Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Feel Free to Leave Me a Message


I had a pretty busy three-day weekend.

And by "busy" I mean I worked (just counted) over 40 hours.

And by "weekend" I mean . . . We'll I guess I don't mean anything by that.

When I was doing my new-hire paperwork here they asked for "Emergency Contact Information" and I provided my wife's cellphone number, knowing that if I fall into the machinery and my shattered body is being rushed to some Emergency Room, Shana would probably like to know which Emergency Room that would be.

What I failed to understand was that "Emergency" as defined by this company is "Any time Garrick fails to answer his own cellphone within 3 rings."

Note: This company pays for neither line. I don't feel obligated to answer my cellphone ever. It is, after all, my cellphone. I do not belong to it.

Then, once I told Shana she needed to not answer unknown callers to her cellphone for the weekend, they started calling my home number. Late at night and early in the morning. While I was connected to email and fully reachable through that means.

My thought is, since I can't undo the damage done by giving out this information, my only recourse is to reduce the value of that information by making it false. So neither my home number nor Shana's cell number works as a way to contact me for anyone but friends and family. Sorry. I don't check that voicemail either.

A while back I declared "Voicemail Bankruptcy" and said I wouldn't be checking it due to the huge backlog. I've decided that I'm purposely not going to catch up on that.

If I miss a call, my phone displays it. There are extra steps in checking voicemail I can skip by returning the call or sending an email. I'd have to listen to over thirty messages at this point to hear the most recent.

This may sound extreme, but I think news of a sincere emergency should never be left in voicemail form. Emergencies are immediate. If the call isn't returned, voicemail be damned, within 15 minutes whatever life I was meant to save is probably gone already.

If it isn't an emergency, I can call back whenever and the information exchanged is immediate with that call. Live sentiment. Conversation in real-time. Speaking in "the Now".

Sure, this makes leaving a voicemail for me about picking up beer on my way somewhere kind of a wasted exercise. Towards resolving that, I've loaded a spare six-pack in the back of the car.

"Did you get my voicemail?"

"No, but I brought beer."

Even if the voicemail was about something totally unrelated to beer, that response works. For $8.99, I never need to check my voicemail again.

I do feel pretty bad that this leak of my personal contact information and my subsequent extreme screening methods to re-falsify that information with my most recent employer may make me slightly harder to reach. If you show up on my caller id, I'll answer. Or return your call if I'm in the bathroom.

I've been over how I feel about talking on the phone in there.

No comments: