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  1. #1
    Senior Member Tiltyred's Avatar
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    Default Voicemail Etiquette (Rant warning)

    Somebody here once told me I was boring, and I look at that thread title and think they're probably right, but I can only do what I can do, so yeah, I want to talk about voice mail etiquette. There's a Director in Personnel who calls my desk phone and leaves a voice mail message with zero content. She just says "Tilty, call me as soon as you get this message, please." And it pisses me off every time. There's like fifteen minutes of talk time for each voice mail -- why won't she just tell me what she wants to say? Am I the only one who gets bugged by this? Because if she's calling me, it's not good; it's never good. It can only be bad. So this morning I was swamped busy, had one person I report to breathing down my neck about getting some info for the client, had another person I report to with emails going fast and furious about some negotiations we were in the middle of, and this Director has called me and said, in a pissy tone of voice, as usual, that she wants me to call her back as soon as I get this message, which shoots my adrenaline up even higher. So I call her back and OF COURSE she is not at her desk, so I leave a stupid-ass zero content message, "Hi, it's me, calling you back ..." and go on to get on the phone to try to get this thing done for the client that's so time-sensitive, meanwhile watching my email scroll and keeping an eye on the interaction about this other thing, and of course while I'm trying to spell the English version of a Korean name to a French person who is apparently deaf and it's tedious as fuck, Director calls me back and I can't take her call, I have to sit there watching it ring and then roll over into voice mail, where again, when I get off my call and check her message, I get zero content but "call me back." Finally I call her back and she picks up and says "Be sure you do that thing I asked you to do by tomorrow morning," and out of my mouth flies "Couldn't you have just left me a message for that??" and whew boy was she mad. "I prefer to talk to you on the phone." So when we got off the phone I went up to her office and said Look, I apologize for having "tone," can we talk about this? and she's all stiff and very very angry and says that she can communicate in whatever manner she chooses best. I said well, I appreciate that, but the thing is, every time you call and won't say what it's about, my adrenaline shoots up and I start wondering what I've done, and then I have to call you back and you're not there, and then you have to call me back, and using the phone for client-related business and can't take your call, and all of this was for a simple reminder that could just as easily have been an email or a voice mail, I just wish I could understand why you won't leave a message." Which of course she didn't like a bit, and countered with that she didn't understand why I didn't like her preferred method of communicating. I said because I don't have the time really to play phone tag and I feel like if you want to tell me something, you should just tell me -- that's what voice mail is FOR. She completely disagrees with me, says there is no custom or etiquette that says you should leave a message with content, and she prefers to actually talk to the other person blah blah blah.

    I just want to know if this annoys anyone else the way it annoys me. Also, do you feel there IS some expectation among people who work that you will not play phone tag if you can help it, and that leaving no message is dumb. (For that matter, even among people who don't work, come to think of it.)

  2. #2
    Starcrossed Seafarer Aquarelle's Avatar
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    Oh, I hate voicemails with no message. That way you HAVE to talk to the person when you call them back.... I'm always hoping for an easy question and getting THEIR voicemail, so I can just leave the answer without ever actually talking with anyone.

    I laugh, but I'm serious. I agree.
    Masquerading as a normal person day after day is exhausting.

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  3. #3
    mod love baby... Lady_X's Avatar
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    I hate it too but more than anything I get people telling me how annoyed they are with long voicemails. It seems as tho a lot of people prefer just something super quick like call me. My boyfriend even prefers to just see the missed call with no voice mail which I think is crazy because if someone calls me but doesn't leave a MSG I'm going to assume it wasn't important so I don't call back.
    There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first.
    -Jim Morrison

  4. #4
    Senior Member Tiltyred's Avatar
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    I'd so much prefer an email. She really just wanted to say that one sentence. She called to nag me, basically. When someone says to call them back as soon as I get the message, I think somebody's dying, or they want to say something to me that they will not put in writing on an email, so that's also serious. It's always some stupid shit. "Make sure you sign your time card before you leave today." "Make sure you do that thing I asked you to do." Send an email with a return receipt and then leave me the fuck alone, jeez, I'm trying to work. Or, y'know, write on Type C, as the case may be.

    Lady X, if it's long, I'd rather it be an email than a voice mail, yeah, but she never calls about anything that actually needs to be discussed. It's just one sentence that she wants to say to me and for some reason I have to be present on the other end of the phone or else she thinks, i guess, that I won't hear it. I feel like she's from another planet. I email my boss and he's sitting right in front of me, for Pete's sake ...

  5. #5
    WALMART
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    Maybe she's like me.

    I utterly fail at formulating thought without interaction and feedback. Then you'd be ranting stating, "this guy always leaves me voicemails with forty seconds of 'uhhhh'!!!"

  6. #6
    Starcrossed Seafarer Aquarelle's Avatar
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    Email/Chat/text>Voicemail with content>Face to Face conversation>Talking to someone-- anyone-- on the phone

    /introvert
    Masquerading as a normal person day after day is exhausting.

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  7. #7
    mod love baby... Lady_X's Avatar
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    Yes they're all bastards! Don't they know it stresses us out to talk to them.
    There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first.
    -Jim Morrison

  8. #8
    Senior Member Tiltyred's Avatar
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    Not only do I not want to talk to them, but then to have to work for it, y'know? Gotta work so hard for the payoff of "Make sure you do that thing I said." REALLY?? That's what I have to call you back about immediately, the second I get your message?

