Monday, June 9, 2008

Crackberry Rules

So many pregnancy/baby posts lately I decided it was time for another Big Firm discussion. For all those curious about my Big Firm plans I'm still mulling over proposals about how I'm going to juggle the tykes and this job and will blog when I've had time to give it more thought - they (the Firm) have just been keeping me too busy.

As anyone who has one can tell you - a Blackberry is a blessing and a curse. Yes, I can leave the office but I spend the whole time "checking in". Some items I can pass off and triage, others I need to take care of myself which can eat into your "day off".

I am a "Crackberry" addict. Everyone who has one is. And yes, I am not paying attention to you when I am reading while you are talking to me. It is unspeakably rude but I doubt that will change. You should see 2 or more associates at a lunch. At various points there is silence while we all peruse our messages.

It drives Husband CRAZY when I try to blackberry while walking down the street. Over time we've tried to institute some rules I thought I would share.

1. Do not put the Blackberry on vibrate. It will just annoy you. I feel less stressed when I see the "red light" than I do when it vibrates every 10 seconds while I sit on the couch at night watching Lost. You can also get rid of the "green light" which I find distracting but others love.

2. Leave the Blackberry downstairs (or in the other room) when you go to bed. I can't tell you how many people sleep with their blackberries (on vibrate/loud) or look at them as soon as they get up in the morning. The morning is the only time you can get away with not responding so I say enjoy brushing your teeth and doing your makeup and check it when you are heading out the door.

3. Only read/respond to Blackberry in the morning from the car. Husband HATES when I start reading/responding before we've left in the morning. It can wait until you get in the car (or office if you can be that good so as not to peak).

4. Do not look at Blackberry during dinners out. This is a rule I break all the time. To be frank if I'm out to a restaurant before 9 pm on a Friday I'm on call so I have to keep an eye on it but I keep it in my purse and TRY not to think about it (failing miserably).

Apparently babies/toddlers love the Blackberries because they can type and have it light up with nothing sent since they are password protected. Other older kids flush them down the toilet. Sort of like what I did with my mom's cigarettes when I was a kid. Hmmm...

Bottom line is that whenever someone tells me they are "thinking about getting a Blackberry" I tell them to resist the urge. Even if you assure me "no one will bother you after hours" I just don't believe it.

I welcome others tips or self-imposed rules on Blackberry usage.

Editor's Note: Within 4 hours of writing the above post I violated rule #2 and brought the Blackerry to bed since I told the partner I would be available until midnight on this deal (but no later - way to put your foot down, Mommy, Esq.). What did you think - these were black letter laws? I think the exceptions prove the rules.


Anonymous said...

Just so you are forewarned, I will be teaching the twins how to throw portable electronic devices into the toilet. Think of it as an exercise for excellent gross motor skills as well as that old saying "Payback is a bitch"

Anonymous said...

OMG, I love grammy. :-)

T. said...


Yeah, I learned a few years ago to not schedule lunch with the Mommy, because I have to compete with that evil device. :-)

Bessa said...

I have my cell phone number on my firm voicemail and if it's urgent, I tell people to call me. That way, I never feel obligated to be "on call" by checking my BB all the time. Of course, if I'm in trial or something, I will check it before bed and first thing in the morning. Which, for you, would equate to during closings, I guess.
I have one baby (14 mos.) and number two on the way (due late Sept.), so I'm interested to see how you do the Big Law juggle. I'm currently making it work with a 2100 hour billable requirement, but it's hard.

Anonymous said...

Mommyesq., have you tested your boundaries yet? Do people actually freak out if you don't respond till the next morning, or just check one at night and that's it? How much of this is people pleasing and how much is absolutely necessary or you'll get ding'ed?
That's definitely not been my experience with my firm, but maybe we just have the casual California thing going on.
If I'm checking my BB during lunch -- it probably means your story has become tiresome. :)

Stacey said...

I have to assume that Mommy Esq. is not driving the car when checking the Crackberry. Do you think I can get my husband to drive me to work? I have just gotten one myself and agree that the vibrate/buzzing is annoying. Call me to tell me how to shut it off! I'm technically illiterate despite working in technology.

Anonymous said...

i love my blackberry for the times when i should probably be available but am not, e.g., a long shopping lunch on a slow work day... the problem is that the partners (and some clients) seem to use it as an excuse to expand the time you "should" be available. i know a lot of moms who keep a semi-regular schedule in biglaw and rely heavily on the BB for those times when others might expect them to be available, so hopefully it also gives you more flexibility regarding the hours you are in the office.

Krissy said...

Your post hit so close to home! It is like reading about the female version of my husband! I get so annoyed when he brings his BB to bed. :)