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Dumb Phones

My company has a very strict policy regarding cell phone usage.  During my orientation, we were all warned that using our phones during training can and will result in immediate termination.  Once out of training, every employee must follow very strict rules regarding cell phone usage.  Other than the designated break rooms, the cafeteria, and outside of the building, cell phone use is prohibited.  You can’t text while getting coffee or using the microwave; you have to get your food and/or drink and go to a designated break room before pulling out your phone.  You can’t throw a post on Facebook while walking through the hallways; any spot but the designated spots are strictly off limits.  Because of this, my phone is shut down before I leave for work and doesn’t get turned back on until I’m in my car and ready to drive home.

The cell phone policy is an easy one, thanks to the countless signs posted around the office.  We have them above the microwaves and coffee machines, on the bathroom door and on every stall, and in other rooms where people could try to go for privacy.  Supervisors give strict instructions that the phones are not to be seen or heard unless in one of the specific zones.  You would think it’s an easy policy to follow, but I’ve already seen more than one person lose their job because they’d rather text than pay attention and take notes during training.  To be honest, part of me wants to be sympathetic, as I had 4 hours of training and was frustrated and bored; they have two weeks.  But the bigger part of me wants to slap them upside the head for being so stupid.  Can’t you survive for two hours at a time without a phone?  Can’t it wait until you go on break?

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People get desperate though without that little device always available to use at their leisure.  As a result, the bathroom is a major hotspot for cell phone use during regular breaks or “emergency” restroom breaks.  Call me crazy, but I never find myself in a situation that requires me to be on the john and on the phone at the same time.  One or the other can wait.  As far as hiding places go, a bathroom stall is a last resort in my book; I don’t want to have a conversation in a place where people do their business.  But here?  People literally multitask, talking in between… well, you get the gist of it.  It’s absolutely disgusting.

The amount of dependence we have on these little electronic devices is staggeringly high.  When people are at the point to where they would rather go hide out in a cobweb infested abandoned part of campus than just wait until their break to text a friend, it’s a problem.  When people are willing to risk their jobs because they absolutely cannot live without Twitter, it’s a problem.  This job forced me to go from having my phone always within reach to having it 100% out of sight and out of mind, and it drove me nuts for about a week until I realized how much better off I was without it.  I let my email pile up, I get behind on tweets, and I’m cool with it.

Being without a phone, and seeing how people around me refuse to go without, has made me realize how much I was missing by having my eyes glued to that tiny screen so often.  What is the point in walking around like a zombie all the time?  Is it really THAT important to see who said what on Facebook?  Do we really have to document every moment with a selfie or some overly filtered fancy Instagram shot?  And please, someone explain to me, what can be so important to make bathroom time become a group activity so you can have a conversation with your mom?  Just chill.  Unplug.  I’m always glad to turn my phone back on when I leave the office for the day, but I’m equally as glad to turn the damn thing off and not deal with it for the eight and a half hours I’m supposed to be working.  It didn’t kill me, and it sure as hell won’t kill you.

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About Jamie C. Baker

“Long time no see. I only pray the caliber of your questions has improved.” - Kevin Smith

Posted on September 30, 2014, in Crazy People, Work and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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