I carry two mobile phones, for most of the week. I have a personal phone which I use to call friends and family, to read my personal e-mail, access social media, and play games. My personal phone is almost always in my pocket, unless I'm in a work meeting or giving a presentation.
I also have a work phone. It is only used by clients or co-workers to call me about work-related matters, to access my work e-mail, and access our internal CRM systems. The nature of my job means that nobody typically calls me outside of working hours - so my work phone is in my pocket during the day, but very rarely at night.
Often, somebody will see two phones on my desk and ask the obvious question: "isn't one enough?" The recent talk about Silicon Valley executives carrying two phones got me thinking about this a little more.
There's no doubt that I'd prefer to only have one phone, however it isn't that big a deal. My work and personal lives rarely overlap, so I don't miss calls. Most of my work involves sitting at a desk with my phones on the desk, so I don't constantly have pockets full of mobile phones.
So why do I do it?
I want two phone numbers for the same reason I have two e-mail accounts - one for play, one for work.
My father has recently left his job. He's been there for over 20 years, so his work e-mail address was his first e-mail address, and his work-provided mobile phone was his first portable phone. Whenever somebody asked for his phone number or e-mail address, he gave out his work details.
Now, as he moves into retirement, he's left with the burden of updating his e-mail address with every person and organisation he wants to keep an online relationship with - from Facebook to overseas friends to his newspaper subscription. He's lucky that he's able to keep his phone number, so that's one less thing to change.
I won't be so lucky. When I move jobs, I'll most likely stay in an industry close to what I currently do - so my employer is not likely to let me keep access to my e-mail account or to let me take my phone number, along with all of the contacts and business benefits it brings.
As part of the generation who got mobile phones and e-mail addresses before getting a job, I didn't want to go through that hassle when I move on from my current job. Now, watching my dad go through the process as he wraps up his career, I'm glad I made that choice.
And, if I can let you in on a secret: Sometimes I carry three phones, so I can test stuff out for work. I'm the sole user of no less than five 3G/4G devices. Connectivity is actually rather useful.
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© Copyright 2006- Ross Poulton. All Rights Reserved unless explicitly defined.
Opinions expressed here are my own, and not those of my employer or any other party.