Corporate control

One of my dislikes is our telling clients that we are always available 24/7.

Leaving aside that I am not (and so the claim is not strictly truthful), do my clients really want me to be available 24/7? When the job requires it, yes: but not all the time.

And how are we? The BlackBerry. I don’t have one (I gave it back) and I live in an area where there is no mobile coverage. But most of my colleagues do, and having one is very much seen as having ‘arrived’ (quite where is not clear) and even more when they are allowed to upgrade to the new model.  They clearly haven’t read The Big Switch by Nicholas Carr,

The Blackberry has become the most visible symbol of the expansion of corporate control over people’s lives. Connected wirelessly to corporate servers, the ubiquitous gadget forms an invisible tether tying employees to their jobs. . . Many people feel a genuine sense of empowerment when they use their BlackBerry or otherwise connect from afar to their corporate network. They welcome the technology because it “frees” them to work whenever and wherever they want, making them more productive and successful in their jobs. The price they pay, of course, is a loss of autonomy, as their employers gain greater control over their time, their activities and even their thoughts. “Even though I’m home,” another BlackBerry user told the Journal, “I’m not necessarily there.”

For more from Nicholas Carr, see his blog Rough Type. It doesn’t always make comfortable reading (his latest post is on Twitter ~ a corrective to the recent law blog posts such as Law tweeting proposition 2 in Binary Law).

. . . and yes, I occasionally tweet (but not that often).

One thought on “Corporate control

  1. George, Welcome to the blawgosphere.

    I agree these new-fangled conveniences can be anything but. Whether they tether you to the office I think depends on how in control of the business you are. As a master of of my own small domain I choose not to be in constant business contact via mobile, do not have a Blackberry and, though I usually have the facility, rarely work via email whilst on holiday. But I’m the boss. And you’re able to exercise a similar choice.

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