Does anybody else find the name “Office 365” ominous? Perhaps I’ve been reading too much about Orwell, but the idea that work is waiting for you every single day of the year is worrisome. The way people unthinkingly buy into technology is a way of being used. Like Cassandra, however, I get the feeling I’m just talking to myself. 365 could simply mean it’s always available. For me, however, the PC is symbolic of corporate America. And corporate America wants everything thing you have, at least if it can be liquidated. That includes your time. Now that the weather’s improving I spend beautiful days sitting at a desk behind a screen. Before I know it that beautiful day’s gone for good and I’ve not stepped outside once. I’ve been 365ing.
An organization I know has a dysfunction. It keeps trying to plaster on technological bandages to solve its problems. Such bandages only pull the wounds open again when they’re yanked off. It’s the latest thing, the new communication technology that “everyone will use.” Only it never is. It’s just one more app that I’ll have to learn and yet another way to invade my private time. Time I might otherwise spend outdoors. Look! The sun is shining! All day long the birds and bees fly by my windows, celebrating. I’m sitting here scratching my head. Yammer or Slack? And who comes up with these stupid names? And are they available 24/7? Do they even take into account that human beings have to sleep?
Studies now show that people my age who routinely get less than six hours sleep a night have a greater risk of developing dementia in their seventies. Yet Office 365 will be waiting even for them. Those whose retirement funds were never as secure as they hoped or thought they were face a future at the Office. It will be there, always waiting. Like Winston my time comes at a cost. It’s the chill, early hours of the day. Even as I work on my personal writing (which is not even done in Word, thank you very much), I know that the Office—which now includes Teams and even holds my calendar in its icy electronic fingers—is waiting. Perhaps, if it’s a weekend, I’ll be able to stave it off a bit. Even if I can, however, it will be waiting 24/7, 365. Only time outside those parameters can be called one’s own.