Call Someone Who Cares
When I change the outgoing message on my voicemail to inform you I’ll be out of the office for a few days, is it too much to ask that you kindly do not leave a message?
Because quite honestly, I don’t give a shit what you’re calling me about, I’m not going to return your call.
If you’re lucky, I may have left a number of someone who gives a shit. Just not me, if only for those few fleeting days of disconnection.
And when I disconnect, I fight the urge to look at the phone as it sits on its dock at my desk. When the green “charged” light flickers to notify me a call came through, I freak out inside just a little.
It means I’d have take my headphones off or put down the book I’m reading or pause the Michael Cera flick I happen to be enjoying just to see who dared disturb my “me” time.
Should the message indicator appear on the top of my phone, I fight with every fiber of my lazy being to press “1” and listen. And I’m a glutton for punishment knowing the message will undoubtedly begin the same:
“Uh, hi. I know your message said you’re off today but . . .”
Leave me alone.
“#”, skip the message.
What part of “I’ll be out of the office” don’t you understand?
Psst, by the way, I don’t care.
What’s funny is when I see the same number call back-to-back. Maybe I spoke too fast and they couldn’t jot down my co-workers phone number fast enough. But at least a message wasn’t left.
Because if there was one, I wouldn’t want to hear it anyway.
“Hi, this is Brian and I’ll be out of the office August 13, returning on the 20th. If you need assistance call . . .”
And if the same number called me the 16th, 17th and 18th, to see if I changed my plans and came back early, that sets me off too.
Maybe it’s the tone of my outgoing message I need to specify:
Cheery: leaving the message with a perma-grin on my face, straining through a forced smile. See example above.
Curt: “Hello, I’ll be out of the office until the 20th. Please call _______ for assistance at _____.”
Insincere: “I am sooooo sorry I can’t take your call as I’m away, but your call is sooooo important . . .”
Too Much Information: “Hi this is Brian and I’ll be out of the office to recover from my vasectomy. I’ll be busy icing down my testicles on the couch and won’t be able to reach my phone. Please call ______ if you need assistance.”
Lying Through My Teeth: “Hello, you’ve reached Brian. I will be out of the country and unable to receive phone calls in the rainforests of Peru. The tribes in the area should not be exposed to technology like cell phones . . .”
Brutally honest: “This is Brian, I am taking a few days off to recoup from your inane requests that I do not have the power to fix anyway but still take a perverse pleasure listening to because it brightens my day. Call someone else that gives a shit. Bye!”
Or maybe I should just change it to say, “Brian is off for a few days. Is a little peace too much to ask for?”