Gone but Not Unplugged

A good summer vacation takes planning, we're often told: Before you head out the door, you need a sense of where you're going, how you're going to get there and where you're staying.

And wait -- don't forget to find out where you can check your work e-mail.

Travelocity found that 40 percent of its members surveyed confessed to doing just that when they're ostensibly "getting away from it all."

Statistics such as this are often brought out as evidence of the stressfulness of modern work life, but for many people, there's something much worse than being plugged in all the time: not being plugged in. Roughly one-third of those in Travelocity's survey said they found it more stressful to be out of touch.

And that's where the real trouble begins, depending on just how bad someone feels about having the cell phone or BlackBerry taken away. "Feelings of depression or anxiety when something or someone shortens your time or interrupts your plans to use the computer" made No. 7 on a list of 10 warning signs of computer addiction put together by James Fearing.

Then again, maybe people are just "addicted" to their paychecks.

-- Mary Ellen Slayter