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Gadget Addiction or Work Intrusion?

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the can't-it-be-both dept.

Businesses 111

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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I haven't bought a gadget in weeks (5, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | about 2 years ago | (#40755211)

And the stress is killing me!

Working more hours (5, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | about 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Working more hours (2)

DontLickJesus (1141027) | about 2 years ago | (#40755413)

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.

Re:Working more hours (2)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 2 years ago | (#40755491)

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.

Re:Working more hours (3, Insightful)

Annirak (181684) | about 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Working more hours (2)

ackthpt (218170) | about 2 years ago | (#40755577)

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.

Re:Working more hours (5, Insightful)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 2 years ago | (#40755633)

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.

Re:Working more hours (1)

DontLickJesus (1141027) | about 2 years ago | (#40755719)

Can I get an AMEN?

Re:Working more hours or Heaven's Gate (the DB) (2)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 2 years ago | (#40756053)

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!

Re:Working more hours (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about 2 years ago | (#40763621)

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.

Re:Working more hours (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 2 years ago | (#40763681)

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?

Re:Working more hours (5, Insightful)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 2 years ago | (#40755575)

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.

Re:Working more hours (2)

zakkudo (2638939) | about 2 years ago | (#40755597)

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.

Re:Working more hours (2)

Talderas (1212466) | about 2 years ago | (#40755667)

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.

Different approach (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40755773)

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

Re:Different approach (1)

networkBoy (774728) | about 2 years ago | (#40756385)

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 pants down about a deadline two days away). 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.
Word got around (quietly).
When I gave my new manager my phone number and the emergency talk he paid attention, they consider me a star employee and I produce well for them, but I have specific limits. Have gotten exactly one phone call and it was because one of my debug systems actually started smoking and they turned it off.
-nB

Re:Different approach (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#40757691)

>>>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. Sometimes it's better to handle things quietly, rather than piss-off management and put you on the "future layoff list".

Re:Different approach (1)

PlusFiveTroll (754249) | about 2 years ago | (#40760543)

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.

Re:Different approach (1)

networkBoy (774728) | about 2 years ago | (#40765095)

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 rather than the norm.
Hell I'd be at my bench, next to my office phone, and he'd be calling my cell before even trying the office number. To me that said this guy didn't even listen to the limits. As it turns out he was worthless as a manager (this became obvious when our reviews were copy paste jobs of the previous years reviews, down to spelling errors). Funny, he no longer manages. I used some of that loyalty to an individual manager I mentioned in another post, to successfully pull off an "open door" type meeting (often a death knell and we all know it) two levels above the worthless one, and brought a list of grievances from the entire lab. When I was asked why no one else said anything I replied that they were all too scared of making waves, so I'm going to go out on a limb for the team.
All in all it worked out well, I've since been promoted twice (one informal, one formal, both with money) and the useless one manages some equipment.
-nB

Re:Working more hours (1)

pla (258480) | about 2 years ago | (#40755683)

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.


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.

I'd call it "awe", that someone would actually turn down a velvet leash.

Re:Working more hours (1)

AwesomeMcgee (2437070) | about 2 years ago | (#40763255)

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.

Re:Working more hours (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#40757381)

>>>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. :-)

Re:Working more hours (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about 2 years ago | (#40763597)

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?

Re:Working more hours (4, Insightful)

Urza9814 (883915) | about 2 years ago | (#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"...

What does it mean to be willing? (5, Insightful)

garyisabusyguy (732330) | about 2 years ago | (#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

Re:What does it mean to be willing? (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about 2 years ago | (#40755507)

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.

Re:What does it mean to be willing? (5, Insightful)

networkBoy (774728) | about 2 years ago | (#40756979)

Loyalty to a company is misplaced loyalty. Loyalty to an individual manager can be exceptionally well repaid.
This is an important distinction, one I only fully learned about 5 years ago.
-nB

Re:What does it mean to be willing? (1)

cultiv8 (1660093) | about 2 years ago | (#40755655)

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.

Re:What does it mean to be willing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40764619)

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.

Why? Are you a workaholic? Or is there a chance of "you've been busting your ass for us, here's a share in the company"?

