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Gadget Addiction or Work Intrusion? 111

Posted by Soulskill
from the can't-it-be-both dept.
Yesterday the NY Times ran a story about the worry in Silicon Valley of addiction to gadgets, and how it might affect stress levels and people's ability to focus. But today an article in the Atlantic takes issue with "gadget addiction," and instead highlights how workplace concerns are intruding more and more on employee's private lives, suggesting that the inability to put down your smartphone is merely a symptom, rather than a disease. "To elide that one of the reasons we spend so many hours in front of our screens is that we have to misses the key point about our relationship with modern technology. The upper middle class (i.e. the NYT reader) is working more hours and having to stay more connected to work than ever before. This is a problem with the way we approach labor, not our devices. Our devices enabled employers to make their employees work 24/7, but it is our strange American political and cultural systems that have allowed them to do so. And worse, when Richtel blames the gadgets themselves, he channels the anxiety and anger that people feel about 24/7 work into a different and defanged fear over their gadgets. The only possible answer becomes, 'Put your gadget down,' not 'Organize politically and in civil society to change our collective relationship to work.'"
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Gadget Addiction or Work Intrusion?

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  • by ackthpt (218170) on Tuesday July 24, 2012 @04:20PM (#40755211) Homepage Journal

    And the stress is killing me!

  • Working more hours (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 0123456 (636235) on Tuesday July 24, 2012 @04:22PM (#40755263)

    "Our devices enabled employers to make their employees work 24/7, but it is our strange American political and cultural systems that have allowed them to do so."

    Or you could just say 'No'. So long as people are willing (if not eager) to be tied to work 24/7, companies will be happy to allow them to be.

    • As a personal experience I tried just this, saying no. It lasted all of 2 months. The most difficult part of this is that many tech jobs are setup to NEED such access to the employee (ie: developer/support roles). Not sure if this is everyone's experience, but when I informed people I didn't want to get work email on my phone, I was greeted with both awkward looks and suspicion.
      • The most difficult part of this is that many tech jobs are setup to NEED such access to the employee (ie: developer/support roles). Not sure if this is everyone's experience, but when I informed people I didn't want to get work email on my phone, I was greeted with both awkward looks and suspicion.

        This is why you plan rollouts.

        If they want you to work overtime, they should pay you double.

        • by Annirak (181684) on Tuesday July 24, 2012 @04:38PM (#40755535)

          Sadly, this is not always possible. In many places, high tech industry has a specific exemption from overtime compensation laws, or provides the employer with the option of mandating time off in lieu.

          • by ackthpt (218170)

            Sadly, this is not always possible. In many places, high tech industry has a specific exemption from overtime compensation laws, or provides the employer with the option of mandating time off in lieu.

            Yes, we saw that being passed in California. I thought that was some seriously flawed legislation.

          • by cayenne8 (626475) on Tuesday July 24, 2012 @04:43PM (#40755633) Homepage Journal

            Sadly, this is not always possible. In many places, high tech industry has a specific exemption from overtime compensation laws, or provides the employer with the option of mandating time off in lieu.

            Well, there is a thing known as negotiating the terms of your accepting a job and employment.

            First, if you're good...know your worth and ask for what you want. Ask for a bit MORE than you want...and compromise if needed to what you can live with.

            I prefer doing 1099 through my own company....much easier to go that route. But when doing W2, I insist that I be paid for every hour I work. I get straight time for all hours worked.

            I don't want OT...but will do it if necessary. My time OFF is the most important part to me.

            I doubt I'll be on my deathbed, wishing I'd put in a few more hours tuning a database or attending a meeting.

            • Can I get an AMEN?
            • I doubt I'll be on my deathbed, wishing I'd put in a few more hours tuning a database or attending a meeting.

              Don't come for me yet, Lord, I just need to rebuild these indexes to match the fetch queue!

            • by tehcyder (746570)
              If you are senior/brilliant/indispensable enough, then by definition you can re-negotiate your contract and keep the upper hand in employment negotiations.

              Unfortunately, 99% of people don't have that luxury.
              • by cayenne8 (626475)

                If you are senior/brilliant/indispensable enough, then by definition you can re-negotiate your contract and keep the upper hand in employment negotiations.

                Unfortunately, 99% of people don't have that luxury.

                Well, I know everyone starts out a noob, and doesn't have the self confidence and experience, etc.

