To text or not to text….

One of the constant arguments/conversations we have here at work is the use of cell phones on the job.  One of the guys who works here, he’s the director of admissions and trust me that sounds more impressive then what it is as we are a small CDL school.  He’s an older guy, probably mid sixties, and is a die-hard Republican upper class white man.  He wants to get rid of all welfare, all lower class citizens are that way because they chose to be, blah blah blah.  Well he believes that a mans job is to work 7 days a week 20 hours a day if he has to too provide a good home for his wife and kids (this is a totally different conversation), anyways he is always telling me that if I worked for him I’d be fired because I’m on my phone.  Now in my defense I listen to my music on my phone and 90% of the time he see’s me messing with my phone it’s because I’m either changing songs or making it work again because it always stops playing for some reason.  He will go on and on how I’m the best person they’ve ever had for this position, I’m great at my job and I def get my job done, but in the next breath he’ll say “I’d fire ya though because your on your cell phone”.



We started discussing this again yesterday and I asked him “What’s the problem?  I mean if I get my job done (which you’ve said I do a fantastic job) then why is it such a problem if I get on my phone during work hours?”  His simple answer was “It shows you have a poor work ethic”.  Which if I’m so great at my job and get my job done I don’t see how that is, but that is his very disconnected snobbish way of thinking, something I tell him he is all the time.  I told him that at my age I’m old enough to remember a time with no computers, no cell phones, and no technology greater then the VCR and Walkmans.  I am also young enough to have seen all the great inventions come forward, like the cell phone, the Ipads and all those other great conveniences that are suppose to make our lives easier but tend to make it worse. 


I explained to this guy that the younger generation today does not know of a life without a cell phone, a personal computer ect.  That they are raised with this and have learned to carry on entire friendships without ever actually meeting the other person and that business is going to have to accept the fact that people are not going to stop using their cell phones at work.  He argued with me that the CEO’s of companies have not now and will not ever tolerate this behavior in the work place and that people will continue to be fired for it.  He went on to say that there are more then enough jobs available in America right now, but the lazy people here that are on their phones all the time and only want to work 8 hours a day 5 days a week will never be able to get these jobs, therefore choosing to stay poor. 


So my questions to you, my fellow bloggers is… Do you think it’s acceptable for someone to use their phone during working hours ESPECIALLY if they are getting their job done and do it well?  Do you think business will ever accept it, or do you think it will continue to be a reason to discharge employees?



9 thoughts on “To text or not to text….

  1. Interesting. I want to disagree with him on principle, just because from your description I’m sure we’d disagree about everything anyway. But the question is: can I disagree with him in practice, as well?

    On the one hand, I do think people need to not rely so heavily on their phones as they do. There’s a time and a place for everything, and if you’re in a work situation where you should not be taking personal phone calls, then don’t take personal phone calls. Or texts. Or start a chat on Facebook. From what I understand, there IS a real concern in the larger workforce about work ethic, and I’ve heard HR people complain (with my own ears, not through hearsay) that they have a tough time staffing their businesses because a lot of the workforce is too distracted by their personal business to perform. So that is a real problem.

    But it’s not your problem.

    If you’re getting your work done in a timely fashion, conscientiously and without an unreasonable amount of mistakes, then clearly, your work ethic is fine. If you’re not rude to customers and don’t ignore them because you’re in a text war with your boyfriend, and (even better) if you’re mainly using it for music and aren’t really taking work time to complete personal business, then his anti-phone issues are his problem. You’re right; people ARE going to make use of their phones now, all the time (until the next big technology comes along, and then our poor phones will seem charming and rustic) and it’s something to which he’s going to have to adapt. He just doesn’t like them, and he sees them as a symbol of the nebulous concept of “what’s wrong with the world today”. Which then gives him ammo against you, in his mind.