Re:What does it mean to be willing? (3, Interesting)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 2 years ago | (#40755717)

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.

Re:What does it mean to be willing? (2)

assertation (1255714) | about 2 years ago | (#40759503)

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.

Re:What does it mean to be willing? (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 2 years ago | (#40764759)

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, because they could potentially be a force for good, but they haven't done so in several decades.

People with your attitude have to stop blindly assuming that anti-union folks are magically all the same [wikipedia.org] , and fight to make the union do what's best for the workers, rather than what's best for the union entity.

Re:What does it mean to be willing? (2)

ukemike (956477) | about 2 years ago | (#40759735)

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 organization workers become strong enough to negotiate the terms of employment. Alone each person is insignificant to big corporations.

I hear lots of people here saying, "well if you're good you won't put up with this sort of abuse." That doesn't work when there is someone as good or nearly as good willing to work for less begging for your job.

From Solidarity Forever
Is there aught we hold in common with the greedy parasite,
Who would lash us into serfdom and would crush us with his might?
Is there anything left to us but to organize and fight?
For the union makes us strong.

All the world that's owned by idle drones is ours and ours alone.
We have laid the wide foundations; built it skyward stone by stone.
It is ours, not to slave in, but to master and to own.
While the union makes us strong.

All the world that's owned by idle drones is ours and ours alone.
We have laid the wide foundations; built it skyward stone by stone.
It is ours, not to slave in, but to master and to own.
While the union makes us strong.

They have taken untold millions that they never toiled to earn,
But without our brain and muscle not a single wheel can turn.
We can break their haughty power, gain our freedom when we learn
That the union makes us strong.

All the world that's owned by idle drones is ours and ours alone.
We have laid the wide foundations; built it skyward stone by stone.
It is ours, not to slave in, but to master and to own.
While the union makes us strong.

They have taken untold millions that they never toiled to earn,
But without our brain and muscle not a single wheel can turn.
We can break their haughty power, gain our freedom when we learn
That the union makes us strong.

Re:What does it mean to be willing? (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 2 years ago | (#40764391)

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 a skilled stage technician, but he can't get a job in his home state because he lacks a theatre degree or equivalent experience in a union-recognized theatre. Now, he's run a community theatre for a few years, but since it can't afford to work with the union, the union won't accept it as a "real" theatre.

In another theater, a different technician friend worked shows for two months with an unstable set piece, because the union carpenters (with exclusive control of all construction equipment, including screwdrivers) never got around to fixing it. Finally after an actor fell off the set during rehearsal, this technician brought in his personal "torque application device" and tightened the set piece. After OSHA was involved because of the fall, the union's official statement was that the safety of non-union actors is not a priority concern for them.

As yet another example, let's consider a teacher from my own hometown, who received a very strict letter from the teachers' union effectively forbidding him from tutoring students on school property after school let out. Apparently the union took offense that a teacher considered education more important than being paid for every moment of his time.

In a UAW machine shop I know of in Michigan, the shop faced financial problems because GM canceled their contract. The overwhelming majority of current employees voted to take a dissolve the current contract and take a pay cut (progressive percentage cut, so the highest-paid owner would be cut most) so the shop could keep running on the income from other orders. The retired union members numbered less than half the employed force, yet had two-thirds the voting power, so they overruled the vote, and the old contract remained until the shop closed just to stick it to that evil management that dared propose cutting pay.

Finally, when I lived in a college town, I had a friend who was a newly-hired professor. The union told him that he wasn't allowed to discuss lessons with me, because my suggestions on how to effectively teach were making his job unfairly easier than the other professors'.

These experiences and others like them are what the union looks like to people outside it. It's an elitist group of thugs who strong-arm their "negotiations" through threats and PR stunts, and move their massive might to get in the way of everyone else getting the job done. Solidarity [wikipedia.org] is not something I want, nor will support it, when it means the almighty Union gets to tell me I can't teach others, protect others, get a job, keep a job, or even talk with friends. Sure, it's nice that the unions were useful in the past to establish weekends, OSHA, and the like, but I do not see that as any justification for eternal indenture to an organization that cares more about a retiree's $70,000/year pension than letting enthusiastic younger workers have a decent life.

I hear lots of people here saying, "well if you're good you won't put up with this sort of abuse." That doesn't work when there is someone as good or nearly as good willing to work for less begging for your job.

What's wrong with that? What gives me the right to determine what someone else's time is worth? If I decide that my time is worth $50/hour, and someone else is willing to do the same job as good as I can for $30/hour, why should I have an inalienable right to charge more? What makes my hour inherently worth more than his?

The unions are now a promise left unfulfilled. An elite few reap benefits, while the younger generation is screwed over by internal politics. All the while, pithy songs and repeated chants [logicallyfallacious.com] bring in support from the masses while "untold millions" get siphoned off by lawyers and negotiators fighting for the sake of argument, with the threat of physical or economic destruction if the company doesn't agree in time.

Re:What does it mean to be willing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40760373)

Enough people have to be willing to sign on to those priorities and the union before the union has any power to do those things.

Re:What does it mean to be willing? (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about 2 years ago | (#40763735)

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.

Re:What does it mean to be willing? (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 2 years ago | (#40764569)

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 out of business.

Perhaps I should clarify that I am opposed to the unions as they exist today, having utterly failed to protect any workforce through the recent economic hardships, outsourcing, or automation trends, yet still able to organize protests against anything threatening their unused power. I believe that unions are a necessary legal entity, as there are employers who should be required to bargain on equal footing, but there is no modern union I've encountered.that actually promotes a better long-term situation for the American workforce.

Re:What does it mean to be willing? (5, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | about 2 years ago | (#40755807)

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.

Re:What does it mean to be willing? (0)

khallow (566160) | about 2 years ago | (#40758199)

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.

Re:What does it mean to be willing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40762815)

But... libertarians! Grr!

Re:What does it mean to be willing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40762841)

They may very well lose his home and starve to death, if the local job market sucks bad enough. Especially if any prospective future employers call his old boss and find out he's not a "team player".

Remember, blackballing is a traditional and protected prerogative of employers.

Re:What does it mean to be willing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40763103)

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.

Citizenship is also voluntary in the US and most European countries which Libertarians complain about (well, if they tried complaining in China or elsewhere, they'll probably be censored or worse)

Funny how "move to Somalia" or "move to China" is seen as a bad argument by Libertarians, but here they are using the same argument telling people to get another job

Re:What does it mean to be willing? (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about 2 years ago | (#40763769)

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, pitiless laissez faire capitalism". We tried that up until a hundred years ago, and decided it didn't produce a very nice society.

Re:What does it mean to be willing? (2)

pla (258480) | about 2 years ago | (#40755909)

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 than other workers

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.

Re:What does it mean to be willing? (1)

Chirs (87576) | about 2 years ago | (#40758211)

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.

Re:What does it mean to be willing? (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 2 years ago | (#40756765)

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)

As long as said Union membership is not mandatory I'm ok with it.

I'd rather depend on knowing my own value and my own negotiation skills when seeking and accepting a job. I've done quite well over the past decade or so, and I'd like that option to continue forward for me.

If the union thing works for someone else, cool...but if I and others want to be able to negotiate our own deals, that right should be preserved. I'm quite comfortable with taking care of myself in my business dealings.

Re:What does it mean to be willing? (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about 2 years ago | (#40763835)

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.

Re:What benefits of Automation? (2)

Platinumrat (1166135) | about 2 years ago | (#40756813)

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, it's not reflected in my pay.

This year, I've only been home 6 weekends and when I do get home I have to answer Customer callouts. The argument is that we don't have anyone else to do the support. I'm a system design engineer, not a support engineer. Wife's pissed and so am I.

They say that because of my grade, it's expected that I should work an extra 20 hours unpaid OT per week. The argument is that we're professionals. WTF. I though my grade reflected my experience, not how much free time they could wring out of me. I don't see Lawyers of consulting professionals do free time (except pro-bono).

Now they're promoting "Yes Men" Engineering Managers, who aren't even qualified Engineer or Scientists. And why? because they have the right attitude...

