In all my years in the working world… you know, all six of them, I have found the one thing that everyone seems to hate…
It lurks in every office and cubicle, and there’s one every ten feet in a building. It’s one of many mediums used to keep us connected, yet it’s the one thing that can make us shutter in fear and annoyance.
Don’t believe me?
Next time you’re at work, grab yourself a cold soda from the vending machine, maybe even some of those deliciously healthy cheese puffs, and just watch.
The hall empties out and suddenly everyone is seriously enthralled with their computer screens. Bill strikes up a conversation with Peggy and we all heard what he thinks about her last night while watching the Rangers game. People will do anything to avoid answering the phone.
This was never more apparent than when I was in New York interning for 1050 ESPN Radio. The phone would ring and all the color suddenly melted out of each intern’s face quicker than a Popsicle left out on the Fourth of July. Some jumped out of their chairs and I’m pretty sure Brian was contemplating jumping out the office window 17 stories above Madison Square Garden.
Of course they all turned to me to answer the phone, call contestant winners, and even call our boss to check in.
How do they expect to go anywhere in life when communication is clearly not their strong point? Shouldn’t the phone be easier because, oh I don’t know, nobody can see you?
Ok, maybe I’m being too harsh. It’s not their fault that I broadcast on the radio for a living.
But in the words of Gretchen Weiners… “Irregardless.”
It was quite comical and, to me, it became a game. I would leave Brooklyn a good 45 minutes before I had to be at work, take the subway to MSG (only a 25 minute ride) and arrive before the other interns. Of course I wanted to impress my boss by being early, but my real intentions, the sole purpose for living during those four months, was to take the only desk that did not have a phone next to it and ultimately make the other interns suffer.
Fred is the first to walk in. He takes a deep breath and takes the computer next to the phone. Mike walks in. He breaks into a cold sweat as he occupies the other desk next to the “grim reaper.” Meanwhile I sit on my throne, safely away from the phone, wringing my hands in anticipation.
Mike takes off to make copies. Fred is stunned and can’t move. I keep my cool, yet inside I am rolling on the floor laughing hysterically. At last I walk over and answer the phone “1050 ESPN Radio. How may I help you?”
And the best part is this happened every single day.
Now if only I could have found a way to call the intern line and watch them suffer without them knowing…