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November 24, 2011 / mike54martin

Not Our Friend

In case you haven’t noticed it, technology is not our friend. Not quite our enemy, but certainly not our friend. When did it turn against us? I’m not quite sure; but I do know this: it has gone from being a relatively benign force in our lives over to the dark side.

Over the years, technology has promised us the world, and when it couldn’t deliver, it promised us the universe. When the promises got so big that no one could possibly live up to them; that’s when it started to lie. Here are some of the whoppers of technology:

Lie #1: Technology will help you work less

Remember that one? Maybe the abacus workers are working a reduced work week, but the rest of us we have never worked more. No one works 35 or 40 hours a week any more. Anyone who’s working at a lower level or minimum wage job is working two or three jobs just to make ends meet. Most people are working at least 50 hours a week and anyone in a managerial role is working 60 plus hours a week.

Lie #2: Technology will eliminate paperwork

So how do you like living in a paperless world? Just a second, I’ll tell you when I finish printing my copy of that email you sent me. Maybe if the promise had been fewer envelopes, it might have had more success. The mail is still there; it’s just stuck in cyberspace, or more likely in your overflowing email basket. Or worse yet waiting for them to clear the queue on your BlackBerry and you get a hundred and four dumped at once.

Lie # 3: Technology will be our servant

Oh yeah. Remind yourself of that when it’s ten-thirty on Sunday night, and you are cutting and pasting your presentation for the Monday morning briefing session. Or when the server decides to take a break for days in the middle of your yearly sales drive. Try and find the techies and the user support people and then get them to agree on the solution as you tread water. How may I serve you again?

Lie # 4: Technology will simplify things for you

I’m not a Luddite. I like experimenting. But sometimes, I just want to turn on the stupid thing and have it run. Why do highly specialized, highly educated, highly technical people want to guide me through processes so that I will understand? I’m from the “still can’t program the VCR generation.” I think that a bluetooth is a kind of whale. Nothing technological is easy, nor is it ever simple. For me, bits and bytes are a snack food.

There are hundreds of these lies out there. What can we do to protect ourselves? No advice here, just a caution: be careful. Be very, very careful. Who knows what ugly surprises that old trickster – technology – has in store for you?

Mike Martin is a freelance writer and consultant specializing in workplace wellness and conflict resolution. He is the author of “Change the Things You Can” (Dealing with Difficult People). For more information about Mike please visit:


Leave a Comment
  1. Lanre / Nov 25 2011 2:58 pm

    Ha ha! That was a funny one. On the surface, technology really helps us in many ways but when you look much deeper, well, I guess you’re right about the lies. Interesting post.

  2. John / Nov 26 2011 4:20 am

    I couldn’t agree more. Technology simply allowed corporations to make a lot more money while taking advantage of a lot less staff to do the work.

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