March 12, 2013, 8:44 PM — "Reliable transportation needed." Anyone else remember want ads with that line? The jobs in question might not have required much of a resume, but they sure did require proof of a solid vehicle to get you to work on time. Was that fair? Maybe not, but it was the price you paid to make a buck.
Moving ahead to 2013, and I am wondering whether we will soon see "own iPad required" on more want ads in the near future, as more jobs become reliant on technology. If so, will workers complain -- or comply?
A recent story over on CITEWorld does a great job explaining how a car dealership replaced costly, bulky information binders with iPads, with predictable successful results. But a part of the story, about the employer deducting the cost of the iPads from salespeoples' paychecks, definitely struck a wrong note with several commenters, who expressed "alarm" and hoped that employees having to pay for their own technology doesn't become the norm.
In these days of some technology companies offering free lunches, free employee buses and company-supplied laptops I can see why some people might react negatively to a plan requiring employees to purchase their own devices. But my guess is that the trend may become more normal than not, especially for the many businesses who don't have the margins of profit or competition for employees that high-flying tech outfits do. Maybe turbo iPads will become the fast pizza delivery car of the near future.
I remember in my summer job during college having to pay for my own paint brushes, a certain expensive brand that we had to have in order to work for a certain painting company. To us, it was worth it because the pay was good and the company had a lot of business. We had to buy our own certain brand of white painter jeans too. The company logo red T-shirts were free.
I'm sure there are still many people who work in restaurants or other jobs where they have to buy a uniform, usually with their own cash. Fair? Or a cost you are willing to pay to get and keep the job? Often, it depends on the person and the situation. And I think in the future, having to bring your own device to work might become a necessary thing, and not something seen as worker empowerment.
Already iPads and other devices are becoming commonplace in retail environments, and my guess is that knowing your way around a tablet, a smartphone and some basic apps is going to become as necessary as having that reliable vehicle was in the past. Not every company has an IT budget or a strategy that makes it worthwhile to buy employees devices. But almost any business could likely profit with more technology in employees' hands. Again I think a lot depends on the situation; but I think that BYOD could end up meaning a lot more than just being able to read email on your smartphone at home. It might mean the difference between having a job or not.
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