For many years, at my company, employees were able to surf the internet at will. I was able to check my personal email online, listen to my favorite streaming sports talk show or, God forbid, check the lottery numbers from the night before. But, after being acquired by a large conglomerate, a few changes were initiated in my working and internet world. A strict internet policy was enforced. Social media sites like Twitter and Facebook were prohibited. Quickly viewing my personal internet email was also forbidden. And my precious streaming radio was heartlessly taken away. My internet world at work was now a privilege of the past.
I know most large companies have an internet usage policy. They don’t want their employees to be lured from their tasks at hand into a den of iniquity such as Grudge, CNN, Twitter, Facebook, or any such blog you could reel off. I know it is probably for my own good but I still don’t like it. So how have I felt the effects?
I used to love being able to listen to my favorite sports talk show online without any static whatsoever. This was the hardest for me because I would listen to my sports talk all day long. I would get to know the personalities as well as the regular callers. My solution was to get a transistor radio and find a local sports talk show that is on FM. The AM station that I listened to online has no reception within my cubicle. So I had to settle for second best. It may not seem like a lot to you but they took something pleasurable away from my day. It made my working life less enjoyable. But, I understand, it was for the common good.
I have a Twitter account. A lot of people don’t really understand the value of Twitter. The lay person thinks that it simply is a way for a fan to see what Lebron James had for breakfast or to tell your followers what store you’re in at the mall. No, Twitter is a way for people to exchange ideas. To link to interesting articles or blog posts that may be of interest to your world. It is also used to exchange ideas at conferences you may attend. A way, if you will, to extend the discussion over the Twitter waves. If used properly, it is quite remarkable. But, I’m now cut off; at least in my working world. Of course, I could buy an iPhone or a Droid, and pay for the service. But those items are not currently in my budget. My daughter’s college loans and the grocery and utility bills tend to take precedence for some reason. So, what once was a break from my working world that I used to enjoy at lunchtime is gone. But I understand, it really must be for my own good.
Years ago at my work we were told to use our personal email for any personal correspondence. Now, I cannot access my personal email from my office computer due to the internet policy at work. What used to take me roughly 30 seconds to check my personal email, now takes a number of minutes using my cell phone, which is just a basic phone with rudimentary internet access. So I sit at my desk or in the men’s room, with phone in hand, waiting for it to sign into my personal email account and bring up my email. Wait, wait, and wait some more. Finally, I can see my email which mostly contains links that I cannot access on my crappy phone. So, for any personal email that is important, I end up manually forwarding it to my work email account. Then I open up the email from my work email account and click on the link, which, more often than not, is blocked! So, as a result of the internet lockdown, I now spend a whole lot more time accessing my personal email. At least I’m now doing it in the name of progress. I know it must be for my own good.
I am a lover of blogs. I have my own and I write for others. It is a refreshing break for me to be able to visit a blog that I enjoy. I’ve met a lot of people from reading their blogs and commenting on them. It is a community of people with common interests; the main one being the love of writing. Now I am blocked from reading most of my favorite blogs. I don’t get that break that I used to get from my technical work during my lunch hour. It was something that I really looked forward to. It was a much-needed respite in the middle of the day. But, I must be better off without it.
As I mentioned earlier, I know that I simply could go out and spend some big bucks on a fancy iPhone, iTouch, Droid, iPad, or laptop, and pay the connection fees. But I simply can’t afford it. So, I’ll simply turn back the clock and listen to my transistor radio, take a walk in the fresh air, or read a hard-cover book in lieu of an ebook. When you get used to accessing technology, it’s hard to go without it.
So maybe I am better off without technology during those 60 minutes of free time that we call lunch. Maybe turning back the clock isn’t so bad for me. Maybe the powers-that-be just might know what they are doing. Maybe they really know what is for my own good.
What do you think?
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