What they don't see is that all the experienced staff are leaving in droves to go work for consultancies. Looks like I'm next on that exodus.

Re:What does it mean to be willing? (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 2 years ago | (#40757057)

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)

I think the problem isn't unions, it's the image. The traditional union generally goes for the lesser skilled (or no skill) jobs - basically blue-collar work. At least, that's the general impression of unionized workers. Even though unions are often involved in the trades, tradeworkers (like your electrician and plumber) are seen more as independent contractors than unionists. And the more skilled you get, the less a union is seen as relevant.

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.

Hell, do we consider the players "associations" for sports as unions? That's what they are, after all, Perhaps it's because when they go on strike, they don't bother to picket so we never see that aspect of unionism. Hell, considering some sports require membership in the "player association" in order to play professionally. Or actor's unions.

Except well, businesses have figured out how to exploit the shiny and cool to tie said workers to the workplace even more. Think about a blackberry - once a status symbol a decade ago, everywhere a half decade ago, and only loosening its grip now, purely because of the new shinies - BYOD and work-provided iPhones and Androids.

Hell, even stuff like unpaid overtime, working more than 40 hours a week regularly, even the unpaid intern are all IT quirks that really don't exist anywhere else. (Unpaid interns especially - internships generally pay, sometimes quite well, in practically every other industry except IT.)

It's perhaps our believe that we're "too smart" to need unions that capitalists have figured out how to manipulate into worse working conditions that the rest of the working world accepts. Even in North America (let's ignore Europe and their working conditions for obvious reasons).

Re:What does it mean to be willing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40762869)

Also, some industries have figured out how to play the unionized hourly workers against the non-unionized salaried professionals. So the union wants better health benefits? Fine, they can have it, but there's a raise freeze for the salaried folks this year. The union is striking? Ok, we'll require salaried folks to cross angry picket lines and come in anyway, and even man some of the machines if they have any experience. The unions love scabs. But if it takes focus away from management, so be it.

Re:What does it mean to be willing? (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about 2 years ago | (#40763877)

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.

Re:Working more hours (2)

ackthpt (218170) | about 2 years ago | (#40755455)

"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 stuck to them. My time is my time. I only choose to exchange so many hours of the day for wages and such.

Re:Working more hours (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40755539)

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 had jury duty today, 7 blissful hours of no-cell-phones-or-internet-devices allowed. Just got home, read through some /., now I have to make up the work I missed today. The "benefits" of making a 6 digit salary. I'm sure I could say no, but then I'd be marginalized and making probably half of what I'm making. Not ready to make that jump (just yet).

Re:Working more hours (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about 2 years ago | (#40764063)

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 had jury duty today, 7 blissful hours of no-cell-phones-or-internet-devices allowed. Just got home, read through some /., now I have to make up the work I missed today. The "benefits" of making a 6 digit salary. I'm sure I could say no, but then I'd be marginalized and making probably half of what I'm making. Not ready to make that jump (just yet).

Slacker. At my company, anyone who isn't clever enough to wangle a way out of doing jury service is fired on the spot. And then they and their children are murdered horribly. Pour encourager les autres, you know. Society can go fuck itself as long as my workers are on the clock 24/7.

Someone will do it (2)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | about 2 years ago | (#40755565)

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 like Imperial Rome, with a small corrupt political class (= the Senators) in hock to a larger rich banking and commercial class (= the Knights) and a large population with only the semblance of political power. It's because the greed of the rich ultimately exceeds prudence; they don't know when to stop because, as Talib points out, they only compare themselves to their neighbours. It is easily possible to be happy on $60 000 a year and miserable on $600 000.

Gadgets are not the problem; they may partly be a symptom because time-poor people do not have the time to develop outside interests and so focus attention on shiny things that they can get instantly.

Re:Working more hours (1)

SirGarlon (845873) | about 2 years ago | (#40755675)

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.

