When To Blackberry, Or Not

Working Girl is back.  Somewhat under the weather (news flash:  airplanes are rife with germs) but upright and sitting at the old computer.

Meanwhile, this NYT piece about people using their Blackberrys and whatnot to check email, send texts, and surf the net during meetings caught her attention.  WG would scornfully deplore this practice if she didn’t know, in her heart of hearts, that if she had a Blackberry she’d probably do the same thing.

At least, sometimes.  Some meetings are just truly wastes of time and if you can use that time by plowing through some email, then……why not?

But (and this is a big but):  Be a little sensitive.  The above article posits an “etiquette debate” about whether Blackberry-ing makes you look important, productive, or just plain rude. 

It’s not that complicated, people!  You should be able to tell if your co-workers, clients, or boss are being annoyed by that surreptitious tap tap tap.  Are they glaring at you?  Do they glance from time to time at your hands, grinding their teeth?  Do they start to speak more loudly and quickly? 

Use a little common sense.  Look around and get a sense for the overall mood.  If you pull your focus away from yourself, and put it on the people around you, you will know when to Blackberry.  And when to not.


  • Welcome back, WG. Hope you’re feeling better. Trust me, I know the challenges of air travel and understand your pain.

    When I’m teaching or training the rule is that you can talk on the phone and text message anytime you want to – as long as you leave the room to do so. IMHO: The exception to the rule is that texting is a positive act when there is an immediate need for information and you have the group’s formal or informal support or approval to text or surf for the answer right now. Then, you’re a hero in the meeting with instant answers.

  • tina says:

    My boss interviewed a potential consultant yesterday – let me be clear, we were going to hire him – and not only did he take a call during the interview, but he continued to tap, tap, tap at his blackberry while my boss stood there with his hand outstretched to shake! It really is just a matter of common sense. Otherwise, maybe it’s an addiction.

  • almostgotit says:

    Oh Lord, if we could just figure out how to use CELL PHONES politely, I’d be satisfied enough!

    What is WRONG with people, anyway?