Maybe it’s because I’m a bit of a taciturn, but I really hate phones as a technology, and I get annoyed with vendors at work who prefer to handle things through phone calls rather than e-mail. I consider phones to be a total productivity killer in the workplace. Not that I have any particular love for e-mail — as technology goes, thanks in part to spammers, it’s fast becoming another obnoxious medium of communication, but it’s still better than a phone. These days my preferred method of communication is Instant Messaging, but it’s hard to get anyone over forty to use it.
Why pick on the phone though? Alexander Graham Bell didn’t invent it, after all, with the sole purpose of annoying people in the future, so I should be grateful. But the phone is like a crying child. It demands attention. Most of the time I ignore it, but shortly after, the dreaded blinking light indicating a message. Nine times out of ten this is a sales goober trying to sell me something I don’t need, so a quick key to delete it fixes the problem. But to get there I have to pick up the phone, hit the voice mail button, enter my code, go through the menu, and delete the message. If it’s something I’m currently dealing with, call back. There’s a very high probability that person will not be at their desk or otherwise able to answer the phone. Leave a message on their end. Get a call back. Rinse. Repeat. It amazes me there are still people who are fine with wasting time and energy in this manner all to avoid sending an e-mail.
I suspect they do this because people often don’t respond to e-mail. I know I am guilty of this sometimes, often not intentional, just forgetting to get back to someone. Other times I think there are some people that just like talking to a person via voice, because e-mail seems impersonal. But I find e-mail easier and less stressful to deal with than a ringing phone, or blinking message light. And that’s not even counting the amount of time it took to write this blog post complaining about it.
What’s your office pet peeve?