Our current generation is witnessing the death of ‘Monday through Friday’.
The other day a friend asked if it was appropriate for him to make a business reply on a weekend. Late on Friday an email arrived about an opportunity asking him to reply when convenient.
“Should I wait until Monday or send an email today?”
I thought for a moment, realizing how much the world is changing from the one where I grew up. The basic framework, the clear lines of understanding of where our work lives end and our personal lives begin are increasingly blurring before our eyes.
“I’d reply now,” I said.
Years ago, when my brother and I were kids, our family was walking out the door to start a thousand-mile car vacation when the phone rang. With the car loaded with overstuffed suitcases, my mother said something to my dad that to this day continues to resonate in my head.
“You don’t think that is the office, do you?”
I remember thinking, “He’s on vacation. Why would the office call him?”
My dad answered the phone. All was good and a short while later our behemoth Plymouth Fury III pointed north towards Canada. But the experience changed me. For the first time I began to understand there were designated – or protected – windows of time in the adult world.
Fast forward to today’s world where these same windows of time reside only in memories. Our environment is literally a 24/7/365 world – one where we’ve voluntarily surrendered the valuable and protective pockets of time enjoyed by our parent’s generation.
The world is different now. Today we are connected with everyone and everything. Rare is someone who does not sleep with his or her cell phone within arm’s reach. Our shared connectivity, which we enthusiastically embrace, is also reshaping our personal concept of time. The fact we are instantly and intimately connected to our chosen world also alters the way we perceive or boundaries. As we habitually scroll through our email and social media feeds, Thursday suddenly doesn’t feel all that different from Saturday. And therein lies the root of change.
The window of time, once referred to as ‘Monday through Friday’, is evaporating before our very eyes. I say this not to complain, but more as an observation of a significant change in society’s behavior. Collectively, we’ve allowed our interconnectivity to erase time-honored breathing spaces. Easy access now trumps the established protective windows – or what is left of them. Additionally, our eager embracement suggests we really don’t mind the intrusions.
The email in question was sent. And not surprisingly, responded to within hours. For the receiver, ‘Monday through Friday’ – like a great many people – represented only a loosely defined designation of when they expected to appear in an office.
May ‘Monday through Friday’ rest in peace – you’ll be missed.
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