Good morning on this stormy Wednesday.
Elon Musk is overworked.
In a recent emotional interview with The New York Times, Mr. Musk, the chief executive of Tesla, choked up multiple times and said, “This past year has been the most difficult and painful year of my career.”
“It’s not been great, actually,” he added. “I’ve had friends come by who are really concerned.”
Mr. Musk said that he had been working up to 120 hours a week. (That’s more than 17 hours a day.)
He may not be a New Yorker, but his workaholic nature is prevalent in a city where the average person works or commutes more than 49 hours a week, according to a 2015 report by the city comptroller. That’s longer than workers in the next 29 largest cities in the United States.
And that doesn’t count those of us who take work home.
With that in mind, we spoke to Anat Lechner, a business professor at the New York University Stern School of Business, about mental health in the workplace and how to avoid hitting a breaking point.
What are some of the signs that a colleague is hitting a breaking point?
The signs are usually emotional.
“You can see people get angry, short, and start to resent the people who don’t work as hard,” Ms. Lechner said. Another telltale sign: sloppiness. But it’s important to understand what messy work means, she added. “People who become overburdened, and therefore become sloppy, are usually your best employees. Weak employees drop off the bus quickly. The best employees are the people who get assigned more and more work. An overburdened employee is a reflection of bad management.”
What are the best ways to personally prevent a breaking point?
Avoidance and engagement.
“Avoid being on the grid 24-7,” Ms. Lechner said. “Carve out for yourself the three or four hours that you need every day to get off the grid and relax and teach the rest of the world, as well as yourself, that not all hours are email hours.” And engage more effectively. “Learn to collaborate better. When you learn the skill of collaboration, or working together, the work naturally gets distributed more effectively,” she said.
How can I help a struggling colleague?
Talk, listen and lend a hand.
Get the person to talk. “Corporate life is very taxing and doesn’t usually come with a safe space,” Ms. Lechner said. “People are afraid to talk because they cannot afford to show their weakness because there are some people who are going to take advantage of that. Getting the person to talk is the first step to isolating the problem.”
Listen. “When you are talking to someone who is overburdened, become a sounding board for what needs to be renegotiated,” she added. “It gives the other person the space to think about the boundaries of the work that was assigned and what can be renegotiated.” Maybe they need more time? Or more resources? Listen and help them find out.
Lend a hand for a short while. “This is actually the least useful,” Ms. Lechner said. “It’s like putting a Band-Aid on; it’s O.K. for a while.”
Here’s what else is happening:
Keep your umbrella at the ready.
Showers are very likely this morning, with bouts of heavy rain, and we may see thunderstorms.
The day will gradually get drier and we may see a fair bit of sun before it hits the horizon.
It’s still warm: The high is 83.
In the News
• Michael D. Cohen, President Trump’s former lawyer and longtime fixer, pleaded guilty to bank and tax fraud charges and campaign finance violations. [New York Times]
• The New York Police Department has stationed 14 detectives overseas as part of a global counterterrorism program that has expanded to cover “all crimes.” [New York Times]
• Michael Cohen sat silently in the courtroom as a judge ran through a list of questions typically asked of defendants before they plead guilty. Here was the scene. [New York Times]
• Recording police officers in public is a First Amendment right, but officials say police stations are off limits. [New York Times]
• A widower married a younger woman. She led him down a path of deceit and danger. [New York Times]
• Attorney general candidates said they would support an investigation of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo if warranted. [New York Times]
• Fewer than 9 percent of students at Hunter High School are black or Hispanic, but the elite public school has been left out of the diversity debate. [New York Times]
• The New Jersey governor banned bear hunting on public lands to please environmentalists. Now the activists and the hunters are mad. [New York Times]
• The New York City buildings department created an online construction map that tracks every major project across the city. [New York Times]
• A former Nazi SS guard lived a quiet life in Queens for decades. Federal immigration officials deported the 95-year-old man to Germany on Tuesday. [New York Times]
• Have you ever wanted to take a sneak peak into the MTV Video Music Awards after-parties? Here’s your chance. [New York Times]
• A small number of diners in the city maintain an old-school aesthetic. [Eater]
• For a global look at what’s happening, see Your Morning Briefing.
Coming Up Today
• The five-day Charlie Parker Jazz festival kicks off with a family-friendly afternoon of music and dancing (at 2 p.m.) and a conversation with the musicians Charles Tolliver and Gary Bartz (at 7 p.m.) at the National Jazz Museum in Harlem. [$10 suggested donation]
• Hear performances from dozens of accordionists at the Accordions Around the World series at Bryant Park in Midtown Manhattan. 5:30 p.m. [Free]
• Learn about the history of the Battle of Brooklyn, by boat on the Gowanus Canal beginning at the at the Dredgers Second Street dock in Brooklyn. 6 p.m. [Free]
• “Dream City: Impressions of New York,” an evening of short films from the library’s archives in which our city plays a leading role, at the New York Public Library’s Stephen A. Schwarzman Building in Midtown Manhattan. 6:30 p.m. [Free]
• Mets host Giants, 7:10 p.m. (SNY). Yankees at Marlins, 7:10 p.m. (YES).
• Alternate-side parking remains suspended for Eid al-Adha.
• For more events, see The New York Times’s Arts & Entertainment guide.
• Metropolitan Diary is on vacation this week and will return Monday, Aug. 27.
Here in New York City, around two out of every five workers is a freelancer, according to the city’s Department of Consumer Affairs.
And the gig economy, as it’s known, can come with its own pressures: a lack of financial security, access to health care or a comfortable place to work that doesn’t make you buy a $4 coffee.
But soon, New York freelancers will get a boost.
At 10 a.m. today, the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment will announce the creation of a “Freelancers Hub” at the Made in NY Media Center in Dumbo, Brooklyn.
Think of the hub as a free WeWork with areas for networking, legal clinics for workers and workshops in marketing, accounting and filing your taxes.
It’s the first effort by an American city to create a hub for freelancers who work in the gig economy, according to the Office of Media and Entertainment.
The new center, operated by the Freelancers Union, is geared toward freelancers in media and entertainment.
It’s slated to open in early October.
New York Today is a morning roundup that is published weekdays at 6 a.m. If you don’t get it in your inbox already, you can sign up to receive it by email here .
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