    A business has every right to make it a rule to not be on your phone during working hours, and I don’t know…they can be pretty distracting, maybe it’s not a bad idea. I started my Twitter account because I was bored at work. But companies who understand the pervasive nature of technology also figure out ways to incorporate it. I know of companies who give their management Blackberries so they can text each other during the day and oddly, those employees, when they’re not in work? Don’t want to look at their phones, they just want downtime. I think it’s ultimately unrealistic to think that, going forward, you can ever have a cell-free workplace again. If this guy isn’t your boss (and I’m assuming he’s not, since he hasn’t “fired ya” by now), just let him spout off whenever he wants to and do your work and don’t sweat it.

    • In this man’s case I have to ask, why does he insist on telling me he’d fire me if he could because I’m on my phone BUT.. he will literally spend hours in my office talking to me everyday? He is keeping me from doing my job more then my phone. And yeah, my husband has a blackberry for work and has for years and he hates them.

  2. A} Your coworker is an Ass as are most conservative republicans. You can bet that if he were the boss employee turnover would be extremely high and he would be despised at all who work for him.

    B} Cell Phones are a distraction and better left alone. Think of how long it would take at the grocery store if the cashier were busy juggling her cell phone and her customers purchases at the same time.

    • I’ve had cashiers and waitresses who are on the phone and it is annoying. But my question is, with technology is the way it is and how predominant it is everyone’s daily life, do you think business is going to have to accept it or still fire people for using it..

  3. I have said this before baby, he is an ass. Now not because he is a conservative republican, because so am I, but plainly and simply because he is disconnected and an ass. Now as a manager myself I don’t have any major issue with them. Of course where I currently work they are not allowed due to security but in the past that is different. Now with that said if the person is a good worker, always has their work done, and the customer always comes first and they are never made to wait for them to finish what they are doing on their cell but instead they finish what they are doing on their cell AFTER they help the customer then there is no issue. But if work is suffering, the cell is a distraction and customers have to wait on them and complain then yes we have a problem and if it persist, actions will have to be taken to deter them from continuing. I have had a very high success rate with my employees and never had any problems with them.

  4. RE: But my question is, with technology is the way it is and how predominant it is everyone’s daily life, do you think business is going to have to accept it or still fire people for using it..

    As far as banning cell phones goes yes employers will most likely give in and allow their employees to carry their cell phones with them. But when it comes to playing on a phone during work most employers will fire their employees who allow their phones to become a distraction.

    Sounds to me that your coworker thinks that he’s not bound by the rules since he is in management. Maybe the reason he needs to work so many hours is because he wastes so much time talking. On the other hand since he works all of the time most likely he doesn’t have any friends or hobbies and expects you to provide an ear for his troubles.

    I love the voice mail on my phone because it allows my wife to call and leave me a message on the other hand I’ve instructed her that if its an emergency she needs to call me on the company phone.

    • Ya know, I do not think he even realizes how much time he spends talking in a day. I asked him the other day after I posted this what was the difference between me texting at my desk and him sitting in my office talking for an hour or more at a time several times a day. His reply “The difference is I am work related, that is not”… I could have pressed it with him stating that talking about how white women shouldn’t date black men, how our president is ruining the country, how democrats are horrible people, how the rich should get richer and the poor should be sterilized or how there really is no God (all his stand points btw) but with him, it wouldn’t make a difference. He feels that he works with me therefore anything he decides to discuss is work related and the cell phone isn’t. I think it’s because he doesn’t know how to do things like text.

  5. I have mixed feelings on this topic. As someone who once worked in wireless, cell phones were not just a convenience, they were a necessity. Older people who complained normally were intimidated by the product an unable to use them and/or unwilling to learn. Having said that, I have worked in other fields that had no issue with a person having a small radio/stereo to listen to music while working…as long as the work got done. In fact, music often promotes productivity.

    My issue comes into play when people who customer face get wrapped up in their electronics or choose to respond to a text or call without excusing themselves from the customer in front of them or at least asking the customer for permission.

    If you are still able to be productive in your job, you are definitely not exhibiting poor work ethics.

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