Notes from a Recovering Crackberry Addict

I was out to lunch the other day with some friends I hadn’t seen in a long time.  I was really looking forward to catching up and seeing them.  However, by the time the check came, I was half irritated with them both and ready to leave.  Why?  Because the entire lunch was spent with them half listening and checking their Crackberry’s every 2 minutes.   

In the spirit of full disclosure, I must first admit that I WAS one of those people about a year ago.  My Blackberry was strapped to my side 24/7.  It was the last thing I looked at before I went to sleep and the first thing I looked at when I woke up in the morning.  Every time it vibrated to let me know an email came in, I stopped what I was doing to check it out.  I just couldn’t help myself.  I was addicted.  Surely every email that came through (and there was well over 100 a day), needed my immediate attention or something awful was going to happen.  I just knew it. 

When I changed jobs last year, my Blackberry was left behind.  I almost bought a new one but decided on a simple cell phone instead with no text messaging package included.  My last day at work, I handed over my Blackberry and immediately felt 20 pounds lighter.  I was free.   

However, later that night, I swear I began to get nervous and jumpy.  I was out with friends and they all had Blackberry’s they were diligently checking every few minutes and all I had was my little cell phone that only made and received calls.  I started to panic. What if someone had sent me an email?  What if they all knew something I didn’t?  How would I know what was going on?   Maybe I needed to go and trade in my cell phone for a Blackberry or Trio the next day. 

I decided to see if I could stay Crackberry free for 1 month.  If the world fell apart during that time because of an email I didn’t answer immediately, then, I would go back and get fully connected again. As the weeks went by, I slowly started to calm down.  I was shocked to find that the world (and my job) managed to do just fine without me getting emails immediately all day long.  If there truly was an emergency at work, my co-workers knew where to find me or they could actually pick up the phone and call me if needed.  The funny thing is, they never did.  My new cell phone remained quiet. 

So, I am now the worst thing possible…I am a reformed Blackberry user (kinda like a smoker that finally quit).  I get irritated when I see people madly scrolling with their thumb and typing furiously with both thumbs.  (I will say that whoever invented the Blackberry is clearly not a woman…you try typing on that with long nails…it takes some talent!)   I challenge all you Blackberry users out there to actually turn it off for a few hours one day and see what happens.  Or if you are having a nice meal out with friends or family, leave it in the car and really participate in the analog conversation (nothing digital for an entire meal!!).   I can almost guarantee that nothing catastrophic will happen. 

If you are an employer that hands out Blackberry’s to your staff, reconsider it.  What is wrong with the old fashioned pager?  I used to carry one of those years ago for work emergencies.  And, I can honestly say, it only went off in emergencies.  People will think twice before paging you at 9pm at home but there is no reason not to send an email to someone at all hours of the day.  And, if you are like most Blackberry users, you will feel obliged to stop what you are doing and check that email no matter what time of day it is. 

Now, I realize that there are some of you out there that can carry a Blackberry and are not addicted to it.  You can actually use it in moderation.  Well, good for you.  I was not one those people (and neither are most of my friends that carry them).  So, I had to make a complete break and go cold turkey.  And, it was the best thing that ever happened to me.  My husband also agrees J 

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