Steve Crescenzo’s side-splittingly funny post about people with Bluetooth headsets glued to their ears reminds me of the huge divide between those who cannot function without mobile phones, and those who treat the little buggers as a necessary evil. I fall into the second camp. The first group craves constant contact. The rest of us like to control our schedules as much as we possibly can. I’m really busy, and if I had to respond to everyone all the time, without a break, I think I’d lose my mind.
Last Friday someone requested a meeting with me at four o’clock. When I told him I wasn’t unavailable at four, he asked for my cell number. HUH? When I say I’m unavailable, what makes him think that I would like to accept his call – when I’m not even in my office?
The only people who have my cell number are my kids, my kids’ schools, and my partner. That’s it. I don’t give it to clients, I don’t include it in my email sig, and it ain’t on my business card.
Here’s why I don’t give out my number:
1. I don’t want to talk to you when I’m driving my car. (As a pedestrian, I’ve almost been run over by cell-phone users at least half a dozen times.)
2. I don’t want to talk to you while I’m inhaling my lunch.
3. If you call me while I’m walking down the street, how do you expect me to answer your questions? I don’t have my calendar, my files or my computer with me. Can’t you wait a few minutes until I return to the office?
Where is it written that we have to be accessible 24/7? After all, I’m not carrying the president’s nuclear launch codes, and I am not waiting for a kidney transplant. I am grateful for both of these facts.
If you ask my clients and colleagues, they’d tell you that I am a responsive person who returns phone calls and emails promptly. What I never want to become is a person who has to have her phone in her ear while she shops for groceries, enjoys a walk on the lakeshore or eats dinner with her kids. No thanks.
What’s YOUR cell-phone policy?