say goodbye to voicemail, the truth behind “work hard, play hard,” and more

Over at Intuit QuickBase’s Fast Track blog today, I take a look at several big work-related stories in the news right now: one big company’s move to get rid of voicemail, the truth behind “work hard, play hard,” and more. You can read it here.

{ 145 comments… read them below }

  1. Bend & Snap

    When I was job hunting, “work hard play hard” made me RUN AWAY from that company. No thank you.

    1. esra

      Yep. In my industry that’s pretty much code for: We’ll work you to the bone and the pay’s a bit crap, but look! Air hockey!

        1. PurpleMonkeyDishwasher

          Yup. This was exactly my experience with a place I worked that said this at my interview, back when I was too young to know what it really meant.

      1. neverjaunty

        +1000

        Or, alternatively, “we have lots of Mandatory Fun activities which will burn up any sliver of personal time you would otherwise have left.”

        1. Sherm

          Or “we were told in a committee meeting that ‘work hard/play hard’ was good for our brand.” I had a phone interview for a “work hard and play hard” company. I didn’t make it to the next round, but I’m kind of glad that I didn’t.

    2. Former Diet Coke Addict

      “Work hard play hard” always reads to me like “Work ten hours a day and then get blasted with your coworkers”–neither half of which sounds appealing to me.

      1. esra

        “Work reasonably, play at home on your own, ample time” is less catchy but I would find much more appealing in a job ad.

      2. Chriama

        That’s exactly it. It was a phrase I heard a lot at university by the type-A folks in the BCom program with me. Work hard, then get super drunk to forget about the fact that you have no meaningful relationships because you spend all your time at work with super-competitive people who would cut your throat for a promotion.

      3. Sunrays

        Yes, always sounds like a company policy to spend all your waking hours with your coworkers. Er, no thanks.

    3. fposte

      I think what really puts me off is the implication that how I play is a company culture thing. I could go for “Work hard, play however you like because it’s in your off hours and isn’t really our business.”

      1. Chriama

        In those companies, playing is a company culture thing. Where I’ve seen it mentioned, time-intensive and stressfuly, high-pressure work means that people don’t really have time for much outside of work so they spend most of their lives with their coworkers… who are all under the same pressure as them, so blowing off steam by binge-drinking creates a false sense of comraderie.

          1. Chriama

            Oh yes, it’s a terrible culture and there’s usually currents of institutionalized sexism – both because the “frat house party” atmosphere facilities certain behaviour and because the majority of people who can sustain a life like that along with a family (and therefore advance to management level) are men with accommodating wives.

            1. EE

              You have just described life as a junior auditor, except without the accommodating wives. Everyone is single and childless and thus is expected to deal with being told to hop on a plane to an industrial estate in the middle of nowhere at no notice.

              Frat party atmosphere is alive and well, all the way to rating new female hires on attractiveness.

              1. Not So NewReader

                hmm. Looks like a hiring practice to me. One job I had I could not get promoted because of being married. They knew I was not going to move to West Overshoe for $5 per hour. (Minimum wage was around $3 then.)

            2. I'm a Little Teapot

              Yep. Or they’re 23-year-old techbro types who only want to hire other 23-year-old techbro types.

    4. Natalie

      I saw it a lot while online dating, too, and one of my friends translated it as “I’m a Type A alcoholic”. Seemed fairly accurate.

    5. Nervous accountant

      55-60 hours a week is common in my industry esp now. Not sure if we count though lol. My “play hard” consisted of smoking shisha/hookah and sleeping so…eh.

      1. LoFlo

        Just finished some training. I figured my salary was diluted to an hourly rate of $14 per hour. About the same rate of pay as an entry level bookkeeper,

    6. Vicki

      This is a real company description that came with a job posting that I decided was NOT for me:

      “The office culture at [Company] encourages new ideas and teamwork above all else. Our team is collaborative and sociable. We actually enjoy spending our daily [Company] sponsored lunches together, and look forward to our monthly special outings. We also stay happy and healthy with yoga classes, massages, and *fierce* games of ping-pong.”

    1. Sadsack

      We can’t all do that. We can do it within our own organization, but I work with many small tax jurisdictions and some don’t have email, some don’t even have their own fax machines.

