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.