Two fun media mentions recently:
The quotes are accurate. I love getting media attention.
But what’s amusing is that both publications say I’m a psychologist. I’m not. I’m a sociologist.
Privately, I’ve been toying with the idea of getting some psychology credentials as well… so thanks to LiveStrong and SFGate for the vote of confidence!
I’m a huge fan of Mad Men, the A&E show about advertising executives (and their personal lives) in the 1960s. So when the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette called to chat with me about whether Betty and Don Draper’s divorce was accurately portrayed, I had a lot to say. Check out my quotes — quite a few of them — and how the art folks at the Post-Gazette spiffed up my boring PowerPoint slide of divorce trends (PDF) into a visual treat. It also got picked up by Contexts, my favorite Sociology magazine, so that made me proud.
I’m not so sure what I think of this dark, pathetic Don Draper or of Betty living in the old house with the new man, but that’s a story for another post.
After blogging for a few months for Character Sketches (see the blog scroll on the right) I’ve now moved over to be a regular columnist at the new website BigQuestionsOnline.
Check out my first column — Living the Fact-Value Distinction — and stay tuned for my next post on whether teaching virtuous behaviors as tools to achieving a good life devalues the idea of virtue itself. (OK, that sounds really deep, but I promise the columns aren’t confusing reads.)
Think you’re living a pretty happy life? The good folks at Gallup would like you to know that there’s room for improvement. According to a comprehensive global study of wellbeing, only seven percent of us are thriving in all areas of our lives.
In Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements, authors Tom Rath and Jim Harter have synthesized hundreds of small large-scale opinion polls, empirical studies and time-use data to argue that wellbeing isn’t just about some amorphous sense of being happy. It’s about thriving in career, social, financial, physical and community life.
The best part of the book, though, is the little gray pouch in the back that contains a personalized code for the Wellbeing website. For us me-focused Americans, it’s as addictive as crack. First you take a survey to get a baseline on wellbeing. Then, you can create a customized plan to increase your own wellbeing, and take shorter daily surveys to track your progress on a daily basis. Periodically, you can go back and retake the bigger survey and tell your friends, with smug satisfaction of your accomplishments.
Gallup knows we all go giddy over customized surveys and websites: Rath’s previous book, Strengthsfinder, included a similar personalization code, and I’d wager that most people bought the hardcover just to get the code so they could get online and learn more about their yet-to-be-discovered strengths. I tip my hat to their marketing genius.
Check out my full review on the Huffington Post.
What is a hook-up?
Yesterday I posted a piece on BustedHalo.com with survey results from an online poll of young-adults. What is a hook-up? When does it happen? Is it all in good fun–for both men and women? And what happens the day after the hook-up?
What happens after the hook up? To me, this is where it gets really depressing. According to respondents, 47.5% say a woman should expect nothing from a hook up – no call, no date, no relationship, nada. And the man shouldn’t expect anything either. It was just casual. Only 15% of respondents say the woman should expect a call from the guy. Check out this un-romantic chart. The chart for what guys should expect looks pretty similar.
One respondent suggested that there should be rules and time limits to hook ups – physical contact for a set period of time – to manage expectations. Others described a hook up as a way to “test the waters” to see if there should be future contact. Not romantic stuff.
“I do believe the definition has shifted from ‘make-out’ to more intense physical connection,” mused Samantha, 30. And as for what happens next, “If you expect nothing except physical pleasure than you won’t be disappointed by the short-term.”
Says J, a 22-year-old single guy, said in one of his hook ups, “I walked a girl-friend home, we hooked up passionately on the street, texted and so on since, went out once, but it was awkward so we’re just friendly acquaintances now…”
(I think the key word there is “awkward.”)
Should a hook up be emotionally meaningful? The majority of respondents want a hook up to be emotionally meaningful. I asked whether people agreed or disagreed with this statement: “Hooking up is just fun, and doesn’t have to be emotionally meaningful.” Some 59% of respondents disagree. Which is really nice, except… how does that add up with the previous chart about the low expectations of post-hook-up interactions? Romance isn’t dead, but it seems most young adults are shielding their hearts and preparing for the worst after these interactions.
“As long as the hook-up doesn’t evolve into meaningless sex, it’s harmless and fun for both parties,” says Tara, 17.
But Patrick, 27, who defined a hook up as meaning sexual intercourse, disagreed: The whole “hook-up culture is a shame,” he said. “Too many men and women have come to look upon the human body as a tool for pleasure. It’s also a shame that the popular idea of sex is void of a deeper meaning.”
On CNN.com yesterday, Stephanie Chen’s piece on women marrying men with less education and income mentioned my research–and quoted one of the SWANS in my book.
Complementary matches are the name of the game for smart, successful women!
I’m now blogging for http://www.incharacter.org/character-sketches: look to the right to see an RSS feed of my latest posts. I post three times a day — around 7 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. — so check often for new material.
While it’s unlike me to defend the overly dramatic, in-the-spotlight poor parenting of Jon & Kate, the latest hubbub raises a fascinating-and thorny-question about ambition: Is it a vice or a virtue?
