Jul 30, 2011

Mobile Devices Bring Work into a Private Life

I used to be a workaholic.

At that time I was literally working for twenty-four hours a day. Of course I was working at the office, at my home and even in my dreams. My wife said that I was talking with someone in a business meeting in my sleep.

The day before a business trip I often worked at the office all night long. In the early morning I went to the airport. On my way to the airport I was working with my mobile PC in a train. I took a shower and shaved in a lounge at the airport, and ate a croissant and drank coffee while looking at the display of my mobile PC. I took an airplane and when the airplane started flying level, I opened my mobile PC as soon as possible. When I had time for a business meeting with my clients, I got into a coffee shop to work.

I was completely addicted to my work and I think that I was crazy now. But I couldn't find myself crazy in those days.

After I've suffered from depression, I decided to divide my private life from working time. I changed my mobile PC for work into a desktop PC and stopped bringing a mobile PC. I worked only at my desk in my office, never at home. My company prohibits employees from working on their private PC, so I actually can't work at home without a mobile PC.

My desktop PC got older and too slow to work, so I would change my PC for work. My boss told that you would need to check e-mails out of our company and you should get a mobile PC. I've changed my policy and got a new mobile PC.

On Friday evenings I always can't finish my tasks to be done in the week, so in the end I bring my new mobile PC and work at home in the weekend. I returned back to where I started. To tell the truth I've brought my mobile PC to work this weekend.

I heard from the manager of salesforce.com, which provides cloud services to companies, that he had a blackberry mobile phone, and always checked e-mails and his company's cloud website, and instructed his subordinates to do the same. Since the central office and Japanese branch of saleforce.com have time difference, I think that he can't take a rest all day long.

Mobile devices bring work into a private life. If we don't intentionally resist it, we would be caught in these big waves.


  1. I relate to some extent with what you have written. In particular, when I was doing the PhD I was so focused on the research work, that I never knew if it was weekend or not, sometimes I was not even sure what day of the week it was because I was so focused on that. It was rather pathetic sometimes, since I would be working in a coffee shop with a colleague of mine the whole day and part of the evening and sometimes the waitresses of that coffee shop would come to us on friday night and would tell us that we should go out and enjoy ourselves. Thinking about it, it was strange since I was doing part of the work abroad and not completely enjoying it as I should have. Then, I did the same thing when I was in my first year of the postdoc, but doing the postdoc in a really different country (socially, culturally, etc), it started to sound to me really strange that I kept on focusing on my work, when there was so much more to see. After some thinking I decided to take some steps, one of them is not to see my e-mail during the weekends, and during the vacations I do not even bring my mobile phone with me. I prefer to be away for the world when I am on vacations, otherwise they are not really vacations...

  2. Thank you for your comment. I really feel relieved when I go on a trip to a foreign country where I can't speak the language of that country. My wife said that she felt anxious in such a country and she couldn't understand why I felt relieved. I guess that I tired of communication and sometime I need to escape from it.