Taylor Lorenz, the controversial teen culture correspondent, and other New York Times employees will be awarded several "Global Days Off" this year in an effort to combat "exhaustion [and] burnout" in the professional journalism community, the paper's executives announced this week.
"Recognizing how hard the past year has felt, we're announcing the launch of quarterly Global Days Off for the remaining three quarters of 2021," executive editor Dean Baquet and other members of the Times leadership team wrote in a memo to staff on Wednesday.
The goal of the initiative, according to the memo, is to "create a few moments to reset as we have just come through a difficult period that has produced a sense of exhaustion, burnout, and a need for respite for many." The special days off, which all fall on Fridays, have been scheduled for May 14, Aug. 13, and Nov. 5 and will be in addition to existing time off for vacation, personal days, and holidays.
The decision to make the days off "global," as in companywide, was motivated by leadership's desire to "meaningfully reduce the flow of emails, Slacks and texts, and give everyone a quiet day to refresh." Some employees, however, will not be able to take those days in order to keep the organization functioning and will instead be given an equal number of days off to use at their discretion.
The announcement came after a number of journalists publicly quit their jobs, citing "burnout" and exhaustion as motivating factors. On the day the memo was circulated, the Times published an article about how some "exhausted" millennials with "fattened" bank accounts are "quitting stable jobs in search of postpandemic adventure."
Professional journalists were quick to identify with the piece, in particular the feeling of exhaustion that has driven so many of their colleagues into voluntary unemployment. "Exhausted despair is [a] phrase that really resonates these days," Lorenz wrote on Twitter, the popular social networking website.
Matt Taibbi, the popular Substack writer, was among those who were puzzled by Lorenz's tweet. "Can anyone explain where the ‘I'm so exhausted' trope came from, and why it's such a thing among people in upper class intellectual professions?" he asked.
Lorenz went on to applaud the poignancy of a Times essay on "languishing," described as a "sense of stagnation and emptiness" that promises to be the "dominant emotion of 2021." The journalist, however, argued the concept of languishing failed to capture "the deep hopelessness, despair, and burnout living in this world leaves [you] with."
It really makes you think. Hug a journalist if you get the chance.