Sorry, Sometimes You Do Have to Be Uncomfortable

That said, you can do only so much and, frankly, you have done enough. You may well be surrounded by people who are unwilling or uninterested in living in the real world where diversity exists. If that’s the case, it could be that you need to move to an organization whose values are more aligned with yours.

I work for a nonprofit, where I’ve been employed for most of the past 30-plus years. I’m a bit of a workaholic. A few weeks ago, my manager asked everyone at a meeting to say what our stress level is, on a one to 10 scale. I said the truth: 10. One week later, the manager’s theme for her morning email was time management: Basically, anyone who says she is busy or has too much work actually has poor time management skills. I considered this to be a public shaming of me and one colleague who also self-reported a high level of stress. The email is not the only thing I don’t like about the manager, but it feels like the proverbial straw, the latest in a stream of disrespectful actions. Do all bosses do this? If I decide to stick it out until I’m eligible for Social Security, what’s the best approach?

— Anonymous, Madison, Wis.

Your manager is passive aggressive and has some toxic ideas about work culture. I don’t know that she was shaming you as much as she was judging you, which isn’t much better. But who cares what she thinks? You’re stressed out. Most people are. Your manager is just being petty. Ignore her silly provocations. You’ve been at your organization for more than 30 years. You can see the light at the end of the employment tunnel. You can and will get through this. If you have the energy for it, you can certainly look for new employment. Or you can just stick it out. You didn’t share how much longer you have to work to qualify for Social Security benefits, but I am guessing it’s fewer than 10 years. It’s time to figure out who you are beyond your work. You can be great at your job without being a workaholic. Keep doing your best, but find other things outside of work to put some of that intensity into. As I’ve written before in this column, the job will never love you. Do not invest the whole of your identity in what you do for a living because when the job refuses to love you back, when it lets you down, you’re left with nothing and you deserve much better.

I’m in the process of hiring a new writer. She impressed us all in the interview process. We made her an offer and she verbally accepted. Then she sent us some questions about details of the offer. We sent some benefit details and vague info on our growth numbers, given the nondisclosure agreement she signed.

The day her acceptance was due back, she phoned human resources — not me, the hiring manager — to say she had another offer at a startlingly high salary. She said she’d take our offer for an additional $10,000. I really doubt the level of the second offer. But others wanted to push forward and gave her a $5,000 bump. When I phoned with the counteroffer, I mentioned her competing offer and she brushed it off — ‘Oh, that, I wouldn’t take that. I’d like to work for you.’

I feel like we’ve been played. I can’t shake the feeling that she lied to us and went around me. What do I do with this feeling?

— Anonymous

Your new employee is not taking money out of your bank account. Why are you so pressed about her negotiating tactics or how much she is being paid? You don’t know for certain that she is lying about the competing offer but, if she is, she is not the first nor will she be the last person to manifest an imaginary job offer to negotiate higher compensation. It sounds as if she was savvy, did her homework and shot her shot. Let go of the feeling that she lied and circumvented your authority. She has hustle. She will, hopefully, bring that hustle to the job every day and be a great employee. If not, you will handle the matter accordingly. I understand why you are irked about the way she went about this, but that’s your bruised ego talking. Nurse the bruise and move on. You’re still the boss.

Roxane Gay is the author, most recently, of “Hunger” and a contributing opinion writer. Write to her at workfriend@nytimes.com.

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New Yorker, Pitchfork and Ars Technica unions authorize strike.

Union workers at The New Yorker, Pitchfork and Ars Technica said Friday they had voted to authorize a strike as tensions over contract negotiations with Condé Nast, the owner of the publications, continued to escalate.

In a joint statement, the unions for the three publications said the vote, which received 98 percent support from members, meant workers would be ready to walk off the job if talks over collective bargaining agreements continued to devolve. At The New Yorker, the unionized staff includes fact checkers and web producers but not staff writers, while most editors and writers at Pitchfork and Ars Technica are members.

The unions, which are affiliated with the NewsGuild of New York, which also represents employees at The New York Times, have been separately working toward first-time contracts with Condé Nast. In the case of The New Yorker Union, negotiations have dragged out for more than two years.

The core of their demands, the unions said, were fair contracts that included wage minimums in line with industry standards, clear paths for professional development, concrete commitments to diversity and inclusion, and work-life balance. They said in the statement that Condé Nast had “not negotiated in good faith.”

stopped work for a day in protest over pay. Last year, two high-profile speakers at The New Yorker Festival — Senator Elizabeth Warren and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — vowed not to cross a picket line in solidarity with unionized workers.

The NewsGuild of New York said it would hold a rally for fair contracts on Saturday at Condé Nast’s offices in downtown Manhattan.

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Jobless Claims Fall to Lowest Point in the Pandemic: Live Updates

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell last week to 657,000, a decrease of 100,000 from the previous week, the Labor Department reported Thursday. It was the lowest weekly level of initial state claims since the pandemic upended the economy a year ago.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, new state claims totaled 684,000.

In addition, there were 242,000 new claims for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, a federal program covering freelancers, part-timers and others who do not routinely qualify for state benefits, a decrease of 43,000.

Unemployment claims have been at historically high levels for the past year, partly because some workers have been laid off more than once.

