For Chip: He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion. —Unknown

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Is the Smartphone the Demise of our Free Time?

Have you noticed how the iPhone or Smartphone has changed our lives dramatically?  I am becoming more aggravated at technology keeping my stress level close to a 5 on a Lickert scale of 1 to 5 with a 5 being high stress.

If answering friends in a timely manner is not enough pressure, work has infiltrated every hour of my nights and weekends.  I get emails late Friday night asking me to respond to a question that is due the following week.  However, if coworkers are responding to the same question all weekend, then it looks unprofessional  to wait until Monday when you are officially on the clock.   Night after night I find that there is some issue that I must deal with after hours.  There seems to be no time to rest or relax.  Even if you take a  few days away from work the invasive technology tucked away in your handbag or back pocket is impossible to ignore.  Most coworkers do not know you are on vacation unless you use the email assistant, and they surely do not care.  All that they remember about you is if they got an answer.

I was excited about the first iPhone and felt compelled to upgrade to each new model.  However, now I see the damage it is doing to my overall health.  I realize that many people's lives revolve around their work 24/7, but I am in academia where expectations would be otherwise.

I do not see this trend changing.  If anything, it may intensify.  The job market is tight and employees know that if they do not respond, the jobless would gladly step in with no complaints.

Hopefully,  this accepted practice will alter or change.  For the time being I think being on call will be the norm. If after hour's exercise or for some a cocktail does not relieve the stress, there may be a run on Xanax.