4 months ago I sat with a Human Resources representative in a small cluttered room and made my job loss official. I signed the necessary documents, said my final bit and surrendered the tools of my trade. That included, of course, the SIM card to my company cell phone.
I got to keep the phone, along with a few others acquired during my too-brief stint with Nokia. I had my pick of an N75, and E61i or a couple of entry-level phones. The problem was, no cell service.
That didn’t have to be an obstacle. I had signed my wife and 2 boys up for AT&T service and for the most part I’ve been pleased with it. Adding another number to the account would be as simple as a few clicks on a website. Or I could have easily opted for a pay-as-you go plan, even one that let me use one of my existing phones.
But my hope at the time was that I’d be re-employed soon and it might make sense to be patient. After all, why add another expense at a time when I needed to look at cutting my outflow?
Yet here I am, four months later– no job, no phone.
I miss the first, but increasingly find myself less concerned about the latter. Prior to joining Nokia I’d never owned a functioning cell phone and had somehow managed to get by. Sure, there are always times when they come in handy but I still struggle to see them as a necessity.
Companies like Nokia bank on people with much different attitudes, especially those in developing regions where there’s still significant potential. I used to cast a cynical eye on these markets, thinking that flooding Africa with cell phones was the last thing needed. But then I was made aware of the empowerment these little boxes accorded people in remote regions. As long as service is available, a cell phone can enable a farmer in the middle of nowhere to find buyers for his produce. It can bring educational opportunity to people who might otherwise never see it. There are so many possibilities.
So far in my shrinking corner of the world I’ve managed to make it these past few months without a phone of my own. But I’ll admit that the main thing keeping me from borrowing my wife’s is its glossy pink finish and ornamental wrist strap.
Maybe it’s time to get her another phone…