                But,hopefully, at some point in everyones career as they gain experience, etc....they should be able to have the upper hand and negotiate (at least learn HOW to negotiate)...shouldn't they?

                • by pnutjam (523990)
                  Many employers are only too happy to replace you with an incompetent. They usually fit the corporate culture better and your good work will take years to unravel.
                  • by cayenne8 (626475)

                    Many employers are only too happy to replace you with an incompetent. They usually fit the corporate culture better and your good work will take years to unravel.

                    In this day in age, that shouldn't matter really. I mean, the days of 'job for life' are long, long gone.

                    About the only way to get ahead in todays W2 work world...is to job hop every 3 years or so....you do your negotiating for each hop.....not with the same employer.

                    • by pnutjam (523990)
                      True, but it's hard to hop when the lily pad gets yanked out while you are starting to crouch.
          • by whitroth (9367)

            "The option of mandating time off"? Bullshit. Anybody here ever got that? If management says *anything*, it's "we don't have a comp time policy, that's up to your manager". They, of course, being given stupidly insane deadlines, will never have a chance to let you take anything.

            Oh, but we're all "professionals" and "in management" (never mind the only thing 90%+ of us ever manage are computers), so we can't join a union, and have collective bargaining (oh, right, you have leverage with your employer..."), a

      • by cayenne8 (626475) on Tuesday July 24, 2012 @04:40PM (#40755575) Homepage Journal
        I work my ass off while at work.

        When that door hits me on the ass on the way out...I leave work behind, mentally and physically. After all, it is only a job. I work so I can pay the bills and have lots of fun on my free time.

        If they want me...they can pay me, I don't work for free....even at W2, I expect to be paid for any hour I work, and over 40 I still want at least straight time. That keeps them from wanting extra work unless necessary.

        You have to know your worth....and usually they will respect if you know it and they know it.

        But it is a job, and when I'm not at work, I'm not thinking about work, and I don't ever expect work to intrude into my personal time. If work has to contact me, it had better be because the sky is falling and something catastrophic is happening. If it is that bad, well, the clock starts running immediately....and I'll help out, but it had better be important.

        God help them if it my vacation time...I often go where there is NO cell phone signal nor computer connection...that is on purpose.

        A vacation is time saved up by me, for me...to relax and get away from normal life. I leave back up plans...it is up to them to implement them.

      • by zakkudo (2638939)
        Going the other way: I believe not owning a cell phone at all creates an extension of this with people. They become venomous if they have no way to personally contact you through a phone and get an immediate response.
        • by Talderas (1212466)

          I've found this is less of a problem with personal contacts than with work contacts.

          I do not have a data or texting plan on my phone. I've told my friends this and they do not text my phone. I've told people at work that I do not have a text plan and to not text me. They ignore it. Ergo, I've gone and had texting on my phone blocked by the provider to avoid the texts.

          • by Anonymous Coward

            I own a cell phone, but decline to tell my office the number.

            • My tech lead and immediate manager have my cell number. HR has my home number. My previous manager abused having my cell phone (I pointed out it was pre-paid, and personal, thus if work wants me to have a phone they can buy one, here is my personal number if something is genuinely on-fire [e.g. a customer is pissed off and it is all hands/lines down]). He would call me about quote requests, schedule dates months out, etc. Only once did he use it for a borderline emergency (he was in a meeting with his p

              • by cpu6502 (1960974)

                >>>I submitted an expense report for a $100 pre-paid card. Naturally it was declined and I pressed the issue with purchasing/finance. I bulldogged it to the point it was paid.

                Did your boss ACTUALLY cost you $100 in personal phone calls? On my phone that would be over nine hours of calls, and I find it hard to believe your boss called you that much. One time I did have to handle a business call on a personal call, and it cost me $6.

                I just padded my time card 0.2 extra hours and thus repaid myself.

                • I could very well see that occurring. I've been on my cell for hours waiting on with other customers/staff to get a problem fixed. Was out in the middle of nowhere so another phone was not an option. The amount saved because I was available was far more then this guys card would have cost, both time and money wise.

