Commentary

The #1 reason why you SHOULDN'T buy an iPhone

  • by , February 17, 2011

...or any smart phone, for that matter.

Email is the #1 reason (the only reason) I dislike having a smart phone. Why, you ask? Because as long as people know I have an iPhone, they know I'm always within reach. It's as instant as texting. This is particularly true when it comes to work.

I work 20 hours a week in an office--4 hours a day. I'd say that my job comes with quite a bit of responsibility. I'd even say that it should probably be a full-time (but low-paying) job. In fact, I'm treated like a full-time employee. Not so much while I'm at work...but when I'm not there. I begin receiving work-related emails as early as 7am and they keep coming until 11pm or after.

These aren't just those annoying forwards from coworkers. These are "to-do's" from my supervisor. "Did you remember to do this?" "Please take care of this asap." Things like that. Why am I annoyed?

First of all, I'm an hourly employee. Growing up in a UAW family, I learned early in life that "work stays at work." Unlike some of my fellow grad students, I don't like blending my work and social lives. When I'm not at work, I. will. not. work. (And that's because I have papers to write, graduation exams to study for, projects, an internship, jobs to apply for [hire me], finding a place to live after graduation. Oh...and maintaining my health.)

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Secondly, my supervisor knows that I have an iPhone and that I'll see the email as soon as it's sent...which means I have to respond immediately. So I'm annoyed that it was sent...and again because I have to respond.

...So if you're a supervisor...

DO NOT EMAIL YOUR HOURLY EMPLOYEES WITH WORK WHEN THEY'RE NOT AT WORK.


*unless you shower them with appreciation, time off, meals, rubs on the tummy, pats on the head, both at the same time (if you're that good), etc.*

But on a more serious note, let me ask you:

Is it my supervisor's responsibility to not email me? Or is it my responsibility to cut ties with technology when I'm not at work?


I know industry professionals read this. I want your feedback. Do you email your employees after hours? How do you negotiate those boundaries?



6 comments about "The #1 reason why you SHOULDN'T buy an iPhone".
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  1. Morgan W. from Ball State University, February 18, 2011 at 3:12 p.m.

    This is an interesting post. Although I am a full-time student right now, and don't have an employer who is emailing me at all hours, I can definitely see where this would be a problem. I see this with professors and other students in my classes now, even though not everyone has a smart phone of some kind. The professors and other students will send emails within an hour of class beginning and expect that the email will be read and the instructions followed. This is not always possible. I don't sit by my computer waiting for an email, and sometimes I am not near a computer at all (like in another class.) My point is, many people do have smart phones now, but if the students who do not are given some slack when they don't see an email that was sent right before class, the student with a smart phone should not be reprimanded for not responding to an email even if they did receive the message immediately on their phone. This should also be the same in the workforce in my opinion. An employer can email you whenever they feel like it or have time, but if you are an hourly employee, you should have the freedom to respond when you are by the computer at work.

  2. Justin Ochoa from Ball State University, February 22, 2011 at 11:39 a.m.

    I took the "Sent from my iPhone" signature off my email settings... It might be too late for you to try that though...

  3. laura.r, February 24, 2011 at 7:02 p.m.

    I think a good rule of thumb is, if the employer expects you to respond within minutes of receiving the e-mail, then you should expect the employer to respond within minutes of receiving your e-mail. And I would honestly test that. My guess is your boss has a smart phone. I would start shooting questions left and right and see how long it takes for him or her to respond. Just a little experiment.

    Or you can do what I do. I do not have a smart phone (ironically I just wrote a blog post about my little nokia before reading this). But when I did have a job, having a cell phone was just as bad as having a smart phone. I would get calls from my bosses when I had a day off. Unlike in the days when they would call your house and see if you were home, today the expect you to answer (or call back) regardless. So I turn my phone off. Or leave it another room. I still do that today. On the weekends, my friends understand there's a 50/50 chance I'll get their call or text right away. I believe in downtime and time away from my computer, cell phone, etc.

    Your boss is not paying you to read and respond to these e-mails on the spot. So I would leave your cell phone and if he or she asks why you didn't respond, tell them you didn't have it with you. They can't punish you for not always being within reach. At least...I don't think...

  4. Casey Fitzsimmons from iProspect, February 28, 2011 at 11:35 a.m.

    Your supervisor should set expectations with you about expected response times. Hourly employees should not be expected to respond; salaried employees may be expected to do so depending on their level. Either way, clarify with your employer. You don't want to seem lazy or not committed, especially when you're in the market for a new job yourself!

  5. Georgia R from Cable, February 28, 2011 at 12:25 p.m.

    oh, you might want to touch base with your HR person. Some labor laws would clasify you as "on call" if you were expected to respond to a communication device when not 'at work'. You may be a full time employee and not know it. There are many labor rules about hourly employees and how they get paid and your boss does not seem to know what they are.

  6. Dan Romanchik from Web Publishing Group, February 28, 2011 at 12:44 p.m.

    What I'd say to do is to keep track of the time you spend replying to emails and then ask for compensation at your hourly rate. You are, after all working. Come up with an estimate first to give them an idea of how much extra you'll be asking for. If they really need for you to respond to the e-mails, then they'll come up with the cash.

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