“The labor market will benefit from a reopening, but it will take time for a complete recovery,” said Rubeela Farooqi, chief U.S. economist for High Frequency Economics. “The economy is doing well, but the job market is still far away from where it needs to be.”

Although the pace of vaccinations, as well as passage of a $1.9 trillion relief package this month, has lifted economists’ expectations for growth, the labor market has lagged behind other measures of recovery.

Still, the easing of restrictions on indoor dining areas, health clubs, movie theaters and other gathering places offers hope for the millions of workers who were let go in the last 12 months. And the $1,400 checks going to most Americans as part of the relief bill should help spending perk up in the weeks ahead.

Diane Swonk, chief economist at the accounting firm Grant Thornton, said she hoped for consistent employment gains but her optimism was tempered by concern about the longer-term displacement of workers by the pandemic.

“We’ve passed the point where you can just flip a switch and the lights come back on,” she said. “We need to see a sustained increase in hiring, which I think we will see, but the concern is that it won’t be so robust. It takes longer to ramp up than it does to shut down.”

Most of United’s new flights will connect cities in the Midwest to tourist destinations.
Credit…Sebastian Hidalgo for The New York Times

United Airlines plans to add more than two dozen new flights starting Memorial Day weekend, the latest sign that demand for leisure travel is picking up as the national vaccination rate moves higher.

Most of the new flights will connect cities in the Midwest to tourist destinations, such as Charleston, Hilton Head and Myrtle Beach in South Carolina; Portland, Maine; Savannah, Ga.; and Pensacola, Fla. United also said it planned to offer more flights to Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America and South America in May than it did during the same month in 2019.

The airline has seen ticket sales rise in recent weeks, according to Ankit Gupta, United’s vice president of domestic network planning and scheduling. Customers are booking tickets further out, too, he said, suggesting growing confidence in travel.

“Over the past 12 months, this is the first time we are really feeling more bullish,” Mr. Gupta said.

Airports have been consistently busier in recent weeks than at any point since the coronavirus pandemic brought travel to a standstill a year ago. Well over one million people were screened at airport security checkpoints each day over the past two weeks, according to the Transportation Security Administration, although the number of screenings is down more than 40 percent compared with the same period in 2019.

Most of the new United flights will be offered between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend aboard the airline’s regional jets, which have 50 seats. The airline said it would also add new flights between Houston and Kalispell, Mont.; Washington and Bozeman, Mont.; Chicago and Nantucket, Mass.; and Orange County, Calif., and Honolulu.

All told, United said it planned to operate about 58 percent as many domestic flights this May as it did in May 2019 and 46 percent as many international flights. Most of the demand for international travel has been focused on warm beach destinations that have less-stringent travel restrictions.

“That is one of the strongest demand regions in the world right now,” Mr. Gupta said. “A lot of the leisure traffic has sort of shifted to those places and it’s actually seen a boom in bookings.”

Delta Air Lines issued a similar update last week, announcing more than 20 nonstop summer flights to mountain, beach and vacation destinations. Both airlines have said in recent weeks that they have made substantial progress toward reducing how much money they are losing every day.

“Institutions that focus on diversity and do it well are the successful institutions in our society,” said Jerome Powell, the Federal Reserve chair.
Credit…Mandel Ngan/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Jerome H. Powell, the Federal Reserve chair, said on Thursday that the central bank was trying to make its economic employee base more racially diverse and he was not satisfied with its progress toward that goal so far.

“It’s very frustrating, because we have had for many years a strong focus on recruiting a more diverse cadre of economists,” Mr. Powell said while speaking on NPR’s “Morning Edition,” after being asked about a New York Times story on the Fed’s lack of Black economists. “We’re not at all satisfied with the results.”

Only two of the 417 economists, or 0.5 percent, at the Fed’s board in Washington were Black, according to data the Fed provided to The Times earlier this year. By comparison, Black people make up 13 percent of the country’s population and 3 to 4 percent of the U.S. citizens and permanent residents who graduate as Ph.D. economists each year.

Across the entire Fed system — including the Board of Governors and the 12 regional banks — 1.3 percent of economists identified as Black. The Fed has been making efforts to hire more broadly, Mr. Powell said, including by working with historically Black colleges.

“It’s a very high priority,” Mr. Powell said of hiring more diversely. “Institutions that focus on diversity and do it well are the successful institutions in our society.”

The Fed chair was also asked about how he would rate the central bank’s sweeping efforts to rescue the economy as markets melted down at the start of the coronavirus outbreak last year. In addition to cutting its policy interest rate to near zero and rolling out an enormous bond-buying program, the Fed set up a series of emergency lending programs to funnel credit to the economy.

Rolled out over a frantic few weeks, the programs included ones that the Fed had never tried before to backstop corporate bond and private company loan markets.

“I liken it to Dunkirk,” Mr. Powell said, referring to the rapid evacuation of British and Allied forces from France in World War II. “Just get in the boats and go.”

Despite the speed of the decision-making, Mr. Powell said that he looked back on the results as positive.

“Overall, it was a very successful program,” he said. “It served its purpose in staving off what could have been far worse outcomes.”

Esther George, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, said she expected inflation to “firm,” given time.
Credit…Ann Saphir/Reuters

Esther George, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, says that although the outlook for growth has improved as vaccinations increase and the government rolls out relief packages, the path of the pandemic remains a major question hanging over the U.S. and global economies.