    2. Ashley the Nonprofit Exec

      FAXING. Please someone make faxing die. It’s still essential in one part of our business – very very, unfortunately.

      My strategy is to respond slowly to voicemail (within a day) and lightening fast to e-mail. People get the message.

      1. Former Diet Coke Addict

        I’ve mentioned this before but I have a coworker who is obsessed with faxing things. She’s convinced it’s the key to Getting Our Message Out–because, you see, people never get faxes anymore, so they will be more inclined to look at it and think “Hey! Looks interesting!” because it’s unusual.

          1. Natalie

            Or it’s the same machine as the printer, and the faxes just get lost in everyone’s printed docs.

      2. Revanche

        I was in this camp wholeheartedly but had to reluctantly admit that someone had a point when they said that a fax is still (so long as the recipient is the one who actually receives the item) confidential in a way that email and phones being hackable are not. Still hate em though.

        1. Cath in Canada

          The problem with that is that I don’t know a single person who has their own fax machine – they’re always a communal machine sitting in an open area, in every single office I’ve ever worked in. So it ends up being the least confidential means of sending anything, and there’s no easy/automated way for the sender to verify that the document went to the right person. My old office had a number that was 1 digit off a medical office, so got patient’s records sent to us more than once; my colleague saw my tattoo design before I did because the designer refused to use email and sent her first mock-up to work because it’s the only fax number I have access to.

          1. Jennifer

            We are straight up not allowed to take payment information if it is faxed to us for that reason. We have to tell them they have to send it in snail mail for security reasons.

            Yeah, check that eye roll.

        2. Kyrielle

          If phones are hackable, faxes are too. It wouldn’t be a case of “listen direct” but of “listen and then print your own copy” but I’d think it theoretically could be done.

          Totally ignoring the ability to physically intercept most faxes, in most offices – secure faxing, even assuming no line eavesdropping, requires secure location of the fax machine. Home office? Great. Doctor’s office? Any staff and maybe patients walking by that sucker?

          You want confidentiality? Use a secure email system, or go the public-key encryption route for emails. This is more secure than any phone call or fax.

        3. Kathryn

          Let me speak to you about encrypting email. Way better guarantees that the person you want to send your information to is actually the person who is reading it.

      3. Ebonarc

        I work in telecom as a customer facing engineer, and it amazes me how much time it takes me to deal with a customer’s fax requirements. People! create a shared mailbox and have stuff sent to and from that instead!

      4. Jennifer

        Seconded. I just love it when someone pays extra to have me personally fax them something. Then I stand there for 20 minutes while the fax doesn’t work, and then they’re all “oops, I had the wrong number.”

      5. Annie

        Oh god, PLEASE! Voicemail and faxing are definitely stuck in the past. I’m thrilled that my current job doesn’t require me to use either of those things, but just the other day someone actually called(!) my office asking what number she should fax(!!) an invoice. I asked if there was any way she could email it, but she said that her company isn’t set up for that, so I had to go ask someone what our company fax number is.

        I too respond immediately to emails, and, um, never to voicemail.

    3. voluptuousfire

      Agreed. At my old work, none of us even knew how to check our voicemail (which we didn’t even need since we for all intents and purposes didn’t have our own lines). Hell, we didn’t even have our own fax machine!

      One thing I do avoid are job ads that require you to fax your resume. Do these people realize a)how archaic they sound? and b) how far out of their way the average person would have to go to send their resume to you? Putting together a simple Gmail account for resumes is too much?

    4. voluptuousfire

      I concur. Immensely. :)

      One thing I’m always wary of are hiring managers/recruiters who only call and leave voice mails. I updated my outgoing voice message to say that they can leave a message, or for a quicker response to email me. Of course I ended up playing phone tag and in two cases sent emails to follow up and lost out on a opportunity to interview for a job due to this. No one ever appears to be near their phone or returns voice mails! (Obviously.)

      It’s just so much easier when interviews are set up by email. No fuss and everything’s in print, so things are less likely to be mixed up.

    5. Vicki

      At my last company, most of the engineers simply didn’t use voicemail, certainly not on their company desk phones. In fact, most of them didn’t use the desk phones. One of my co-workers waited until her VM filled up so the message would say “no more messages can be left”. I found out how t set mine to permanent “vacation” mode (do not leave a message).

