Mike Gunderloy over on Web Worker Daily posted an article with the following statement:
More than half of working Americans - 53 percent - have been interrupted by a work-related phone call or email while in the bathroom… Twenty-four percent have allowed a call or email to interrupt them while in the throes of passion, and 23 percent while on a date. That may be because most working Americans - 59 percent - never turn off their mobile device.
When I was growing up my father worked at Con Edison (the NYC power company) and worked shifts (if the city doesn't sleep, neither does the power grid), so there were stretches when we didn't see him, especially durning the school year when we was working the 4PM - Midnight shift. He often worked second jobs, to help make ends meet. But when he was home, he was home there was clear delineation of "family time" and "work time". It wasn't just him, we had neighbors who worked for the phone company, the post office, technology firms, banks, etc and where they might have worked long hours, their non work hours were spent at home either with family or "me time".
Somehow we've gotten to a point where we are "always working". Back, before I was self-employed, when this happened to me, I was under the impression it was because I was vital to the company. I felt I was the only one who could fix things. Here we are, in a company with thousands of employees, and I was the only one who could fix things. And if I wasn't available 24/7 to fix things, I'd lose my job, be homeless, and starve to death in an alley. What an odd combination of ego and low self-esteem.
I applied for a job recently at a firm that seemed interesting, the work looked good. It was something that I would've considered to get away from doing my own thing for a bit. Then came the fine print after the interview process:
- When taking vacation time, you needed additional permission to leave the city for a trip. If you were going over night, you were required to leave contact information where you were going.
- Over the weekend you were required to get the same permission to leave the city and had the same rules for overnight stays.
- During your off hours you had to be able to get to the office within 1 hour in case of emergency. There was no on call schedule, every employee had to have this level of commitment. I was given the impress this happened on a weekly basis.
- You were not allowed to accept any outside work while working there regardless whether there was a conflict of interest or not. I asked if I would be allowed to stock shelves at a grocery store to make extra money, he said that was not allowed.
- You were not allowed to talk to the press for any reason. The employee handbook specified that telling a reporter who you were voting for would be considered talking to the press.
- Blogging, Twitter, Commenting on Blogs, and taking part in social media was considered talking to the press so I'd have to shut down all those activities.
The interviewer seemed to act all this was normal at companies. A number of friends told me they would've taken the job. Before you ask this was not with the CIA, NSA or some secret government agency. It was with a development position with a company similar to Publisher's Clearinghouse, selling magazines.
At the end of the day It's not that we have blackberries and cell phones, it's bigger then that. As I said for me it was a combination of fear and ego, I suspect that sums up most folks as well.