To read the full post, please visit my blog on Character Sketches.
In an ongoing NPR series this week on flex-time, and work-life balance, NPR reporters have been exploring the push from women and Millennials for results-based rather than face-time work structures, telecommuting and job shares. A chart attached to the series, however, gives the impression that the majority of workers are enjoying the benefits of alternative work schedules. It’s just not true: There’s a big segment of the workforce who’s not chomping at the bit for flextime… men.
Flextime is a policy that allows employees to chose when they will start and finish work, as long as they are still doing the appropriate amount of hours. Not everyone can take flextime – manual laborers and those working in factories can’t decide they want to work from home at 10 p.m. – but you’d think that professional and managerial workers would be flocking to the idea.
Both men and women would love to make their own schedules, have more time with their family, and take advantage of and other much-touted programs like job-sharing, right? In theory, yes, but in practice, it gets tricky.
To read the whole post, visit the Character Sketches blog.
We generally understand how a virus or flu spreads: I’m sick and I shake hands with you. Then, you touch your nose and… oops, now you’re sick, too. Then you kiss your husband and… oops, now they’re sick, too. And so on. But in recent years, social scientists have begun to consider whether behaviors and character traits can spread in a similar way. Are vices and virtues socially contagious?
A while back, we learned that obesity is contagious: Researchers Nicholas Christakis, a medical sociologist, and James Fowler, a political science professor, found that we’re more likely to gain weight ourselves if our family and friends gain weight. Similarly, we’re more likely to succeed in losing weight if others are trying to do the same.
The latest from this pair is the finding that acts of kindness can spread rapidly through society, too, giving new power to the idea of “paying it forward” in generosity.
According to WiredScience:
In a game where selfishness made more sense than cooperation, acts of giving were “tripled over the course of the experiment by other subjects who are directly or indirectly influenced to contribute more,” wrote political scientist James Fowler of the University of California, San Diego, and medical sociologist Nicholas Christakis of Harvard University.
But I’d argue that all of these fall under one big umbrella finding that went somewhat unnoticed back in January: Self-control is also socially contagious.
To read the whole post, visit my Character Sketches blog.
- Mission: Adulthood ... a new book worth checking out 01/03/2013Looking for a good book to give your parents, boss or mentor to get them to understand that your generation isn't a bunch of slackers, but has some real strengths? Check out Mission: Adulthood, a new book by Hannah Seligson. Here's my blog about it here for more: http://acculturated.com/2013/01/02/through-the-eyes-of-a-twenty-something/ […]
- Reader Q&A 09/05/2012Today a great question came in off the Ask Christine link on this website: “How can you say that your book is not like other self-help books when you keep referring to the work of other writers?” Here’s the quick answer: The exercises in Generation WTF -- as they appear... […]
- Stephen Covey's Legacy for Generation WTF 07/17/2012Yesterday, self-help author and business leader Stephen Covey died at 79. Author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (and many other bestsellers), Covey will be remembered as an inspirational teacher and leader. Tonight I appeared on WSJ.com LIVE to discuss his legacy. Stephen Covey, a business management... […]
- Why Most Self-Help Sucks (and WTF is different about me) 07/11/2012This morning I received a comment via this website asking for the links to the bonus chapter that I promised in Generation WTF -- about why most self-help books suck, and why this research is different. Our contact software is developed to protect your privacy. I don't require an email... […]
- Generation WTF on a Mission 05/25/2012The Class of 2012 graduated with an unprecedented amount of student debt (more than $20,000 per graduate, $1 trillion nationally) into an economy with the highest level of unemployed/underemployed recent college graduates in over 11 years (53%). From whatever angle you approach it, this is not an easy time to... […]
- Worst Majors for Getting a Job? 04/30/2012On Friday, I attended our Sociology graduation reception at the University of Pittsburgh. I celebrated with some of my favorite students and head about the exciting things they were hoping to do. One was headed to Israel to teach English. Another was headed to law school. Several had ideas about... […]
- How to Schedule Like a Pro 04/26/2012On Tuesday I got back from a wedding and mini vacation with my family. It was wonderful. Then we returned to the chaos of “coming home” and “real life.” Yesterday was a day of laundry and unpacking and feeling stressed about why I wasn’t getting more work done. Today, though... […]
- Who Do You Call? 04/25/2012Ever wonder why your Mom calls so often? According to a fascinating new study, men tend to call the women in their life – throughout their lives – while women, as they age, tend to shift their phone calls away from men and toward their adult daughters. The Los Angeles... […]
- Use Technology. Don't Let It Use You 04/18/2012Generation WTFers say they spend too much time using the Internet (59%), their cell phones or smartphones (58%), and social media sites such as Facebook (48%), according to a new Gallup poll that I blogged about Monday. And those with a college degree or more spend the most time online... […]
- Turn Your Phone Off! 04/18/2012I love my iPhone as much as the next gal. I have it with me all day. It’s the first thing I check in the morning and last thing I check before I go to sleep. But I am a firm believer in putting my phone on silent and tucking... […]