Working life

Contactable… mostly

It seems one of the popular things is to complain about these days the curse of the always-on generation. Mobile phones, email, instant messaging mean you’re always contactable.

But I like all that stuff for other reasons. It means I can leave the office early (as I do every Tuesday) and stay in touch. I can be at home with my kids, but still able to respond to crises. If a system goes down or needs a change at 11pm, I don’t need to find a babysitter and go into work to fix it.

(A friend told the funny story of how her young daughter knows — and doesn’t like it — when she gets the SecurID out to connect to her work computers. She doesn’t understand what it does, but does know it means her mum has to work.)

I’ve had a bad cold for the last week or so; the cough is still hanging around. But we’re frantically busy at work, moving towards a deadline next week. I was able to stay at home for two days last week and cough and sneeze my way through the day, yet thanks to remote access, terminal services, a phone, and conference calls, it was almost like being at my desk. Except no noise and interruptions from colleagues or the nearby printer.

And if I don’t want to be reachable, the mobile goes silent or off, and callers go to voicemail. The experience many years ago of the 3am emergency call (which turned out not to be a problem I could solve) was a lesson I’ve learnt from.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

2 replies on “Contactable… mostly”

It is great isn’t it. I am typing this from my home where I am connected to work in a flash if I want to. Even my keyboard is wireless now so in theory I can sit on my couch with my notebook hooked up via my tv and type from feet away and it appears on the big screen. No cords to get tangled up in or trip over. It’s also weird being able to print something which then happens kilometres away. I only wish my mobile connection in Yarraville could improve as well as my TV when I am trying to watch normal channels direct. Have been told it’s all the interference from the city buildings blocking out signals but it is frustrating that in this day and age that can happen. Next phone I may have to think about something more sophisticated as far as service goes.

I start work anywhere from 7am to 8am, never take lunch breaks, lucky to leave anywhere between 7pm and 11:30pm (no I’m not kidding), work most Sundays, on Saturdays I often do a bit of work from home, never taken a single sick day (despite a severe back injury a couple of weeks ago), never taken a day of leave, and yes I’m buggered.

So last night, I actually bail at 7pm because I’m going out to dinner with some friends. Around 10pm an e-mail arrives on my BlackBerry – my boss announcing he’ll be on leave on Monday.

Boy wouldn’t that be nice :(

Comments are closed.