I don’t care if it is God calling you, cell phone usage is not permitted at work. These are the exact words I used in a discussion with an employee about her inappropriate use of her cellphone while she was working for me. I have clearly stated in staff meetings and our staff manual that the use of cell phones is prohibited except for specific times of the day. I have repeated this mandate in various staff memos, in a serious tone, with a sense of humor, I have begged, pleaded, and demanded.
Why is everyone magnetically attached to his or her mobile electronic devices? I think we need 12-step programs designed to help people withdraw from cell phone addiction. It is infiltrating our lives and interfering in many professional environments.
I have even heard stories about people answering their cell phone during an interview for a job! I have heard Broadway actors claim that audience members answer their phones in the middle of a show. I bet there are students that answer their phones while in class and many who text, check Facebook, emails and twitter too.
My advice to students, job seekers, professionals: take a break from your mobile device when someone is paying you to do a service for them, trying to teach you something, or even interviewing you for a job. Leave the phone in the car, turn it off, keep it away from you, don’t let temptation rule. Using a cell phone to interact with people other than the ones you are supposed to be conversing with is insulting and rude.
Multi-tasking is a myth. It is cognitively impossible to do two things at one time. You may think you are multi-tasking, but the reality is, you are not. As human beings our brain can only process one function at a time. In fact, according to research done at MIT:
There are no complicated mechanisms that allow people to perform two tasks at once. Instead, we have to perform the next task only after the last one is finished.
Don’t fool yourself or others claiming that you can do a million things at once. Don’t risk your reputation or job by foolishly letting your mobile phone interactions become more important than the interactions you are required to have at your job. Don’t get fired because you were using your cell phone inappropriately, you will never be able to justify this cause of termination to a future employer. Don’t lose the respect of a professor or anyone else you want to impress. Give your full attention – I assure you it will only help you make a positive impression on those around you.