technology for working, constantly working

Inside Higher Ed

How do others handle this question of work-life balance? Do you feel like the digital world has changed the demands on your time? Do you see that work as “extra” or “optional” or as part of the job description?


Yesterday, I moved to a new state for my new tenure-track job. I am teaching online this summer before my new responsibilities begin, so I needed to make sure that my wireless internet would be available to me even before we had officially moved in. I called my internet provider and had the necessary equipment delivered to my new house a week early. The night before the movers arrived with our stuff, my kids camped out in their new rooms while I huddled on the floor with my laptop grading and fielding questions from students. Packing, moving, driving, and all of the other chores associated with moving didn’t stop me from getting to my online class and getting my work done, even in my furniture-free house in the wee hours of the morning.

So, this column discussing how technology affects our work-life balance is very appropriate for me at the moment. Obviously, I can and do work all the time, even while moving cross country. I work all the time because I should, because I have to. My schedule is very flexible a lot of the time. I can carve out time at home with my kids, time for vacation, and I can work from home or from Paris, France. But I have to work all the time. A job as flexible as mine doesn’t happen without some tradeoffs. In this case, the tradeoff is that I am never not working. At home, at school, on vacation, during the holidays, even during a rather stressful bit of life-change, I am always plugged in, always fielding emails, always reading, writing, and thinking.

Yes, I have a very cool job. And yes, they make me work for it.


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