Big Brother Is Watching

I spent less than five percent of my work hours last month in meetings, not even an hour. That is if Microsoft is to be believed.

My perception is quite different, but then I don’t confide in my electronics. Why add to the database someone is creating about me? I don’t use Microsoft’s calendar that comes with my work email.

Or rather, one of my work emails. My job in Germany required four new email accounts, using four different services. All came with calendar features built in. 

Since I already was using a personal calendar, I rarely, if ever, made an entry into those ones. Given the varied hours of work it made more sense to mix business and pleasure in one spot – and it wasn’t going to be the work calendar.

In the same email that told me how few meetings I had attended (which in reality is nine recurring weekly ones,and others as required), I was shown who I had had the most email exchanges with. This can be misleading. Email is not the only method of communication, and is not necessarily a measure of productivity.

I apparently also had 22 quiet days without significant activity outside working hours. I’m not sure who set my working hours to make that evaluation. I work with a lot of Europe-based colleagues, and tend to communicate with them in the late morning, their time. That is before 7 a.m. where I now live. Does that count as outside work hours? What about my checking work email in the evening, just in case? If I can see from the subject line that the email can wait untoil the morning, does that count as work?

I’d shut off the notifications and reminders, but there doesn’t seem any way to do that. Whoever set up the account gave Big Brother permission to let me know he is watching.

So I just live with it and ignore the praise for my work habits or the reminders to respond to an email. (Just because some algorithm thinks a particular email should be an action item doesn’t make it so.) Big Brother can keep watching me. I’ll just try and make sure there is nothing there except what I want him to see.

What about you? Do you have the same annoyances? How do you respond?

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