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View Full Version : Is it necessary to be connected 24/7?



herbgeek
5-16-11, 1:39pm
I'm seeing that a lot of people have Blackberries or smart phones and are constantly tethered to work, even on their "free time". I understand how this is convenient, if say you have your own business, or a position that has emergencies (eg medical or someone in IT supporting a network), but my concern is with the average paper pusher. Its like people are afraid to say no, or don't think they have a right to their weekends anymore.

Three years ago, I was laid off when a new VP was brought in. I think the biggest reason for why I was let go was due to mynot providing a cell phone number to her. In her first week, she demanded everyone cell numbers, and I told her I didn't normally have one on, that I kept it in the car for emergencies. It seemed to be it was her way of saying "I own you", and I didn't follow the script.

I recently had a consulting gig, where the person I was working under, was appalled I didn't have a smart phone so I could get email on the go. I normally did all my hours at home in front of the computer, and on the occasion I did go out, I had a cell phone on to be reachable. Why is so awful to say, I'm out of the office right now, and I'll send you that document when I get home in 20 minutes. Is everything REALLY that much of an emergency that it can't wait a few minutes? Wasn't it enough that I actually turned my cell phone on ? :laff:

I also refuse to answer my cell when I'm driving, and I turn my phone off during appointments, performances and when I'm home relaxing. I seem to get a lot of pushback that that just isn't done. I think my phone is there for MY convenience.

I find it interesting to watch those with their phone turn into Pavlov's dog when the phone rings, or email is delivered. They simply MUST look at the screen, and lose their train of thought and everyone else has to repeat what was said, or they lose messages because new ones are always coming in, and you have to send them the same information multiple times. How come something that they claim improves productivity makes mine decrease?

SRP
5-16-11, 3:46pm
This is my thinking exactly! I don't even own a cell phone and have no intention of ever having one. I think it's really sad that nobody can get away anymore... and that so few actually seem to want to get away. I just don't understand the whole "connectivity" fad. I hope that it is indeed a fad and that it'll eventually go away. Sigh.

By the way, I love the comparison to Pavlov's dog. So true!

pinkytoe
5-16-11, 4:37pm
I work at a university and it just amazes me how just about every student is either texting or staring at a device - whether they are walking down the hall, sitting on the bus or on the elevator - every minute of their lives they are connected. I also see it at work - people dashing around while staring at their smart phone. I am still amazed that people pay $100 a month or more for service. However did we live without all this a few years back? And why are we so uncomfortable with being non-connected now?

Sad Eyed Lady
5-16-11, 5:30pm
I work at a university and it just amazes me how just about every student is either texting or staring at a device - whether they are walking down the hall, sitting on the bus or on the elevator - every minute of their lives they are connected. I also see it at work - people dashing around while staring at their smart phone. I am still amazed that people pay $100 a month or more for service. However did we live without all this a few years back? And why are we so uncomfortable with being non-connected now?

I too have been totally amazed by this need to be constantly connected. Just a few years ago this wasn't the case and I don't think we suffered from it. I do own a cell phone where you purchase the minutes used, however it is not turned on nor do I receive calls on it. It is for my convenience only when I am away. I have a friend my age that teaches at a university and she commented on how the students were so connected to their parents. As soon as class is over, she said, they are immediately on the phone saying "I'm just getting out of this class, going to (wherever). What are you doing?" I remember at this age how independent my friends and I were, we didn't want to be checking in all the time, (even when we should have!). We yearned for independence and to be on our own. Of course, it's not just the kids. I work with adults who text, text, text at work or are on their cells phones. It's almost like this "doesn't count". I mean, I don't believe these same people would utilize the office phones like this. Sorry, on a soap box I know.

Gardenarian
5-16-11, 6:35pm
No! What a nightmare!

I was hiking in a fairly wild area last week and another hiker passed me, literally shouting into his cell phone. Geez, leave it at home dude!

Alan
5-16-11, 7:32pm
I'm one of those people who are tethered to work via a blackberry. Unlike others, I find this to be a freeing device. It enables me to not be deskbound as I can remain in contact with work throughout the day wherever I am.

Also, I have never spent a dime on cell phones or service plans even though I've been carrying one since the days of the big 3 watt bag phones and the smaller .6 watt brick phones. My company sees value in providing me with tools that make me more productive and I value the freedom that brings.

Different perspectives I guess.

Spartana
5-16-11, 8:44pm
I'm one of those people who are tethered to work via a blackberry. Unlike others, I find this to be a freeing device. It enables me to not be deskbound as I can remain in contact with work throughout the day wherever I am.