      About a year after I joined Company, IT announced that they were adding a new prefix because we had run out of numbers and we’d now have 5-digit dialing. They were surprised when a bunch of engineers responded:” if you had just asked, I would have given back my phone number. I never use it.”

      It had never occurred to them that a large number of employees ignored the phones on their desks.

    1. ThursdaysGeek

      Is there a replacement for meeting with our team that lives in 4 different states and time zones? Because lousy as it is, at least it is communication and it really is better than nothing.

      1. Paloma Pigeon

        I wish. I’m all for project software that allows work-related threads to be captured and reviewed later/on your own time. Managing time zones is a major headache.

        1. Bea W

          We always have a weird in between period where the US switches time on one date and Europe switches time on another date a month apart. I don’t even try to keep track of the rest of the world and leave it to other people. I think my head would explode.

  2. Rebecca

    There are few things more frustrating than coming back to your desk to see the voice mail light flashing on the phone, and then logging into email to see an urgent email from someone who has waited exactly 2 minutes after sending the email to call, leaving a lengthy rambling voice mail message pretty much reading the email word for word.

    For pete’s sake people – there are times when we need to leave our desks to go to the bathroom or get a drink. Please be patient!

    1. JustMe

      Rebecca, I agree with you but on the other hand there are times when you don’t really ‘know’ a person in terms of which commutative style works best for them. I personally have sent emails, lync messages…etc. This way if the matter is really urgent you cannot say you missed my email, and thus I didn’t really try to get in contact with you. I have sent emails and people missed them, then I had been told, well you should’ve made it a hi pri email. Just saying, I get why people do this.

      1. De Minimis

        I do this sometimes, but only because I am directed to do so. My boss doesn’t think e-mail by itself is sufficient and wants to me to also leave a phone message when we have a question for someone at our headquarters.

        It’s annoying, but I think it’s also based on past experience from our dealing with them…if we can point to numerous communications they can’t say we didn’t try to communicate something to them.

      2. Marilyn

        I agree with both of you. Everyone has a different communication style, so it’s up to you to let people know the best way to get in touch with you. If people are aware of that, then they will tend to use that method instead. For example, a few months ago I changed my outgoing voicemail message to specify that the fastest way to reach me is via email or text. Of course, I still invite people to leave a voicemail if they want, but most people opt for the email/text option.

        1. Chocolate addict

          That can work if you’re working with the same people regularly. In cases where you’re regularly working with new people, they won’t necessarily know the easiest/preferred way of communicating with you (though I love the idea of putting your email in the outgoing message). What sometimes frustrates me about the duplicate communication methods is that the 2nd/follow-up message often includes some variation of “you didn’t answer me.” That’s true, but you only contacted me 10 minutes ago, and I’ve been in the same meeting for an hour…

        2. Brenda

          Is anyone’s preferred communication style “get an email, and then get a visit at your desk from the person who sent the email to talk you through it before you’ve even had a chance to read it, and it was really straightforward anyway?” Because I have one coworker who does that and it’s driving me insane.

            1. Brenda

              Most of my conversations with him involve me just sitting there, saying “yes, that’s a good idea” and letting him talk himself around to the answer he was looking for from me, and then going about my business. Ugh.

          1. Nervous accountant

            We all do that sometimes. Usually if it’s time sensitive and we need a paper trail…otherwise if it’s still important but not extremely time sensitive I’ll wait a couple of hours…..

    2. Chriama

      Haha – I don’t know how to check the voicemail on my office phone or company-issued blackberry! Joke’s on you if you call instead of emailing ;)

    3. ThursdaysGeek

      But my voice mail shows up in my email inbox too. I do have to listen to it instead of reading it, but just the act of opening the email makes the red light go away. I’m not sure how to get to voice mail on the phone, since I don’t need to.

      1. Scott M

        We have that too, but our voicemail also gets translated to text. Sometimes it’s a bad translation, but it’s usually understandable.

        1. Jennifer

          I have that on my phone and it’s always good for a laugh. Boy, does it ever get names wrong, but at least you get a gist.

    4. Jennifer

      Bwah, yes. I got a voice mail while answering the phones, returned the call, and then two seconds later I’ve got e-mail trying to confirm the same thing. Just today.

