Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Since When Did We All Become Doctors?

When I took the SAT in high school, we were asked what career we planned to pursue. I said I wanted to be a doctor. Now, after over thirty years in international affairs and information technology, I am becoming more like a doctor after all. No, I'm not healing anyone and my medical knowledge is not immense. I'm just becoming more like a doctor in the way that nearly everyone I work with is behaving like a traditional doctor. First, we all have today's equivalent of a pager -- the smartphone. Can you resist the urge to check on important new text messages or emails during an elevator ride? At a stoplight? Has the urgency of all tasks increased in proportion to the speed of communications? It's no longer sufficient to make phone calls; now I have to make an appointment to make a phone call via email. I have close business associates who will send me appointments for calls rather than call me. We then go back and forth on the appointment to nail down a convenient time, sometimes when we are both available to have had the call instead of shuffle our calendars. This false urgency is taking a toll on us. We are distracted, scattered, and shallower than back in the good old days. I think the quality of our work and our lives is suffering. I would like to research this more, but several new emails arrived, and I have a con call scheduled in 16 minutes, so I will have to revisit this topic later...

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