sábado, 23 de septiembre de 2017

Communication Skills.

Being able to communicate effectively with others is important to our psychological well-being for a number of important reasons. Communication allows us to convey our needs and feelings to others, as well as to respond to and respect the needs of others. In addition, communication helps us develop significant relationships with friends and family, as well as with romantic partners. In fact, social support is one of the most important factors that can protect us from unpleasant emotions such as anxiety and depression. Being able to talk to those we trust allows us to express how we feel, as well as to get some feedback and support.

Can you imagine not being able to ask for help or affection from a significant other? Or not being able to state your disinterest in seeing a horror movie when out with friends? What about not having any meaningful relationships in your life? If any of these are difficult for you, chances are you may need to work on developing or improving your communication skills.

In order to effectively communicate with others, we need to develop three distinct yet inter-related skill sets. These are: assertiveness, conversational or verbal communication skills and nonverbal communication skills. The reminder of this toolkit will focus on helping you develop each skill set.

VALUABLE COMMUNICATION ATTITUDES.

Before we move on to assessing and developing your communication skills, try to keep these two attitudes that are worth developing in mind. These are: 1) being proactive and; 2) thinking win/win (Covey, 1989).

1. Being proactive: Being proactive means that you decide to take responsibility for your life. In essence, you ‘take the bull by the horns’ or ‘captain your own ship’ and refuse to let life ‘pass you by’. Thus, you choose to be happy, to achieve success, to be happy, afraid and even to put this toolkit into action! Genetics, events, people and unfortunate circumstances take the back seat to your ability to choose and control your life. You ‘act’ and do not ‘react’! Remember that one of the only things that cannot be taken away from you is your ability to choose! When interacting with other people, create what you want by choosing to take responsibility and putting yourself in the situation to achieve your goal. If you see a potential romantic partner, go talk to them. If you are interested in a new career, talk to someone in the field to get their advice. Remember that the alternative to being proactive is a life filled with regret and “I should have”.

2. Thinking win/win: The society we live in tends to evaluate success in a bipolar way because much of what we are exposed to daily is based on competition. For example, during most sports there is a clear ‘winner’ and ‘loser’. In business, the goal is to provide the best service or product to maximize profits and beat the competition. In essence, I succeed if I win and you lose, whereas I lose if you win. Thus, it is no small wonder why interpersonal interactions can also be seen as a game in which there is a clear ‘winner’ and ‘loser’. However, there is another way to approach relationships with other people. Thinking win/win is a more mature and confident way to approach human interactions. Rather than focusing on competition and winning at all costs, this attitude seeks co-operation and mutual benefit so that both parties end up succeeding, achieving their goal and being fulfilled as a result. When interacting with others, try to keep this attitude in mind. Chances are you will get what you want if the other party feels they are as well.

ASSERTIVENESS TRAINING.

If you need to develop your assertiveness skills, use the toolkit on Assertiveness Training that has already been developed. If you are unsure of whether assertiveness is a problem for you, complete the following self-assessment by answering these questions. If you answer yes to one or more of these questions, chances are you may need some assertiveness training.

• You are generally passive and keep quiet. You never or rarely state your opinion as well as what you want or need. • You have difficulty saying “No.”
• You keep things bottled up inside you and eventually blow up.
• You find that the only way you can get what you need is by being aggressive.
• You feel that others take advantage of you or give you too much to do.
• You eventually give in to what others want.
• You feel that you are not respected by others.
• You have little or no self-respect because you do not communicate your needs, wants or opinions. 

Some people are afraid of being assertive because they hold certain myths about what it means to be assertive. Myths are not based on facts and as a result are not true. The following are common myths about assertiveness and how to go about challenging them.

Myth #1: Being assertive means being aggressive. This is false. When we are assertive, we do not raise our voice or shout at other people. Nor do we try to intimidate the other person by moving into their personal space or by being threatening. When assertive, the goal is not to convince others of our opinions or that we are right at all costs. These behaviours are aggressive. When we act assertively, we speak with a normal tone, respect personal distance and state our opinions, needs or wants.

