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« The discovery of the digital tardiness (and my new nom-de-plume, Jennifer Smoke) | Main | Digital divides: Going offline in South Korea and online in Nigeria »


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The same young people who bring digital devices to work also bring them to class, so I know what you're talking about! Some students can't focus on writing assignments and stare at blank Word documents, while toggling constantly to e-mail accounts in Web browsers and checking messages on cellphones. It's not just an erosion of work ethics but of the boundary between "home" and "work" mindsets. If you're used to conducting the same activities in both places via technology, it's hard to distinguish between the two modes. I know some people with great work ethics who might spend a lot of "work" time in "home" mode -- but also spend a lot of "home" time in "work" mode, so that they're actually putting in the same effort, just not respecting those boundaries. As a manager, it's no doubt harder to supervise and evaluate their performance in these conditions, and probably going to get harder!

Glenda York

I found this conversation very interesting, and in theory very much embrace the slow media movement. I do want to add one other aspect to the conversation. This blurring of boundaries between work and personal that digital devices have enabled leads to another problem that I'd like to mention...and that is the erosion of the work ethic by a lot of young people. These are the same people that bring their iphones and cell phones to work with them and play on them during the day when they should be doing the work they are getting paid for. They talk with family and friends, send emails, in short, they act like they are at home instead of a paid member of the work force. This is extremely aggravating to us aging baby boomers who do indeed remember giving it a good day's work and truly earning every penny you are paid. And instead of addressing the problem, management seems to be turning their heads and ignorning it, or giving seminars to the rest of us on how to deal with "difficult" employees!

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