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让人孤独的职场

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As an analyst in a bulge-bracket bank in the City of London, Steve knew that he was in for long hours spent churning through spreadsheets. What he was not prepared for, at a global bank that hires thousands of people, was loneliness.
史蒂夫(Steve)曾在伦敦金融城一家大银行当分析师,他从一开始就知道自己得花大把时间在电子表格上。他始料未及的是,在这样一家有几千名员工的全球银行,他居然会感到孤独。
The environment, says the 27-year-old, who prefers not to use his real name, was “toxic”. There was “rarely any support for new joiners, no mentorship” in the business.
这位27岁的年轻人不愿使用真名,他说,那种环境是“有毒的”,公司“很少为新加入的员工提供什么支持,没有人当导师”。
His youth was a factor. In his early 20s, being on a team with experienced professionals was “intimidating”. A snide comment from a manager would immediately make him feel “very small”.
他的年轻是一方面原因。那时他才20来岁,而团队其他成员都是经验丰富的专业人士,这难免“令人心生畏惧”。来自经理的每一句冷嘲热讽,都会在瞬间让他觉得自己“很渺小”。
Over time, his “self-esteem [took] a nosedive” and he started to isolate himself. “Better to not say a word if the slightest murmur could lead to embarrassment,” he says. That affected his performance at work and meant that he further cordoned himself off.
随着时间推移,他的“自尊心严重受挫”,他开始把自己孤立起来。“如果小声嘀咕一两句都可能招来难堪,那还是闭嘴为好,”他说。这影响了他在工作中的表现,也使他更进一步封闭自己。
A 2011 study from California State University and the Wharton School confirms what Steve knew: that management should not treat loneliness as a private problem but rather one that affects the business.
加利福尼亚州立大学(California State University)和沃顿商学院(Wharton School)在2011年所做的一项研究,印证了史蒂夫的感受:管理层不应把员工的孤独感当作一个私人问题,而应该当作一个会影响业务的问题来处理。
“An employee’s work loneliness triggers emotional withdrawal from their organisation,” the study says. “The results also show that co-workers can recognise this loneliness and see it hindering team member effectiveness.”
“员工在工作中产生的孤独感会导致其在情感上疏远自己的组织,”该研究报告写道,“结果还表明,同事们可以分辨出这种孤独感,看到它在妨碍团队成员的有效性。”
Steve felt not only “lonely but increasingly helpless”. The people who manned the corporate employee assistance phones were based in another city and were disconnected from the main business. After four years, he decided to leave and work for a fintech start-up.
史蒂夫不仅“感到孤独,而且越来越无助”。负责接听员工帮助热线电话的人在另一座城市,而且与公司主营业务毫无关联。4年后,他决定离职,跳槽到一家金融科技初创企业。
He has since realised, through talking to his former colleagues, that he was far from alone in feeling lonely at work. Books have started to appear on loneliness in the past decade, such as Emily White’s Lonely: A Memoir; Olivia Laing’s The Lonely City; and, more academically, Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection by John Cacioppo, the director of the University of Chicago’s Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience.
后来,通过与前同事们交谈,他发现,在工作中感到孤独的绝不只他一个人。过去10年中开始出现了一些关于孤独的著作,比如埃米莉?怀特(Emily White)的《孤独:自传》(Lonely: A Memoir),还有奥利维亚?莱恩(Olivia Laing)写的《孤独的城市》(The Lonely City),以及学术性更强的《孤独是可耻的:你我都需要社会联系》(Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection),该书作者约翰?卡乔波(John Cacioppo)是芝加哥大学(University of Chicago)认知和社会神经科学中心主任。
In the UK, the Campaign to End Loneliness is working to influence public policy on isolation and to develop an evidence base, while the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness, launched in the wake of the Labour MP’s murder in 2016, continues her activism in this area.
英国有一项“终结孤独运动”(Campaign to End Loneliness),致力于影响有关社会隔绝的公共政策,并打造一个证据基础。还有个乔?考克斯孤独委员会(Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness),是在工党议员乔?考克斯2016年遇害后成立的,该委员会继续推进她生前在该领域开展的活动。
It is important to distinguish between subjective loneliness and objective isolation, says Prof Cacioppo, who has been studying the causes and effects of loneliness for more than 20 years. Loneliness is a “lack or loss of companionship [which] happens when we have a mismatch between the quantity and quality of social relationships that we have, and those that we want”, according to the Campaign to End Loneliness.
