The digital signboard at the strip mall showed Saturday, 8.00 PM. The camera panned to a young man who had his laptop propped open on the hood of his parked car, and was reading out from the screen into his cell phone. There were a few bags of grocery strewn around him and a toddler balanced on his shoulder.
This scene was from a video that I saw a few years ago, about a day in the life of a techie working for a global corporation. I find the image hard to erase from my mind, despite being a battle scarred pointy head.
It is no longer just the IT workforce that juggles roles and time zones in an integrated world. 3.00 AM video conferences with a jacket hastily pulled over pajama shorts and virtual pizza parties for “team building” are eerie realities for all employees in global companies. Our smartphones are set to show the time in Dubai, Madrid and Tokyo, and we have trained ourselves to use appropriate lingo to suit different locations and cultures.
This is, after all, a “period of disequilibrium” wrought by disruptive technological revolution. Corporations and individuals alike are learning every day to adapt and rebalance our lives to the change. And we will figure it out- or our children, who are smarter than us, will.
Meanwhile, as we await re-stabilization, today is the first of May – Labour Day in many countries of Europe, Asia, Africa and South America- a day to honor the efforts to achieve better work-life balance in the industrial era. Do pause a moment to reflect.