Opinion: Control reset


Working remotely brings with it a number of tangible and intangible benefits. The boss can’t walk by and see the fantasy football planner on our computer screen. We get to take coffee breaks with people that we, not HR, picked. And, nobody steals our lunch from the company refrigerator. Yet, like all things, with the apparent benefits come some measurable downsides. We have to buy our own K-cups. We have to clean our own bathrooms. Even more painful, we are dependent on the gods of the internet, and IT support is us. 

Folks are all too eager to control our choices. With each “upgrade” to many software applications, programmers “helpfully” reset our devices to the “preferred” defaults. Sure, we’d like them to send us as much junk mail as possible. It is already difficult to get through a telephone call with an essential client saying they’ve decided to wait on their order “until this is all over – maybe spring of 2021” while our 4 year-old is asking us to replace the batteries in her favorite toy. Now, we are getting “important” text updates from the retailer where we bought novelty Fourth of July socks in 2018.  It is good that they are washing their hands before packing their discounted Baby Yoda hosiery, but is it really an urgent update?    

Who gets to set, or reset, our settings? By using the phone, computer, internet provider or social media platform, did we really agree to surrender all freedom? Is it a natural consequence of humanity that our desire to regulate others increases even as we are feeling more powerless ourselves? Plus, the various application authorities are often in conflict, each demanding priority command over us, causing the whole system to lock-up. Do they have resetting control, or can we reasonably demand our own independent license?