“We’re not out of this yet,” Ms. George said in an interview on Wednesday. “It’s hard to know what the dynamics will be on the other side.”

Ms. George said she was focused on labor force participation as a sign of the job market’s strength more than the headline unemployment rate, which has fallen to 6.2 percent from a 14.8 percent peak but misses many people who aren’t looking for new jobs after losing theirs during the pandemic. Participation, the share of people working or looking, remains a hefty two percentage points below its prepandemic levels.

“That might be the thing I really watch in the coming months,” she said.

Ms. George expects inflation to “firm,” but that the process is likely to take a while, she said, and it is “too soon to say” whether it will end with a more meaningful rise. Some prominent economists have begun to warn that prices, which have been low for decades, could rise rapidly as the government spends big and the Fed keeps rates at rock bottom to support the economic recovery.

“Wages are a very telling factor in a story about inflation,” Ms. George said.

Many economists look for faster growth in compensation as a signal that inflation is sustainable, not just driven by short-lived supply constraints or temporary quirks in the data.

Ms. George’s colleagues, including Jerome H. Powell, the Fed chair, have been clear that they expect prices to move higher this year but will not necessarily see that as an achievement of their inflation goal. The Fed redefined its target last year and now aims for 2 percent annual price gains, on average, over time.

Ms. George did not venture a guess of when the Fed will hit its three criteria for raising interest rates: full employment, 2 percent realized price gains and the expectation of higher inflation for some time. Some Fed officials expect to raise rates next year or in 2023, but most of them expect the initial increase to come even later.

Dan Gilbert, the chief executive of Quicken Loans, which has been based in Detroit since 2010.
Credit…Tony Dejak/Associated Press

Dan Gilbert, the Quicken Loans founder, has spent more than a decade putting billions into downtown Detroit. Now he’s broadening his scope.

The Gilbert Family Foundation and the Rocket Community Fund, the philanthropic arm of Quicken Loans’ Rocket Mortgage company, announced on Thursday a $500 million investment in Metro Detroit, to be spent over the next 10 years. The first $15 million will be put toward paying off property tax debt of low-income homeowners who qualified for Detroit’s Pay As You Stay initiative.

Quicken Loans has been based in Detroit since 2010, and Mr. Gilbert and his real estate firm, Bedrock, have spent billions buying and redeveloping properties there. Those efforts have been praised for revitalizing a downtown area of roughly seven square miles, but also criticized by some who contend they did not do enough to help those who live in the rest of the city.

“We feel like we’ve made Detroit into a tech boomtown,” said Mr. Gilbert. But he acknowledged that some may have felt left behind. “This can bridge that,” he said.

Mr. Gilbert added that his focus outside of Detroit’s city center stems from his work on President Barack Obama’s Blight Removal Task Force in 2014 as the city was emerging from bankruptcy. “Property taxes was the No. 1 issue that was causing the blight foreclosures,” he said.

Detroit’s housing crisis dates to “racial covenants” in the 1920s. In the mid-2000s, the city became a center of risky lending that defined the financial crisis, with subprime lending accounting for three-fourths of the mortgages in the city. (Quicken Loans settled a lawsuit with the Justice Department for its own lending practices during that time, but admitted no wrongdoing.)

The economic crisis that followed toppled a city already grappling with a dwindling population and shrinking revenue. Those who paid for the recovery were largely low-income housing owners — in many cases Black — whom the city was also accused of overtaxing. Poverty rates ascended and city services deteriorated as a result.

The investment announced on Thursday is an effort to address the lingering effects of the crisis. Twenty thousand families qualify for the tax-relief program, said Mr. Gilbert’s wife, Jennifer, who founded the Gilbert Family Foundation with her husband.

“By preserving that wealth, we also preserve opportunities for intergenerational wealth transfer,” she said. “The stability of the home allows for people to then focus on other economic opportunities that allow them to thrive.”

After the first $15 million of the initiative is spent paying back taxes of low-income homeowners, the remaining funds will be focused on, among other things, home repair and narrowing the digital divide.

The community will be vital for input, including those who qualify for the initial tax relief. “We can learn a lot about where we want to invest next and how best we can positively impact them and their lives,” Ms. Gilbert said.

A Nike store in Beijing on Thursday. Nike shares fell in premarket trading after it was criticized on Chinese social media over a statement it made about reports of forced labor in Xinjiang.
Credit…Greg Baker/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

U.S. stock futures dipped on Thursday even as the latest weekly data on state unemployment claims showed that they fell to their lowest level since the start of the pandemic.

Initial claims for unemployment benefits fell last week to 657,000, a decrease of 100,000 from the previous week, the Labor Department reported Thursday. On a seasonally adjusted basis, new state claims totaled 684,000. Economists have been expecting the numbers to fall as the vaccine rollout continues and the effects of the $1.9 trillion stimulus package emerge.

European stocks were lower. The Stoxx Europe 600 index was down 0.8 percent and the FTSE 100 in Britain fell 1 percent.

