The world is your office, too

D

on't look now, but new technology -- new gadgets, software and services -- have made it possible for you to radically transform your life for the better.

For centuries, most jobs required a physical body present at a precise location during specific, pre-determined hours. You would "show up" for work, do your thing, then "clock out" and leave. After work, you would finally be allowed choice about where your body would go, and what you might do with your time.

The acceptance of this drab state of affairs has outlived its necessity. For millions of people, showing up at an office is just an old habit required by limitations that no longer exist.

The office is where your phone, fax machine and co-workers are, right? You need to be in the office to attend meetings, use company resources, meet with clients and have impromptu chats with co-workers, don't you? If you're an IT professional, you need to be physically present to service machines and monitor the data center, right? You need an office to gain access to Internet connectivity and electrical power, yes?

Well, probably not.

The most powerful reason you're required to show up at the office five days a week is that the people in charge can't imagine actually trusting staff outside the office. They can't imagine employees working without constant supervision. They can't imagine actually taking advantage of current technology to empower people, rather than imprison them.

So let's put this in the starkest of terms: You're sacrificing the best years of your life because of someone else's lack of imagination. Or maybe you happen to have a job that really does require your physical presence inside an office.

Screw that. It's time for you to start planning a future that doesn't involve living in a box. Or, at minimum, it's time to spend as little time inside, and as much time outside, as possible.

Portable computing replaced glass-room computing. Mobile computing replaced portable computing. And anywhere computing has replaced mobile computing. As I suggested in the headline of a recent Computerworld.com column, the anywhere computing era has dawned, and it's time for you to embrace it.

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What's the blog about?

"The World Is My Office" isn't just about mobile computing products and pocketsize gadgets. The blogosphere is already enriched by spectacularly great gadget and mobile-computing blogs like Engadget, Gizmodo, The Boy Genius Report, Sci Fi Tech, Textually, Picturephoning, Phone Scoop, MobileBurn, Unwired View, Shiny Shiny, Smart Mobs, MobileCrunch, The Red Ferret Journal and many others. I love these blogs and read them every day. I'm not going to duplicate their efforts here. But you can be sure I will cover bleeding edge devices that enable radical mobility.

The World Is My Office isn't just a "how-to" blog, either, although I'm committed to telling you how to work from anywhere every chance I get. I'll also reference and link to many of the great life-changing how-to blogs out there, including Lifehacker, 43 Folders, and others -- when their ideas support workplace choice.

Many blogs focus on new, Web-based services that enable mobile communication, access to your data and more. I'll experiment with the best of these services and tell you which can help set you free.

This blog is not just an experimental lifestyle blog, in the mode of, say, The Blog of Tim Ferriss or his wonderful book, The Four Hour Workweek, although many of the ideas and goals in that blog are shared by this one. The focus of this blog, however, is not to work less, read less or make less income, but rather to live your dream lifestyle, which I would bet doesn't include spending the majority of your waking hours inside an office building.

The World Is My Office is not just a travel blog, although I will report from the road as I travel across America and around the world, connecting, computing, communicating and, yes, blogging from the unlikeliest of places -- the unlikelier the better.

This blog is about freedom. It's a combination of all of the above kinds of blogs, but with the goal of living a life that enables you to work wherever, whenever and however you choose. I'm going to tell you why you should embrace anywhere computing, tell you how to do it and generally champion the idea for you, me and everyone.

What's with the name?

The English-language idiom, "the world is my oyster," has come to mean, according to The Free Dictionary, that one has "the ability and the freedom to do anything or go anywhere."

The phrase originates with Shakespeare, who, in The Merry Wives of Windsor, has Pistol threatening Falstaff with the phrase when Falstaff refuses to loan him money: "Why then the world's mine oyster, which I with sword will open."

Both modern meaning -- freedom -- and the Shakespearian implication -- the intent to take what is not given -- are both deliberately referenced in the title of this blog.

"The World Is My Office" asserts that modern technology enables us to liberate ourselves from our now unnecessary prisons of office, cubicle, commute, necktie, 9-5 drudgery and all the rest -- and calls on readers -- yeah, I'm talking to YOU -- to take control of your life and free yourself.

Who is this blog for?

If you enjoy working in an office or cubicle, demand uncomfortable shoes and clothes, love commuting and insist on bad coffee, this blog is not for you. It's for everyone else.

Maybe you're still in high school, college or have recently graduated. You want a career, but don't want to spend your best years under florescent lights. If you were born between the years 1981 and 1995, you're called by some a "Millennial" and by others a member of "Generation Y." If so, this blog is your bible. Your baby-boomer boss might not understand your tech-fueled, social, work-life-balance view of the world, but I do. And I'm going to help you navigate the slow-to-change corporate world and find your way to the lifestyle you instinctively know is possible.

Perhaps you're nearing retirement, but aren't ready to start wasting away in some gated community for seniors. You want to travel the world, but still make a great living. This blog is your guide.

Maybe you're an entrepreneur or small business person -- a consultant, contractor or service provider that is required to move around, travel and spend time outside. You've definitely come to the right blog.

Most likely, however, you're somewhere between these extremes, in mid-career with family to support and mortgage to pay. This blog is for you, too. I'll show you every day how to spend more time on family, friends and fun and less time in corporate lockdown.

Work during vacation? Sure, if you want to. But more importantly, this blog will show you how to take vacations during work.

After all, the world is your office. So put away that tie, grab your sunglasses, and let's get to work.

Mike Elgan blogging from:

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