It was freedom for me too. This was my case at work also (back in those long ago days of yore :-)!). I worked in the field and pretty much never came into the office so having a cell phone - or a pager before that - enabled me to stay away from my desk as much as possible and I really only went in a few times a week - would go straight from home into the field. If I didn't have the phone I'd have to go into the office to get my messages everyday. But I will add that I was very bad about answering the phone or page and let it go to voice mail as much as possible. But because I was on call 24/7 and worked crazy hours, I couldn't get away with that too long.

Tammy
5-16-11, 8:56pm
It's interesting at my work, as we can not have phones with us, even if they are turned off. They can not enter our unit because of security and privacy reasons. Some people really have problems with that when they first work there --- they need to detox from it.

I like the benefits my smart phone brings me, and I also turn it down and ignore it whenever I want to. As long we control it, and not the other way around, it's all good.

Spartana
5-16-11, 9:12pm
It's interesting at my work, as we can not have phones with us, even if they are turned off. They can not enter our unit because of security and privacy reasons. Some people really have problems with that when they first work there --- they need to detox from it.

I like the benefits my smart phone brings me, and I also turn it down and ignore it whenever I want to. As long we control it, and not the other way around, it's all good.

My sister is a security officer for a huge defense contractor and they also are not allowed phones - or cameras or anything like that - at the job site. She has had to "dis-phone" many irrate people entering thru the gates. She always jokes that she's happy to be heavily armed at those times :devil:!!

Shari
5-23-11, 6:09am
For most positions I know of it is a management expectation that we be available when needed. I have been asked about attending meetings during vacation that has been scheduled for weeks.

herbgeek
5-23-11, 7:53am
@Shari- that where my thoughts were originally going when I started this thread: is it possible to find a job where the expectation is NOT that you will be connected 24/7? What IS our obligation to our employer?

I understand customer emergencies and the like, but I hear a lot of stories of people being interrupted on the weekends or during important family events with questions that could clearly wait until Monday. And even though the answer isn't terribly important, Management gets really upset if they have to wait for an answer. One co-worker was literally up until midnight most nights, to answer emails that came in. Is anything really going to happen between midnight and 8am?

When I said no, I don't have a cell phone on, I got "the look" that what I was doing was beyond impossible. Its like no one ever even considered that it was a choice to stay connected and how dare I not follow the herd.

I work hard at work, and often work extra hours (salary, no extra money for this). I do check email on weekends, in case of emergencies that have cropped up. I don't resent handling emergencies, when they truly ARE emergencies. But I think that's enough. I think on a vacation I should actually get away from my daily activities, and that weekends are for decompressing, not doing more work or interrupting my plans for trivial things.

But I seem to be quite odd in having that belief.

pinkytoe
5-23-11, 9:37am
how dare I not follow the herd
this is actually how I think of technology addicts...I too know the look when I get the question about having a cell phone on.

Selah
5-23-11, 10:08am
I detest cellphones so much that I rarely give out the number to other people, and tell them that I leave it turned off for the vast majority of time. They are welcome to leave voicemail messages, but they know that they might not hear from me for a couple of days or even a week. However, everyone has my home phone number. That phone has Caller ID, which I use constantly. I do not like being interrupted when I am concentrating or working, PERIOD. In fact, I had a job in the past that demanded this kind of heavy phone/email constant connectivity and quit the job precisely because of it. Know thyself...I am now shooting for a work-at-home job that is done solely by computer and doesn't involve the phone at all. My idea of bliss!

Rosemary
5-23-11, 10:25am
I like my cell phone because it's just one phone that I need to deal with - no messages at home + cell, no multiple phone numbers to give out. And it's really easy to turn it off. I don't answer it in public places unless i'm expecting a call. And it's just a phone - no internet stuff. For me, using a cell phone only is far simpler.

Mighty Frugal
5-23-11, 2:02pm
My company pays for my cell phone so I try to have it close at hand. They've been trying to give me a BB for a couple of years but I always weasel out of it-my boss is a cheapo and I tell him it'll cost 400 bucks to get out of my current cell phone plan...so he is always 'hmm..maybe later' phew!

I value my free time and see no reason to check work emails (from my home computer) but I understand that often after hours I will be getting calls (from printers across the country that need an instant answer) I'm in publishing and we have hard deadlines....no waiting for tomorrow.

I remember wayyy back in the mid 80s there was this Stephen King Trilogy called 'Cats Eye' or something like that...I think this story was from that...it was about a business guy with a device clipped to his shirt pocket that allowed 24/7 access from his boss and he got so fed up he bit into it thus destroying it while others stared in shock-haha I can't believe we have actually turned into this!!