                • pretty damn close, yes. Also I wanted to make the point. Finance never questioned the amount, they questioned the paying for a cell phone. Had they questioned the amount I would have let them buy a $50 (which I would have been short a bit on). Fact of the matter is that manager did not respect the boundaries I set on use of personal equipment for work activities. It's not none, there are times when I will use my kit to ensure the job at the office gets done, just I like that to be the rare exception ra

                • by pnutjam (523990)
                  Whoa, don't get all reasonable...
        • and if it's just a cell phone and they have to actually talk to you they are less likely to call you for something that can wait but they will email 400 times for something silly.

      • by pla (258480)
        As a personal experience I tried just this, saying no. It lasted all of 2 months.

        Going on 20 years work-tied-gadget free, here. I don't check work email on my off time, and I don't do "on-call" slavery. I've always made that very clear to my employers right from the very beginning... And if that stance has cost me any potential jobs - Good riddance, I don't want 'em.


        The most difficult part of this is that many tech jobs are setup to NEED such access to the employee (ie: developer/support roles).
        • As a developer, if I need to take after-hours support calls short of "the server burned down, we'll have beer waiting if you come in on Saturday to rebuild our business-critical-DB", I've already failed to do my job, except when being called in due to somebody in another department's code burning the server down.

          Fixed it for you.

      • by cpu6502 (1960974)

        >>>when I informed people I didn't want to get work email on my phone, I was greeted with both awkward looks and suspicion.

        I solved this problem by saying "Sorry my phone doesn't accept email," which is the truth. But even if it weren't the truth I'd still say it anyway. I also have a laptop that in theory I could take home, but it is unable to connect remotely. Lucky me. :-)

      • by tehcyder (746570)

        when I informed people I didn't want to get work email on my phone, I was greeted with both awkward looks and suspicion.

        Couldn't you just have said yes, then not checked your work email account outside work hours? Or was the implication that you had to respond immediately?

    • by Urza9814 (883915) on Tuesday July 24, 2012 @04:31PM (#40755417)

      Or you could just say 'No'. So long as people are willing (if not eager) to be tied to work 24/7, companies will be happy to allow them to be.

      That would be the 'cultural' part of "American political and cultural systems"...

    • by garyisabusyguy (732330) on Tuesday July 24, 2012 @04:32PM (#40755431)

      I am 'willing' to not get downsized in the next set of sweeps
      I am 'willing' to keep my income from stagnating
      I am 'willing' to not seem less competitive than other workers

      of course you could replace 'willing' with 'scared shitless', 'being strong-armed' or 'having a gun held to my head' and it would describe the situation all the same

      What is truly shocking is the long-term loss of effectiveness of unions and/or their complete lack of influence in hi-tech 'salary' jobs. Sure, you can poo poo Unions, their largess in the '70s even their (apparently) corrupt leadership, but it is high time that Americans came to realize the positive benefits of Union membership and the need to maintain leverage against corporate leadership that seems willing to work us to death and feed our remains back to the rest of the workers (for the sake of shareholder value dammit)

      Yeah, I'm willing, yeah I'm tired, yeah it gives me a sad chuckle to read about the rosy projections from the 1950's about 20 hour workweeks and the benefits of automation

      • by ackthpt (218170)

        I am 'willing' to not get downsized in the next set of sweeps
        I am 'willing' to keep my income from stagnating
        I am 'willing' to not seem less competitive than other workers

        of course you could replace 'willing' with 'scared shitless', 'being strong-armed' or 'having a gun held to my head' and it would describe the situation all the same

        What is truly shocking is the long-term loss of effectiveness of unions and/or their complete lack of influence in hi-tech 'salary' jobs. Sure, you can poo poo Unions, their largess in the '70s even their (apparently) corrupt leadership, but it is high time that Americans came to realize the positive benefits of Union membership and the need to maintain leverage against corporate leadership that seems willing to work us to death and feed our remains back to the rest of the workers (for the sake of shareholder value dammit)

        Yeah, I'm willing, yeah I'm tired, yeah it gives me a sad chuckle to read about the rosy projections from the 1950's about 20 hour workweeks and the benefits of automation

        After seeing that enormous amounts of loyalty are never paid back I've seen the light, about 15 years ago. Outsource twice - thank you very much.

      • by cultiv8 (1660093)

        for the sake of shareholder value dammit

        I work at a ~100 person privately-owned consulting firm, I work 24/7 for the benefit of the partners. My salary is but a drop in the bucket compared to what they make.

