Friday, December 16, 2005


Did I ever tell you about the phone system we have at work? It's very simple, really; all you need is an encyclopaedia and a PhD in advanced mathematics to work out how to use it.

Rule 1: If the phone starts ringing, DO NOT PICK IT UP.

Why? Well, first of all, you're going to have to work out if the phone call is for you. If the phone call is not for you, then the phone ring will be loud. If the phone call is for you, then the phone call will be soft. Thus the office phone system defies one of the most basic rules of acoustics - things that are closer will be louder than things that are further away.

Rule 2: If the phone call is for you, DO NOT PICK IT UP.

Why? Well, you're going to have to work out what sort of a phone call it is, first. If it's a phone call from outside, the light will be flashing green (or red). If the phone call is internal, then the light will be flashing red (or green). In time, you will be able to remember these rules for yourself: but not now.

Rule 3: Learn to properly answer the phone when it rings.

The proper way to answer the phone when it rings is to shout at it. Eventually, the phone will get the message and stop ringing.*

Rule 4: Wait until the call is re-routed through to the secretaries desk and the message comes through: 'T, phone call on line 1437565. T, phone call on line 1437565'.

After all, it's only the REALLY important phone callers that will bother going this far. It's about now that you'd better think of picking up the phone.

Rule 5: Panic.

Fear is an excellent stimulus.

Rule 6: Pick up the phone.

Although at this stage, you might be tempted to throw the phone at the wall, workplace aggression never solved anything. Calmly, quietly pick up the receiver. Now all you have to do is get on line one.
This is done by pressing the 'Call PU' then '1437565'. Or by pressing 'Park Rtrv' then '1437565'. One of the two, I'm not sure which.

Rule 7: Respond to the caller in a calm, intelligent, and professional matter.

Suggested ways to begin your phone call:
- 'Good afternoon, welcome to '...', this is T. speaking. I'm afraid I can't take your call at the moment, as my brain is currently out to lunch. If you care to call back later after I have gone home, it would be greatly appreciated.'

- 'Sorry, she's not here at the moment. Who? I don't know. You were the person calling for her.'

- 'Je suis desolet, mi no spreche di Espanol.'

This will make all the difference.

Rule 8: Make yourself a cup of coffee.

You'll need it. The boss will want to see you in his office, first thing in the morning ...

*There are people who say that phones are unintelligent and cannot understand you. These people are fools.


Caz said...

You're not good with technology, are you Timmy, and yet you can blog. Odd, very odd indeed.

Have you ever tried just picking up the handset and saying "hello" in a clear and pleasant voice?

nailpolishblues said...

I've often found that saying 'fuck off and die' to the phone as it rings at me is enough to make it stop. Of course, it could just be that a] the caller found what they wanted and it wasn't me and have fucked off or b] the phone system at my work is pretty dodgy.

Why answer the phone pleasantly, caz, when you have a 90% chance of finding a moron on the other end?

TimT said...

A clear and pleasant voice? For all you know my voice could be like two rusty buckets clanging together. At any rate, that would be a perilous exercise; most of the phone calls at our work place are for other departments, and I would have to go through the mysterious exercise of placing someone on hold and then fetching the person they want to get on the other line and ...

Actually, that's all too complicated. I wouldn't ever want to place anybody on hold; the music they play is dreadful.

I agree Nails. Swearing at the phone works wonders.

So much more honest than answering the phone in a clear and pleasant voice ...

dco said...

Sounds a lot like the Rolm telephone/switchboard package I encountered in the mid-80's. About 150 buttons on the main receptionist console, and at least 50 on a single 'unit'.... A more needlessly complicated and counter-intuitive setup I have never seen, and I've used more than a few dozen phone systems (I was an office temp for a few years).

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