After 30 years of writing databases, employing programmers and owning a software company, I question if databases actually help or hinder our lives. Today, data is power. Those who have access to data and can use data information to get an advantage, can take a pivotal position in the choices of their lives.
Using data well could mean working less hours, and using the time for other interests, hobbies or family. It could also mean doing more work and achieving more goals. Using data well can also give a business or company leadership in decision making – because the facts that they can weigh up, are far more accurate.
With the advantages of data control, also comes higher demands. More demands have come from government, consumers, employees and users.
Each of these points, offer both positive and negative aspects – however, the question remains: Has data improved our life balance?
Quality of life has definitely improved in the last 50 years in relation to health, hours of work, workplace environments, and learning. Information and access to information has also brought with it many other issues, divorce, single parenting, depression, stress and a huge line of similar problems.
I believe in the most part that work life balance is actually up to us as individuals. Databases have given us knowledge. This knowledge has both advantages and disadvantages.
I am going to weigh up database information to Santa Claus to help you see my opinion.
Remember as a child, you believed in Father Christmas but, then when you were still fairly young, you were told he was not real. The advantage of believing was that you believed someone watched over you, cared for you, gave your gifts and encouraged you to do your best. Knowing that Father Christmas was not real led you to be more aware of what your parents did and sacrificed for you, and made you responsible for yourself. However at 16, I decided that Santa Claus (St Nicholas Claus) was real and that his spirit still brings Christmas to many people, but that I had to be responsible, and I am thankful that I had loving, supporting parents.
In short – I used my knowledge to make a life choice that would bring me balance. I believe databases give knowledge – the quality of the knowledge is totally dependent on the quality of the data. However what we do with this knowledge really is the answer to life balance. It is our choices that bring life balance, and we can make better choices if we have better databases. However the decision is ours.
Cate Schafing is a successful Australian business woman in the IT field serving as CEO of Accede Holdings Pty. Ltd. makers of Ezymeetz, ICE and Virtual Gym. She develops innovative new technological products as a programmer and entrepreneur. In gratitude for her success her company supports NFP’s by donating $5000 per month in programming time for NFP’s requesting work.