Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Busted!...with a Cellphone

Missed talking with you yesterday; was on the road.

I was in Charlotte presented seminars. The program attendees were interns and new hires for a large financial services company. The program title was, "Making the Transition from College to Work." The point of the program was not to say, "it's time to grow up." It was all about improving work skills so the attendees could be more successful in the workplace; time and people management, how to deal with stress, how to ask better questions...that sort of thing.

About three minutes into the second program a young man sitting about 8 feet from me--right in front of me!--pulled out his cell phone and started checking emails. I stopped the program and called him out about it. I wasn't loud or forceful, but I explained that his generation had grown up with technology tools and that they saw nothing wrong with what he was doing, it was just a part of their...his...lives.

But, I warned them that as long as people my age are running the businesses that hire them they needed to understand that what the young man had done was rude...damn rude. We...Baby Boomers...don't like the fact that technology has put us all on a 24/7 hook.

He took the situation well and I didn't see a cellphone out the rest of the program. I'd love to have been a fly on the wall and heard the conversations about the situation later in the day and last night.

I love the fact that my Palm allows me to check emails and stay in touch with people in my world. But, I try to be careful about how I use it.

There is compelling research that shows that the email alarm on our computers costs U.S. businesses $6 billion in productivity a year. The alarm goes off signaling that "you've got mail" and we stop what we are doing to answer it.

Use technology, don't let it use you.

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