Personal Phone/Work Phone

I have never been issued a work phone. As I have mentioned before, I am not really a phone person, but I have also never had the kind of job for which I would be a “work phone.” It seems excessive to me somehow. There are many contexts where it is perfectly appropriate (international travel, a million reasons).

But I am also consistently amazing by how many people now use their personal cell phones to conduct business: texting to make sure people are coming to meetings, sending and checking email during meetings, calling in from off site. For independent workers, this makes sense, as the delineation between the personal the professional is less clear. But for employees of institutions, it strikes me as a violation of the personal/professional line.

How can you stay in touch when you travel a lot, spend more time in meetings than at your desk, go on site visits, organize work event off site, produce performances? And more importantly, is it appropriate for an employer to expect an employee to use a personal cell phone to conduct business? Should your boss and all your colleagues have your personal number?

As we as a society evolve technologically, this issue will go the way of the Dodo. Everyone will use their personal phone all the time, and I will be forced to stop whining about it. As texting becomes more popular, and the expectation around the possibility for communications become more universalized and streamlined, there will probably be very few office phones. As this next generation of workers matures, perhaps there will be a backlash against the expectation of constant availability.

Maybe I am conflating two issues, the work-cellphone and the being available 24/7 are different. Perhaps the former is the instrument, and the latter is the behavioral problem that I object to.


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