I was reading an article in the Kansas City Star written on Tuesday. In it, the writer talks about a recent lunch she’d had with a friend. The friend had a BlackBerry which rang all through their lunch, which she kept answering. Finally, the writer asks her friend why she didn’t just put the phone away and enjoy the here and now. The friend replied, “It’s a company phone. I have to answer it.”
I remember years ago shopping for a new car one Sunday when my then boss phoned me up and asked me to come to the office. I did it; despite the fact that it was my day off. I also remember 5 AM phones calls from a client who, noting that I sometimes send emails as early as 4:30 AM, saw no reason not to phone me that early with work questions. I realized then that I had allowed my work life to intrude on my private one – via my cell phone. Even today, I can say with head held low that I have both private and work email set up on my personal cell – and it is pinging all day long.
Nowadays, people are issued cell phones for work purposes; which brings up all sorts of legal issues concerning privacy, liability, etc. as well as personal life ones. I mean, think about it – as the Star rightly points out, these days your boss can track you with GPS, read your texts, demand you answer client calls and emails immediately yet ban you for texting/talking while driving.
Americans already work more days than our European counterparts and now, even when we aren’t at work, we are at work. It can’t be healthy.