When new to the workforce, young people find it hard to manage their personal and professional lives without merging the two during normal work hours. -- sidebar to: The Privacy Lawyer: Cyberloafing's Drain On Productivity
A young woman we'll call "Jenny" is employed by a large multinational media company in sales. She's been out of college for about five years. While at work she instant messages her friends around the country every day looking for new online activities. She's always searching out the new and fun sites, especially when things are slow at the office. She doesn't even pretend that she's surfing to reduce stress--she's open about doing it to reduce boredom. She estimates that she spends several hours a week online doing things other than work-related surfing.
When I asked Jenny why she uses the Internet as often as she does for personal surfing, she said, "I sit in front of my computer all day working on tracking documents, PowerPoint presentations, and other computer-centered tasks. So when I need a break from the work, or want to avoid a project, it's very easy for me to find more interesting things to do on the Internet." When asked what she does online, she said, "When I use the Internet for personal purposes during the workday, I spend most of my time on Hotmail.com. I try to keep all of my personal E-mails on that Hotmail account and check it at least three times a day: in the morning, lunchtime, and before I leave work. I use E-mails to catch up with my friends and family, and it helps to keep my phone bill low and my day moving quickly. It makes me wonder how people could go through a whole working day without it!" Jenny also shops online. "Since I don't have much time to shop after work, I also check out the websites for J Crew, Banana Republic, and Ann Taylor Loft at least once a week."
From conversations I've had with others, it appears Jenny's surfing and E-mail and instant-messaging activities are typical. Especially when new to the workforce, these young people find it hard to manage their personal and professional lives without merging the two during normal work hours.
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