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Why Technology Keeps Making Us Dumb and Dumber


Author:   Glenn Shepard
Date:   May 27, 2014
Category:   Careers




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Dear Glenn,


Our receptionist has 72 knick knacks (stuffed animals, crystal animals, candy trays, etc.) that have taken over her desk, file cabinet, and window sill.   

     Another worker has two full bulletin boards of cat pictures. Another has over a dozen framed pictures of family and friends, including her granddaughter's embryo picture.

    Another brought in her mother's ashes. (The boss drew the line there and made her take it home.)

     What's a good policy about keeping work spaces tidy?


- Mary in Iowa


Dear Mary,


Companies run the full gamut on this. Some encourage employees to personalize their workspace as much as possible, and give away everything from big, red "That was easy" Staples buttons to etch-a-sketches. This is common in customer service call centers where all customer interaction is over the phone, and it's often quite stressful.

     Others greatly limit personal items and prohibit eating or drinking anything at one's desk, including chewing gum. This is common for receptionists (aka "Director of First Impressions") at high end law firms, etc.

     There is no right or wrong answer, but it's something that should be clarified companywide.


- Glenn in Nashville, TN

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The smart phone in your pocket is 15 times faster than the best super computer was in 1979, and that filled a room.


You’d think that with all that power at our fingertips, we’d be smarter, more efficient, and more productive than ever.


But it’s just the opposite.


Technology continues to makes us dumber, lazier, and less healthy. Case and point:


1. Spelling

The next time you’re appalled at how many misspellings an applicant has on a job application, don’t be. We’ve become so dependent on spellchecker that we’re all forgetting how to spell.


2. Navigation

We’ve become so addicted to GPS that we're turning into mind numbed robots that blindly follow wherever GPS tells us where to go, even when we know it’s wrong (which it is an amazing percentage of the time).


3. Social Skills & Manners

Kids can text but don’t know how to look a customer in the eye, shake their hand, and say “Thank You for your business”. Even when they do, they think nothing of yawning in people’s faces. And people of all ages no longer return phone calls.


4. Health

Medical experts report that all this technology can increase the risk of ADHD, carpel tunnel syndrome, eye strain, and obesity.


5. Time Management

With so many tools at our disposal, it’s ironic that people today report being more rushed and having less time in the day than people did 10 years ago. Time Vampires such as Facebook, texting, waiting for Windows to install updates, or figuring out new apps suck up more of your life than you probably realize.


It’s sad that technology is working against us instead of for us, but there’s a silver lining to this cloud.


A study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology found that while electronics stifle creativity, 80% of the people who unplugged and went for a short walk came back more inventive and creative.


If you want to try something different, tell your staff members to take a break and go for a walk – without their phone – and come back with one original idea.


Not only will they surprise you, they’ll surprise themselves, and you’ll look like a genius.




To Your Success,



Glenn Shepard




P.S. Another example. This is my 469th consecutive weekly article. From 2005 – 2009, articles averaged 700 – 800 words. Today they average around 400 words because people’s attention spans are so much shorter thanks to social media.




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