Curbing My Inner "CrackBerry"
Category: Blog - August 10, 2007
Hi. My name is Ayme Zemke, and I am an email addict.
All the signs are there – I keep my laptop on the kitchen counter at home and regularly (okay, somewhat obsessively) hit the “send and receive” button. I sneak glances at my inbox at all hours, panic if my wireless connection goes down and thrill at the sound of incoming mail. As you might expect, my husband and children are less than thrilled with this behavior.
Sound slightly crazy? Well, it turns out it could be worse. Not long ago, there was a flurry of media attention about how this overwhelming urge to be connected is seeping into our personal lives and relationships. Katharine Rosman’s article in The Wall Street Journal provides some startling examples of what’s happening to families as hand-held email devices are becoming an all-too-familiar companion at restaurants, kid’s school events and even the family dinner table.
Many argue this technology has allowed parents the flexibility to work remotely and spend more time with their kids. The problem? It also brings the office into the home and an underlying expectation of being available 24/7. It also can lead to an obsessive need to stay connected, even when we know we shouldn’t. Is this really work/life balance at its best?
Now there’s no question we must take individual responsibility for our own behavior, but as Rosman points out in her article, “part of the blame certainly lies with the corporations that are outfitting their staffs with email devices.” Lately, I’ve noticed more and more of my peers and friends carrying them for their jobs and staying connected constantly, including at home and on vacation. I’m not sure I want to be quite that accessible.
As a self-proclaimed email addict, I know how easy it is to fall into bad habits and as a result, have no current plans to get my own BlackBerry (to my family’s great relief). I’m also lucky the office culture at Beehive actually encourages me to unplug and recharge each day. But as more and more devices combine cell phone and email features, I fear that it may be an inevitable reality.
In the era of flexible work environments and virtual offices, there’s no question mobile technology is a critical component to business. But shouldn’t spending quality, focused time with family and friends be just as critical to overall well-being? In the quest to find a balanced life, why are we so afraid to disconnect and unplug?