  • Oil prices dropped. Futures of Brent crude, the European benchmark, fell 1.5 percent to $63.45 a barrel and futures of West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark, fell 1.8 percent to about $60 a barrel. On Wednesday, oil prices jumped more than 5 percent after a container ship got stuck in the Suez Canal, blocking one of the world’s key shipping routes, which is also an important artery for the flow of oil. On Thursday, efforts to dislodge the ship were ongoing as some 150 other ships were waiting on either side.

  • The company trying to move the ship warned it could take weeks. Shipping has already been heavily disrupted by the pandemic sending freight prices soaring.

  • As Europe grapples with an emerging third wave of the pandemic, Germany has canceled a strict five-day lockdown that was set to start at the beginning of April. Chancellor Angela Merkel said she took “ultimate responsibility” for the reversal, which came after a large backlash to the plan, even from within her own party, and anger from retailers and restaurants.

  • “In the near term, this avoids the negative economic consequences of a lockdown,” Paul Donovan, an economist at UBS Global Wealth Management, wrote in a note. But over a longer a period of time, markets will question whether this will just delay Germany’s ability to restrain the virus and slow down the recovery, he added.

  • Nike shares dropped 4 percent in premarket trading and H&M shares fell nearly 3 percent in Stockholm after Chinese social media users called for a boycott of the companies. The two fashion retailers had published statements expressing concern over reports of forced labor in Xinjiang. Nike’s statement said the company didn’t source cotton from the region but the online attacks have called this a boycott of the region’s cotton farmers.

“We are here to help our small businesses, and that is why I’m proud to more than triple the amount of funding they can access,” said Isabella Casillas Guzman, the Small Business Administration’s administrator.
Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

Companies harmed by the coronavirus pandemic can soon borrow up to $500,000 through the Small Business Administration’s emergency lending program, raising a cap that has frustrated many applicants.

“The pandemic has lasted longer than expected,” Isabella Casillas Guzman, the agency’s administrator, said on Wednesday. “We are here to help our small businesses, and that is why I’m proud to more than triple the amount of funding they can access.”

The change to the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program — known as EIDL and pronounced as idle — will take effect the week of April 6. Those who have already received loans but might now qualify for more money will be contacted and offered the opportunity to apply for an increase, the agency said.

The Small Business Administration has approved $200 billion in disaster loans to 3.8 million borrowers since the program began last year. Unlike the forgivable loans made through the larger and more prominent Paycheck Protection Program, the disaster loans must be paid back. But they carry a low interest rate and a long repayment term.

Normally, the decades-old disaster program makes loans of up to $2 million, and in the early days of the pandemic, the agency gave some applicants as much as $900,000. But it soon capped loans at $150,000 because it feared exhausting the available funding. That limit — which the agency did not tell borrowers about for months — angered applicants who needed more capital to keep their struggling ventures alive.

The agency has $270 billion left to lend through the pandemic relief program, James Rivera, the head of the agency’s Office of Disaster Assistance, told senators at a hearing on Wednesday.

  • Tribune Publishing’s board recommended that shareholders approve a purchase offer from the hedge fund Alden Global Capital over a higher bid from a Maryland hotel executive, according to a securities filing Tuesday. Alden, Tribune’s largest shareholder, agreed last month to buy the rest of the company at $17.25 per share and take it private in a deal that would value the company at $630 million. Last week, Stewart W. Bainum Jr., a hotel magnate, made an $18.50 per share offer for the whole company.

Jane Fraser in 2019. “The blurring of lines between home and work and the relentlessness of the pandemic workday have taken a toll on our well-being,” she told Citigroup employees.
Credit…Erin Scott/Reuters

Complaints of “Zoom fatigue” have emerged across industries and classrooms in the past year, as people confined to working from home faced schedules packed with virtual meetings and often followed up by long video catch-ups with friends, reports Anna Schaverien of The New York Times.

But Citigroup, one of the world’s largest banks, is trying to start a new end-of-week tradition meant to combat that fatigue: Zoom-free Fridays.

The bank’s new chief executive, Jane Fraser, announced the plan in a memo sent to employees on Monday. Recognizing that workers have spent inordinate amounts of the past 12 months staring at video calls, Citi is encouraging its employees to take a step back from Zoom and other videoconferencing platforms for one day a week, she said.

“The blurring of lines between home and work and the relentlessness of the pandemic workday have taken a toll on our well-being,” Ms. Fraser wrote in the memo, which was seen by The New York Times.

No one at the company would have to turn their video on for any internal meetings on Fridays, she said. External meetings would not be affected.

The bank outlined other steps to restore some semblance of work-life balance. It recommended employees stop scheduling calls outside of traditional working hours and pledged that when employees can return to offices, a majority of its workers would be given the option to work from home up to two days a week.

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Citi Creates ‘Zoom-Free Fridays’ to Combat Covid-19 Pandemic Fatigue

Happy hours and “Casual Fridays,” team doughnuts and coffee trips have all fallen by the wayside in the last year, as one office tradition after another was curtailed by the reality of remote work.

Lawyers rolled into court from bed. Executives used one good shirt. Sweatpants ruled the day.

But Citigroup, one of the world’s largest banks, is trying to start a new end-of-week tradition: Zoom-free Fridays.

The bank’s new chief executive, Jane Fraser, announced the plan for “Zoom-free Fridays” in a memo sent to employees on Monday. Recognizing that workers have spent inordinate amounts of the past 12 months staring at video calls, Citi is encouraging its employees to take a step back from Zoom and other videoconferencing platforms for one day a week, she said.

