One Rant at a Time

Whatever heaves into view........better keep its head down.

Friday, October 21, 2005

An umbilical addiction

I spent part of this week attending a conference on financial markets, milling around with traders, brokers and analysts, all of whom had taken a couple of days out of their business week to network and listen to some presentations about the State of Things.
In between conversations over a cup of coffee, exchanging business cards and meeting clients or contacts, pretty much everyone there was pulling out a Blackberry from time to time for a furtive check of their email. One or two of the people I spoke to there even confessed to being addicted to their Blackberry. "It's the first thing I look at each morning", one broker told me.
I'm guessing that the day someone invents a pair of glasses which can access the internet and show your mail on the inside of the lenses, everyone's going to be wearing glasses and bumping into things as they scroll through their in-box.
What is the point of being in touch with your email 24 hours a day? When you're sitting at home having supper or watching television, do you really need to know that your expenses claim was approved or that you have to attend an in-house training session next week? And if a moderately important email arrives while you're in the shower, are you going to be able to do anything about it? Is there any point in adding yet more stress to our already-stressful lives?
If you're not at your desk, it's probably for a very good reason: you're at home, you're in a meeting, you're somewhere where you cannot handle incoming email. So why do you need to know about it before you get back to your desk?
Yes, I use email. And I also have a mobile phone. When I'm not at my desk and able to respond to an email, there's usually a pretty good reason. If someone needs to contact me, they know how to do it. I'd rather not spend my days staring at a small screen and getting anxious if I'm out of range.
When we are born, the doctor cuts the umbilical cord to separate us from our mother. I don't much fancy the idea of being permanently re-attached to my work.


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