to work all day plus nights and weekends for a pittance, that way of life will be threatened. Or non-viable, if you want to see it that way. It freaks me out, because you can only spend so many years of your life working at full capacity and ignoring other things before you crash. In the old days, you'd just drop dead. Nowadays, you have to draw on that pricey, pricey health-care system.

So. Middlebury College announces 100 job cuts due to the economy causing a double-digit drop in it's endowment.

Today the college announces it is paying Al Fucking Sharpton $40,000 to give a speech next month.

Talk about fucked-up priorities. It is one thing to pay that much money to someone who is a valuable resource but Sharpton - that intellectual fraud?

The biggest piece of shit to come out of NY.

Mmm, the Lattice Group is hawt.

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