When did email become such a big deal? Such an integral part of our everyday professional (and personal) lives? When did it become okay to send job offers via email isntead of snail mail, or "it's not you, it's me" communciations electronically? For me, there are still a few boundaries - - things I cannot get myself to do via email even though I've seen and heard that it's okay - - but, as I understand from my closest and dearest friends and family, my love affair with email is real, sometimes awkward and frustrating, impersonal, and obstrusive. I have so much to learn about the finer points of email addiction!
I started my email addiction in earnest in June 1993 when I moved to Seattle, Washington to work as a health policy analyst for the State of Washington. At the time, Medicaid managed care was about to go live and there was very little that could happen that didn't require some type of immediate response/analysis/forecast/evaluation; I felt important and on the cutting edge of health care reform. As soon as I heard about something or received an email from my boss, I'd localte the nearest computer and check-in. You heard correctly - - it wasn't an iPad (although I was in Microsoft land) or netbook or laptop, but a desktop computer. I was hooked and the dependence and addiction grew (rapidly) from there.
Fast forward to April 2003 and with an old school Blackberry in-tow, I was whipping out emails from everywhere, at all hours, at lightning speeds! Everyone in my office knew that if I had my Blackberry, I could be reached!
I'm not sure when email went from a powerful servant to a cruel master, but by October 2005, it was apparent that my love affair with email (and any gadget that could it get it to me quick) was forever! Now, I am inextricably intertwined with the processes of ensuring the inbox is cleared out nightly (everyone will tell you that I freakout when I see more than seven new messages in my inbox), responding rapidly to important emails within 12 hours, confirming spelling and syntax (my iPhone doesn't do that automatically), and making sure the correct email signature is aatatched at the bottom from the correct email account.
As of today, I am trying hard to 'step away from the iPhone'....even if for a few hours a day! As an entrepreneur, email has now found an even more willing host but a slightly more enlightened servant. The complaints from my family, friends and signifcant others seem to have subsided because I have managed to find more uses for my email than just business - - it is now an earnest and more immediate way to express my affection, elation, congratulations, disappointment, and regrets. As cruel a master as it had become, I am finding a way to (slowly but) surely turn the sharp curve on returning email to its powerful servant status. Stay tuned!!