      • by Sarten-X (1102295) on Tuesday July 24, 2012 @04:49PM (#40755717) Homepage

        As a very anti-union person, I agree. Let's see the unions actually improve conditions for their workers, and I'll happily sign on. Let's see pressure for 4-day work weeks, now that automation can maintain production. Let's see minimum wage increases to something above 1960s levels. Let's see a reasonable way for union members to express their concern for current jobs, without their votes being overrun by more senior retirees worried mostly about their pension guarantees. Let's see open membership for anyone with a stake in the working conditions of an industry, rather than just those with a certain amount of experience (which must be earned in non-union shops). Let's see something more than pointless political maneuvers to "maintain leverage" and actually do something with that leverage.

        As I said, let's see that, and I'll happily sign on.

        • It doesn't work that way. People with your attitudes have to stop voting GOP ( like for Gov Scott Walking in Wisconsin )and anti-union first and fight for what you want next.

          • by Sarten-X (1102295)

            It's interesting that you assume what "people with my attitude" are voting, when you have no idea what my voting history has been. Recently, it's been rather pro-union as an incidental effect of other issues.

            When my state considered a bill similar to Wisconsin's, I signed my name to the petition against it and spoke at a protest in front of the legislature, because of a single clause that would permanently prevent the government from working with a union at all. I believe unions should be allowed to exist,

        • by ukemike (956477)

          As a very anti-union person, I agree. Let's see the unions actually improve conditions for their workers, and I'll happily sign on. Let's see pressure for 4-day work weeks, now that automation can maintain production. Let's see minimum wage increases to something above 1960s levels. Let's see a reasonable way for union members to express their concern for current jobs, without their votes being overrun by more senior retirees worried mostly about their pension guarantees. Let's see open membership for anyone with a stake in the working conditions of an industry, rather than just those with a certain amount of experience (which must be earned in non-union shops). Let's see something more than pointless political maneuvers to "maintain leverage" and actually do something with that leverage.

          Of course you are describing the history of the American labor movement up through the mid 1970s, when the push back became really organized and put Reagan in the Whitehouse. We can thank unions for: the weekend and 40 hour work week, labor regulations, OSHA, sick leave, the raised standard of living in the Post War period, and nearly every other bit of improvement for workers since the 1880s. You can't be anti-union and expect the unions to be effective for you. That's the whole point, through organiza

          • by Sarten-X (1102295)

            You can't be anti-union and expect the unions to be effective for you.

            I don't expect the union to be effective for me specifically. I expect them to be a force for good before I'll support them, though. There are plenty of ways the unions can earn my support without needing any leverage whatsoever, some of which I've listed. Unfortunately, the various unions I've encountered have made it quite clear that there is no concern for improvement any more, but only higher pay and guaranteed retirement for senior members.

            As one example that I alluded to before, I have a friend who is

        • by tehcyder (746570)

          As a very anti-union person

          Unless you are a rich capitalist who can only make money by exploiting un-organised labour (in which case you an fuck off) then just fuck off.

          • by Sarten-X (1102295)

            Oh, yes. How dare I hold an opinion that opposes the opinion of the Union God?!

            I'm just a guy who's had to deal with unions from outside their protective shield and hivemind chants, who's seen the madness the union bureaucracy brings. The closest I've been to exploiting unorganized labor was being a young adult with a massive fortune from working at entry level for $1 over minimum wage in an unorganized shop, so I could afford to have a few cookouts to feed my neighbor when the Union God forced his employer

      • by Hatta (162192) on Tuesday July 24, 2012 @04:56PM (#40755807) Journal

        I am 'willing' to not get downsized in the next set of sweeps
        I am 'willing' to keep my income from stagnating
        I am 'willing' to not seem less competitive than other workers

        of course you could replace 'willing' with 'scared shitless', 'being strong-armed' or 'having a gun held to my head' and it would describe the situation all the same

        This is what libertarians mean by "voluntary". They fail to understand that economic power can be just as coercive as the threat of violence.

        • by khallow (566160)

          This is what libertarians mean by "voluntary". They fail to understand that economic power can be just as coercive as the threat of violence.

          It'd be nice if you would provide an example of a case where this is true. The grandparent's attempt boils down to "I don't want to take a pay cut and/or look for a new job so I put up with a lot of shit." That's voluntary. Nobody's holding a gun to their head, physically or metaphorically. They aren't going to jail, if they leave the job.

