One of the unfortunate byproducts of our continually accelerating internet and information age – especially now that we have a dizzying array of devices to connect and be always-on – is how challenging it is to take time away in the classroom for something we all take for granted: contemplation.
Harvard Business Review (HBR) published this article about a Boston Consulting Group (BCG) survey in 2008 that showed, ”people in professional services (consultants, investment bankers, accountants, lawyers, IT, and the like) simply expected to make work their top priority. They believe an “always on” ethic is essential if they and their firms are to succeed in the global marketplace.”
I feel their pain since I’m absolutely “always on” and “always connected,” often feeling guilty if I'm not working or putzing around on some project. You probably are doing this too since it’s likely you’re at home in the evening, or on weekends, grading papers, preparing presentations, reading journals, checking email, and performing other tasks that are probably easier to accomplish when other workday distractions are at a minimum.
BCG also discovered in that study that, ”94% of 1,000 such professionals said they put in 50 or more hours a week, with nearly half that group turning in more than 65 hours a week. That doesn’t include the 20 to 25 hours a week most of them spend monitoring their BlackBerrys while outside the office. These individuals further say they almost always respond within an hour of receiving a message from a colleague or a client.”
Whoa. That means that these consultants are, practically speaking, always working. The problem with that sort of response time too is an growing expectation that people will be paying attention to their turned on and connected devices, able to receive a notification of a message, and are willing and eager to get back to us and BCG’s consultants were suffering from significant (and increasing) stress related to being seemingly “on call” constantly.
Is this the sort of future workplace behaviors we want for our students?