    5. Vicki

      It could be worse. I’ve had people tell me that the message is too long/complex for email and they want to call and speak it to me.

      So I can take notes and lose part of what they’re saying? No thank you.

  3. Kathryn

    Please can we move toward actively killing voicemail? People don’t know how to leave them, I hate listening to them, and we’re going to go through everything when we do connect anyway. (And more often than not, anything important will be reiterated in email after the call.)

    I think conference calls/video are stuck for a while though. Until we get decent teleporting technology or get better at reading tone and subtext in email.

    1. Laurel Gray

      +1 “people do not know how to leave them”

      They talk long and slow for 2 minutes and then at the end speed through their call back number. So all I really am left with is a name and an area code and 2 minutes of whatever. Annoying.

    2. More anonymous for this than normal

      My company recently limited the length of our VM messages down to 30 seconds. It does limit the number of VMs you receive, but at least half of them are cut off. “This is Tom, I’m calling about my teapot order. Please call me back at 123-456-1…” So very annoying!

      1. Vicki

        You’ve reached voicemail for (my name).
        If possible, I prefer to receive email. MY email address is xxx@yy.com.
        If you can’t send email, please leave a detailed message at the tone.
        Thank you.

    3. Not So NewReader

      How not to do a voice mail:

      1) Use your cell while traveling.
      2) Be sure to drive into areas that have shoddy reception.
      3) Leave a very long message, that is especially helpful.
      4) Lower your voice, speak as softly and quickly as possible, more garbled information is always better.
      5) Be sure not to leave your call back number. Just assume we have caller ID.

      For extra points:
      Do not set up your voice mail box, so I can’t leave a message.
      Come into my workplace and tell my boss that I never called you back.

  4. Amber Rose

    If I can get away with emailing someone instead of calling I will. Voice mail stresses me out, since often the messages are broken, hard to hear or understand, and don’t have enough information for me to address the issue.

  5. TotesMaGoats

    I would love to ditch voicemail but don’t ever see it happening here. Mostly because I hate having to remember to change it for holidays, snow delays and vacation.

    My best advice for being smarter than your boss? Do your job really well. If it’s really true that you are smarter, everyone already knows and has some compassion for you and if you treat your boss right and do your job well then they have respect for you too.

    1. Lily

      Heh, your comment made me realize I hadn’t ever changed my message back after the holidays. Thankfully hardly anyone ever calls me directly.

      1. Jennifer

        My phone WILL NOT TAKE THE VACATION MESSAGE OFF. I’ve “taken it off” per the instructions like four times by now and yet I still get “your vacation message says….” I don’t know how to fix it, okay?!? Hell, I re-recorded the message and sometimes it still plays the vacation message from last year and sometimes it plays this year.

        I would seriously set my phone on fire for all the shenanigans it pulls. Some days it just sends everyone to voice mail, some days it won’t ring, god only knows. I just wish it would stop sending the public phone line to me, but noooooo, that never breaks.

        1. AnotherFed

          Do you share my phone? Mine also will ring right after someone leaves me a voicemail to tell me I have a special delivery voicemail, but if I don’t pick up for that it leaves another voicemail, and then calls again to tell me I have a voicemail and on and on. I was came back from an all day meeting to find over 1000 voicemails. My coworkers had turned off the ringer, so it just kept ringing itself all day…

    2. Not So NewReader

      A good boss knows how to work with an employee that is smarter than her. And she also knows that she will meet plenty of people that will shoot out beyond what she has done in life and she is okay with that.

  6. Adam

    #2 “People who work more than 48 hours per week drink more than those who don’t.”

    While my alcohol consumption never reached the level stated in the article, I can attest that during the holiday season when my schedule was as much as 67 hours in a week if I had more drinks in my off hours it’s because sitting at home and drinking was all I had the time and energy to do!

    1. MT

      When i first started working, i was working around 55 hours plus, we were doing new site start ups. There were a group of us doing these start ups we are all between 22 and 26. We would go out drinking every night after work.

        1. Zillah

          I know it’s a typo, but I really giggled when I read “martial status” – I had an image of mandatory karate classes pop into my head!

