A Random Cultural Indicator

I’m not sure if this says more about professional life or family life, but the ABA Journal‘s headline is certainly arresting:

35% of Professionals Would Choose BlackBerry Over Spouse

I went to the Chicago Sun-Times for the original report, and found that the ABA Journal‘s crisp summary is, sadly, absolutely correct.  In addition,

A surprising 87 percent take their personal digital assistants into their bedrooms, and 84 percent check them just before going to bed and as soon as they wake up, according to a work-life survey from Sheraton Hotels & Resorts. Another 85 percent say they look at their PDAs in the middle of the night.

Dr. Sam R. Hamburg, a psychologist and marital therapist, said he has a client who can’t get his wife’s attention because she’s always looking at her BlackBerry. Hamburg said this is just a new spin on the old problem of spouses not paying enough attention to each other.

“When Ralph Kramden or Archie Bunker was sitting in the chair behind his newspaper, it was the same thing, just lower tech,” said Hamburg. “People have to actually make a point of turning off the TV, turning off the radio, and sitting opposite each other at the kitchen table and taking the time to talk. There’s no substitute for doing that.”

Obviously, the ability to carry one’s office around in a purse or coat pocket was bound to create greater expectations of availability among bosses and clients.  But one California marriage counselor suggested to the Sun-Times that it was family life that was becoming too hectic:

Also, some people find the workplace can be a more comfortable, less conflict-filled place to be than at home, Sutherland said.

“I think people are finding work more as a kind of a break from the challenges of being in a marriage, of being a parent,” Sutherland said.

I don’t have a pithy comment to tie all this up.  I’m just hoping that giving this item more play may someday help archaeologists explain what really happened to us.

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One Response to “A Random Cultural Indicator”

  1. Timothy Peach Says:

    Apocalyptic evangelists are having a big week, Granulous.

    We came literally within hours of a complete, unfixable collapse of the modern financial system this week. We’re talking mass panic, runs on banks, looting, shootouts in the street, brokers diving out windows, Ghostbuster stuff.

    Now we have people telling me that I’m a racist if I don’t vote for Obama, forcing me to lie to exit pollsters, I have Charlie Rangel telling me that Sarah Palin is “disabled”, Sarah Bernhardt the ugly comedian says that Sarah Palin would be gang-banged if she set foot in Manhattan, John McCain wants to fire the head of the SEC in the middle of a market panic, the Yankees are virtually out of the playoffs for the first time since the Magna Carta, and on top of that, you’re telling me that 3 and a half people out of ten would pick their blackberries over their spouses at gunpoint.

    I have three kids under the age of 6. I understand the merits of finding a reason not to be home. But come on. What is happening to us? Is this the hideous endgame of of the human experiment? Should we expect plagues of locusts, the Hudson River to run red with blood, and the sun to go black as sackcloth at noon? Will we soon be surrounded by towers of cubic garbage created by our endless purchases at Buy ‘N’ Large?

    Or is the good Lord just telling us — you, me and two or three other unnamed people — that nature simply will not tolerate this much time between W.O.A.L.D.s?


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