“The blurring of lines between home and work and the relentlessness of the pandemic workday have taken a toll on our well-being,” Ms. Fraser wrote in the memo, which was seen by The New York Times.

according to S&P Global — also asked its 210,000 workers around the world to make sure they take their vacation time and designated Friday, May 28 a companywide holiday for all workers to be off and “reset.”

The bank outlined other steps to restore some semblance of work-life balance. It recommended employees stop scheduling calls outside of traditional working hours, and pledged that when employees can return to offices, a majority of its workers would be given the option to work from home up to two days a week.

“We are all feeling the weariness,” wrote Ms. Fraser, who took up her role as Citi’s chief executive this month and is the first woman to lead a major American bank. The pressure is high for Citi to turn itself around, after a banker’s mistake sent nearly $1 billion wired to the wrong people and the bank was handed a $400 million fine by federal regulators last year over long-running problems.

“Zoom fatigue” have emerged across industries and classrooms in the past year, as people confined to working from home faced schedules packed with virtual meetings, and found that their hours of on-camera work were often followed up by long video catch-ups with friends.

The widespread feeling of burnout prompted research from Stanford University trying to explain why video calls felt so draining.

In a peer-reviewed article published in the journal Technology, Mind and Behavior last month, Professor Jeremy Bailenson, the founding director of the Stanford Virtual Human Interaction Lab, outlined several reasons video calls can be so much more exhausting than in-person conversations.

He found that the excessive eye contact involved in video calls, the unnatural situation of seeing ourselves on-screen and having to stay in the same fixed spot all contribute toward “Zoom fatigue.”

Video calls are also harder mental work for us, Professor Bailenson said in a news release, because we have to put in more effort to make and interpret nonverbal communications. “If you want to show someone that you are agreeing with them, you have to do an exaggerated nod or put your thumbs up,” he said. “That adds cognitive load as you’re using mental calories in order to communicate.”

Dr. Aaron Balick, a psychotherapist and the author of “The Psychodynamics of Social Networking,” said a key mistake companies made when setting up work-from-home conditions last year was to treat Zoom calls as the equivalent of face-to-face meetings. He said that they failed to consider the additional mental burden placed on workers and the downtime needed to process what was said between calls.

“They require different intellectual muscles,” Dr. Balick said in an interview on Wednesday, adding that Zoom calls needed to be treated as a “functionally different thing.”

working as much as two hours a day more than usual.

For Wall Street, which even before the pandemic had a notorious reputation for extreme hours, Citi’s efforts to introduce a more flexible approach to work will probably not go unnoticed.

Last week, a survey of 13 first-year Goldman Sachs analysts drew attention on social media, with the analysts claiming they worked an average of around 100 hours a week and felt they were victims of workplace abuse.

Goldman responded in a statement that “a year into Covid, people are understandably quite stretched.” It said it was “listening to their concerns and taking multiple steps to address them.”

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Microsoft to Ease Workers Back to the Office Starting Next Week: Live Updates

wrote on the company blog.

Microsoft also released on Monday the results of a survey of that it says shows the work force has changed after a year of working remotely. In the survey of more than 30,000 full-time and self-employed workers, 73 percent said they wanted flexible remote work options to continue, and 46 percent said they were planning to move this year now that they could work remotely.

“There are some companies that think we’re just going to go back to how it was,” Jared Spataro, the corporate vice president for Microsoft 365, said in an interview. “However, the data does seem to indicate that they don’t understand what has happened over the last 12 months.”

Jerome H. Powell, the chair of the Federal Reserve, said the Fed’s research into central bank-issued digital currencies is early and exploratory — and that U.S. officials would only consider issuing a digital dollar if they believed there was a clear use and if the idea had widespread public and political buy-in.

“You can expect us to move with great care and transparency,” Mr. Powell said on Monday at a Bank for International Settlements event on central bank innovation. “We would not proceed with this without support from Congress.”

Mr. Powell said that at this stage, the Fed is looking into whether there is even a need for a central bank digital currency — a technology-based instrument with official government backing. Payment systems are already speeding up and banks offer digital money in the form of bank deposits, he noted, so the need for a central bank version is an open question.

“Does the public want, or need, a new digital form of central bank money to complement what is already a highly efficient, reliable and innovative payments arena?” he said.

Central bank digital currency could offer benefits, Mr. Powell said — perhaps laying the groundwork for a more efficient, more inclusive payment system, and maintaining the dollar’s competitive position as the leading global currency. But there are also big risks. Digital currencies could bring cybersecurity vulnerabilities and the possibility of money laundering, and they might disrupt the stable relationship between customers, banks and the Fed.

“We’re sort of purveyors of stability,” Mr. Powell said Monday.

The Fed’s Washington-based board has begun experimenting with central bank digital currencies, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston is collaborating with researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on complementary research.

“The focus really is on developing and understanding the capabilities and limitations of the relevant technologies,” he said. “It’s not an attempt to create a prototype.”

Mr. Powell said regulation is not “where it needs to be” when it comes to stable coins — a type of cryptocurrency which has value tied to an outside asset. He dismissed the possibility that private stable coins could substitute for central bank money.

