Tuesday, June 20, 2006

(link>) “What do you think I am, a GPS tracking unit?”--On the drawbacks of modern telecommunications

This is nothing new to college graduates: No matter how hard you try to catch your mistakes, you will miss a few, so it’s best to have someone else proofreader your term papers.

The same thing is true in the “real” world: No matter how carefully I read over a document that I’ve typed, I’m bound to miss a thing or two. (Isn’t it amazing, how the brain automatically “sees” a word that I’ve somehow managed not to actually type, in my haste, and how I “read” the letter “s,” even though it’s not actually on the page?) It’s always a good thing when a boss scrutinizes a document before allowing an assistant to (e-)mail it.

I don’t deny that I make mistakes, and, sometimes, they’re whoppers. I try always to apologize for my errors, as well I should.

But I have my limits.

“Get me so-and-so.”

“Yes, sir.”

I dial the number, and am “entertained” by one of the longest Voice Mail messages I’ve ever heard. I leave a message.

Knowing my boss, I go immediately to the next phone number listed for the same person in my homemade database—over 450 entries, and I’m still adding to it almost daily—and start dialing.

Once upon a time, you dialed one phone number. If the person didn’t answer, there was nothing you could do, and that was the end of it.

Then came answering machines, then Voice Mail, then cell phones (not necessarily in that order). Now, when the boss wants to speak to someone, I have to track him/her down like a bloodhound seeking a suspect. I dial the numbers for three different offices, then the cell phone number, then the home number. It never ends. And the boss has no sympathy. He wants who he wants when he wants him/her.

“Where’s so-and-so?”

“I left a message.”

“That’s not enough.”

“I’m dialing the next number, sir.”

“I want so-and-so.”

“I can’t conjure him out of the air, sir!”

“Don’t raise your voice.”

“Then don’t insult me.”

If it’s my fault, I’m perfectly willing to apologize. But if it’s not my fault, don’t you dare imply that I’m not doing my job!!!!!!!!


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