The Bitterness Blog

Sloth is a Deadly Sin: Part 2, Phone Edition
May 6, 2009, 8:39 pm
Filed under: Work Bitching

It really aggravates me when employees call me and ask me to transfer them to another employee instead of calling that employee directly.  Every employee has a company email address, and it has an address book which lists the names and phone numbers of EVERY EMPLOYEE.  In addition to that, every desk phone and every phone located within the building has a directory on it that can be searched alphabetically by first or last name to obtain an employee’s four digit extension, and within the building, you only need to dial the extension number to call someone.  Lest you find yourself unsure of how to access the directory on the phone, there is a button on it conveniently labeled DIRECTORIES.  Above that button a word is printed to help guide you in the right direction.  It reads DIRECTORIES.  And that doesn’t even address the fact that you should memorize the numbers of the people you work directly with.

But what to do if you are calling from outside of the building and you are of the memory-challenged?  When you call the company you automatically get a recording that thanks you for calling, tells you that you may dial your party’s extension at any time, and tells you what button to press to search the directory for your party’s extension.  After that, the recording informs you that you may dial zero for the receptionist.

I frequently receive phone calls in which the caller says, “Can I have extension 5555” and I always wonder if this person realizes that it would be faster to dial the extension then to hit zero, wait for me to answer, listen to my spiel, and then have me transfer the call.  If you know the extension, why don’t you dial it?  But hey, these callers are presumably from outisde of the company, so let’s give them the benefit of the doubt that this is the first time they have ever called and right at the moment when the recording was explaining the options, a dog started barking or a car alarm went off and they didn’t hear the explanation.  Okay, fine.  My heart is not made of stone.

But I have less sympathy for employees who commit phone-related offenses.  I have a co-worker who frequently calls to say he will be late coming in to work.  When I say frequently, I mean an average of two times a week.  Why he is still employed when he has such immense difficulty making it to work on time I do not know.  He wants to let his boss know he is running late, which is probably a good instinct, but instead of just calling his boss directly, he calls me and asks me to transfer him to his boss.  I let it go the first few times and then on three separate occasions I gently suggested to him that perhaps he might want to make note of his boss’ number since he was calling so often and in case he called at some point when I was unable to answer the phone.  It has reached the point where I now know this employee’s home and cell numbers and I just let it ring when he calls.  For fun, I thought I would count how many times he called me before giving up and either calling his boss directly or using the directory option to look up his boss’ extension.  He called 10 times in less than 3 minutes.  Then he left me a voicemail asking me to forward the message to his boss.

Again, this begs the question:  at what point does it become easier to just do the legwork to get the number you need?  How many times is it worth calling in hopes that I will answer and do the minimal work involved for you before you realize that you are just wasting your own time and delaying your own phone call?  I guess for some people the answer is never.

How many days before my oft-calling co-worker would die of dehydration?

How many days before my oft-calling co-worker would die of dehydration?

Note:  This poem and illustration is by Shel Silverstein.  He apparently worked with a lot of dilatory jackasses too.


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