I’ve been at my new job for over a month now, and today the worst finally happened. My phone rang. I stared at it in confusion for a moment, as it had never done that to me. I’d set my password and said my name at the tone; weren’t we cool? Reluctantly, I picked up the receiver.
Me Sean speaking.
Unidentified Cheerful Guy Is this [name of a company that was absorbed over a year ago]?
UCG Great! Is this the main desk?
By now I’m glancing around the cubicles, seeking an escape route.
Me No. I’m a programmer.
UCG How fun! What are you making?
Seriously? This guy calls me, apparently at random, and now he wants me divulge what development work is going on in a financial institution? I have to lock my screen when I leave my desk to ensure the safety of our precious secrets, like what kitchen has bagels today. Fortunately, my lack of social skills comes in handy for situations like not telling strangers what we’re working on. I ignored his attempt to be my pal and cut to the chase.
Me Can I help you with something?
UCG Oh. Yes, could I speak with [person I haven’t heard of] or [another unknown individual] please?
Papasmurf. Like I have enough degrees to work this phone.
I told him to hold on a second, and I quickly asked around to find out how to redirect this wacko to the reception desk. Forget figuring out how to contact who he actually wanted, I’d consider it a job well done if he wound up talking to someone without telephobia.
Nobody knew what to do. We work with computers, but these smurfing phones are like the blinking clock on a VCR for all we know about them. After a minute of embarrassed shrugs all around, I just hung up on Mr. Happy. He seemed like the sort to bounce back from defeat.
“Problem solved,” I observed. Everyone nodded and went back to work. If the problem ever comes up again, we’ll figure out how to address it. We’re developers. We concentrate our efforts where they’ll do the most good.