卡乔波教授表示,有必要区分主观的孤独与客观的孤立。20多年来,他一直在研究产生孤独感的原因和后果。按照“终结孤独运动”的定义,“当我们所拥有的社会关系的数量及质量与我们所希望拥有的不匹配时,我们会感到缺乏或缺失陪伴,这就是孤独”。
This means, says Prof Cacioppo, that one can feel socially isolated even when around friends, family and crowds — or co-workers. As Steve’s experience shows, you may be surrounded by hundreds or thousands of colleagues yet still feel lonely.
卡乔波说,这意味着,一个人即便身边有家人朋友,身处人群中,或者有一大堆同事,也仍可能感到与社会隔绝。正如史蒂夫的经历所表明的,你身边周围或许有几百名甚至几千名同事,但你仍可能觉得孤单。
Despite their prevalence, social media are making people feel disconnected — “alone together”, in the words of Sherry Turkle, a psychologist and professor at MIT. “We think constant connection [through smartphones and email] will make us feel less lonely,” she writes. “The opposite is true.”
社交媒体尽管广为流行,却反而使人们感到隔绝——用麻省理工学院(MIT)心理学家雪莉?特克尔(Sherry Turkle)教授的话来说就是“一起孤独”(alone together)。她写道:“我们以为(通过智能手机和电子邮件)经常联系会使我们感觉没那么孤独,事实正相反。”
A forthcoming paper, co-authored by Prof Cacioppo, suggests that the relationship with technology is more complex. The internet may be used to enhance existing relationships and forge social connections but may also be a way of escaping “the social world” and thus increasing loneliness.
卡乔波与人合写的一篇即将发表的论文则提出,人与科技的关系更加复杂。人们可能利用互联网增强已有的关系和打造新的社会联系,但也可能借互联网来逃避“社交世界”,从而加剧孤独感。
Adam Grant, professor of management and psychology at Wharton, has observed Americans are less likely to foster friendships at work, because they do not envisage sticking around. “We don’t invest in the same way. We view co-workers as transitory ties, greeting them with arms-length civility.”
沃顿商学院管理学及心理学教授亚当?格兰特(Adam Grant)注意到,如今美国人在工作中不那么可能交朋友了,因为他们不打算长干。“我们不再以过去那种方式投入,我们把与同事的关系视为是暂时的,会礼貌地保持着距离。”
While the popular expression may be that “it’s lonely at the top”, researchers have found that it can be pretty lonely at the bottom. A paper published in the scientific journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes in 2015 found that employees with low levels of autonomy and power felt lonely. Adam Waytz, a psychologist at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, explains in the paper that “having power reduces the need to belong”. Power confers access to resources that give people the sense that they could easily affiliate with others and find connection regardless of whether or not this is actually the case, he says.
“身居高位不胜孤独”的说法或许很流行,但研究人员发现,底层员工可能非常孤独。科学期刊《组织行为与人类决策过程》(Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes) 2015年刊载的一篇论文发现,自主与权力级别较低的员工会感到孤独。西北大学凯洛格商学院(Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management)的心理学家亚当?韦兹(Adam Waytz)在论文中解释说,“拥有权力会减少对归属感的需要”。他说,权力带来利用资源的渠道,让人感觉他们能轻易与人交往,找到交情,无论事实是否如此。
Virtual working is a more obvious cause of loneliness. Rachel, who worked until recently in corporate communications at a financial services company headquartered in New York, was the only one in her department based in the UK. “In the beginning I loved it,” says Rachel, who also prefers to remain anonymous. She was proud of being a pioneer and liked having a global role.
虚拟工作是引发孤独感的一个较明显原因。雷切尔(Rachel)原来在一家金融服务公司的公关部工作,公司总部在纽约,整个部门只有她一个人在英国工作,但是最近她已经辞职了。“刚开始我很喜欢这份工作,”雷切尔说,她也不愿透露全名。那时她为自己走在时代前沿感到骄傲,并喜欢担任一个全球性的职位。
But ultimately she became enveloped by loneliness. “I didn’t see anyone — my team were based in New York. I missed the office banter. On Fridays they would say they were going for a drink and I felt excluded.” Rachel felt that she was “out of sight, out of mind”.
但最终她被孤独感包围了。“我谁都见不到——我的团队在纽约,我怀念办公室里的谈笑,一到周五他们会说要出去喝一杯,我觉得自己不是团队的一份子。”雷切尔觉得大家“看不到她,也不会想到她”。
Every time the phone rang she turned into a chatterbox, desperate for contact. She had to remind herself to end the conversation before she pummelled the caller with her enthusiasm. When her son came home from school, “I would hug him like I hadn’t seen him for weeks.” After it took its toll on her health and productivity, she left the job.
每次电话一响,她就成了一个话唠,渴望与人交谈。她必须提醒自己适时结束谈话,以免对方受不了她的热情。儿子放学回家时,“我会紧紧地拥抱他,就像我好几个星期没见他了一样”。孤独感损害了她的健康,也影响了工作效率,于是她辞职了。