  9. #9
    can't handcuff the wind Z Buck McFate's Avatar
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    I hate it too. I want to be prepared, I want to have all the things the person will be grilling me about at the forefront of my attention before I return the call- I can’t pull them all up at a moment’s notice in the middle of something else I’m doing (which is especially the case if the other person is the one calling me back and I have no control over when that’ll happen). I want it dealt with as succinctly as possible, and the best way to get things handled succinctly with me is to give me a head’s up about what the issue is BEFORE actually talking to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tiltyred View Post
    Also, do you feel there IS some expectation among people who work that you will not play phone tag if you can help it, and that leaving no message is dumb. (For that matter, even among people who don't work, come to think of it.)
    I don’t know if I’d say there is an expectation that seems to trump all other where ‘etiquette’ is concerned- but I do think it’s just poor etiquette to refuse someone’s request to handle communication a certain way altogether and not even consider it because it’s not your own ‘preferred method’ (and that it works both ways). I’m going to hazard to guess she might like springing things on people directly so she can gauge their reaction, maybe she feels like it gives her inside information about progress that people won’t be forthcoming about (if there’s time to prepare an answer, there’s time to twist things around and cover tracks/figure out what a person wants to hear- possibly?). I’ve worked with someone who did this and it drove me bonkers. If I don’t have time to remember everything I need to remember beforehand- (like I said) to have it readily accessible in my mind when confronted about something- I invariably tend to leave out some important information. I can’t give the answers asked for, I’ll probably spew a bunch of superfluous information for lack of being able focus (too many things going on at once) AND whatever I’m working on when it happens gets lost in shuffle as well. This is on top of the fact that I’ll also feel distracted by all the possibilities for the call while I’m waiting to hear from them; it’s almost like packing for a trip without having any idea where I’m going- so I’ll get out a few winter things, a few summer things, camping things, formal wear…..I can’t help it, the back of my mind will churn with the possibilities in waiting for the call. I end up not doing a very good job on anything. And this is true regardless of which environment it happens in (home, work, whatever).

    If it were me- I’d try to explain this, and explain that we could continue to do it their way…..but the consequence is they won’t get anywhere near as helpful answers from me and my overall performance will suffer as a result (more mistakes all over the place, and I’ll be agitated because I’ll know most of the mistakes were avoidable). It isn’t about ‘choice’ on my end- it’s just not the way my mind works and it won’t yield the most productive results. But if doing things my way will seriously compromise results on their end, then I’d probably ask how so that we could figure out how/where to get a modicum more of what I need while accommodating their needs as much as possible. [eta: Like, if the problem is what you mentioned- that she needs to see/hear a reaction to confirm that it's been heard- then maybe I'd volunteer to make a point of returning all such calls for her sake to say "yes, I won't forget ____" so that she could hear it in my voice.....but that it's important she leave the issue in the initial voicemail for my own sake.]
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  10. #10
    philosopher wood nymph greenfairy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Z Buck McFate View Post
    I hate it too. I want to be prepared, I want to have all the things the person will be grilling me about at the forefront of my attention before I return the call- I can’t pull them all up at a moment’s notice in the middle of something else I’m doing (which is especially the case if the other person is the one calling me back and I have no control over when that’ll happen). I want it dealt with as succinctly as possible, and the best way to get things handled succinctly with me is to give me a head’s up about what the issue is BEFORE actually talking to me.



    I don’t know if I’d say there is an expectation that seems to trump all other where ‘etiquette’ is concerned- but I do think it’s just poor etiquette to refuse someone’s request to handle communication a certain way altogether and not even consider it because it’s not your own ‘preferred method’ (and that it works both ways). I’m going to hazard to guess she might like springing things on people directly so she can gauge their reaction, maybe she feels like it gives her inside information about progress that people won’t be forthcoming about (if there’s time to prepare an answer, there’s time to twist things around and cover tracks/figure out what a person wants to hear- possibly?). I’ve worked with someone who did this and it drove me bonkers. If I don’t have time to remember everything I need to remember beforehand- (like I said) to have it readily accessible in my mind when confronted about something- I invariably tend to leave out some important information. I can’t give the answers asked for, I’ll probably spew a bunch of superfluous information for lack of being able focus (too many things going on at once) AND whatever I’m working on when it happens gets lost in shuffle as well. This is on top of the fact that I’ll also feel distracted by all the possibilities for the call while I’m waiting to hear from them; it’s almost like packing for a trip without having any idea where I’m going- so I’ll get out a few winter things, a few summer things, camping things, formal wear…..I can’t help it, the back of my mind will churn with the possibilities in waiting for the call. I end up not doing a very good job on anything. And this is true regardless of which environment it happens in (home, work, whatever).

    If it were me- I’d try to explain this, and explain that we could continue to do it their way…..but the consequence is they won’t get anywhere near as helpful answers from me and my overall performance will suffer as a result (more mistakes all over the place, and I’ll be agitated because I’ll know most of the mistakes were avoidable). It isn’t about ‘choice’ on my end- it’s just not the way my mind works and it won’t yield the most productive results. But if doing things my way will seriously compromise results on their end, then I’d probably ask how so that we could figure out how/where to get a modicum more of what I need while accommodating their needs as much as possible. [eta: Like, if the problem is what you mentioned- that she needs to see/hear a reaction to confirm that it's been heard- then maybe I'd volunteer to make a point of returning all such calls for her sake to say "yes, I won't forget ____" so that she could hear it in my voice.....but that it's important she leave the issue in the initial voicemail for my own sake.]
    I was going to say most of this. Seconded. If someone isn't willing to give a reason behind their refusal to be cooperative, that's just disrespectful and not productive in my opinion. If I was in your position I would probably be very angry and say things to this person in ways I would regret later (lacking tact and diplomacy).

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