Monday, December 17, 2007

Blackberry vs. Vacation: Zapping All That is Pure

Do you check your waistline every morning and every 5 seconds thereafter? Do you yearn to hear the little email chime? Do you crave to feel like you are involved at all times? Do you start scratching your neck when you have not had a “fix” in a few minutes? Well, my friends, you have a Blackberry addiction. While there will be a plethora of topic discussions on wireless devices (usually very positive), this little soap-box is quite the contrary. And, in light of the Holiday Season, we need to re-align our priorities.

Honestly, this should not even be a topic, but times are a changin’ and I’m a man current of the times. So, what is the point of vacation? The dictionary says:

· a period of suspension of work, study, or other activity, usually used for rest, recreation, or travel; recess or holiday: Schoolchildren are on vacation now.
· a part of the year, regularly set aside, when normal activities of law courts, legislatures, etc., are suspended.
· freedom or release from duty, business, or activity.


When we were children, we loved vacation. No homework! Lounge around, see friends, watch TV, and not a care in the world. Now look at us, some of us are even penalized if we take a vacation (not officially, but you know what I’m talking about). It is like the ‘optional football conditioning practices’ coaches hold before the season. It’s not mandatory, but if you are not there, you will not be playing.

But here is a newsflash. This is not football practice, our jobs are what we do everyday of our lives for 8-14hrs a day. Do not sell yourself short for the ‘approval’ of someone else.
Why are we all so willing to risk our health? Family? Fun? Care-free spirit? And, most importantly, our SANITY?!! to get the latest office ‘spam’ update.

So let us go back to the definition: “a period of suspension of work, study… used for rest, recreation…” Where is the suspension from work if you have your Blackberry chiming every 5 seconds? Just get away for a couple days. Give your neck and ears a break from the constant checking.

I am not going on record saying Blackberries are evil; all I am articulating is that vacation is to be refreshing and re-connecting with your bicycle you’ve left in the garage, or your family, or whatever you do to re-charge your mind, body, and spirit.

So, I close this entry imploring you, for the sake of your family, health, and sanity, shut the blackberry down and enjoy some eggnog and *cough* rum *cough* and welcome your vacation/couple days off away from the office, and if you need to, check back here and re-read the three vacation definitions.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Small Biz Guru,

I wanted to comment on your Blackberry article. I got a Blackberry for Christmas and I'm pretty sure if you took it away from me today I would die - and that's concerning.

I travel a lot with my job. I'm gone about two weeks every month and nothing is worse than arriving at a client's office to hear "I'm sorry Miss, Mr. Smith couldn't make your appointment. An emergency came up. He sent you an email, didn't you get it?" As I smile and politely respond that I haven't yet, I'm always forced to bite my inner jaw in an effort not to say: "No you twit, I've been driving all over Birmingham today - I haven't had lunch much less checked my email." Even though my personal opinion is that a cell phone is sufficient, I did need a Blackberry so I could send and receive email 24/7 on the road.

As a travel tool, my Blackberry is a treasure. I spent yesterday at a conference in Chicago and the ability to send proposals and pricing sheets to clients and prospects was incredibly useful. It also cuts down on my work at night because I don't have to spend 2 hours sifting through my inbox and responding to emails before dinner.

But then there's the weekend. I ride horses competitively. It's my escape and I love it. After a week of 14 or 15 hour days, I need that escape. And every Saturday I curse the existence of my Blackberry. It's one thing for a client to email me at 2:00 on a Tuesday about a pricing question. It's another for my boss to email me at 12:00 on a Saturday to harass me about things that can't be done until Monday anyway. At these moments, I realize that all I really did when I got my Blackberry was stuff my boss in my purse and take him home with me. He can access me at dinner, the gym, the club, and the barn... AND WHEN I'M SLEEPING. The only consolation prize I have is that our sleeping hours seem to coincide during the week. It's the weekend when I want to throw it out the window and watch as it's crushed by an oncoming vehicle.

I probably went the long way around making my point here. But in the end I don't think it's my Blackberry that's the problem. It's the work ethic of my boss. I don't mind answering emails during the week and I don't mind putting in 15 hour days DURING THE WEEK. But when my work week is done I want to see my family, my friends, and my horses. I want to go out without having to groan about another email. I think the simple fact is this - Corporate Executives are (generally speaking) divorced men who have allowed their careers to destroy everything else in their lives. Frankly, they force their misery on the rest of us - who (shock of all shocks) don't actually plan on getting divorced and taking over Corporate America at the expense of our families.