Flexibility and life balance (1)

xzvf (924443) | about 2 years ago | (#40756041)

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 location. Sure, I'm interactive with work 24/7 and put in my hours, but I'm also interactive with my family and friends 24/7 and have more quality time with them. I'm old enough to remember the days you had to physically be present to work or to relax. Showing up to work on time, watching the clock to see when you can go home, getting in the car to drive in and solve problems at three in the morning. Having your team sit in the same block of cubes because you needed to be physically close, taking time off to meet with a teacher, or pay a bill, or do banking. Gadgets mean I see my family more, spend less time on useless chores, work more productively and have a better life. Stop whining.

Re:Flexibility and life balance (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about 2 years ago | (#40764125)

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.

Re:Working more hours (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40756651)

And so long as there are those people willing to say Yes!, without some form of regulation or law, all saying No will do is lead you to is the unemployment line.

Re:Working more hours (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about 2 years ago | (#40756693)

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 have fewer meetings at work. I see a lot of managers in meetings all day, then they go home and start coding to get the job done.

I can't get email on my phone, it's not smart phone. So there's nothing to miss there. No one freaks out because they couldn't contact me. There's the catch: because I'm harder to reach (actually have to use voice) and I don't respond to texts instantly, they'll contact someone else or learn to wait until morning. So the people with the gadgets end up doing more work precisely because they can be contacted!

If they need to contact me at any hour then the company must pay for the phone itself. I will categorically refuse to pay my own money for a company phone and data plan.

Re:Working more hours (1)

networkBoy (774728) | about 2 years ago | (#40757117)

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, NE's do. It's a trade off.
-nB

Re:Working more hours (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about 2 years ago | (#40764177)

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.

Re:Working more hours (1)

RenderSeven (938535) | about 2 years ago | (#40758201)

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 my cell phone is left in my car and more than likely turned off.

Our what now? (4, Insightful)

medcalf (68293) | about 2 years ago | (#40755335)

My relationship to work is individual, not collective. Mind your own business.

Re:Our what now? (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about 2 years ago | (#40755389)

"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.

Re:Our what now? (1)

medcalf (68293) | about 2 years ago | (#40756873)

And I've been in such a situation. And I'm not now.

If you won't stay connected (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40755341)

Someone else, and there's a good chance they'll get that next promotion. It's a cost/benefit analysis.

An Internet news addiction is far, far worse (1)

thisisauniqueid (825395) | about 2 years ago | (#40755353)

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.

Re:An Internet news addiction is far, far worse (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40755409)

I'd be interested too. That would really make this Tuesday at work go by faster to have some good reading.

I Don' Think That Word Means... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40755365)

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

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

People Really Do That? (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 2 years ago | (#40755419)

... 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.

Re:People Really Do That? (3, Insightful)

Crash Culligan (227354) | about 2 years ago | (#40755599)

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.

Re:People Really Do That? (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 2 years ago | (#40756439)

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 basically trapped in the employment death spiral you mentioned above.

The poor, poor bastards...

Re:People Really Do That? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40758119)

No it's not well said. Answer the question.

"the inexorable creep forward of prices for things like food, housing, and health care"

You lot say these things like it's just accepted and a fact. Well it is not.

What factor has caused these prices to increase over this time period and what makes that factor 'inexorable'?

Can you answer that?

Re:People Really Do That? (1)

BlearyTruth (2692231) | about 2 years ago | (#40758841)

It's not inexorable. It seems they do not know the answer.

Re:People Really Do That? (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about 2 years ago | (#40764465)

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 earn hundreds of thousands a year is normally heard expressed by whining middle class elitists who can't believe someone has the nerve to charge them for changing a tap washer.

Re:People Really Do That? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40756525)

"the inexorable creep forward of prices for things like food, housing, and health care"

You lot say these things like it's just accepted and a fact. Well it is not.

What factor has caused these prices to increase over this time period and what makes that factor 'inexorable'?

Can you answer that?

Re:People Really Do That? (1)

khallow (566160) | about 2 years ago | (#40758283)

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.

Re:People Really Do That? (1)

sublime_stephy (2692053) | about 2 years ago | (#40755607)

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 batman and spiderman that get our hopes up for technology that actually provides us with power, or better yet leaves us waiting for some super being to save everyone....

Re:People Really Do That? (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 2 years ago | (#40756473)

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.

Re:People Really Do That? (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about 2 years ago | (#40764383)

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?