And when it comes to cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin that aren’t backed by some value anchor, Mr. Powell said they are risky assets as opposed to dollar-like money.

“Crypto assets, they’re highly volatile — see Bitcoin — and therefore not really useful as a store of value,” Mr. Powell said. “It’s more a speculative asset, that’s essentially a substitute for gold, rather than for the dollar.”

A group of junior bankers at Goldman Sachs assembled a presentation about working conditions at the Wall Street bank that circulated on social media.
Credit…Emon Hassan for The New York Times

Last week, a presentation by a group of junior bankers at Goldman Sachs went viral on social media, in which they complained about what they described as workplace abuse, including 100-hour weeks.

The DealBook newsletter’s inbox has been overflowing with reactions, notably from current, former and aspiring investment bankers. Here’s what some had to say — most requested anonymity to speak freely about their experiences — edited and condensed for clarity:

Turkish lira banknotes at a currency exchange in Ankara. An unexpected change at the head of Turkey’s central bank caused a steep drop in the lira’s value.
Credit…Murad Sezer/Reuters

Turkey’s currency tumbled on Monday after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan fired the head of the central bank, who had been in the job just four months and had pursued policies aimed at taming inflation. The Turkish lira plunged 10 percent against the U.S. dollar.

The removal of Turkey’s central bank chief, Naci Agbal, signals a return to the unorthodox policies that Mr. Erdogan has long favored, such as cutting interest rates to lower inflation, but which most economists regard as counterproductive. Mr. Erdogan has repeatedly meddled in the central bank’s activities and over the years traders have dumped the lira.

Since his appointment in November, Mr. Agbal has raised the central bank’s benchmark interest rate from 10.25 percent to 19 percent in an effort to slow the overheating economy, control inflation and lure in foreign investment. He had succeeded in pulling the lira up from its record low. The most recent increase in the benchmark rate was on Thursday and he was fired on Friday.

The annual inflation rate was officially 15.6 percent in February but is probably much higher.

The new central bank chief, Sahap Kavcioglu, a university professor and former member of Turkey’s National Assembly, said in a statement that he would continue to fight inflation. But on Monday, the lira was trading at about 7.93 to the dollar, compared with 7.22 on Friday. The plunge in value was a sign that currency traders expect him to bow to pressure from Mr. Erdogan to cut rates, worsening the inflation problem and pushing the country of 82 million people closer to economic collapse.

“We have abandoned our cautiously optimistic view on the lira,” Piotr Matys, a strategist at Rabobank wrote in a note. Mr. Kavcioglu’s comments suggest he is clearly in favor of lower interest rates to stimulate growth, he added.

Carlos Ghosn, the former chief executive of Nissan, is a fugitive after fleeing Japan, where he was facing charges of alleged financial misconduct, which he had denied.  
Credit…Hussein Malla/Associated Press

Tokyo prosecutors on Monday charged two Americans with helping Carlos Ghosn, the former Nissan chief, jump bail in Tokyo, where he was awaiting trial on four counts of financial wrongdoing.

Japanese prosecutors said in an indictment that the two men, Michael Taylor, 60, a former Green Beret, and his son Peter Maxwell Taylor, 27, assisted Mr. Ghosn’s efforts to escape the country, helping him flee to Turkey and then on to Lebanon, where he has been beyond the reach of Japanese law.

American officials arrested the men last May in Massachusetts. Earlier this month, they were extradited to Japan, where they have been held in a Tokyo detention center while undergoing questioning by prosecutors. A third man believed to have aided Mr. Ghosn’s escape remains at large.

The Japanese authorities have accused Michael Taylor of helping Mr. Ghosn travel by train to the western city of Osaka, through security checks at a private jet terminal and then onto a plane bound for Turkey. Once there, Mr. Ghosn transferred to a flight bound for Beirut. Peter Taylor assisted in planning for the escapade, visiting Mr. Ghosn several times before the escape, officials say.

Mr. Ghosn and his son, Anthony Ghosn, paid more than $1.3 million to the Taylors and a company they controlled, U.S. prosecutors have said in court filings.

Mr. Ghosn’s case raised international concerns about what some critics call Japan’s system of “hostage justice,” which includes lengthy detentions of criminal suspects without charge. While in the United States, the Taylors fought a long legal battle to prevent their extradition, with their lawyers arguing that they could be subjected to harsh conditions in a Japanese jail.

Jessie Astbury Allen with her daughters Mae, 7, and Livia, 12. They left China more than a year ago; Ms. Astbury Allen’s husband is still there.
Credit…Francesca Jones for The New York Times

For the past year, people trying to go to China have run into some of the world’s most formidable barriers to entry. To stop the coronavirus, China bans tourists and short-term business travelers outright, and it sets tough standards for all other foreigners, even those who have lived there for years.

The restrictions have hampered the operations of many companies, separated families and upended the lives of thousands of international students, report Sui-Lee Wee and Keith Bradsher for The New York Times. Global companies say their ranks of foreign workers in the country have dwindled sharply.

As deadlier and more infectious virus variants appeared in other countries in recent months, China introduced onerous new requirements.

Officials regard travel restrictions as crucial to their success in containing the virus. Since the outbreak started, China has reported more than 101,000 Covid cases. Although questions have been raised about the accuracy of the numbers, they are far lower than in the United States, where 29.8 million people have tested positive for the virus.

