I worked for 10 years in a job where I was responsible for the phones for a business, first as the receptionist and then ultimately as the controller in charge of office staff. As a result I hate phones. I hate hearing them ring and I hate talking on them. In fact my brain tends to go blank when I talk on a phone. Probably post traumatic stress disorder. Voice mail is terrible because it is impossible to leave a succinct message on the spur of the moment. I use Google Voice for voicemail, so the interface is OK, but most messages boil down to “call me”.
I make it very clear in my business that I prefer email to telephone conversations, which is why I was delighted to see John Scalzi express the same preference:
Well, I finally did what I should have done about four years ago, which is to change my cell phone voice mail message to this:
Hi, this is John Scalzi. I will never ever ever ever listen to the voice mail you’re about to leave, because voice mail is a pain in the ass. So if you actually want to reach me, you can either send me a text at this number, or send me e-mail at “firstname.lastname@example.org.” Feel free to leave a voice message if you want, but remember, I will never ever listen to it. Have a nice day!
Why? Because fuck me, voice mail is annoying. Especially on cell phones, on which it seems designed by the furies to punish everyone, not just the people who mock the gods. And you know what? Life is too short to deal with a horrible user interface, especially when everyone under the age of 103 knows how to send a goddamned text. So that’s it, I’m done with voice mail, that hateful contrivance. And I feel good.
There are a very few times when phone calls clear up misunderstandings or settle a problem that would have taken multiple emails, but in those cases I just schedule a phone call. Other than that, my phone is set to ring only for family and close friends.
BTW – if you don’t follow John Scalzi’s blog you are really missing out. He covers a range of issues in a thoughtful, intelligent way. And he has cats and a lovely daughter and wife and he make no effort to hide that he adores them.
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