Re:People Really Do That? (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 2 years ago | (#40765383)

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.

This is why I don't have a cell phone (2)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 2 years ago | (#40755457)

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.

Re:This is why I don't have a cell phone (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40755761)

I am the same, though I do have a mobile phone, but work pays for it.
I told them if they want to contact me on my time they had to pay for the infrastructure to do so.
They did. But I still turn it off when I don't want to be contacted.

Alcoholism (1)

supercrisp (936036) | about 2 years ago | (#40755479)

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.

Yuo Fail It!? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40755521)

Join GNAA (GAY hapless *BSD OS I do, because dim. Due to the

Well. . . (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40755623)

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 find plenty of leisure time, and on more than one occasion have left work early or come in late for whatever personal reason demanded it. It's never been a problem - as long as the projects are completed on time and on budget.

Tools, work... what do you expect? (1)

joh (27088) | about 2 years ago | (#40755821)

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 smartphone (or whatever) allows me then to act from where I am. Much better than going there actually. Especially when I'm on vacation. And he knows very well that he won't get out more of me if he'd start to pester me daily or so. Working 24/7? For someone else? For what kind of money? I really can't believe it.

Who is this "Middle Class" then? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40755959)

"The upper middle class (i.e. the NYT reader)"

So I don't read the NYT, does that make me part of the 1%?

Upper middle class, what complete and total crap.

Work phone? (1)

nighthawk243 (2557486) | about 2 years ago | (#40756147)

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.

To me, it's all really voluntary anyway . (1)

King_TJ (85913) | about 2 years ago | (#40756363)

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 eat it too!" thing.)

For example, in my own situation, I work as a systems/network administrator. At some point in time, I asked if the company would supply me with an iPhone because in the past, I already carried one that I bought and paid for each month on a personal plan. Obviously, the trade-off here was the understanding that with it, I'd now be more able to quickly respond to emails or calls, or even text messages. Instead of me carrying around a phone that was basically "off limits" to other employees, my number was now listed in the company directories.

It's a pretty good trade, in my opinion. Yes, my boss may call once in a while on a weekend asking if I can help walk him through a computer problem at home (and in those cases, I may or may not take any given call and it's really not anything he takes issue with when I don't). But I've always been responsible for keeping the computer equipment and network up as part of my job, so honestly, I'd rather get a quick phone call when something's down than find out after I get in the office during my "regular hours" and I've got 20 people complaining about it instead of one person. Meanwhile, I save a lot of money on cellular service and can still use the phone for all my personal things (within reason, obviously - but I do have unlimited data on it).

And sure, society is, by and large, more "connected" with mobile devices than ever before. But it's ridiculous, IMO, to call it a "disease". Again, we CHOOSE this lifestyle and many of us pay extra to keep it. Unlike my parents who used to pretty much cross out 1-2 hours of each day of their lives watching TV news or reading the morning paper to keep informed, I just get the news flashes, piecemeal, from my mobile devices as they happen -- and can actively (not passively like TV) select the news I want to read more about.

Re: To me, it's all really voluntary anyway . (1)

BlearyTruth (2692231) | about 2 years ago | (#40758751)

Well said. What I like about having work email on my phone is this, I can delete emails faster. Win win win.

Spo88ge (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40756401)

thPen disappeared on slashdot.org We aal know, TROUBLES OF THOSE

Balderdash (1)

skeptical_monster (1436977) | about 2 years ago | (#40756443)

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 obligated to maintain this connectedness beyond what you desire.

What about personal time at work? (2)

djchristensen (472087) | about 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:What about personal time at work? (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#40757777)

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.)

What works for me (1)

andyring (100627) | about 2 years ago | (#40756819)

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 normal work day (picking up m son from school, leaving early if I need to for family things, etc.). So I can't complain. Well, I could, but the benefits outweigh the costs.

Most people don't need them (1)

DogDude (805747) | about 2 years ago | (#40757219)

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.

Work intrusion (1)

ravenswood1000 (543817) | about 2 years ago | (#40757255)

You should not have to answer that phone 24/7/365

Typo? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40763753)

"employee's private lives"? One employee can have more than one private life?

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