Saturday, July 14, 2007

No Sanctuary

Computers at home. Computers at work.

There is no sanctuary.

The line between work and personal life has been erased and, in most cases, work has prevailed.

This becomes worse if you are also tied to a cell phone or a BlackBerry. I leave my cell phone on when I'm on the road far more than I used to but seldom make calls on it. A large percentage of cell phone users remind me of an old Bill Cosby routine about the swimming coach who described all of his activities. "Now I am getting onto the diving board. Now I am walking to the end of the board." I hear people on cell phones telling their family that they are five minutes away from their house. Now it's two minutes. Now one.

Make things exciting. Just show up.

We've escaped the rigidity of a structured and set work schedule and jumped into a much looser but constant one. There's no boundary saying that you should be working now but there's also no boundary saying when it's time to play. For those few who are natural sloths, this is liberating. The rest have quietly drifted from an eight hour work day to a 12 or 15 hour one. I recall one manager fretting that if he let his employees telecommute, they'd goof off. Not so, I assured him. That old work ethic/crack addiction will kick in and they'll work even harder.

Find the work you love, the old advice went, and get someone to pay you for it. The new version seems to be a science experiment: Take what appears to be more leisure time, mix in some work, let it simmer for a few weeks, and then try to discover what happened to the leisure time.

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