Myth #2: Being assertive means getting my way all the time. Not true. Assertiveness means expressing your opinions, wants or needs. Selfexpression does not mean that you are forcing others to agree with you. Rather, assertiveness means that you respect how others express themselves.

Myth #3: If I am assertive other people will not like me. Being quiet means others will love me. Another myth that is not true. Being passive means you will simply follow what others say and do. There is no guarantee that others will like you more for this. In fact, some people who are passive eventually blow up at others because they can no longer take it. Will other people like you in this case? Some people also get irritated or annoyed at people who never state their opinion or what they want.

Myth #4: Being assertive means being selfish. False. Expressing your opinions and needs is not selfish but a part of being human. In addition, assertiveness means that you respect others opinions and values even if you disagree with them. Behaving with an assertive attitude means both giving and receiving respect.

Myth #5: I always have to say “Yes” and do what others want me to do. Not true again. Being assertive means communicating your boundaries and limits. If we are worried that others may think we are no good, lazy, uncaring, etc. because we say “No”, stating our limits is good for yourself and others as well. For example, stating we are overloaded with work and cannot take on another tasks will be beneficial to you and to the person delegating. Otherwise your quality of work may decrease or the task may not get completed. In fact, we can’t expect others to know our limits, so we need to communicate them. Most people will be understanding once they know our boundaries.

Myth #6: By being assertive I will always get what I want. This is a final untrue myth. Assertiveness does not guarantee we will get what we want no matter how reasonable the request is or how nicely we ask. It means we express our opinions, needs or wants and can respect ourselves as a result. 

NONVERBAL COMMUNICATION.

Although we tend to think that communication is mostly verbal, what we communicate with our bodies, that is, our nonverbal communication, plays as big a role. In fact, there is much research suggesting that nonverbal communication can play an even bigger role than what we say. Nonverbal communication involves where we look, the tone of our voice and even our body posture. Let’s use a quick example. Imagine you are speaking to someone and they look disinterested. They will probably not look you in the eye, but rather look at the wall or clock and turn away from you. No matter how interested they say they are, their nonverbal behaviour speaks otherwise.

Nonverbal behaviour can communicate all sorts of messages to the other person, which is why we need to pay attention to it. For example:

• How you are feeling (e.g. scared, depressed or angry).
• Degree of interest.
• Knowledge of the specific subject matter being discussed.
• Your attitude (e.g. disgust, submissiveness).
• Honesty (i.e. are you hiding anything).

How To Improve Your Nonverbal Communication Skills

1. Perform a self-assessment. Use the following to help you identify potential problem areas.

a. Tone and volume of voice: Do you have a low volume, can you be heard? Does your voice lack confidence? Does it sound shaky? Do you stutter? Speak quickly and not take regular breaths?

b. Body movement: Do you keep your hands stiff by your side? Wave your hands uncontrollably? Keep your arms crossed all the time? Remain rigid? Do you nod occasionally to let the other person know you understand them or are interested?

c. Eye contact: Do you stare and not blink when looking at the other person? Do you look away most of the time or stare at an object and not make eye contact?

d. Body Posture: Do you slouch when you sit? Do you keep your head down? Turn and look at the person?

e. Physical distance: Do you give the other person a comfortable amount of personal distance (i.e. not too close or far)? Give space to a new person who joins the conversation when in a group?

f. Facial expression: Do you smile too much or not at all?

2. Practice developing these skills.

a. Don’t try to practice too many of these skills at once. Start with a few and move on only when you have mastered them.

b. If you feel comfortable, ask for a friend’s or relative’s help. Sometime we think that we look uncomfortable or appear anxious etc. Get the feedback of a trusted person to help you out if you can. 

c. If finding a friend is not possible, practice in front of a mirror. Although this may feel weird, you’ll get immediate feedback and you can practice as many times as necessary without anything negative happening.

d. If you have access to a video camera, record yourself. Watch the tape and practice your problem areas.

e. Once you have gained some confidence, practice these skills in the real world. Make sure to start off practicing with people with whom you would find it easier. If you feel it would be easier with friends, choose them. If a teller or clerk might be best, then go to a store and practice. To help you out, it might be useful to read the toolkit on Exposure Therapy to help you out.

