We're Always Connected. And It's Making Us a Little Mad.

by Aman Singh Das | August 13, 2010

  • My Vault

JetBlue. Steven Slater. Anger management. How toquit a job in style. How not to quit your job.

These are just some of this week's top searchesacross media outlets. Everyone loves Slater. Clearly his story not only hit achord with America's workforce, it also touched a nerve. In an economy thatrefuses to show clear and identifiable signs of recovery, America's employeesare tired, unmotivated and many are holding on to their jobs just to keep theirmortgages and health care in balance. A recent Vault poll showed a vast majority of workers expressing a desire to changepositions as the economy recovers—as many as 90 percent.

So what does our love for this (former?) flightattendant show for us as a nation of informed professionals? Peggy Noonan, a political columnist for ,pegs it as a shift from an industrial culture to a service-based economy.

"Once we were a great industrialnation. Now we are a service economy. Which means we are forced to interactwith each other, every day, in person and by phone and email. And it's makingus all a little mad."

No one can deny that working in the information agerequires a very different set of skills, etiquette, communication capabilitiesand tech savvy. Technology has enabled us to participate in a global economy. Butit has also pushed us all that much closer. Take a personal example, forinstance: The team I sit across from—and interact with 8 to 10 hours a day—is alsoconnected with me on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, all of which I can accesson my iPhone. So essentially, we're never away from each other. Feeling claustrophobic?Perhaps not, because the 21st century employee is socially advanced,crowd sources her solutions, and relies on instant news delivery—social and business.

Now rewind a few decades back when America was anindustrial nation. Employees had structured days and except for the oft beerafter work, evenings were for the family. Our days and schedules were clearly dividedbetween personal and professional. We knew where to draw the line.

Today, we don't. What's professional is personaland vice versa. And the younger the company, the truer this is. As Noonan goeson to say:

"In the past 30 years, to the morepersonal economy of service, we were witnessing and took part in a revolutionin manners. We tore them down as too fancy, or sexist, or ageist, or revealingof class biases. Just when we needed more than ever the formality and agreed-uponrules of manners to act as guard rails, we threw them aside. And now no oneknows how to act anymore."
"The result is that everyone isgetting on everyone's nerves. We're all snapping the bins shut on each other'sheads. Everyone wants to tell the boss to take this job and shove it. Everyonewants to take a good, hard, last look at the customer and take the chute."

Funny thing is, you're probably reading this viaTwitter and just finished your "follow Friday" shout-outs.

What's your take on it? Is Noonan on the mark? Leavea comment, email In Good Companyor connect with me on Twitter @VaultCSR.

Filed Under: CSR

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