Evie Rosen has worked ten years to get to where she is now at her law firm. She has just been called in front of the partnership committee. She figures they are about to tell her that she has just made partner. She is practicing what she will say upon the announcement.
Their faces are grim. "Evie, do you see all these papers on the desk?" Evie is caught off-guard. What could this possibly have to do with anything? She nodded yes.
"Do you have any idea how many papers are here?" Evie shook her head no.
"Ten thousand. Actually more than that. Do you know what is in those papers?"
They proceed to tell her that the papers are the more than one hundred and fifty thousand personal emails she has sent while at work over the past eight years.
There had been complaints that the servers were slow, so they had hired consultants to look into the problem. And they found that employees were abusing their time at work by sending personal emails.
Evie Rosen was the worst offender. They calculated that she sent at least 75 personal emails a day, on average, over that period of time.
And so instead of being made partner, Evie is fired. On her way out the door, humiliated, they tell her to hand them her Blackberry. It is owned by the company. It had become her lifeline.
Evie goes home, stunned at what has happened. She's been looking at this wonderful little apartment in her neighborhood in NYC she was thinking of buying once she made partner. Now she no longer has a job. There will be no new apartment.
Her life had revolved around making partner at Baker Smith, working long hours overseeing junior associates, and attending legal education classes at her firm. It had become her life.
Evie abruptly decides to take a sabbatical from her online activities. No more checking Facebook and email constantly. She will stop waiting for incoming texts and messages. Cold turkey. No more internet.
She is thrust into a non-technological world that she is utterly unprepared for. Everything is done on the internet. How will she manage?
But she does. And eventually, she thrives.
She learns that she had spent so much time reading about other people's lives, that she had let her own lie fallow.
Evie starts to take long walks in the park. She begins to notice things. Things she would never have noticed if she'd had her Blackberry in hand. For she would have been consulting social media every few minutes.
Technology is a wondrous thing. But not if it takes the place of living.
No longer does she Google everything about a potential date. She wings it.
Her Jewish grandmother wants nothing more than for Evie to find a good man and marry before she is gone. Now no more perusing dating sites.
But when one door closes, almost miraculously a window opens. And Evie finds that losing her job and the possible partnership was the best thing that could have happened to her.
She comes to realize that practicing law is not what makes her heart go pitter-pat. She has time to reflect on her life.
Evie manages to find both love and a new creative career. She makes her grandmother a happy woman.
But if she hadn't cut ties with constant social media, she would never have found her new loves.
Technology is here to stay. I daresay I don't know what I'd do without the internet.
But there comes a time when you really must go out and truly smell the roses. Listen to the birds. Watch the seasons change.
Evie's self-imposed sabbatical from social media at first sets her adrift. But then everything changes. Dreams she didn't even realize she had slowly come to fruition. All without social media to guide her there.
Upon first glance at this book, I did not think it was one I would enjoy reading. But Friedland's sharp writing and quick wit surprised me, and I read it with enthusiasm.
As Evie comes to understand: "Just because you unplug your phone doesn't mean you can also unplug from life."
This is a story about how what seems to be the worst thing that can happen, somehow becomes the best thing. It is about finding love in all the right places.
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