Hint: We are not born with good social skills. Communication skills are not like personality traits or innate abilities. They are skills that need to be developed by continual practice. So practice! practice! practice! as much as you can.

CONVERSATION SKILLS

1. Perform a self-assessment. Use the following to help you identify potential problem areas that you may want to work on. For example: • Do you have trouble starting or keeping a conversation going? • You don’t know what to say during a conversation? • Is it hard to know what to say if the conversation becomes conflictual? • Are you reluctant to talk about yourself?

2. Practice developing your verbal skills. a. Starting a conversation. Make sure to introduce yourself first if you do not know the person. For example, make eye contact and say, “Hi. I don’t think we’ve met. My name is …”. Then move on to a topic that is general and that everyone can discuss. Examples include the weather, the news, make an observation (e.g. I overheard that you like sports) or give a compliment (e.g. That’s a nice necklace).

• Make sure to pay attention to your nonverbal behaviour.

• Once the conversation is going well, you can move on to more personal topics. For example, interests, political or religious beliefs, family or your career.

• If someone else wants to join in, make sure to turn slightly towards them so that you form a circle so that everyone can be a part of the conversation.

b. How to keep a conversation going. Make sure you pause so that the other person can get a word in. Remember that a conversation is a two-way street.

• Pick a subject you have talked about and keep asking follow-up questions. For example, if the other person works as a physicist, ask them how they got into the field, what school they went to, what exactly they do, etc.

• Focus on the conversation and what the other person has to say rather than if you feel nervous or think your voice may be shaky. Concentrating on yourself will make talking harder, so focus on what the other person is saying.

• Don’t try to be witty or funny. Just go with the flow of the conversation.

Hint: Take a moment and observe a conversation between two people. You will likely notice that the conversation alternates between self-disclosure and asking follow-up questions.

c. Keep the following ‘listening’ principles in mind (Burns, 1999).

• Disarming: If the discussion is getting a better heated or conflictual, find some truth in what the other person has said even if you disagree, think they are wrong or that it is unfair. Disarming will show you are listening, deescalate the situation and help you get back on track to the discussion.

• Thought or feeling empathy: Paraphrase what the other person is thinking or feeling. For example, “So you think that the new reforms on healthcare are good” or “You feel it was unfair when I showed up late.” This shows the other person that you are listening to them.

• Inquiring: If you are unsure of what the person means or is saying, simply ask a follow-up question to learn more. This will show the other person that you feel what they are saying is important.

d. Keep the following ‘self-expression’ principles in mind (Burns, 1999).

• Use “I feel” statements: This is particularly true when conflict is involved. For example, “I feel upset when people don’t show up on time” or “I feel hurt when people yell.” Try to avoid using “you” statements, which is tough to do! For example, “I hate when you’re late” or “I hate when you yell at me.” “You” statements make others feel criticized and puts them on the defense, making effective communication unlikely.

• Stroking: Find something positive to say about the person to indicate that you value and respect them even if you are angry with them.

e. Practicing with others. Make sure to practice your new conversation skills with friends, family, strangers (e.g. salesperson in a store, someone in the elevator) or co-workers. If you find it useful, create a fear hierarchy using the toolkit on Exposure Therapy to help you out. If you get comfortable, try breaking out of your routine by trying something new. For example, go up to a stranger and compliment them, tell a friend about a personal weakness or give two compliments each day. Remember that effective communication is a skill, so practice will make perfect, or as close to perfect as possible! 

