Kay Abramowitz has been working, with a few breaks, since she was 14. Now 76, she is a partner in a law firm in Portland, Ore. — with no intention of stopping anytime soon. “Retirement or death is always on the horizon, but I have no plans,” she said. “I’m actually having way too much fun.”This work is fun meme.... It can lead to pain. Most people who work need to work for the money. Does it help to burden them with the idea that work is supposed to be fun? And is this something special about women, this idea that work isn't for the money but for some deep fulfillment or pleasure?
This reminded of that article I blogged last night, "'It's the breaking of a taboo': the [mothers] who regret having children/It’s tiring, often boring...." I got the feeling that women believe what they do is supposed to be continually emotionally rewarding. It's great if you love what you're doing, but what about the people that don't love what they're doing and have a need or a duty to keep it up?
Most of the things we do with our time are not like sexual intercourse — where we talk about ongoing consent — "affirmative consent" — so that at every new moment in time, you're entitled to actively like what you're doing. Outside of the realm of sex, you take on commitments that you work through without continually asking: Am I having fun now? How about now? And now?
I doubt if believing in continual fun is even much fun, and frankly, I don't trust the women who work at challenging jobs and insist that they're having "way too much fun" to stop. This is self-reporting, and I'd like to read a study of: 1. the phenomenon of declaring that one is having fun, 2. the connection between assertions of fun-having and actual emotional fulfillment, 3. the effect of declarations of fun on other people (e.g., mothers who feel worse about what they are doing because they imagined motherhood would provide automatic elation), 4. gender difference in the frequency of declarations of fun having, 5. the correlation between perceived fun-having and professional success, 6. the dark side of fun (i.e., what are fun-dependent people really afraid of?)