Saving the paper warrior from himself
The paper warrior is a prisoner of approval He rarely changes until his marriage fails or his career fails. The moment his career fails, he is dumped back out into a job market which demands he work even harder to prove himself again (after all, he has just failed). The moment his marriage fails, he gets dumped back out into the meat market where he finds himself valued more if he’s a top corporate lawyer than if he’s a kindergarten teacher. His periods of self-determination are short-lived He is vulnerable to hints to remain “driven."
And do we give those hints! Try to find a couch in a men’s room. (Only once in my life have I seen so much as a chair in a men’s room – even at exclusive hotels.) Try to find a national leader who admits he takes naps Why? We ridiculed Ronald Reagan for taking naps rather than applauding him. Ironically, Nancy Reagan explained in her memoirs that he did not take naps and that it was a struggle just to get him to stretch out on a couch and rest even during long flights She said, I could never understand where this idea came from, because the press received a copy of his schedule every day, and knew he didn’t come back for a nap.’’20
Didn’t Reagan gain his reputation in part from nodding off in public meetings? Yes, in part. But Nancy Reagan explains, "It is true that Ronnie once nodded off during a public meeting with the Pope in 1982 . . . He got almost no sleep that night, and early the next morning we flew to Rome, where we drove straight to the Vatican for the meeting with the Pope.’’21
The point? We don’t subject housewives to national ridicule for taking naps during the day Why not encourage the "executive nap" and the "employee nap." The one-minute manager could use a five-minute nap. Or a meditation room next to the exercise room. Some Japanese companies provide workers with glass-enclosed capsules that surround them with darkness and soothing music. "When time is up, the worker’s face is blasted with cold air and he is sent back to work’’22 (The cold air 1 can do without, but the nap. . . )
Ultimately, though, only the paper warrior can save himself from the "insanity track.” Women can help by altering their system of approval – by "marrying down” as often as they "marry up." But realistically few women will change if men are too weak to ask