In Conversation With: Sonia Kang, Christine Beckman and Melissa Mazmanian discuss “Dreams of the Overworked: Living, Working & Parenting in the Digital Age”.

Book Synopsis

This book is a riveting look at the real reasons we feel inadequate in the face of our dreams, and a call to celebrate how we support one another in the service of family and work in our daily life.

Jay’s days are filled with back-to-back meetings, but he always leaves work in time to pick his daughter up from swimming at 7pm, knowing he’ll be back on his laptop later that night. Linda thinks wistfully of the treadmill in her garage as she finishes folding the laundry that’s been in the dryer for the last week. Rebecca sits with one child in front of a packet of math homework, while three others clamor for her attention. In Dreams of the Overworked, Christine M. Beckman and Melissa Mazmanian offer vivid sketches of daily life for nine families, capturing what it means to live, work, and parent in a world of impossible expectations, now amplified unlike ever before by smart devices.

We are invited into homes and offices, where we recognize the crushing pressure of unraveling plans, and the healing warmth of being together. Moreover, we witness the constant planning that goes into a “good” day, often with the aid of phones and apps. Yet, as technologies empower us to do more, they also promise limitless availability and connection. Checking email on the weekend, monitoring screen time, and counting steps are all part of the daily routine. The stories in this book challenge the seductive myth of the phone-clad individual, by showing that beneath the plastic veneer of technology is a complex, hidden system of support―our dreams being scaffolded by retired in-laws, friendly neighbours, spouses, and paid help.

This book makes a compelling case for celebrating the structures that allow us to strive for our dreams, by supporting public policies and community organizations, challenging workplace norms, reimagining family, and valuing the joy of human connection.

About our speakers

Christine Beckman is the Price Family Chair in Social Innovation and Professor at the USC Price School of Public Policy. She is an Associate Editor at Administrative Science Quarterly and Past Division Chair of the Organization and Management Theory division of the Academy of Management. She previously served on the faculty at the Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland, and the Paul Merage School of Business, University of California, Irvine. At Maryland, she was the Academic Director for the Center for Social Value Creation, diversity officer, and facilitated a peer network for junior faculty women. At UC Irvine, she was a Chancellor’s Fellow from 2008-2011 and Faculty Director of the Don Beall Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. She was the 2006 Western Academy of Management Ascendent Scholar.

Melissa Mazmanian is an Associate Professor of Informatics at the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences and Associate Professor of Organization and Management at the Paul Merage School of Management (joint) at the University of California, Irvine. Melissa’s interests revolve around communication practices in personal and organizational contexts, specifically in relation to social norms and the nature of personal and professional time in the digital age. Melissa has published in Organization Science, Academy of Management Journal, MIS Quarterly and ACM venues such as CHI and CSCW. She earned her PhD in Organization Studies from the MIT Sloan School of Management and Masters in Information Economics, Management and Policy from the University of Michigan, School of Information. She serves as a Senior Editor for Organization Science.

This event is hosted by the Institute for Gender and the Economy.

Date: October 5, 2020

Time: 4:00 – 5:00 p.m.

Venue: On September 28, Rotman Events will email registrants the link to the page where you can watch the livestream of the talk on October 5 from 4:00pm sharp to 5:00pm EDT.

Location: Online

Please register here for this event.
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