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Often requires a 24/7 workweek


When I told my kids that I was going to write a column about their 24/7 workweeks, they looked at me like I was a Neanderthal. Most of them have been available by text, email, Facebook, Twitter, Messenger, cell or other means 24/7 from their bosses or colleagues for as long as they can remember.

So why write about it now?

Maybe it was because both Nancy and I recently attended our 50-year high school reunions and found most every one of these 68-year old people retired or is headed that way.

I might be working harder now than just about any of them with my book projects, but that is a topic for another column.

Most of those classmates had jobs that required 40 hours a week and few of them were accessible to their bosses during off hours as much as today’s workers.

In my case, it seemed like I have always worked 24/7. But it was a lot different back in the 20th century.

As a 24-year old newspaper publisher in Lander in the 1970s with three young kids, I was already working this 24/7 system, albeit without a laptop or a cell phone.

Because I was in the news business, we often packed up the brood and off we would go on assignment. We tried to make a family adventure out of whatever event our newspaper was trying to cover.

My wife Nancy, who has mercifully put up with me for 49 years, usually enjoyed these trips. She saw so little of me (well, at least enough to ultimately produce four kids!), she really appreciated the chance to spend some time with an adult.

I still feel guilty about not spending enough time with our kids, especially the three oldest during their formative years.

They have all consoled me by claiming they really enjoyed all these oddball trips and jaunts.

So, how has all this evolved to today?

In my case, I still operate a couple of businesses and serve on a number of boards and am involved in several church, civic and charity projects.

The people who deal with me know that I am pretty much available any time.

I have also learned that email and text messaging seem to work best in today’s “connected” world.

Technology is constantly evolving. As my friend’s 16-year old daughter said to her dad: “Email is so 2010!” Today, the cell phone is the tool for everything and texting is the rage, even for execs.

One summer we went to Flaming Gorge Reservoir in July with 14 members of our brood. Our son-in-law from Dallas set up his laptop on the roof of a floating motel room called a boatel and worked on a $400 million project for his French cell phone company employer.

We snapped a photo of him sitting there, with the lake and the boats in the background. He had a big towel over his head and laptop so he could get the work done out there in the sun.

From where my boat sat in its slip, we could look across the way at a boat with the name Home Office on it. My boat (sold last year) was named Yachta Relax, which described our primary intent with it.

My Home Office friends used their laptops, cell phones and the Internet to conduct their business interests from the lake. To quote them: “Our customers and colleagues don’t know we are on a boat or dressed in swimsuits. And we get a lot done.”

Our daughter, Shelli Johnson, created, a company that got 40 million Internet hits one year and twice was presented the Webby for being the world’s best tourism web site. She has three kids but I always got text messages and emails from her at all hours every day. This is the world of the modern business exec.

She also says the term 24/7 is old news. She says her generation is used to this kind of life and it just takes baby boomers a little longer to catch up. And here I am trying to show off how techno-savvy I am. Ouch.

So, is this 24/7 work plan something we should celebrate? Or complain about?

My vote is that these modern tools allow us to be in places we want to be (the lake) and with people we want to be with (our families). And still be able to respond to situations and get work done.

Check out Bill Sniffin’s columns at He is a longtime Wyoming journalist from Lander who has written six books. His newest is “Wyoming at 125,” which is coming out in September. His books are available at


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