Addicted To Technology? Then Sue Your Boss!


In yet another step down the path away from individual responsibility and assertiveness in the workplace, A Rutgers professor has said that you may be addicted to technology, and it may be your employer's fault. Of course, this being America and all, the natural response is to sue your company.

According to Gayle Porter, an associate professor of management at the Rutgers University School of Business at Camden, the fast and relentless pace of technology-enhanced work environments creates a source of stimulation that may become addictive. While addiction to work has been a widespread phenomenon for some time, the Rutgers-Camden scholar suggests that employers may face legal liability for these addictions.

"There are costs attached to excessive work due to technology," says Porter. "Information and communication technology (ICT) addiction has been treated by policy makers as a kind of elephant in the room — everyone sees it, but no one wants to acknowledge it directly. Owing to vested interests of the employers and the ICT industry, signs of possible addiction — excess use of ICT and related stress illnesses — are often ignored."

I think this is total BS. If an employer provides you access to certain tools, how (and how much) you use them is your choice. I would actually say the opposite – that people I know (which is admittedly a limited sample) that are forced to be available large portions of the day, connected through constant email, cell phone, etc., are usually burnt out on those things and don't use them when they don't absolutely have to.

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Maybe we knowledge workers should unionize so that we can collectively bargain to protect ourselves from such evils as technology addiction.

  • I am so tired of far-too-many Americans abrogating personal responsibility. What has happened to us that we feel we deserve (vs. earned) entitlements and to be held blameless for anything and everything.

    This morning’s “Hartford Courant” features a well-written column about one of our local schools where only one in 50 third graders is reading at grade level. On the opposite page, a teacher’s letter to the editor says we cannot blame the School Board, the Superintendent of Schools nor teachers for the failure of our local schools. The writer blaims teen pregnancy and other cultural factors.

    Okay. Cultural factors are huge. Who can deny that? But I taught elementary school for five years in a poor urban and then a poor rural school system. And my system didn’t spend nearly $14,000 per child to educate them as does Hartford. We teachers accepted responsibility for helping our kids learn.

    That’s it! Period! If we teach, we are responsible for our students learning; if we are marketers, we are responsible for our clients’ marketing results; and if we are addicted to technology, we are responsible for our addiction.

  • Bill

    I ran across these few words that formed a quatrain from a knowledge worker from another era.

    “That little word “We” I mistrust, and here’s why: No man of another can say “He is I.” Behind all agreement lies soemthing amiss, All seeming accord cloaks a lurking abyss.”

    He also wrote:

    “What need is there for a criterion of responsibility? I believe that the horrofiying deterioration in the ethical conduct of people today stems primarily from the mechanization and dehumanization of our lives–a disatrous byproduct of the development of the scientific and technical mentality. Nostra Culpa! I don’t see any way to tackle this disatrous short-coming. Man grows cold faster than the planet he inhabits.”

  • I’d have to agree with you there, how much we utilise the technology available to us is entirely our discretion.

    The professor speaks what he has limited his thinkings too, and employer has to provide the technology to his staff in order to help them cope up with what’s on …

    And how long we talk on cell phones provided to us is what depend on us, not our employer