          • by tehcyder (746570)

            The grandparent's attempt boils down to "I don't want to take a pay cut and/or look for a new job so I put up with a lot of shit." That's voluntary. Nobody's holding a gun to their head, physically or metaphorically. They aren't going to jail, if they leave the job.

            Yes, everyone is perfectly free to starve themselves to death or otherwise commit suicide too. What is your point?

            It is only the evil government interference in the free market (by taxing peopl and paying unemployment and other benefits) which makes it possible for leaving a job not to be a literal matter of life and death, and even then the overwheming balance of power is in favour of the rich employer.

            Libertarian is just a nice-sounding alternative to "absolutely selfish, dog-eat-dog, heartless, pi

          • by pnutjam (523990)
            Read Les Misérables, or go down to the strip club for excellent examples of people coerced by economic pressure. All those Eastern European women are doing porn for the love of porn, right?
      • by pla (258480)
        I am 'willing' to not get downsized in the next set of sweeps

        Lay me off, bossman - About the only way I'll ever get more than two weeks of vacation in a row (and layoffs make it paid vacation as a perk!), in this sick worker/slave mentality we have in the US.


        I am 'willing' to keep my income from stagnating

        I am "willing" to work for a company as long as they keep me happy. I value "happy" over income, but the ability to afford toys helps keep me happy.


        I am 'willing' to not seem less competitive
        • by Chirs (87576)

          I don't even bother entering the race, never mind trying to beat the other rats at it. I don't try to stab my coworkers in the back, and they frequently come to me for help when they need it. And so far, looking composed and correct, rather than competitive, has worked pretty damned well for me.

          This, precisely. I've now lasted 12 years at my current position, survived through several rounds of layoffs and a buyout. I've even worked from home for the past 7 years. Seems to be working so far.

      • by cayenne8 (626475)

        What is truly shocking is the long-term loss of effectiveness of unions and/or their complete lack of influence in hi-tech 'salary' jobs. Sure, you can poo poo Unions, their largess in the '70s even their (apparently) corrupt leadership, but it is high time that Americans came to realize the positive benefits of Union membership and the need to maintain leverage against corporate leadership that seems willing to work us to death and feed our remains back to the rest of the workers (for the sake of sharehold

        • by tehcyder (746570)

          I'm quite comfortable with taking care of myself in my business dealings.

          Great, we know you're really successful and everything, but you are ignoring the simple fact that for the vast majority of people the relationship between employee and employer is skewed horribly in favour of the latter.

          Personally, I do not care a jot about interfering with the freedom of a few very well off people to make themselves more money. It's getting the majority decent jobs and living conditions that is of more concern.

          • by cayenne8 (626475)
            Wouldn't it be better to encourage the 'majority' to get off their asses and learn to be better workers/negotiators....and generally better look out for themselves, rather than depend on someone else or, even worse...the govt?
      • I'm in the Automation business. Transportation - safety critical engineering. I don't see the benefits of automation.

        Welcome to the new slave labour

        I'm about ready to chuck it in where I work. For over 20 years the only OT I ever did was when I was On Site, doing an installation. I've carried a company phone for most of that time, but never ever answered it on my time. Then bang, restructure, new managers and a third of the engineers retrenched. I put my hand up, but was told I'm too valuable. Funny

      • by tlhIngan (30335)

        What is truly shocking is the long-term loss of effectiveness of unions and/or their complete lack of influence in hi-tech 'salary' jobs. Sure, you can poo poo Unions, their largess in the '70s even their (apparently) corrupt leadership, but it is high time that Americans came to realize the positive benefits of Union membership and the need to maintain leverage against corporate leadership that seems willing to work us to death and feed our remains back to the rest of the workers (for the sake of sharehold

        • by tehcyder (746570)

          It may be a bit of conceit on the part of the learned, I suppose - they're "smart enough" to handle their own job affairs without having someone else dictate their working conditions.

          Clever people fall for the "anyone can become President/a billionaire" US bullshit much more easily than those who are less educated, as the latter have had it drummed into them enough to know they're never goint to get anywhere without help.

    • by ackthpt (218170)

      "Our devices enabled employers to make their employees work 24/7, but it is our strange American political and cultural systems that have allowed them to do so."

      Or you could just say 'No'. So long as people are willing (if not eager) to be tied to work 24/7, companies will be happy to allow them to be.

