Friday, March 28, 2014

Lack Of Communication


No matter how much you plan there are some days when the phone is just not your friend. Not only for what does and doesn’t happen over the phone but because of what happens while you are on the phone. Being connected to three phone lines during the work day, there are moments when I am working on something just waiting for one of them to ring like a communications form of Russian roulette.

It all began in the morning when my cell phone decided not to ring and sent someone directly to voice mail. Understand that I always answer my phone and when this happens it is highly annoying at the least and, when it is a call I am waiting for or generally a call I should take, it bugs the crap out of me. That was just the beginning. When the phone chimed to let me know I had a message (about ten minutes later) I picked up my office line and tried to return the call… voicemail. It would have been nice to have answered the phone as I was unable to get a hold of the publication for the rest of the day.

As the no ring scenario was playing out, I was also sending meeting requests and trying to fit all the pieced together to get another call scheduled for the early afternoon. Juggling three time zones is not as challenging as people want you to believe. With all times and the dial in confirmed it was stored away on my calendar until the reminder popped up to alert me of what I had done earlier in the day. I dialed in and found that one person was missing… can’t staff an interview when only half of the people show up. So back to the beginning. It turned out to be an email issue but I think the phone put it up to the task.

Two hours later, staffing a call to help out a double booked colleague, and this time the reporter was not on the line. At this point I was getting quit frustrated having had absolutely no success on the phone. Finally, toward the end of the day the rescheduled times were coming around and my colleague, for some reason, had me cover the call again despite no conflicts during the new time. We are all busy so I dialed in and everyone was on the line!

Thirty minutes later and the other interview, the one I scheduled, was about to begin. The problem was that the first conversation was running long. Time to multitask and get all forms of communication going at once. I got the second reporter on standby and as soon as the first call ended I brought in the next interviewer and pushed through the next thirty minutes. After over an hour on the phone and multiple follow ups (mostly sending promised files/documents) it was time to circle up with my colleague to make sure everyone was on the same page.

However, there was a slight problem as, while I was on the phone, they decided to duck out the back door and not let anyone know that they was leaving. I literally asked around and no one knew where they were or when they left. It’s one thing if you have to leave a little early, I understand that, but you have to let people know that you are heading out the door (emergency situations being the obvious exception). Well, as I found out later in a 45 minute delayed reply to my text, that they had to be somewhere at 6. No emergency, no client meeting, just somewhere, someplace where their phone is rendered useless and a lackadaisical mentality is acceptable.

On the verge of demolishing most of the phones in the office, my departure for the week was overdue. I packed my things, walked away from my desk, and assisted one of the younger people in the office as they cleaned out their desk, turned in their key, and headed out the door for the final time. I know that feeling and I really felt for them as they packed up their personalized space into a few small bags. I forgot about the phone issues and the long day as I tried to offer my limited wisdom and encouragement. Sometimes things aren’t so bad at the end of the day when you know that the next day has the potential to be much better.