Source: Montrealcbtpsychologist.com

martes, 5 de septiembre de 2017

The Gift of the Magi. By O. Henry

One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. And sixty cents of it was in pennies. Pennies saved one and two at a time by bulldozing the grocer and the vegetable man and the butcher until one's cheeks burned with the silent imputation of parsimony that such close dealing implied. Three times Della counted it. One dollar and eighty-seven cents. And the next day would be Christmas.
There was clearly nothing left to do but flop down on the shabby little couch and howl. So Della did it. Which instigates the moral reflection that life is made up of sobs, sniffles, and smiles, with sniffles predominating.
While the mistress of the home is gradually subsiding from the first stage to the second, take a look at the home. A furnished flat at $8 per week. It did not exactly beggar description, but it certainly had that word on the look-out for the mendicancy squad.
In the vestibule below was a letter-box into which no letter would go, and an electric button from which no mortal finger could coax a ring. Also appertaining thereunto was a card bearing the name "Mr. James Dillingham Young."
The "Dillingham" had been flung to the breeze during a former period of prosperity when its possessor was being paid $30 per week. Now, when the income was shrunk to $20, the letters of "Dillingham" looked blurred, as though they were thinking seriously of contracting to a modest and unassuming D. But whenever Mr. James Dillingham Young came home and reached his flat above he was called "Jim" and greatly hugged by Mrs. James Dillingham Young, already introduced to you as Della. Which is all very good.
Della finished her cry and attended to her cheeks with the powder rag. She stood by the window and looked out dully at a grey cat walking a grey fence in a grey backyard. To-morrow would be Christmas Day, and she had only $1.87 with which to buy Jim a present. She had been saving every penny she could for months, with this result. Twenty dollars a week doesn't go far. Expenses had been greater than she had calculated. They always are. Only $1.87 to buy a present for Jim. Her Jim. Many a happy hour she had spent planning for something nice for him. Something fine and rare and sterling--something just a little bit near to being worthy of the honour of being owned by Jim.
There was a pier-glass between the windows of the room. Perhaps you have seen a pier-glass in an $8 Bat. A very thin and very agile person may, by observing his reflection in a rapid sequence of longitudinal strips, obtain a fairly accurate conception of his looks. Della, being slender, had mastered the art.
Suddenly she whirled from the window and stood before the glass. Her eyes were shining brilliantly, but her face had lost its colour within twenty seconds. Rapidly she pulled down her hair and let it fall to its full length.
Now, there were two possessions of the James Dillingham Youngs in which they both took a mighty pride. One was Jim's gold watch that had been his father's and his grandfather's. The other was Della's hair. Had the Queen of Sheba lived in the flat across the airshaft, Della would have let her hair hang out of the window some day to dry just to depreciate Her Majesty's jewels and gifts. Had King Solomon been the janitor, with all his treasures piled up in the basement, Jim would have pulled out his watch every time he passed, just to see him pluck at his beard from envy.
So now Della's beautiful hair fell about her, rippling and shining like a cascade of brown waters. It reached below her knee and made itself almost a garment for her. And then she did it up again nervously and quickly. Once she faltered for a minute and stood still while a tear or two splashed on the worn red carpet.
On went her old brown jacket; on went her old brown hat. With a whirl of skirts and with the brilliant sparkle still in her eyes, she cluttered out of the door and down the stairs to the street.
Where she stopped the sign read: "Mme Sofronie. Hair Goods of All Kinds." One Eight up Della ran, and collected herself, panting. Madame, large, too white, chilly, hardly looked the "Sofronie."
"Will you buy my hair?" asked Della.
"I buy hair," said Madame. "Take yer hat off and let's have a sight at the looks of it."
Down rippled the brown cascade.
"Twenty dollars," said Madame, lifting the mass with a practised hand.
"Give it to me quick" said Della.
Oh, and the next two hours tripped by on rosy wings. Forget the hashed metaphor. She was ransacking the stores for Jim's present.
She found it at last. It surely had been made for Jim and no one else. There was no other like it in any of the stores, and she had turned all of them inside out. It was a platinum fob chain simple and chaste in design, properly proclaiming its value by substance alone and not by meretricious ornamentation--as all good things should do. It was even worthy of The Watch. As soon as she saw it she knew that it must be Jim's. It was like him. Quietness and value--the description applied to both. Twenty-one dollars they took from her for it, and she hurried home with the 78 cents. With that chain on his watch Jim might be properly anxious about the time in any company. Grand as the watch was, he sometimes looked at it on the sly on account of the old leather strap that he used in place of a chain.
When Della reached home her intoxication gave way a little to prudence and reason. She got out her curling irons and lighted the gas and went to work repairing the ravages made by generosity added to love. Which is always a tremendous task dear friends--a mammoth task.
