Certified Legal Nurse Consultants, let me paint you a picture of pure bliss. Two weeks in the Piedmonte and Lake Districts of Italy, starting the trip in Milano for a little shopping to get over the jet lag. Good food, great wine, better company (Vickie of course) and no email, iPhone or contact with the outside cyber-world.
Having said that, let me make a confession. Vickie disconnects easier than I do. When we leave the country she leaves it behind. The office can contact her if it’s on fire but otherwise it needs to be of very high importance before they call. Vickie won’t check email because she figures it’ll ruin the vacation. We’ve been around people who walk, head down, through the Sistine Chapel responding to email and don’t get to enjoy the beauty above them.
We don’t go naked though when we leave the country. We have a “dumb” smart phone that we take with us. It’s a pretty good phone, but it isn’t connected to a data plan, it doesn’t play music and it won’t surf the web (I think it might accept text messages but I haven’t tried it) – it’s phone calls only. I will download my calendar so I know what city I’m supposed to be in (if this is Tuesday, this must be Cisterna d’Asti) and my contacts in case I need to call someone back home. Once I do that, we’re off. People can call us, if they know the number, but we won’t be checking email until we return home.
As a wise man once said, “therein lies the rub.” I’ve finally joined the culture of distraction and I had to travel all the way to Italy to realize it. I was standing with the other lost spouses outside of one of Milano’s many fitting rooms when I noticed that I was the only one without a device in my hand. (CAVEAT: an Italian man without a cell phone is an outcast. I’ve never seen an Italian man without at least one cell phone – the average is two on the table at lunch and the most I’ve seen was five.)
So there I was, people looking at me like I was lurking around, up to no good – an obvious vagrant or ne’er-do-well. Noticing that I was left out of the fun, and to salvage my techie reputation, I reached for my phone only to realize that I was reaching for just a phone – not a pocketful of fun. I pulled it out anyway (the phone) and pretended to look up something important (like my flight home).
As the day progressed, I became aware that whenever I had a moment free, my hand would unconsciously drift towards the (useless) phone, a holdover of behavior from home where checking email, text messages and the weather is a national obsession – but not one I realized I shared, until that day.
You’ve heard the saying, “wherever you go, there you are.” There I was, addicted to what I’ve warned others about – distraction and the phantom rattle. For the rest of our days in Milano, I struggled with my problem and bravely mastered it before we left for Piedmonte. I didn’t reach for the phone again until we came home.
Back in the States, though, my behavior altered back again, probably due to my environment. The other night at dinner with Vickie, her twin brother Vince and two of the CLNC® Mentors, Vince commented how much fun it was to be at a dinner table with four people who were all on their phones at once. He made a good point. We put our phones down and picked up the wine instead.
Devices are wonderful – for staying connected to your legal nurse consulting business while you’re on the road, in the car or at the grocery. Plus there’s following football scores while attending the ballet or just sitting around with good friends at dinner and Facebooking about it in real time. Vickie jokes with me that checking your email under the dinner table is like picking your nose in public (What, me?). None of my CLNC® amigos would ever want to be seen doing that.
I strongly recommend that all Certified Legal Nurse Consultants have a smart phone for their legal nurse consulting business. Just remember, that there’s a time and place for everything and not everywhere is the place and now isn’t always the time.