Tuesday, 30 August 2011

I'm out of the office

I remember the first time I sent an email. I was 14. My dad had brought a computer home from school, and my brother and I hauled the whole thing out into the hallway and plugged it into the phone-line.

I had mail.

My teenage years were spent patiently waiting for dial-up to load. My parents loved dial up less than their teenage children and spent their time (less than patiently) insisting that ‘someone is probably trying to get through on the phone.’

When I say insisting, I mean yelling.

These were the good old days; when MSN messenger was the height of sophistication, when Facebook’s founder was still playing with meccano and when no-one even knew they wanted internet on their mobile – for they had all they needed in snake.

Now of course, we are slaves to our email. Recall that time when, if you were on holiday – you were on holiday. You were not attached to a blackberry, recalling all your blunders at work and remembering that you forgot to email so-and-so before your left. You didn’t check your blackberry every 15 minutes, as if the world might collapse otherwise, when in reality your colleagues were probably delighted that you weren't there.

So yes, email has got my goat. The world still turned when we couldn’t check them 24 hours a day. Business deals still got made. Companies survived.

For goodness sakes, I’m think I’m getting arthritis in my thumb from smart phone scrolling.

I have been out of the office for 2 working days. I have 127 unanswered emails. Imagine how much work I could do if I didn’t have to answer all these e-mails. Even as I type I am watching for that friendly email icon bubble to pop up in the corner of my screen. Something incredibly important could arrive at any second. Invariably it won’t.

I honestly do not require viagra, ‘special’ offers, a lottery win from Nigeria or advice on ‘how much my injury claim might be worth’.

You do not ‘value’ my opinion, this email will probably not ‘make me laugh’ and I'm not sure I want to add you as one of my friends.

Email was once a breakthrough. Now we wonder how we ever lived without it. I have more to say on this subject, but I have to answer a facebook message from someone I almost know.


  1. LOL, you are a quality writer Ms Brown. It's so true... as a wise colleague said to me today, folks hide behind email!

  2. Brilliant and so true. The bit about dial-up brings back so many memories!

    I have to say though, when I'm on holiday, I'm on holiday - emails don't get checked and I don't go anywhere near the computer; that's precisely what I'm trying to get away from.

  3. Mark I don't miss dial up. I had a brief run in with a 'dongle' recently and it brought the page-load speed flooding back.