Virtual Etiquette – Do We Need Rules?

As a child of this new age of technology – Well, maybe not as much a child as my inner child is finally embracing it – I have noticed the growing trend of PDA’s. Blackberry’s, I-Phones, phones that just link to the internet, Motorola’s – The list goes on. People are texting if they are driving or in a movie. They are sending emails at dinner or even while on the phone with you. I used to be a junkie. I could be on the phone in my office, working on a project, texting co-worker while “IM-ing” the corporate office across the country and be having a blackberry messenger conversation with the CEO. All this while helping his girlfriend to Google best places to get a massage. For reals.

In all of this new tech we have. one thing I did notice was that sometimes a messenger text, or an IM can come across…Well, not so nice. I would always re-read what I wrote a time or two to make sure it could not be taken the wrong way. I was not so fortunate to have people do the same with me. I would get nasty messengers on my Blackberry from the CEO or CSO when they were upset at 4 AM because of a flight gone wrong as they left town. Being the awesome Assistant, I always had my phone plugged in and next to my bed. (Plus it was my alarm clock.) I also had a Sunday or two interrupted at 10 AM by a certain girlfriend because she needs answers for her home/personal calendar (Line crossing is another story altogether. I was an Assistant, I have lots of good ones!).

In today’s corporate multi-tasking world, I really feel that there should be rules and regulations laid down in the workplace for how often and when someone should be able to communicate with you. People think that they can let off steam or that having you so easy accessible – damn PDA’s! – that it is all right to shoot an email off the cuff when pissed at a situation that you cannot handle off hours, or to text you if they think you have done something wrong, or to use the blackberry messenger (in my case) as a venting tool to cause hyper-ventilation and fear of job loss. One of my favorite’s was a dinner reservation gone wrong – I guess as an Assistant that at 10 PM at night I should hop on my magic broomstick and fly into Hollywood to make room for the extra guests you decided to bring? Making a note and will add to my to do list to be emailed to me in the morning, sir.

I did lose that job – Thankfully! I also broke my “Crackberry” addiction and am planning on getting another PDA in the future, but ONLY when I am good and ready for it! It will be for fun and minute communication. The only notes that will be typed, sent and received in my tech world will be positive. The rest can suck it.


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