Posted by Robert Half on 18 September 2014
When exactly was the last time you left home without your mobile phone, or sat down to write a letter rather than send a text or email? There's a good chance it's been so long you can't actually remember. In the 21st century, there's an app for that - a technology device or application for pretty much everything - so out with the old and in with the new, as they say. You simply plug in, switch on and go - within a few clicks or swipes you're racing along the the information superhighway at a breakneck speed. Have you considered you might have a technology addiction?
We figure you've got some idea what we're talking about - unless you've been living under a rock for the last 20 years. To some extent or other, we've all been swept away on the crest of the digital wave. The future, once the preserve of sci-fi authors, has cascaded into the present, delivering all-conquering gadgets and gizmos to fill our handbags, briefcases and homes. In other words we're becoming addicted to technology
But as we spend more and more time interacting with technology, is there not a danger of becoming drunk on computing power? People are becoming increasingly reliant upon their devices, not only for work purposes, but also their leisure time at home. Are you capable of turning off your smartphone, tablet or laptop for a few hours, or does the mere thought bring on cold sweats?
Here's a few signs that you have a technology addiction:
1. You send emails in your pyjamas
It's bedtime, you've nestled in under the sheets and are ready to put your head down. What's this - you've left your iPad downstairs? How stupid! This means you can't send midnight emails to your colleagues and work clients, or tweet your followers that you're about to drop off to sleep. So up you get, slippers on - you go and retrieve your bedtime companion. It'll be a long restless night otherwise.
2. Biros give you hand cramps
You need to write down a shopping list, or perhaps make a few notes in a meeting at work. No sooner than you've picked up the pen, you're in absolute agony - the onset of hand cramps! Seemingly it's been so long since you last tried to write something on paper - rather than typing on a keyboard or tapping on a screen - that your body has forgotten how to do it. All those hours spent perfecting your handwriting at primary school - out the window! What would your teachers say?
3. You hear phantom rings
There's a vibration in your pocket and you're sure you can hear your ringtone. Yet when you get your phone out, there's no call to be seen - nothing but peace and tranquility. Did you inadvertently cancel the call while taking the phone out? No, there's no record on the phone log. What this means is, it's just another phantom call. This phenomenon is surprisingly common among mobile phone users, who get so used to the thing going off that they somehow imagine it.
4. You can text blindfolded
Here's your technology party-piece. You've sent so many text messages over the years that you intuitively know where every letter on the keypad is. As such, you can pretty much type with your eyes shut - or while watching TV, stirring the vegetables or doing the hoovering. OK, predictive text might create the odd faux pas - creating a need for clarification later - but you can essentially text away to your heart's content while multi-tasking.
5. You've owned every iPhone
You'd been counting down the weeks and days until the new iPhone 6 launched, having got your pre-order in at the first possible opportunity. The excitement had kept you awake at night - almost like a child on Christmas Eve, you couldn't wait until the big day. And with good reason as well - you've owned every smartphone Apple has ever released. Like the other ten million new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus owners who purchased the phone the first weekend, you’ve already mastered the new features and purchased a few new apps.
6. You completed Angry Birds (and Snake)
As a professional you have many skills, but pride of place among them is the ability to hurl wingless, legless cartoon birds at greedy pigs on a smartphone app. Like the prime minister himself, David Cameron, you've finished every level on 'Angry Birds'. But you carry on playing regardless, because you just can't stop. It was the just same with 'Snake' on your old Nokia - you completed that one too (if that's even possible).
7. All your socialising is on Facebook
There was talk of spending some time with friends at the weekend, perhaps taking a trip into town. But instead you stayed at home conversing with the same people on Facebook, posting your latest batch of selfies and pet pictures. When you needed a break from 'liking' your own status updates and content shares, you started tweeting away on Twitter. If your friends can't be bothered to get online and follow you, then they are no longer worth bothering with.
8. You've upgraded to fibre broadband
You've studied the Openreach rollout timetable meticulously, and are ready and waiting when the network engineers turn up in your road. No sooner than the green street cabinet is out the back of the van and the first fibre-optic cable is in place, you're online getting your broadband upgrade sorted. What use is a copper connection when there's TV streaming, gaming and VoIP calls to be taken care of? Money is no object - you want super-fast downloads now however much it costs.
9. You've paid for internet on the Tube
With mobile operators rolling out 3G and 4G coverage across the UK, there are fewer and fewer places where you can't get online these days. One of the last bastions of 'No signal' urban Britain was the London Underground, but even that has changed since the Olympics in 2012. Many consumers can access Virgin Media's Wi-Fi network for free via their mobile contract, in order to get online in station lobbies and on platforms. Others have had to pay for a day day, week or month pass - are you one of the ones who signed up? Despite only being on the Tube on the way to and from work.
Technology can help your career
Particularly if you're working in the IT sector, the latest technology devices and advances in connectivity may be vital for your career. Having an intimate knowledge of new products, services and industry developments may be necessary for you to do your job effectively, or secure a new one and continue your career progression. As well as selecting, deploying and managing new solutions, you will be expected to be a tech evangelist - someone who encourages other professionals to adopt it, and use it more effectively - in which case having a technology addiction can work in your favour.
Because, of course, technology is becoming more and more important for professionals across all sectors. With virtually every workplace in the UK now connected, IT is no longer the sole preserve of technology specialists. Systems and processes are being revolutionised by 21st century IT and there is no holding back the tide.
So being a technophile - someone who embraces new technology and uses it enthusiastically - can be very much to your advantage. Employers want to hire people with strong IT skills and a keen interest in using the latest technology. So if you've got a weakness for all things digital and can't keep your hands of the latest solutions, it may just prove to be a real strength in the workplace - and the jobs market.