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The former politician who drove Neil Mitchell to restrict after hours phone calls

Neil Mitchell
Article image for The former politician who drove Neil Mitchell to restrict after hours phone calls

Neil Mitchell says a former prime minister who called him at all hours of the night drove him to restrict his phone settings.

Senior lecturer at Deakin University’s School of Psychology, Dr Sharon Horwood, argues everyone should have the right to “disconnect” from work outside of work hours.

“Everybody needs to have their down time,” she said.

“If you don’t get enough down time … you’re not going to be as good an employee, eventually. You’re on the fast track to burnout.”

Neil Mitchell argues that in some jobs, including his own, that’s not possible.

“If it’s the sort of job you enjoy and you put a lot of your life into, you have to expect to be disrupted,” he said.

But he says two people drove him to restrict nighttime calls to only those in his ‘favourite contacts’ list.

“Only people listed in my favourites in my phone can get through. It blocks everybody else,” he said.

“This happened for two reasons: One of them, a former policeman I know, who is sadly no longer with us, got into the habit of calling me in the middle of the night when he was on nightshift.

“The other was Kevin Rudd. When he was prime minister, Kevin Rudd would ring you any time day or night.

“He would ring quite often at 2.30am or 3am.

“I’d say ‘Do you know what time it is?’. He’d say ‘Oh yes’ and then he’d go on with whatever he wanted!

“I think that was a bit of a power game.

“I said to him several times ‘If you wake me at 3am I’m losing probably 45 minutes sleep, and that is crucial’. But still, he did it.”

Press PLAY below to hear more about how Neil manages work calls out of hours

Press PLAY below to hear why Dr Horwood says every worker has a right to disconnect

Neil Mitchell
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