Thursday, December 20, 2012

Where did we go wrong?

Every working person knows in theory that those we love must be our top priority.
However when you're in back-to-back meetings from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.
it's tough to break away to whisper
"I love you" 
into your cell
or office telephone.

With today's mobile technology -
even when you're off work your phone is on.
How many of you have taken a bio break and made a call at the same time?
And be honest - when have you not used your free time to read e-mails?

Multi-tasking is another word for compulsive.

For years I resisted getting a Blackberry.
I would sit in meetings and watch peers consumed with their tiny devices. Totally distracted - they would constantly pick it up and spin some odd little wheel on it's side. The damned things seemed to just take over any group session - isolating the users from the rest of the group.
I labeled anybody who used the mobile device "rude". Proudly proclaiming that I would never be "one of those berry people".

Then the CEO told me I had to get one.
where ever I was, 
whatever I was doing,
my very existence 
was ruled by my 
And... that meant 
I worked constantly.

I was addicted.
And like most 
addictions, one day
it just happened.

How many "innovations" actually made your life better?
I entered the workplace in the late seventies. It was a time of transition in the workplace. Bigwigs still sat in corner offices and held a key to the Executive Wash Room. A lot of change happened over the subsequent years as new technology was quickly embraced. Let's step into the Time Machine... 
Facsimile Machine
My first fax was from an illustrator in the U.K. I was informed that a "transmission is coming in" and then stood for 15 minutes as I watched the laser head move back/forth. Amazingly a faint grey image was slowly revealed. Thirty years later... when is the last time you sent a fax?

Overnight Delivery
In olden days we used a messenger service.  Some schmoe rode over on his bike, picked up your package, and delivered it within city limits.

Corporate Campus
Years ago, everyone worked downtown. That meant you were not chained to your desk in some mega complex out in the middle of a corn field.
Imagine... calling a friend and going out to lunch. Civilization!

Voice Mail
Once upon a time... real people answered the phone. If unavailable a secretary, receptionist, or operator answered your call. When you returned to your desk a pile of  "while you were out" messages were waiting. One can still experience this archaic ritual when calling a corporate honcho.  But dial an ordinary Joe and you must "speak after the tone".

Desktop Computers
In my opinion the most revolutionary thing about these monsters was that you could quickly and constantly make changes. When not constrained by "White Out" or carbon paper or the mimeograph - revisions could be endless.

Green Workplace
NOTHING was better than working against a deadline AND smoking a cigarette at YOUR DESK. I'm all for recycling. But why force our tobacco addicted peers to shiver by the loading dock in sub zero temperatures?

Since breaking out of the corporate construct -
I can proudly say that I use technology to help rather than control me.

So dear working friends...

Do not assume I will read your e-mail within 10 seconds of receipt.
I check my messages several times a day.

Do not expect to get an immediate response.
I now stop and think before I type.

Do not expect me to "step out" and take your call.
I must be doing something important (to me).

Do expect me to respect and value every contact.
If you took the time to reach out it must be important (to you).