I have always viewed snowstorms, likethe one we had yesterday in Boston, as a gift to be spent hunkered down with family and/or friends. They offer an opportunity to take a break from the daily grind, to reconnect with oneself or your children or your spouse or neighbors, etc.
(Family connecting during snowstorm, Charlotte, 12/26/10)
I think this attitude harkens back to “the good old days” of my younger adulthood because today, with computer technology, a snowstorm is no excuse not to “be productive” and work.
Many people work virtually as a matter of course today. Others have the option of working virtually when things like the weather make it difficult for them to get to an office.* Such productivity is lauded as an advantage of technology. To me, it is a disadvantage because it strenthens the idea of worker as robot – always on, never off. In a world where work is just a computer click away, it is only through individual diligence that one can turn-off and achieve work/life balance.
As a freelancer, much of my work takes place virtually. I’ve noticed that many organizations avoid face-to-face meetings even when people are located in the same city. While it was
great okay for my project that a group I’m working with was able to have a teleconference yesterday instead of the face-to-face meeting we’d planned, it would have been preferable to have a face-to-face meeting. I wanted to see people’s faces to see their reactions to some of what was said instead of having to interpret silences and sighs. (They also would have gotten to see what I was really feeling about some of the suggestions instead of my “oh, okay” responses.) There were also interruptions, as two of the people on the call had children who were at home and needed attention a couple of times during the call.
Nothing we did during the teleconference yesterday was so important that it couldn’t have waited. Nothing, no thing, not-a-thing!
I am a woman not a robot. The unexpected gift of a day to just veg (if I so choose) is a special gift from Nature that I cherish or would cherish if I weren’t in this brave new world where I’ve been trained to always be ready to turn on, work and produce. The computer beckons. Always.
Still, I take a moment (or two, okay 100) to savor, pause, rest and complain.
Now, back to work.
*I had this thought before I read an article in today’s Globe, “For many, snow day is business as usual: Telecommuters put in full shifts from kitchens.”