      I remember how I hated carrying a pager on weekends. I felt like I had a leash around my neck, which could be yanked the moment I was engaged in some activity or just relaxing, further, I couldn't go see a movie or play golf, because I could be pulled out in an instant because someone wanted to use something which was down (or not down, but they were such a lazy twit, they'd call and bug me to see if it was up, rather than check themselves.)

      Years ago I established the limits I would go to for work and have

    • So long as there are no rules imposed from above, companies will recruit people who will tolerate being abused. Look at the people who worked for Bob Diamond at Barclays; making a big bonus was more important than having a decent life. If you just say "No", these are the people you are competing with.

      So yes, it is the strange American political and cultural systems that persuade people that they are free where everywhere they are in chains. The USA has, since WW2, steadily become less egalitarian and more l

    • by SirGarlon (845873)

      This reminds me of the Unix fortune [wikipedia.org] that literally changed my professional life:

      The more crap you put up with, the more crap you get.

      I was fired two months after taking that message to heart (no surprise there). One month after that, I was working for another company at 20% higher base salary, plus about 15% annual bonuses.

    • I've had the opposite experience. Gadgets have allowed me to have more contact with friends and family. I'm able to work from home some days during the week, and take short breaks to help with homework, or fix a broken toy. I have conversations with friends all over the country and keep up with what they are doing. People I otherwise would have lost touch with. I travel a lot, so I get to take my library with me, so I read more. I can keep up with my favorite sports teams easier, and regardless of loc
      • by tehcyder (746570)

        Sure, I'm interactive with work 24/7

        No you're not.

        but I'm also interactive with my family and friends 24/7

        No you're not.

        and have more quality time with them

        No you don't.

    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      I agree here. I see a lot of coworkers who seem to be workaholics, but they're complaining about it too. It's like they impose on themselves extra work burdens without the boss even asking for it. For me, when I am at home I do not do work, it's my own time. Maybe I'm not the best worker for not having code checkins at 10pm but I'm not stressing out about it either.

      Sure if there's something urgent I'll come in on the weekend or work late. But this should never become a habit.

      One good step might be to h

      • I work at home in the evenings a lot to catch up (after the kids are in bed).
        I also collect OT for that work. Something I don't plan on giving up. One of my co-workers found out I get OT and was in awe about it. I replied it will cost him one week of vacation and some other assorted BS to deal with, but he can do it too.
        Where I work there are two classes of line staff, one is exempt and the other is non-exempt. The exempts get an extra week of vacation and don't have to track hours worked or sick days,

      • by tehcyder (746570)

        Sure if there's something urgent I'll come in on the weekend or work late.

        You're already bought in to their crap in that case. Your kid going to hospital is urgent. Work can wait til the next day. I'm assuming you're not in Special Forces.

        But this should never become a habit.

        Oh, it will.

    • I give out my cell and home number to employers/clients all the time, and I make it clear my cell coverage is so awful there is no point in even trying it. Still, they will call my cell but not my home number. I think there is a persistent attitude that calling a cell phone is just another work number, but calling a home number is an intrusion that one only does in a real emergency. Which it is (an intrusion) and isnt (a real emergency). And no one needs to know that the coverage is so bad largely because m
  • Our what now? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by medcalf (68293) on Tuesday July 24, 2012 @04:26PM (#40755335) Homepage
    My relationship to work is individual, not collective. Mind your own business.
    • by ackthpt (218170)

      "You're not a team player!" -- the latest management fad

      Truly. Exchanging your time and energy for money is an exchange which must be acceptable to both you and your employer. When you are treated as a serf it's time to pack your desk and blow, before you lose perspective and ultimately power over your own life.

  • An Internet news addiction is far, far worse. I would be interested to know how many million person-hours of lost work productivity are spent on the Web per year.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    "To elide that one of the reasons...."

    And the winner for most superfluous use of the word "elide" goes to...

  • by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Tuesday July 24, 2012 @04:31PM (#40755419) Homepage Journal
    ... and by "do that," I mean let their employer take control of their personal lives? WTF is wrong with them?

    I'm a corporate whore for 40 hours a week, and not a second more. They want more of my time, they're paying my outrageous consulting rate, just like everybody else.
    • by Crash Culligan (227354) on Tuesday July 24, 2012 @04:41PM (#40755599) Journal

      CanHasDIY: [People Really Do That?] ... and by "do that," I mean let their employer take control of their personal lives? WTF is wrong with them?

