Next stop, insanity

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Speech is silver, brevity is golden

Don't you hate it when your colleagues calling you for business purposes engage in the exchange of terms of endearment instead of getting down to the business? To me, it is a violent disregard of phone etiquette.

Take this example. Some time ago I worked with a team in India which was coordinated from the US by this genius named Anand. Since I was leading the team, people felt free to molest me by calling at 11PM whenever there was the slightest hint of a problem. So, as you can imagine, I didn't exactly let out an ecstatic squeal when I got a call from Anand. I would rather be done with the call as quickly as possible and get back to my previously scheduled programming.

When I get his call on my cell phone, I do see his name. So I know who is calling. Moreover, none of my friends call me at that time because they know what I would be doing – washing dishes, of course. So I pick up the call and say, “Hey, what's up?"

Here we have to stop for a moment and think about what the opening statement means.

If I say, “Hi, this is TD,” it means “I don't know who the hell you are so state your name and purpose."

If I say, “Hi?” it means “I know who you are but I can't imagine what perverted reason you could have for calling at this ungodly hour”

But if I say, “Hey, what's up?” it means, “I know who you are and why you are calling, so cut the bull and get to the point.”

But apparently Anand and I were not on the same page, or in the same book for that matter, when it comes to talking on the phone.

Here goes the conversation:
Me: Hey, what's up?
Anand: Hi... TD?
Huh? Unless my months-old son's voice started cracking reeeeally early, it has to be me!
Me: Ya, hi. So?
Anand: Hi, this is Anand
I KNOW that. I read it in 24pt typeface on my phone
Me: Hi Anand.
OK, NOW can we get to the point?
Anand: How are you?
Jesus F. Christ! Get to the effing point al-effing-ready

See what I mean? I hope people start respecting other people's time. It doesn't apply to friends though. I am happy if friends waste my time.

Oh, before I stop, I have to give you this gem.

Anand calls. I figure, if I announce to him I know who is calling, we can hit the ground running, so to sepak.

Me: Hi Anand. What is the issue.
Anand: (pause)Ya, Hi, this is Anand.
I already said that! Jesu... You know the rest of the story.


  • hahahaha...u coudlnt be further from the turth. I have plenty of Indian colleagues in Singapore and Malaysia who do that. And the really sad thing is that in answer to the "how are you?", if I'd said, "i just found out I have brain tumour and my boyfrnd just announced he is gay and my car has been stolen. So, how are u?" , they couldn't care less. They'll just say, oh good, I am fine, thanks!


    By Blogger freespirit, at Thu Jul 27, 01:46:00 AM 2006  

  • lol.. that was an interesting convo.. been through it a lot of times... so i kno exactly how it feels... there s this boss of mine who actually does that.. at times he s got nothin to say n there s this dead air on call.. Dayam (well thats a totally dif story)...

    By Blogger Apy, at Thu Jul 27, 01:59:00 AM 2006  

  • My pet peeve: Me: hello? Caller: Hi, what are you doing?

    None of your business. What do you want?

    By Blogger gnightgirl, at Thu Jul 27, 12:57:00 PM 2006  

  • Nice post.made me laugh cause it has happenend to me.

    By Blogger starry nights, at Thu Jul 27, 01:48:00 PM 2006  

  • We must work in the same office.

    "Hi Tai speaking, what can I do for you?

    "Uh...this is Alice?"

    "Yes, how can I help you?"

    "Good. Is Tai there?"

    sometimes I wonder what the point of speaking in the first place!

    By Blogger Tai, at Thu Jul 27, 02:32:00 PM 2006  

  • I face it almost everyday. I guess everybosy would appreciate it more if you straightway get to business .at times i get so irriated that i ask them bluntly "Hi,what the purpose of the call?".

    I wish people here start respecting other's time .

    By Blogger Vj, at Thu Jul 27, 04:22:00 PM 2006  

  • freespirit:
    Ya, that is the problem. They don't really care how we are. It is a useless conversation just out of habit

    Haha. If boss does it, you can't even tell him to get the hell off the phone!

    Next time somebody asks that tell them you are hunting tarantulas :)

    Glad to know I am not the only victim

    "Is tai there?"
    "If tai is there, why are you answering the phone?"

    that's probably the best approach

    By Blogger Twisted DNA, at Thu Jul 27, 05:40:00 PM 2006  

  • hahah!
    well yup its so true and the surprising part is I do this quite often too..not realising this cld be irritating..heheh...Now i know I need to get straight to the pt!

    By Blogger Ekta, at Thu Jul 27, 07:09:00 PM 2006  

  • and to add on...these are the people who call u either in the middle of deep sleep or just when ur about to get into a important presentation..!!uurgg!

    By Blogger Anand, at Thu Jul 27, 09:25:00 PM 2006  

  • Dont remind me. Indians are plain loco. Most of them dont even know how to leave messages on the answering machine. I get a - hello - hello and then a blank.

    Christ! and then they call in the middle of the freakin' night and start mouthing off as if we are up 24/7.

    Aaman is fine by it but his whole family is woken up at three in the morning.

    Off shoring sucks because of these 'Gavars'

    By Anonymous dee, at Thu Jul 27, 10:05:00 PM 2006  

  • ekta:
    If it is a friend, I won't mind shooting the breeze. I am sure your friends won't mind too

    anand and dee:
    Exactly! Calls in the middle of the night are the worst. It make me so mad when the guy asks, "are you sleeping?". I want to say, "I don't sleep. I am a freaking owl"

    By Blogger Twisted DNA, at Thu Jul 27, 11:13:00 PM 2006  

  • Hehe, familiar thing here. And this is becoming too common to ask "how are you?", when both knows it is about some issue.

