Yes, I know, you're just sending a quick message to T-Bone. And Sherri needs to know what color nail polish you're wearing to the cocktail party on Friday. Such matters are pressing, and the world will stop spinning if you don't respond within 30 seconds.
But employees of the world, put down those cell phones/Crackberries/Treos -- whatever you're texting on -- between 9 and 5 (or whatever your work hours are. This includes you, Walgreen's cashiers and Jewel Deli Workers).
My good friend Manager X related his story of the week: "I had to talk to two of my employees about their texting at work -- because whenever I passed their desks -- and I mean every time -- there they were--" [makes gesture of head bent over a crackberry, typing away with thumbs.]
"How'd they take it?" I asked.
"One was polite, and promised it won't happen again. The other said, 'But I-- It was just this once!!' and I reminded him that, no, it wasn't 'just this once.' He was upset, but I need him to do his job--not talk to his friends all day."
You're being paid to work, think, and solve problems. During the workday, your personal communication device needs to be stashed away. Text on your personal time -- at lunch, or if you step outside for a break. I promise you that T-Bone and Sherri can wait to hear from you, and the world will keep spinning.
Oh, and outside of work? No texting while driving, either. It's dangerous, and you're holding up the 3,000 people behind you. I've seen it.
A version of this article originally appeared in the Chicago Examiner.