What’s the difference between today’s young professionals and those of just a decades ago, not to mention when our parents first started working? Due to the development of instantaneous communications technology through a variety of methods (E-mail, text, Facebook Messenger, Snapchat, Twitter, Whatsapp, WeChat, Slack) and device continuity, we are expected to be on-call every minute of every day, from before we clock in to after we clock out. There is no such thing as a work schedule, a 9 to 5; we work from the moment our eyes open to the moment they close and sometimes, if our bosses are demanding enough, even in between. That goes for if you have just one full time job or a variety of part-time ones. I have three part-times, all of which pay above minimum wage and none of which include any benefits in addition to studying full time and attempting to be a writer in the minutes I get in between. And, of course, in those few moments when we are not working for a salary, we have to network: meet business partners, friends, classmates, and colleagues at a variety of social events in order to build a web of professional intercommunication, so that when a position opens up in that Fortune 500 company you always wanted to work at or at the magazine or journal that will catapult your career as a writer, someone at that executives meeting will think of you and offer your resume first. And when we are not doing any of that, we are studying (the majority of people between the ages of 20-30 are completing some sort of degree), dating, catching up with family, or cleaning the big apartment we worked so hard to get and never spend any time in so it’s always collecting dust.
The problem with contemporary communication technology is that people want you to be available all the time, they expect you to be, and yet most of the time when you receive a message in the middle of the night it is WORK related. No one ever says: “Hi, how are you? I just wanted to know about your day because you are a person and not a robot.” Nope, not a single text message today was in any way phrased that way. My bosses say “Hey” and wait for me to respond with a “Hello, how are you?” just so they can then send a list of requests they expect to fulfil within 30 minutes. Say hello to the 21st century my friends and goodbye to anything even resembling human warmth.