Within forty minutes her head was covered with tiny, close-lying curls that made her look wonderfully like a truant schoolboy. She looked at her reflection in the mirror long, carefully, and critically.
"If Jim doesn't kill me," she said to herself, "before he takes a second look at me, he'll say I look like a Coney Island chorus girl. But what could I do--oh! what could I do with a dollar and eighty-seven cents?"
At 7 o'clock the coffee was made and the frying-pan was on the back of the stove hot and ready to cook the chops.
Jim was never late. Della doubled the fob chain in her hand and sat on the corner of the table near the door that he always entered. Then she heard his step on the stair away down on the first flight, and she turned white for just a moment. She had a habit of saying little silent prayers about the simplest everyday things, and now she whispered: "Please, God, make him think I am still pretty."
The door opened and Jim stepped in and closed it. He looked thin and very serious. Poor fellow, he was only twenty-two--and to be burdened with a family! He needed a new overcoat and he was with out gloves.
Jim stepped inside the door, as immovable as a setter at the scent of quail. His eyes were fixed upon Della, and there was an expression in them that she could not read, and it terrified her. It was not anger, nor surprise, nor disapproval, nor horror, nor any of the sentiments that she had been prepared for. He simply stared at her fixedly with that peculiar expression on his face.
Della wriggled off the table and went for him.
"Jim, darling," she cried, "don't look at me that way. I had my hair cut off and sold it because I couldn't have lived through Christmas without giving you a present. It'll grow out again--you won't mind, will you? I just had to do it. My hair grows awfully fast. Say 'Merry Christmas!' Jim, and let's be happy. You don't know what a nice-what a beautiful, nice gift I've got for you."
"You've cut off your hair?" asked Jim, laboriously, as if he had not arrived at that patent fact yet, even after the hardest mental labour.
"Cut it off and sold it," said Della. "Don't you like me just as well, anyhow? I'm me without my hair, ain't I?"
Jim looked about the room curiously.
"You say your hair is gone?" he said, with an air almost of idiocy.
"You needn't look for it," said Della. "It's sold, I tell you--sold and gone, too. It's Christmas Eve, boy. Be good to me, for it went for you. Maybe the hairs of my head were numbered," she went on with a sudden serious sweetness, "but nobody could ever count my love for you. Shall I put the chops on, Jim?"
Out of his trance Jim seemed quickly to wake. He enfolded his Della. For ten seconds let us regard with discreet scrutiny some inconsequential object in the other direction. Eight dollars a week or a million a year--what is the difference? A mathematician or a wit would give you the wrong answer. The magi brought valuable gifts, but that was not among them. This dark assertion will be illuminated later on.
Jim drew a package from his overcoat pocket and threw it upon the table.
"Don't make any mistake, Dell," he said, "about me. I don't think there's anything in the way of a haircut or a shave or a shampoo that could make me like my girl any less. But if you'll unwrap that package you may see why you had me going a while at first."
White fingers and nimble tore at the string and paper. And then an ecstatic scream of joy; and then, alas! a quick feminine change to hysterical tears and wails, necessitating the immediate employment of all the comforting powers of the lord of the flat.
For there lay The Combs--the set of combs, side and back, that Della had worshipped for long in a Broadway window. Beautiful combs, pure tortoise-shell, with jewelled rims--just the shade to wear in the beautiful vanished hair. They were expensive combs, she knew, and her heart had simply craved and yearned over them without the least hope of possession. And now, they were hers, but the tresses that should have adorned the coveted adornments were gone.
But she hugged them to her bosom, and at length she was able to look up with dim eyes and a smile and say: "My hair grows so fast, Jim!"
And then Della leaped up like a little singed cat and cried, "Oh, oh!"
Jim had not yet seen his beautiful present. She held it out to him eagerly upon her open palm. The dull precious metal seemed to flash with a reflection of her bright and ardent spirit.
"Isn't it a dandy, Jim? I hunted all over town to find it. You'll have to look at the time a hundred times a day now. Give me your watch. I want to see how it looks on it."
Instead of obeying, Jim tumbled down on the couch and put his hands under the back of his head and smiled.
"Dell," said he, "let's put our Christmas presents away and keep 'em a while. They're too nice to use just at present. I sold the watch to get the money to buy your combs. And now suppose you put the chops on."
The magi, as you know, were wise men--wonderfully wise men-who brought gifts to the Babe in the manger. They invented the art of giving Christmas presents. Being wise, their gifts were no doubt wise ones, possibly bearing the privilege of exchange in case of duplication. And here I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two foolish children in a flat who most unwisely sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their house. But in a last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who give gifts these two were the wisest. Of all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest. Everywhere they are wisest. They are the magi.