    But I do sympathise with you..:P

    By Blogger greensatya, at Fri Jul 28, 02:08:00 AM 2006  

  • lol...this dude in my class did that to me...calls me in the middle of the night..and (after the usual hey its me.blah blah..were u asleep? blah blah...) asks, "so how was the class today??"

    F*#King P#* were in the class!!!


    By Blogger Nachi, at Fri Jul 28, 04:32:00 AM 2006  

  • Very true that Indian companies need to teach their employees some phone etiquette against the phoney ones they usually have.The worst one I use to have was a call at the middle of the night with an apologetic "Hi Bishu,were you sleeping ?".Apart from the fact that me sleeping a second earlier has nothing to do with what comes next,this irritates me twice-fold.First you had waked me up when I might've been dreaming about Ms Jolie.And secondly are you trying to make sure that I'm not a somnambulist who can answer the call while jogging in his sleeping pyjamas with eyes wide shut.Everytime I had to fight hard to supress my immediate reaction of "WTF,cut the crap and tell me what's your issue is."
    Nice post TD.

    By Blogger Bishu, at Fri Jul 28, 04:54:00 AM 2006  

  • Telephone conversations drive me up a wall...

    Me: "Can you give me a sec, I'm kinda of busy"

    Other person: "Yeah sure"..but they keep rambling on"

    Me: "huh?, what were you saying"

    Other person: "Weren't you listening, do you hear what I just said?"

    Me: WTF.?? Am I gonna be quizzed?

    By Blogger Mary Poppins, at Fri Jul 28, 06:59:00 AM 2006  

  • Whew! I was frustrated just reading this! I completely understand.

    Don't THEY understand that with caller ID practically no one has to announce themselves anymore?

    I also like, "Do you need my number?" Hello - caller ID?!?!?!? Usually, I just let them give it to me and just say: "uh huh, yeah, uh huh, OK!"

    By Blogger Momo, at Fri Jul 28, 12:34:00 PM 2006  

  • Can you just turn your phone off at night so they can't bug you?

    By Blogger Jamie, at Fri Jul 28, 01:00:00 PM 2006  

  • Here is my all time worst (or best) work phone conversation:

    Me: Good morning, you've reached stupid workplace, this is Heddy speaking.

    Caller: Yes, can I speak to Heddy please?

    Me: One moment.

    Me: transferring caller to voicemail.

    Voicemail: Heddy is unavailable right now, please leave a message.

    By Blogger H.E.Eigler, at Sat Jul 29, 09:24:00 AM 2006  

  • muahaha. :P hi! lol

    By Anonymous heather, at Sun Jul 30, 09:26:00 AM 2006  

  • LOL!!! :--)

    That was soo effunny!! :--)

    I think I sometimes, do that, inadvertantly too, only sometimes.

    By Blogger Saranya Kishore, at Mon Jul 31, 08:14:00 AM 2006  

  • Hey nice blog.You are right ,some times calls like these are very annoying but the dilemma is is you have to grudginly respond to them,no matter what.

    By Blogger SM, at Mon Jul 31, 05:03:00 PM 2006  

  • green satya:
    Exactly! Both parties know either don't if the other party is dead or alive as long as the task at hand is done

    That's another thing! Calling the night and asking, "were you asleep?"

    You should try saing, "Yes, I am sleeping as we speak" :)

    mary poppins:
    LOL. That must be very annoying

    Ya, caller ID is another thing.
    "Here is my number"
    "I alrady have on the caller ID"
    "Oh, is it 214-555-1212?"
    Aaarrgg.. Does he understand what caller ID is?

    Occasionally, once in a month or so, there is a real issue. So unfortunately I can't turn the phone off. I am not working with that team any more anyway.

    Haha. I think one guy did it to me. It must have been really fun it I had thought of sending him to the voice mail

    Welcome to my blog

    Saranya Kishore:
    We all do it some time or the other. More over it's not annoying if it is a personal call to a friend. If it is a business call, its very annoying

    Thanks :) Ya, we have to respond that is the problem. I do wish I can just hang up the phone in mid-sentence though!

    By Blogger Twisted DNA, at Tue Aug 01, 01:20:00 AM 2006  

  • The guy just did 1 minute of preliminary!! its considered rude to NOT do it in some cultures. If you don't like it, tell the guy so, once and for all.. why do we assume that people will know what we want?

    And yes, btw, if you call someone in the East of the world, please do the preliminaries of "how are you?", unless you want a funny blog entry about YOUR phone etiquette.

    Oh, and has it occured to you that "were you sleeping?" Could also mean" Can I give you the details or do you want a one liner on the reason for this call?" Guess, "Were you sleeping" is more brief than "Details or one line?"

    By Blogger How do we know, at Wed Aug 02, 05:52:00 AM 2006  

  • how do we know:
    You do have a point that if you don't like something you should tell it to the face. But you see, I have to work with this guy everyday so I can't afford to piss this guy off by being honest. The closest I came to telling him was, "We need to keep these calls short" and "Dude, can we get straight to the point?"

    I do also agree on the importance of pleasantries when we are calling once in a while. I do engage in such inane exchange when I call people. But if we are calling each other alsmost everyday and I do know that the guy doesn't care if I am alive or dead, it kind of gets on the nerves.

    By Blogger Twisted DNA, at Wed Aug 02, 08:56:00 AM 2006  

  • i'm totally with you. people need to cut the crap. we don't need a full minute or 2 of formalities - just get to the point!

    By Blogger Webmiztris, at Thu Aug 03, 09:50:00 AM 2006  

  • hahhaa...though this hasn't happened to me, I can well imagine!:)

    By Blogger Yashita, at Wed Aug 09, 02:14:00 AM 2006  

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