China’s tough restrictions, including its recent ban on dependents, have exacted an emotional toll on some families who have been forced to live apart for months.

In February of last year, Jessie Astbury Allen took her two young daughters to England to wait out the outbreak as it swept across China, hoping they would reunite with her husband in Shanghai by Easter. It was a plan she would come to regret.

“I knew in my gut we were doing the wrong thing, but it was too late,” she said, weeping, as she described how she felt on landing at London’s Heathrow Airport.

Abraham Sanchez, a Sacramento musician, put $1,200 of his stimulus money last week into his Robinhood trading account.
Credit…Salgu Wissmath for The New York Times

For a decade before the pandemic, small investors accounted for roughly a tenth of trading activity in the stock market. But in the last year, they have become responsible for close to a quarter, according to Goldman Sachs analysts.

The speculative appetite of small investors may seem at odds with an economy still reeling from a pandemic that has killed more than half a million Americans, decimated jobs and snuffed out businesses and livelihoods. But one of the biggest tools deployed by the U.S. government to cushion the economic blow — stimulus payments — is also driving a huge surge in investing by small traders, Matt Phillips reports for The New York Times.

Analysts at Deutsche Bank recently estimated that as much $170 billion from the latest round of stimulus payments could flow into the stock market. They conducted a survey of retail traders in which respondents said they planned to put roughly 40 percent of any payment they received — or $2 of every $5 — into the stock market. Traders between the ages of 25 and 34 said they expected to put half of their stimulus check into stocks.

“That could lead to a bit more mania, speculation in the market,” said Patrick Fruzzetti, managing director and partner at Hightower Advisors, an investment firm. The “stimmies,” he said — using a popular online term for stimulus checks — will go into people’s trading accounts, and “they will trade.”

Volkswagen can spread the cost of developing new technologies over millions of vehicles and undercut Tesla on price.
Credit…Matthias Rietschel/Reuters

In October 2015, a month after Volkswagen confessed to rigging diesel cars to conceal illegally high emissions, shellshocked company executives gathered in the brick-clad high-rise executive office building topped with a giant VW logo that looms over the carmaker’s main factory in Wolfsburg, Germany.

The executives authorized development of a collection of mix-and-match components that would serve as the basis for a range of electric models including sedans, S.U.V.s and vans, Jack Ewing reports for The New York Times. The standardized platform, called the Modular Electrification Toolbox, could also be used by other company brands, including Audi.

The platform will allow Volkswagen to exploit the big advantage it has over Tesla: size. With 665,000 employees and sales of 9.3 million vehicles last year, Volkswagen is the second-largest carmaker in the world after Toyota. It can spread the cost of developing new technologies over millions of vehicles and undercut Tesla on price.

The commitment Volkswagen made then is paying off now as the company rolls out a line of vehicles developed from the ground up to run on batteries, with more interior space and more appeal than adaptations of gasoline vehicles.

By 2025, Volkswagen will be able to produce electric vehicles for less than it costs to build a gasoline or diesel car, UBS analysts wrote in this month’s report. They cautioned that Tesla retained a significant lead in battery technology and autonomous driving software.

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Current and former investment bankers react to claims of workplace abuse by junior analysts at Goldman Sachs.

Last week, a presentation by a group of junior bankers at Goldman Sachs went viral on social media, in which they complained about what they described as workplace abuse, including 100-hour weeks.

The DealBook newsletter’s inbox has been overflowing with reactions, notably from current, former and aspiring investment bankers. Here’s what some had to say — most requested anonymity to speak freely about their experiences — edited and condensed for clarity:

  • “My view is that if it’s not to your liking, quit and find another line of work. It won’t pay as well, but it’s also possible that you won’t learn as much. I am still reaping the benefits of what I learned.” — Anonymous in Sydney

  • “I had heard all about the long hours, but once I was in it, I found that I had underestimated. I threw in the towel and left banking, because no amount of money was worth the terrible lifestyle.” — Anonymous in New York

  • “I knew I was worked like a donkey but quid pro quo. I could leave, work fewer hours and make less money. But I wasn’t interested in that.” — Anonymous in London

  • “In our day, we may have complained to our friends or our family, but we knew that short-term pain was good for long-term gain. I now live a comfortable life enabled by my first years at Goldman Sachs.” — Anonymous in New York

  • “We would do the math on the compensation and realize that we were making less than minimum wage per hour. It wasn’t worth being tortured. My health still suffers from my years on Wall Street.” — Anonymous in New York

  • “The learning experience was incredible and career-wise it set me on the right track. In hindsight, it could have actually killed me, but I was too young to realize this.” — Anonymous in Dubai

  • “Yes, we were ‘abused’ and yelled at, but this was expected and how we learned. My message for these analysts is: If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.” — Anonymous in New York

  • “There is no money that rewards the mental and physical harm that investment banking does to you. Of course, it’s a hell of an experience, Excel and PowerPoint-wise.” — Anonymous in São Paulo

  • “I spent many long nights in the office at the behest of associates and V.P.s, most of the time for no reason but ‘they might need me.’ Then I joined the military, where I had better work-life balance and more respectful leadership than I did in banking.” — Anonymous in New York

  • “I am an incoming Goldman Sachs intern. I knew about the work conditions before applying to the job. Anyone engaging in a career at a top investment bank knows about it, or else they applied for the wrong reasons.” — Anonymous in Europe

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It’s My Idea. She’s Taking Credit.

