chapter  16
The Norwegian workplace hustle: a crisis of shifting national identity
Pages 10

Her bustling workplace is a virtual sea of gray cubicles stretching as far as the eye can see, and it’s as loud as it is soulless, the room’s concrete walls and steel rafters magnifying all the normal office sounds. But Eldrid1 is oblivious. Seemingly immune to the ringing phones, busy foot traffic, and clicking computer keyboards, she keeps glancing at the to-do list propped up just to the right of her computer. Eldrid is the consummate multi-tasker; nothing holds her attention for very long, but of course it can’t, for there’s so much, really much too much, needing doing. Peering over her thick, black-framed reading glasses, she restlessly scrolls through her latest emails. Does she have time to squeeze in a few more phone calls? She slides her chair around to double-check the deadline dates she has scribbled on the white board behind her, and then – as if by habit – steals a glance up at the big clock over the elevators on the north entrance wall. It’s always struck her as a cruel juxtaposition – a dictatorial device positioned directly over the elevators, with their promise of liberation. Seeing the clock’s big sweep hand ticking away the seconds, she sighs, putting her hands over her eyes and frowning in frustration and despair. There’s no way she’ll have enough time to meet that last deadline, is there?