It’s never been easier to communicate with people on the phone, but it’s still as complicated as it’s always been when the person doesn’t pick up the phone. Though it really doesn’t have to be…
Something I’m pretty horrible at is listening to and erasing voicemails. At work, about once every week I get a message from Nick Burns, my company’s computer guy, saying I need to erase my messages- the average of my unlistened to and unerased messages is typically around 88. And currently on my personal cell phone there are about four voicemails waiting to be listened to and erased. I just don’t know when I’ll get around to it. It’s homework.
Maybe I can blame it on my generation; I’m stuck in the middle of two of them. I was born in April of 1981, the final year for Generation X (1961-1981). Generation Y began nine months later (1982-1995). I’m sure I inherited a shared amount of traits from both generations, but the tendency to put off what is irrelevant is linked to both generations.
This is how my mind processes communication regarding a cell phone: “If it’s important, they’ll text me.” Which is different than what is typical with Baby Boomers (1946-1964) who think, “If it’s important, they will call and leave a voicemail if I’m not available”.
The easiest way to communicate with me is via text message. I respond within 60 seconds because my phone is always right next to me. As for a voicemail, I may not ever respond. I strongly don’t believe in having a landline phone because it encourages people to leave voicemails and if a person really needed to talk to me they would reach me through my cell phone. By texting.
Of course, there are times for actual conversations. But when I see a missed call, I’m going to return the call anway.
Just as a reminder to those who haven’t yet realized why voicemails are so awful:
1) To check them, you have to call your voicemail box.
2) You have to punch in your password.
3) You have to listen to the voicemail which is essentially someone telling you to call them back.
When I call someone and they don’t pick up, I just hang up. Because obviously they will see on their phone that I tried to call. Then I’ll instantly text them in abbreviated form what I needed to talk to them about.
There are so many minutes of our time that we’ll never get back, having been wasted on listening to not only the person I am calling explain to me on a recorded message that they’re unavailable right now but to leave a message and they’ll call me back, but then have to listen to the Verizon lady go through all the options, including hearing her talk about leaving a “callback number”.
For the times we must endure having to leave someone a voicemail, there should be a new official sound we hear that would soon become as universally recognizable as Mario dying when he falls in a hole in Super Mario Bros. Just a two-second blip that we all know means “leave a message beginning right now”.
That’s the world that I want to live in.
For a related post by the same author, read TMTT (Too Much Trouble to Talk).