Phone Calls

Some people don’t like to make phone calls, and some do; some are brief, and some will keep you on the line for an hour – or more. But what is up with the new trend of voice mail?

I know you’re thinking, “New? VM has been around forever!” Yes, it has; and while it was sometimes used to screen callers, or to answer if someone was out of the office or away from home, now it appears to be an extremely annoying tool which is highly overused.

What are the odds that, every single time you call a particular person, he is “away from” his desk or “with a client”? For example, this morning I left a message for someone, and six hours later still hadn’t heard back – the receptionist said she was “a very busy person”. Well. Sure, that explains it. Since when is someone unable to return a call during the same business day? Is this person THAT important? THAT busy? I doubt it.

I’ve worked in offices; I know there is often plenty of downtime. Some people, sure, work straight through their eight hours with nary a break – but those are usually the ones who call you back.

There are a number of places I occasionally call where they obviously use their voicemail to simply answer the phone. You know, the ones that ask you to press this number for that option, ad finitum, until finally the person you’re trying to reach has recorded the inevitable: “I’m sorry, I’m away from my desk” or whatever.

So, if they’re always “away” when you call, what exactly are they DOING?? How can someone have a desk, but never use it? Maybe they don’t know HOW to pick up the phone and say, “Hello”? Maybe they don’t know how to push buttons to call someone back? How the heck did they get their job in the first place?

I used to laugh at job application questions when they asked if one could “operate” a multi-line phone or a calculator. Well, duh, right? Apparently not; must be a lot of really stupid people in the world who eventually get hired somewhere.


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