Text messaging has become the norm with communication in every aspect of life. While it is a convenient way to ask a quick question or get a status on a project, it also creates a dilemma for the recipient, an obligation to respond. It also creates an interruption on someone’s day off.
As a parish staffer, it isn’t always clear to me when someone is taking a day off. Some of us work Saturday through Wednesday, some work Monday through Friday. Some have Thursdays off. It’s an oddity of parish life, whereas in the corporate world, there tends to be a set of generally accepted “work hours” (even though many people work all their waking hours).
I can imagine your eyes rolling, with supporting thoughts like…
“It’s 2015, cell phones have been the way of life for over 20 years”
“You need to be accessible to your coworkers”
“Not being available 24/7 means you’re not a team player”
Now that I have thrown a few common objections and judgements out there, let’s unpack them.
Cell phones are the norm. They are how we communicate as a society.
I grew up in a world where phones were tethered to walls and poles on the side of convenience stores. I’ve dropped a dime, err, quarter, many a time in my life. When I want to communicate with my friends and family, I joyfully pick up my trusty iPhone and ring them, or text them, or send a pic to them, or ‘like’ their new photo on Instagram.
I still believe cell phones are personal communication devices. My phone supports that notion because it has an “i” in front of it. That “i” stands for me.
Odds are that if you’re in parish ministry, you have a phone in your office. If there’s not one in your office, then there’s likely one in THE office.
I’ll call you there.
“You need to be accessible to your coworkers…”
Really? I’m a music director, with a phone on my desk and an email account. Call me there, or send me an email.
Does anyone need to reach me when I’m out enjoying a round of golf on a Thursday morning? No.
If there’s an emergency, I would expect to hear from our business manager or pastor on my cell phone. Emergencies are things that can be described with the ending “Lord have mercy”. Such as…
Business Manager: “Greg, your office was broken into and they stole your “Far Side” calendar.”
Me: “Lord have mercy”
Business Manager: “Greg, the ceiling is leaking above the piano.”
Me: “Lord have mercy”
Things that are not emergencies…
- The microphone in the hall isn’t working…
- Do you know where the DVD player is?
- What is the password for_____?
- Can you show me how to_____?
“It sounds like you’re not a team player, and you’re just grumpy about people texting you on your day off”
There are 10 commandments. One of them is “thou shalt not kill”, another is “thou shalt not commit adultery”. Yet one more is “keep the sabbath holy”. Keeping a sabbath day is a commandment from God. It’s on the same list as “don’t kill, steal, covet, etc”
God has decided and commanded that we all need a day off. He knows our hearts (because He created us). Wouldn’t it be nice to not be interrupted so you could focus on your family, friends, golf game, or just peace and quiet for one day?
That is why I have made the decision to stop contacting my coworkers on their cell phones. It’s a throwback move, but I’m legit and can roll that way. Every day is 1985 in my life.
Am I nuts? Discuss in the comments…