3am Rant

I am officially old. This post is first and foremost a pity party as well as a trip down nostalgia lane, harkening back to a more innocent era – the early 1980s before our lives were ruined first by the fax machine, then by the cellphone, and finally by the Internet (and yes I do see the irony as I “type” this on my iPhone at 3am from my bed).

Back in the early 80s people worked hard and long hours but they weren’t wholly owned and operated by their boss. There was no expectation that anything would happen overnight after everyone had left the office. Any message left on the answering machine (gasp) would be retrieved in the morning and dealt with. Maybe the boss dictated a new tape overnight but even that would have to wait for attention until he delivered it first thing in the morning.

Now we eat, sleep, and breathe via our personal hand held device and as such there is NO escaping the bossman. He knows he can reach us at any time, and over the last 30 years personal time, family time, has eroded into nonexistence, as bossman has come to expect instant gratification of whatever request he makes.

The current economic situation has only made this worse as bossman now knows we live in mortal fear of losing the hand that feeds us, so he feels more freedom in increasing his wildly unrealistic demands. There are, afterall, plenty of people waiting in the wings to take your place should you ever try to assert your right to eat or sleep away from the office.

And with this rant, I officially join the ranks of the angry, old, curmudgeon, longing for a simpler time when a family could eat dinner together and help the kids with their homework before bed, and bossman actually saw merit in that.

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5 thoughts on “3am Rant

  1. Common Loon December 17, 2010 / 9:11 am

    Eileen, I agree. And it only gets worse. I have an easy 45 minute rant on this same subject. Got time to compare notes this weekend?

  2. Sarah December 17, 2010 / 10:40 am

    Sounds like someone’s husband got a late-night call from the office, methinks. Or was working super-late, perhaps?

    There are career paths (mine, for example) that don’t require a 24/7 tether to the job. They may be less lucrative, but it’s worth it for the work-life balance, IMO.

  3. Kittie Flyn December 17, 2010 / 3:42 pm

    Great post!

    You put into words EXACTLY what I’ve thought over and over. The constant 24/7 access to work means that even if you aren’t in the business of saving lives you’re expected to respond no matter what day or time. I constantly hear managers complain that I didn’t respond to the email they sent me at 2AM.

    I won’t even get on my soapbox of employer/employee loyalty. So many of your thoughts hit the nail on the head – especially about knowing if we don’t do the job someone else will. And your final paragraph…priceless.

    If you’re an old curmudgeon then I am too…and I’m only 33.

  4. Mom December 17, 2010 / 6:53 pm

    @ one & all — part of my rationale for retiring. I’d always loved my job, but all of the “conveniences” & changes just became too much. Devices, “upgrades”, etc that were supposed to make our work-life easier in most instances just made it more complicated & longer & tedious & faster &&&. Some days, the “wall phone” (ah, what’s that ??) & cursive/phonetic handwritten notes taped (no post-it notes) to the fridge seems pretty darned good! Hmmmm, progress! Maybe yes, maybe no! Keep remembering & keep TRYING to slow it down.

  5. Joanne December 19, 2010 / 2:30 am

    Worked with classified material. Then there are no calls home, or taking it home. Hee hee.

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