      That's the "cultural thing" that they were talking about. Somewhere in the past thirty years or so, along with the stagnation of wages, the collapse of the "middle class," the inexorable creep forward of prices for things like food, housing, and health care, and the antiquation of the notion that workers have rights, it became a buyer's labor market. Most people fear that if they don't toe the line and do what their bosses tell them to, it'd be far too easy to dismiss them (i.e. fire their worthless slacker asses) and hire someone with a more respectful, helpful attitude (i.e. sycophant).

      And in an era where most people live from paycheck to paycheck and either lack the gumption (or worse, the salary) to save up for emergencies, that fear is a sensible one.

      • CanHasDIY: [People Really Do That?] ... and by "do that," I mean let their employer take control of their personal lives? WTF is wrong with them?

        That's the "cultural thing" that they were talking about. Somewhere in the past thirty years or so, along with the stagnation of wages, the collapse of the "middle class," the inexorable creep forward of prices for things like food, housing, and health care, and the antiquation of the notion that workers have rights, it became a buyer's labor market. Most people fear that if they don't toe the line and do what their bosses tell them to, it'd be far too easy to dismiss them (i.e. fire their worthless slacker asses) and hire someone with a more respectful, helpful attitude (i.e. sycophant).

        Well said.

        And in an era where most people live from paycheck to paycheck and either lack the gumption (or worse, the salary) to save up for emergencies, that fear is a sensible one.

        Guess I break the mold on that one, with my 'pay overtime or fuck off' attitude. Of course, being in good health and having extensive experience in manufacturing and maintenance, I know I can readily go back to working in manual labor (and, sadly, make far more money than I ever have working in IT), which tempers my attitude greatly.

        I do feel sorry for the unhealthy, pasty-skinned programmers I pass on my way to my cell, er, cubicle... since manual labor is pretty much a no-go for them, they're b

        • by tehcyder (746570)

          I know I can readily go back to working in manual labor (and, sadly, make far more money than I ever have working in IT),

          I don't know if you have a special definition of "manual labor" in the US, but in the rest of the world we mean things like carrying bricks on a building site, driving a delivery vehicle or doing gardening. And the idea that by doing those sorts of jobs you'll earn more than in IT is just laughable.

          If you mean "working in a manufacturing environment as an engineer who has to get his hands dirty", I still doubt that it's better paid than all but the most junior-level IT job.

          The myth that all plumbers

          • I know I can readily go back to working in manual labor (and, sadly, make far more money than I ever have working in IT),

            I don't know if you have a special definition of "manual labor" in the US, but in the rest of the world we mean things like carrying bricks on a building site, driving a delivery vehicle or doing gardening.

            Sorry, didn't realize that your subjective world view was shared by the 7+ billion people on this planet. Oh, yea, it's not, which in turn means this statement of yours is pure subjective bunk.

            And the idea that by doing those sorts of jobs you'll earn more than in IT is just laughable.

            Right now, I could quit my $13/hr IT job and go bust down pallets for $22/hr. That's only laughable if you're one of those special types of imbiciles who can't understand that not every geographic location is identical to the one they reside in. For the rest of us, it's a sad reality - most IT workers are not sitting

      • by khallow (566160)

        Somewhere in the past thirty years or so, along with the stagnation of wages, the collapse of the "middle class," the inexorable creep forward of prices for things like food, housing, and health care, and the antiquation of the notion that workers have rights, it became a buyer's labor market.

        That's what happens when you add a few billion people to the job market. Labor becomes less valuable.

    • no disrespect, your comments made me laugh a little out loud i guess.. but your right the system throws millions of new mindless products to us while simultaneously telling people to do more work? we're constantly fed distractions and commercials to re-direct our minds away from what's at focus i wouldn't say i completely agree with this story but I'm glad the author mentioned our handicap to the US political and cultural systems a topic that should be discussed on its own could it also be films like batm
      • No disrespect back, but your lack of punctuation and proper mechanics makes your post impossible for me to read. Seriously, run on sentences give me a headache.