          1. Mallory Janis Ian

            Ha. There used to be a sign in my home town advertising training in the “marital arts”. I could only imagine . . .

      1. Adam

        Naturally. I went through an entire batch of Hershey’s peanut butter cookies in less than week under the same premise.

      2. JAL

        When I was doing overtime for work (volunteered overtime – I ended up making double what I normally make an hour with time and a half plus the incentives our company set us) but all I did was snack and stress myself out. I couldn’t imagine working that time because I had to, but I know I will have a job where it’s not voluntary eventually.

        1. Not So NewReader

          A person who is low on sleep almost has to eat and eat and eat. Energy has to come from somewhere. If we don’t sleep enough, we can be more prone to really packing in the food.

  7. Former Diet Coke Addict

    My boss has decided to go to phone marketing (I know) so now I have to wedge the time to make forty-plus phone calls into my already-busy days. And I leave so. Many. Voicemails. So many. And I leave decent messages (where I speak clearly, slowly, leave my name and number twice, spell my email, and have a point to refer to), and I’d wager I only get a returned call for one out of every hundred. And we hate leaving voicemails just as much as people hate receiving them. I hate getting voicemail! And given that 99% of our work is better conducted over email anyway….I’d welcome an extremely targeted virus that mysteriously eliminated all voicemails permanently.

  8. So Very Anonymous

    My outgoing message asks people to send me a detailed email describing what they’re looking for from me (librarian). Nine times out of ten the question they’re calling about isn’t something I would have been able to answer immediately/on the phone, and email allows them to get specific about what they need, and gives me time to figure out the answer AND (chorus of angels here) send them relevant links.

    1. Nethwen

      At my library, people are allowed to call and ask that their items be renewed. We need voice mail so that they can do this when we are closed. If they call before their items are due, we don’t charge overdue fees even if we don’t get the message until after the item is due. This service is frequently used, especially by those who live in areas not serviced by internet providers, the ill, the out-of-town, those who work odd hours, and others in conditions where renewing online is more work than calling.

      Otherwise, I join the chorus saying I strongly dislike leaving voice mails.

      1. So Very Anonymous

        That makes total sense. I don’t happen to work in circulation (I work at a university librarian and the calls I get are things like “Can you tell me where to find Japanese-language newspapers from 1920s translated into English?” which, uhhhh, not right off the top of my head, no), but it’s a great example of when voicemail really does provide a needed service.

  9. PEBCAK

    I don’t like the idea of someone being “smarter than their boss,” because it presupposes one type of intelligence, by which we could be quantified and then ranked. Now, I don’t believe that most companies are a pure meritocracy, but surely there are *some* things your boss is better at. Maybe, for example, I’m a better programmer, but my boss is a better communicator, or she’s better at obtaining project resources, etc. Ideally, a great boss will acknowledge that you are better than she is in your area of specialization, and that’s why she has you to begin with.

    1. Amber Rose

      I agree. My former boss acted a bit air headed and his management/business running style was somewhat questionable (he frustrated us all). Nevertheless, one of the smartest guys I ever met in terms of facts and how things are done. He was a fountain of knowledge and, for bonus points, a patient teacher.

    2. LoFlo

      Unfortunately, there are quite a few managers that don’t bring any work skills to the table and have no desire to stick their neck out. Managing up these types and finding anything to respect is impossible.

    3. AnotherHRPro

      I think the advice in the article about how to “deal” with this is great. A rational person should be able to find something to admire about almost anyone. Good communication skills, creative, detail oriented, etc. Anytime someone tells me that they hate their boss, that they are an “idiot”, or whatever I always recommend that they spend time thinking about what they do well. Focusing on only the negative is reflection on you, not them.

      1. LoFlo

        Fair enough. But there are some managers who really do not have any redeeming qualities at work, and the manager is not rational. Plenty of these situations have been discussed on this blog.

  10. Sascha

    A few departments on my campus have done away with phones altogether (part of a budget move I think), except for one main line for the receptionist. Faculty and other staff can give out their personal cell phones if they want, or just stick to email. I so wish we could do that. I don’t mind a phone call every now and then – sometimes it’s helpful – but voicemail drives me nuts.

    1. Lia

      Oh, I would love that. I hate the phone and vastly prefer email — where I can immediately have evidence that I DID contact you on such and such a date about XYZ.