She may very well be thrilled by her behavior. She may not even realize she’s doing it. You could just let this go because you actually have ideas and a sense of humor. That’s why this bothers you — you want credit for who you are and how you think. I understand. But at some point, your magpie colleague will have to figure out who she is and how to express original ideas, or she will back herself into a corner of her own making. You can only hide behind the words of others for so long.

I am a bide-my-time kind of person, which isn’t necessarily the best way to deal with this sort of thing. You have to decide how much of this behavior you can tolerate. It may be petty to correct your co-worker, but at some point, something’s gotta give! Pull her aside, privately, to voice your concerns. Frame it as: “You have a tendency to repeat my ideas and jokes. I am flattered, but would prefer you not do this.” Or you could gently ask her why she does this maddening thing. If all else fails, the next time this happens, simply ask, “Girl, what are you doing?”

Recently, the director of my department left. A co-worker and I both applied for the job. I got it, and now my co-worker radiates animosity toward me. We are complete opposites, so some of my decisions have irked her. I’ve mostly been able to deal with her anger, but I’ve also assumed she wasn’t angry at me but at the situation. However, her attitude is starting to affect the entire team.

Other employees feel silenced by her, and in trying to help them feel safe and that their voices are being heard, I’m aggravating her even more. Yet she acts like everything is normal. What do I do here? Her attitude is negatively affecting everyone. We’re also hiring new people, and I do not want new employees coming into this environment. I don’t have any kind of disciplinary power, nor am I sure that is the right decision.

— Anonymous, South Carolina

Everything is not normal, and it’s time to stop pretending that it is. Your co-worker is jealous and resentful; it happens in competitive environments. But her behavior is unprofessional. It is affecting your staff. She needs to process her negative feelings and, at least at work, move forward. I am not clear on why you don’t have any disciplinary power as a director or why it is acceptable for one person’s resentment to affect an entire team. It isn’t. I have all the empathy in the world for someone who doesn’t get a professional opportunity she covets. She is entitled to her feelings, but she is not entitled to act on those feelings in ways that create a toxic work environment. Disciplinary action may, at some point, be necessary, but there is a lot of distance between here and there.

Try and talk this out with her. Think Festivus — allow her an airing of grievances. Ask her what her ideal path forward looks like under the current circumstances. If that clears the air, consider ways you can give her more responsibility without diminishing your authority or exploiting her labor. I will assume she is good at her job because you did not speak to her abilities. Can you incorporate some of her ideas in your decision making? Or allow her to take the lead on a project? We all want to feel valued at work, and when we don’t get a promotion, it can feel like a rebuke. She just needs a reminder that she is valued. But if after these attempts her attitude has not improved, it will absolutely be time for disciplinary action of some kind. I wish you and your entire team the best as you navigate this thorny situation.

Roxane Gay is the author, most recently, of “Hunger” and a contributing opinion writer. Write to her at workfriend@nytimes.com.

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‘I’m in a really dark place’: Complaints at Goldman Sachs set off a workplace debate.

A group of 13 disgruntled first-year analysts at Goldman Sachs has made waves by assembling a professional-looking presentation in the company’s style about their experiences at the investment bank. The resulting “Working Conditions Survey” (polling the 13 analysts who created the slide deck) that circulated on social media this week said they worked an average of around 100 hours per week, with most saying they considered themselves victims of workplace abuse.

The analysts rated their job satisfaction as two out of 10 and said they were unlikely to stay at Goldman in six months if working conditions remained the same. In addition to the long hours, the analysts cited unrealistic deadlines, being ignored in meetings and micromanagement as major sources of stress. Among other things, the analysts said 80 hours per week should be the limit of how much they’re expected to work.

In their own words, some of the analysts described their angst in stark terms:

The DealBook newsletter writes that the episode raises an important question: In a highly paid industry, when do the hours worked become exploitative? There are two sides to the debate:

The no-sympathy crowd says that first-year analysts at Goldman and other similar firms have no right to complain about long hours. They are highly educated and chose to go into investment banking, in part, because it pays $150,000 or more straight out of college with the promise that within a decade compensation can reach seven figures. A first-year analyst instantly becomes a member of the 0.1 percent for their age and experience. The long hours shouldn’t come as a surprise: Every recruiting website, book and Hollywood film about Wall Street makes that part of the job clear. It is, in truth, the pact that employees make with employers in exchange for lots of money.

The violin-playing crowd says that Wall Street isn’t focused enough on the mental health of young workers. Nobody should be forced to work that much. What’s more, the long hours are inefficient, unproductive and simply part of an ego-driven hazing ritual by older bankers who suffered the same fate in less enlightened times. Abuse is abuse, no matter how much money someone is paid. Banks, they say, misrepresent the workload during the hiring process by talking about improving work-life balance but not doing anything about it.

“We recognize that our people are very busy, because business is strong and volumes are at historic levels,” Goldman said in a statement. “A year into Covid, people are understandably quite stretched, and that’s why we are listening to their concerns and taking multiple steps to address them.”

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