In retrospect, she believes that her team should have made more effort to include her. “They could have created more opportunities for banter and discussions offline,” perhaps by building five minutes of conversation into a team conference call.
回头来看,她认为她原来的团队应该多做一些努力来帮助她融入团体。“他们本来可以创造更多机会,在线下进行谈笑和讨论”,比如说在团队电话会议中安排五分钟的谈话。
Shefaly Yogendra, a governance and risk consultant, also experienced virtual-office loneliness, this time working from home with teams in Asia and California. “Office banter is a social lubricant. It humanises people and makes them seem not like robots,” she says. “There is an existential quality to loneliness.” For her, the solution was not to find throngs of co-workers but to “calm the monkey mind” through yoga.
公司治理及风险顾问谢发里?约詹德拉(Shefaly Yogendra)也体会到了虚拟办公室所带来的孤独感,与她合作的团队分别在亚洲和美国加州,而她在自己家中工作。“办公室谈笑是一种社交润滑剂,它使人富于人性,使他们看起来不像机器人。”她说,“孤独有一种与存在有关的品质。”她的解决办法不是为自己找到大批同事,而是通过练瑜伽“让心猿安定下来”。
Sometimes working alone at home can be the answer to loneliness. Deborah Parietti, founder of Red Beetle Travelling Food, an ecommerce business selling Italian produce, says that she feels less lonely now than she did working in marketing for an employer.
有时候,独自在家工作恰恰是一种克服孤独感的办法。Red Beetle Travelling Food是一家销售意大利农产品的电商企业,其创始人黛博拉?帕里埃蒂(Deborah Parietti)说,比起她在一家公司做市场营销工作,她如今感觉没那么孤独了。
“It felt so silly to feel lonely when surrounded by loads of people. It’s hard to talk to a boss and say, ‘I feel lonely.’ It’s not tangible. Not something you can explain very well. It’s not an easy conversation to have.”
“身边有许多人却觉得孤独,那种感觉真是太蠢了。你很难开口对老板说,‘我觉得孤独’。那不是有形的,不是某种你能够解释得清的东西。那不是容易交流的话题。”
让人孤独的职场.jpgToday, while she is often alone, she feels she has the power to make changes if loneliness creeps in. “When I was in a workplace, it made me unhappy and [I] couldn’t switch off from that?.?.?.?discomfort and sadness. Now loneliness is a catalyst. I can go and meet people.”
如今,虽然她经常独处,但她觉得如果孤独感在心底悄然滋生,她有力量去做出改变。“当我身处一个工作场所,孤独感会让我不快乐,而我无法摆脱那种……不适和悲哀。如今孤独成了一种催化剂,我可以出门去见人。”
Even chief executives are vulnerable
首席执行官也孤独
António Horta-Osório, the chief executive of Lloyds bank, was signed off work for stress and told the Financial Times: “As a CEO these positions are quite lonely, so sometimes there are several things you cannot share with your team, because you have to motivate them. You don’t want your employees to have doubts about your leadership.”
劳埃德银行(Lloyds bank)的首席执行官安东尼奥·霍塔-奥索里奥(António Horta-Osório)曾因压力过大而休病假,他告诉英国《金融时报》:“身为一名首席执行官,这些职位是相当孤独的,有时候,有一些事情你无法与你的团队分享,因为你必须激励他们。你不希望你手下的员工对你的领导力抱有怀疑。”
A report on loneliness, co-authored by Professor Adam Waytz of Kellogg School of Management, found high-ranking employees were vulnerable to loneliness because they often have sole responsibility for laying off employees; reducing resources in budget restructurings; and “increasing organisational profit at a potential cost to the environment or to society”.
上文提到的凯洛格商学院的亚当?韦兹教授与人联合撰写的一份关于孤独的报告发现,高级别的雇员很容易产生孤独感,因为他们往往独自承担着一些责任,比如裁员、在预算重组过程中减少资源,还有“以可能损害环境或社会为代价来增加本组织的利润”。
重点单词   查看全部解释    
quality ['kwɔliti]
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n. 品质,特质,才能
adj. 高品质的
 
potential [pə'tenʃəl]
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adj. 可能的,潜在的
n. 潜力,潜能
 
conference ['kɔnfərəns]
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n. 会议,会谈,讨论会,协商会
联想记忆
conversation [.kɔnvə'seiʃən]
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n. 会话,谈话
联想记忆
quantity ['kwɔntiti]
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n. 量,数量,大量
 
distinguish [dis'tiŋgwiʃ]
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vt. 区别,辨认,使显著
联想记忆
performance [pə'fɔ:məns]
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n. 表演,表现; 履行,实行
n. 性能,本
联想记忆
decade ['dekeid]
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n. 十年
联想记忆
grant [grɑ:nt]
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n. 授予物,补助金; 同意,给予
n. 财产
 
stress [stres]
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n. 紧张,压力
v. 强调,着重
 
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