“The Medium Chill”

Jul 18 2011 @ 11:50am


David Roberts defines it:

We now have a smallish house in a nondescript working class Seattle neighborhood with no sidewalks. We have one car, a battered old minivan with a large dent on one side where you have to bang it with your hip to make the door shut. Our boys go to public schools. Our jobs pay enough to support our lifestyle, mostly anyway. If we wanted, we could both do the “next thing” on our respective career paths. She could move to a bigger company. I could freelance more, angle to write for a bigger publications, write a book, hire a publicist, whatever. We could try to make more money. … But … meh. … Going further down our respective career paths would likely mean more work, greater responsibilities, higher stress, and less time to lay around the living room with the kids.

Reihan builds off this:

My own view is that a fairly large number of people are believers in “medium chill” and that a relatively small group of people — I call them “killers” — constitute a neurotic, ultraproductive minority that drives our economy forward, and sometimes backward. Roberts might see these people as deeply mistaken about the sources of the good life. I think of them as differently wired, like the sleepless elite, and their tireless efforts account for many of the things the rest of us enjoy.

I have to say that, after a real break from Dishing, medium chill seems like Nirvana. And yet I feel compelled to be a killer.

(Graph: From a study showing that "Americans are working longer hours than ever, but not netting higher wages for hours worked." The wage increases are really a result of overtime.)