My Real Life

October 14, 2015

On Call

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am

Real Man and I went to the movies, the other day.

While we were there, right before the previews, I realized I had to run to the ladies room.

While I was in there, I happened to overhear the woman in the stall next to me conducting a business meeting.

In the bathroom.

Sitting down.

We both emerged from our stalls at the same time, and as I washed my hands, she finished her call.

She hung up, moved forward to the sink, looked at me and shrugged her shoulders and held up her phone.

“Always on call, these days. Right?”

I smiled and nodded, and felt the weight of my own phone, in my back pocket, but I couldn’t help but wonder…

Does the amazing technology we have, today, mean that we can never, truly leave work?


One of the things I tell my students, and their parents, is to email me their questions any time.

I always have my phone on me, and I’ll get back to them very soon.

I do this, because if they are working on something at home, and they encounter an issue, I want to help them get it resolved, and answer their question, rather than have them stop the work and not have it done.

I don’t have it with me during dinner.

I don’t bring it with me when I’m playing outside with the kids.

It’s not out when we are doing something as a family.

However, I check it soon thereafter, and do respond as soon as I get the questions.

In some ways, it feels no different than how I often spend the weekend grading papers.

In other ways, it’s invasive.

But, for me, it’s a choice.

I don’t have to respond after hours or on the weekend.

I want to.

But, for so many people, that phone…

It’s not a lifeline.

It’s a tether.

A leash.

A way for a boss to assign just one more case for you to work on and have ready for Monday morning.

A way to make sure that even when you are home, your mind is on work and the things that you have to complete.

My neck feels tense just thinking about it.

I mentioned in a previous blog post that I’ve been rewatching Sex in the City.

In the show, Miranda is a lawyer.

In the later seasons of the show, she is very conflicted about the amount of time that she spends at the office, and then the amount of work she has to bring home.

Every time I see her struggle, I think, “Thank goodness she didn’t live in the time of smart phones!”

You know, because she’s a real person.

I think about all the people that I see, nose in phone, everywhere I go, and I know that all those people aren’t on Facebook or Instagram all the time.

A lot of them are working.

And then I wonder…what are the jobs that don’t require you to be in contact like that?

Do sanitation workers have to respond to emails about the new trucks that they are using to pick up the trash on Monday morning?

Does my mailman have to respond to a group email that he receives on a Saturday afternoon about a meeting that they are having before running their routes on Monday morning?

I don’t know.

What I do know is that the blending of work and home time isn’t a healthy piece of progress in society, and we need to be careful that we don’t wind up working all the time.

Leave a Comment »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Theme: Rubric. Get a free blog at

%d bloggers like this: