Kelvinwright's Blog

postmodern thoughts

I thought you were dead

I missed an important call from a candidate this week and apologised for not answering my mobile phone. There’s an irony in the word “mobile” when one leaves his phone on the desk. The candidate told me, “Don’t worry, it’s ok not to answer your phone – it doesn’t mean you’re dead!” And it got me thinking….


When we go on vacation, the boss tries to force us take our mobile with us. Why? Can we really take part in a conference call whilst we’re out for a walk, or lying on the beach? Is it professional to take a call from a client, whilst we’re out drinking with our buddies? Is it right that on vacation we’re not allowed to disconnect and rest? I would answer “no” to all of these. Leaving vacations to one side, is it right to have the phone at our side 24×7, as though it we were the cowboy with his gun? We already spend a great deal of our waking time at work. Whatever happened to the work-life balance? Next time you’re in a restaurant, take a look around you; how many couples do you see where at least one of them is on his or her phone? Have they gone out for dinner with their partner? Or their phone? Are these people in love with their partner or their phone?


The mobile phone was meant to help us keep in touch. Now, most employees with a position of “responsibility” are given a mobile phone. Emails are sent at night, weekends, on public holidays, during vacations, and all with the message, “I know you’re on holiday, but would you just…..” What if we answered, “Thanks for recognising that I’m on holiday. Call one of my colleagues!” Or what if we just didn’t answer?


A colleague of mine told me that she had to answer her phone, because she received a lot of emails and calls on the weekend. I put this hypothesis to her: do you have to have your mobile switched on because you receive lots of emails? Or do you receive lots of weekend emails because people know you answer them? I receive one or two, at most, and they are answered on a Monday morning.


An ex- colleague of mine had his company mobile confiscated once. The Director’s reasoning was this: when he comes to me begging for his mobile to be returned, I’ll lay down the rules that he must always have it on. The Director was confused when the employee never asked for his mobile to be returned. These weren’t kids having their bike confiscated by Daddy because they don’t clean it.


And the best thing of all, employees proudly boast that their bosses gave them a company mobile phone, as if it were a company benefit 🙂


June 22, 2013 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , ,

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