Adderall, says Ian Daly in the December issue of DETAILS Magazine, "is now the dirty secret of professional success." Meanwhile, David Stipp, in November 28th FORTUNE Magazine, discusses the Prozac backlash.
In America, where we seek better living through pharmaceutical solutions, what pills we're popping tell a lot about who we are, were, and are becoming.
Maybe it was that whopper of a 2000 recession. Maybe as Steve Salerno expounds in "SHAM," all that focus on improving the self didn't get us too far and we're finished with that excessive preoccupation with feeling better, which Prozac helped us try to do. Maybe it's the reality that the Chinese happily put in lots more than eight hours a day.
Whatever, more of us are hanging up the pursuit of feeling better than normal and grabbing onto meds, lectures, coaching, lifestyle changes (I gave up going to movies, canceled cable, no longer chase boys) that give us the competitive edge.
Around overachiever Manhattan, the 80-hour work week is the price of entry into the game. The meter starts running when one enters the office. The meter is shut off during all that Blackberry time and simply thinking about work. But even in more civilized Connecticut we all are working longer and, get this, at the same time, are expected to also be working more imaginatively or, as the cliche goes, thinking out of the box.
America, the land of excess, fads and optimism about finding the right fixes for everything and anything, will probably continue to use and abuse Adderall. There will be the "Adderall Look" -- too focused, emaciated, tired -- that will dominate professional circles. Not having it will be a signal not to take us seriously (we're probably only working 60 hours a week). Well-intentioned muckrakers will push for a ban on Adderall and a rethinking of our notion of success.
And then, America, the land of pragmatism, will switch to something that seems to be working better, with less social censure and physical/emotional wear-and-tear.
What will that be? Those of us who anticipate that will be the Next Big Thing.