Source: AmericanLiterature.com

martes, 29 de agosto de 2017

La importancia del inglés en tu vida profesional.

Nota: Esta es una realidad española que no es ajena a la de otros países en el mundo.

El inglés sigue siendo una de las grandes asignaturas pendientes de los profesionales españoles: según el Business English Index, nuestro país suspende a la hora de manejarse con soltura en este idioma, con un 4.43 de media. Sin embargo, el porcentaje de ofertas laborales que lo exigen no deja de crecer.

Un informe reciente de Adecco e Infoempleo revela que 32.8% de las ofertas de trabajo publicadas requiere conocer al menos un idioma extranjero. Para que no te quedes atrás, hoy vamos a hablar de la importancia de un buen inglés para tu vida laboral y a enseñarte cómo subir de nivel o emprender sin darte cuenta.

Tres motivos profesionales para aprender inglés son:

Puestos directivos. Sin un nivel adecuado de inglés, resulta mucho más complicado progresar laboralmente. Y es que cuanta más responsabilidad conlleva un puesto, más probable es que requiera conocimientos de inglés. Según un estudio de Randstad, 75% de las ofertas de puestos para altos directivos tienen el inglés como requisito.

Nuevas oportunidades laborales. Saber inglés abre las puertas a muchas oportunidades laborales apasionantes, desde trabajar una temporada en el extranjero a desempeñar un cargo en una multinacional o por qué no hacer tu propio emprendimiento. En un mercado tan dinámico como el actual, donde la globalización e internet están acabando con las fronteras, poder comunicarse con colegas de todo el mundo es cada vez más imprescindible.

Facilitar el día a día laboral. Tener un buen nivel de inglés hace posible acceder a todo tipo de recursos internacionales: páginas web, aplicaciones, informes... lo que nos da una ventaja en el día a día laboral. Además, conocer las expresiones adecuadas y saber desenvolverse con soltura nos será de gran ayuda si tenemos que contactar con clientes, proveedores o compañeros extranjeros. Aquí cinco consejos para aprender inglés (casi) sin darte cuenta:

1. Usa recursos audiovisuales. Tratar de memorizar el inglés leyendo un libro, como en el colegio, no solo resulta una tortura sino que es muy poco efectivo. Activa más áreas de tu cerebro con infografías, vídeos y otros materiales audiovisuales para aprender inglés.

2. Integra el inglés como parte de tu ocio. Si disfrutas leyendo, viendo series o yendo al cine en tus ratos libres, puedes subir de nivel rápidamente cambiando estas actividades al inglés. Además, así tu mente aprenderá a asociar este idioma con el relax y la diversión y te será mucho más ameno de aprender. Si no te atreves a dar el salto de repente, puedes empezar con subtítulos (mejor que sean en inglés) y libros adaptados para English learners.

3. Usa aplicaciones y podcasts. Para aprender inglés en tus ratos muertos. En el transporte público, mientras esperas a alguien... Si tienes cinco minutos y un smartphone, puedes aprender inglés estés donde estés.

4. Atrévete a hablar en inglés. La manera más rápida y efectiva de aprender un idioma es obligarte a hablarlo. Si no tienes la suerte de tener amigos guiris, puedes buscar un intercambio de idiomas o incluso, si vives en una ciudad grande, investigar actividades en inglés. Hay muchísima oferta, desde clases de yoga hasta teatro infantil pasando por cursos de cocina.

5. Presta atención a las expresiones y frases hechas. Si quieres llevar tu inglés al siguiente nivel y sonar como todo un nativo, la traducción literal no es suficiente. Necesitas contar con expresiones o slangs para enfrentarte a las diferentes situaciones del día a día.

