Wednesday, May 28, 2008

And Don't Forget To Sit Up Straight!

Sometimes I’m concerned about what management is being taught these days – I say this like I’m some old fogey. Sadly, I’m only mentally an old fogey. I’m a bit concerned to see what I’ll be like in another forty years!

Anyway, as I’ve mentioned, my office has a set of, well, interesting rules that they’ve implemented in our new office, some of which I somewhat understand and some of which are pretty asinine.

Today when I got to work, there was paper on my desk. Shame shame. Actually, it was a memo of some sort. And now, I think I’m back to kindergarten.

Really, is this necessary? Has there been such a rash of inappropriateness that we have to be told what to do in this detail? Are we that automaton that we can have not even a modicum of personal expression?

Without further ado, the memo:

Operations Division Voice Mail Quick Reference I’m in the operations division? That’s news to me!

In the office
Hello, this is First, Last Name) of X’s (Department Name). Today is (Date) and I am in the office today, but unable to take your call. Seriously, they want me to update my voicemail every single day? I don’t think so! And ummm incorrect punctuation in two places in that single sentence! Please leave a brief message and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible. If this is an urgent matter, please contact (Contact Name) at (Number with Area Code). Because I might give only the internal extension? Credit, please! Thank you for calling.

In the office, external customer facing area Hmmm does this mean people who deal with clients (all of us essentially) or end customers (none of us) – now I don’t know which voicemail to use!
Thank you for calling X followed by slogan, this is (First, Last Name). Today is (Date) and I am in the office today, but unable to take your call. Please leave a brief message and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible. Ok, apparently we care about voicemail etiquette but not butchering the written language. If this is an urgent matter, please contact (Contact Name) at (Number with Area Code). Ok, I just made the executive decision that I don’t work in a customer facing area because I can’t say the slogan after the company name without laughing.

Out of office full day or longer
Hello, this is First, Last Name) of X’s (Department Name). I am out of the office and will return on (Date). Please leave a brief message and I’ll get back to you when I return If this is an urgent matter, please contact (Contact Name) at (Number with Area Code). Thank you for calling. Actually, this is very similar to the message I leave when I’m on vacation. But I’ve been doing this since oh, I don’t know, oh yeah since I was an intern in college!

Out of office part of day
Hello, this is First, Last Name) of X’s (Department Name). Today is (Date) and I will be unavailable (state part of the day you are unavailable). Please leave a brief message and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible. If this is an urgent matter, please contact (Contact Name) at (Number with Area Code). Thank you for calling. Does this count for when I’m in meetings? Because most days I’m in meetings the majority of the day. As is everyone I work with. And most of our clients. Who know that we’re in meetings and will return calls when we have a chance. Yep, this is a voicemail I’ll never be using.

Out of the office part of day / Working remotely – checking messages
Hello, this is First, Last Name) of X’s (Department Name). Today is (Date) and I will be unavailable (state part of the day you are unavailable or working remotely). I will be checking my messages and will return your call as soon as possible. If this is an urgent matter, please contact (Contact Name) at (Number with Area Code). Thank you for calling. And this is better than the previous message why exactly? Oh yeah, I won’t be using this one either.

Apparently I have learned that:
It is critical that people know what the date is even if you’re in the office day after day.

All voicemails should have five sentences.

I shouldn’t tell people to have a good day in my voicemail.

Working remotely is different from being out of the office part of the day, and this requires a completely different message.

People working in a white collar, professional environment for years can no longer be trusted to compose their own voicemail message.

Oh yeah, and I’m crabby today.

3 comments:

morninglight mama May 28, 2008 at 9:17 PM  

Wow. How will you ever get any work done if you'll constantly be changing your voice mail message?! "Hello, this is (name), and I desperately had to take a leak. I will return to my desk in (amount of minutes it will take you in the bathroom>. Please call back."

:)

Swishy May 29, 2008 at 11:10 PM  

Ha ha ha ha ha ... seriously. I wonder how many meetings were held to come up with that.

Michelle May 29, 2008 at 11:28 PM  

Morninglight Mama -- You have an excellent point. I can never record my voicemail right the first time, so changing it so often would really cut into my productivity. I think I may have to suggest the bathroom voicemail -- once I figure out who came up with this first list!

Swishy -- You know, I hadn't thought about the time and effort and money wasted on coming up with these. Knowing my company, actually that's too depressing to think about. Yikes!

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