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  • Published: 14 January 2021
  • ISBN: 9781473573864
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 320

Can't Even

How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation




A sharp and insightful investigation of burnout – what it means personally and culturally – that offers recognition and solace

It’s not surprising that people are feeling burnt out: we’re working around the clock, social media is one big hamster wheel of hot takes and reactions and comparisons, and our news cycle is a horror-show. Yet while burnout may seem like the default setting for the modern era, in Can’t Even, former academic and BuzzFeed cultural columnist Anne Helen Petersen asserts that burnout is a definitional condition for the millennial generation, borne out of distrust in the institutions that have failed us, the unrealistic expectations of the modern workplace, and a sharp uptick in anxiety and hopelessness exacerbated by the constant pressure to ‘perform’ our lives online.

This book explores what burnout means for students and the education system, interns and freelancers and gig economy workers, the children of Boomers and the parents of the next generation. It investigates how we manage (or not) to live with social media and self-optimization, a seven-day working week and ‘errand paralysis’, the current hyper-saturated news environment and a constant sense of doom. It also thinks about what comes next: for us as individuals and for our wider political future.

Can’t Even assures us that we’re not alone in feeling overwhelmed and that our guilt about our never-completed To Do lists might be misplaced, that there are greater forces at work than our apparent failure to remain in control.

  • Published: 14 January 2021
  • ISBN: 9781473573864
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 320

About the author

Anne Helen Petersen

Anne Helen Petersen is a senior culture writer for BuzzFeed. A former academic, Petersen received her PhD at the University of Texas at Austin, where she focused on the history of celebrity gossip. Her previous books, Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud and Scandals of Classic Hollywood, were featured in NPR, Elle, and the Atlantic. She lives in Missoula, Montana.

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