Source: Entrepreneur.com

lunes, 28 de agosto de 2017

miércoles, 23 de agosto de 2017

How Does Technology Impact Your Daily Life?

Over the last two decades, our lives have been slowly taken over by technology. Take a moment to look around you. How many screens do you see? Did you include the one you’re reading this on?

Our Wi-Fi-enabled gadgets have changed the way we work, play, and even raise our children. Today’s offices would be unrecognizable to workers of the past thanks to the proliferation of emails, video conferencing, tablets, laptop computers, and other relatively recent innovations. Meanwhile, more and more of our personal time is influenced by our gadgets (OK, smartphones) with each passing day.

So have we reached peak-technology? Hardly.

The novelty of constant online connections and instant communication may have begun to wear thin for older generations, but the next wave of Americans have no such qualms. Their tech-dependent lifestyles are already causing huge changes in both the professional and private spheres. The change may be inevitable…unless the Wi-Fi cuts out, of course.

Our Digitized Professional Lives

As many as 79% of employees now “work on virtual teams,” be it by email, online collaboration, messaging, video conferences, or some combination of any of the above. A 2013 Pew Research study found “94% of jobholders are Internet users.” This includes full-time, part-time, and freelance workers in technology companies, big corporations, and small businesses, who work in cities, the suburbs, rural America, and everywhere in between.

For most of the last century, communicating professionally meant writing letters, sending faxes, or spending hours on the phone. Not anymore. Email is now the primary means of communication in the modern workplace. We are communicating more, faster, and better than ever before. And employers have been reaping the benefits. A major report cited by British newspaper The Telegraph found that the incorporation of technology into the workplace has led to an “84% increase in productivity per hour for office workers since the 1970s.” The major influencers? Email, business software, and yes, even cell phones.

Technology Gets Personal

We don’t leave technology at the workplace. In fact, our private lives might be even more tech-enabled than our professional lives. In the 1980s and 1990s, our televisions were often the height of our home technology. Some people had clunky personal computers, a Nintendo for the kids, and maybe even a telephone in their car (remember those?).

Information from the Census Bureau tells us that 15% of homes had a personal computer in 1989; by 2011 that number climbed to 75%. Now we have desktop computers, laptops, smartphones, tablets, Apple watches, GPS-enabled cars, and more coming every day. Forget unplugging after the 5 or-6 o’clock whistle blows—we plug in instead.

In fact, going without tech might trigger an existential crisis for some (that sound you hear is Albert Camus rolling over in his grave). Our technology helps us learn, date, eat, socialize, and so much more.

The only time we don’t use technology is when we are exercising flying sleeping, well, dead. For now…

A New Generation of Digital Natives

Anyone born before the advent of technology in their daily lives is considered a “digital immigrant.” Older generations invented our tech-enabled society, but the generations born in this millennium are the first true “digital natives.

” While the “digital rehab” programs older generations have begun using to push back against the all-consuming digital saturation are gaining traction, these programs may make as much sense to younger generations as getting up from the couch to change the channel on the TV. The genie is out of the bottle, and technology is said to have even changed the way younger generations perceive reality.

We’re assuming they perceive reality as that thing happening just beyond the horizon of their laptop, tablet, or smartphone screen (as long as someone is tweeting about it). Although it’s easy to make fun of the next generation’s digital obsession, it will soon be impossible to ignore it. The digital natives are on pace to outnumber the digital immigrants before long.

The Bottom Line

Technology is now so integrated with our lives that going without it can cause severe anxiety for some. It’s not hard to see why. Technology has taken over.

Both our professional and personal lives are now technology dependent. While older generations are fighting back with unplugged retreats, the next wave of Americans can’t picture their lives without tech. They might not have anything to worry about. The future favors these digital natives.


By Todd Gebski. Vice President, Marketing. Charged with informing the way existing customers and potential clients think about mobile workforce management—or maybe even understanding what it is—Todd oversees how the Motus brand is received in the marketplace. With more than 15 years experience in marketing and eCommerce, Todd has a firm understanding of the marketing mix needed for success. 



Source: Motus.com