        To paraphrase a film from my youth, If you fix it, I can parse.
    • by tehcyder (746570)
      Why do so many people on slashdot think that being an independent contractor earning "outrageous" fees is the norm for most working people? And if they don't what is the point of mentioning it, other than showing off?
      • Of equal importance, why do so many people, period, assume that the meaning they personally assign to someone else's words is an accurate reflection of that person's intent? Narcissism and/or hubris, I presume.

        My statement in no way reflects upon independent contractors who are not me, and to believe so is to ignore the basic reading comprehension skill we all supposedly developed in grade school. Not every statement is a blanket statement.
  • I used to have a cell phone, when my son was in daycare and then K-8.

    But since then I just don't do it.

    I do have an iPad2, but it's wireless. So that people can't bug me, unless I want them to.

    I will probably get the iPhone5, but probably won't answer any work calls or texts. And will turn it off when I'm doing something.

  • Is alcoholism a disease independent of alcohol? I speak as one who had to pull the plug earlier today to get some work done. I was much more productive before the Internet, RSS feeds, and my smart phone. And the kids. I need to unplug them too.
  • Well. . . (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I work too damn hard on the projects I manage to let any harm come to them in the time I am off work. If my email dings, I check it because it could be useful information to ensuring the success of those projects. And if I can do something quickly from home that will save me a headache in the morning it is worth it. I also don't want to walk into a business place surprised by whatever is going to hit me when I walk in.

    I'm salaried, and paid to get projects done. They get done and done well. I also f

  • We're apes using tools. Using (and making) tools is to us as flying is to birds. Of course you'd need to be an idiot to allow yourself being exploited by your employer.

    Apart from that this must be a bit US-specific. There's a certain Protestant work ethic [wikipedia.org] that isn't there in this way in most other places. My employer has my email and my mobile phone number, and he knows he can call me at any time when there is an emergency, but this happens maybe once a year. I'm indeed very happy that the internet and a sm

  • When I'm stuck on call... I'm only on call from 8AM to 8PM. If it is outside of those hours, the phone is off. I'm not a big fan of this 24/7/365 shit and I choose employers where I work 9-5:30.
  • If you wish, you can choose any number of jobs'/careers where you won't be expected to stay in touch via cellphone or email 24 hours/7 days. It's not like it's impossible to stay gainfully employed in America today without a "constant on" situation via gadgets you carry around.

    What's really happened, in many cases, is that people saw the advantages and accepted the down-sides, but turned around and complained about those down-sides at every opportunity. (You know... the good old "I want to have my cake and

    • Well said. What I like about having work email on my phone is this, I can delete emails faster. Win win win.
  • This little meme is gathering a lot of momentum; I read an article in Time along the same lines last night.

    A. If you work smart, you don't have to work long. It is actually important to say no to working 24/7, because you can't work long AND smart AND hard. Workign smart trumps it all. Good systems don't need long hours because they are stable. Good project plans adapt and require little of the usual rush at the last moment.
    B. Connectedness through gadgets is a good thing, and there is no reason to be
  • by djchristensen (472087) on Tuesday July 24, 2012 @05:36PM (#40756561)

    The converse of "work" intruding on "personal time" via our gadgets is "life" intruding on "work time" via those same gadgets. How many people check their facebook accounts, read slashdot, respond to emails/IMs/texts from friends/family, etc while at work? So we might as a general rule not really be working many, if any, more hours, we're just blurring the transition between work and non-work. Whether this is welcomed as flexibility or despised for allowing employers to take advantage is really up to individual perspective.

    • by cpu6502 (1960974)

      I give my employer 1 free hour/day in order to compensate for the personal time wasted on FB or /. (Also helps me avoid the traffic mess on the interstate by waiting til after 5:30.)

  • Yeah, I don't like the work intrusion into my personal life all that much either, but like many others here, I'm salaried and it's a requirement of my job to be available. On the flip side, the only phone I have is my employer-provided iPhone, and as such it functions as much as a personal phone as it does a work phone and at no cost to me. A big part of it too, for me, is that because of the expectations outside "normal" work hours, my boss is quite flexible with other things that come up during the norm

  • Most regular people don't need to, and probably shouldn't be connected 24/7. Some people (I include myself) do need to be connected all of the time, but most people don't. They just like the toys, and pretending that they're important/busy enough that they need to be able to communicate with people all the time.
  • You should not have to answer that phone 24/7/365

To thine own self be true. (If not that, at least make some money.)

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