      A lot of people here will call and not leave messages as a shortcut for “call me back, what I have to ask is going to take a while” — except sometimes it means “not important enough to leave a message/I called someone else instead”, so I have to return all of my missed calls instead of just the VM.

      1. Chocolate addict

        I don’t return missed calls from unknown numbers at work. And only occasionally from numbers I recognize. As far as I’m concerned, if it was that important, they should have left me an actual voicemail, or sent me an email, so I have context for the call. It helps me prioritize my work.

        Then again, I sometimes ignore missed calls from friends/family on my cell phone for the exact same reason. If you don’t leave me a message, it can’t be that important, and I’ll call you back if/when I want to. An acquaintance got irked when I didn’t return her multiple missed calls one day. Well, I was busy at work and had other things to do, and I knew she wouldn’t be calling me for anything critical, so it wasn’t a priority for me to call her back.

        1. ThursdaysGeek

          Yeah, if you don’t leave a voice mail, or send an email or something, I’m not going to call back. A simple missed call is something I can and will ignore.

          1. De Minimis

            I’m lucky, my office phone doesn’t even show missed calls unless a voice mail is left.

            I am jealous of one of the other clinics in our area, their phone system routes all calls to an operator, even if you know the party’s extension. I get so many random calls from people [complained about this on Friday] and I can’t do anything for them most of the time.

      2. Brenda

        I get people who return my missed calls when I’ve already asked someone else and moved on. It’s really annoying, because then I just have to say nope, it’s fine, it’s sorted (and I probably don’t remember what it was about anyway). If I call someone and they’re not there, I hang up and send them an email. I also never return missed calls and assume that if it was important, they would have emailed. I don’t remember when the last time I got a voicemail was.

    2. Chinook

      No phones except for reception wouldn’t work here unless the company supplied me with a cellphone. The reality is that internet connections are not always reliable in the middle of nowhere where some of our guys work and often the best way to get a hold of them is to leave a message that they can pickup once they get off the road or back into cell range (which is not the same as internet range).

  11. Mimmy

    While I greatly prefer email over phone for communication, I don’t really mind voice mail. Although I will admit that some people don’t use it properly. There IS a reason that most greetings say to leave a BRIEF message!

    I also wanted to comment on the outgoing greeting: One pet peeve I have are long greetings. At a previous temp job, a big part of my responsibilities was to monitor a hotline for conference-related issues (registration problems, workshop questions, etc). The greeting for this was, I’d say, at least 2 minutes long. My supervisor was the one who recorded it; I don’t remember if I ever addressed the length of her greeting, but I don’t think she would’ve changed it even if I did :/

    1. Jennifer

      Heh, my therapist has like 2-3 minutes of “If this is an emergency, please call 911 or the suicide hotline”-type stuff before you can leave her a message. There was one time I was trying to leave a message without my audience listening in–she had gone inside a building briefly–and I ended up having to hang up before leaving the message because it goes on so long and she was coming back. I understand why she has to do it, but still, it’s a pain in the ass. Makes me wish there was a “If you are not suicidal, press 2” option to bypass.

      1. So Very Anonymous

        I had a therapist elsewhere who had the same kind of message, but had also set up an option that was something like “If you are already familiar with this message, please press 2” kind of option so that you could go straight to voicemail.

      2. Mimmy

        I think that type of info is mandatory, but what you’re describing sounds excessive. One line about going to your nearest hospital or dial a particular emergency number should suffice.

  12. Blue Dog

    Re: Smarter Than Your Boss – I once prepared a presentation entitled “Everything I Ever Needed to Know About Business I Learned from Star Trek.” One of the slides showed a picture of Spock and Data and asked what two things they had in common. The Answer: 1) Both were the smartest people on their ships; and (2) Neither was in charge.

    So, if you think you are smarter than your boss, you might very well be.

    There could be a lot of reasons for that. He might bring other skills to the table (i.e., intuition, contacts, or an ability to get things done). It could be just timing and seniority. Or, he could just be a really good manager. When I do hiring, I actively TRY to hire people smarter than me — only someone with very low self-esteem would seek out potential hires who were dummies.

    1. Adam

      ” ‘Everything I Ever Needed to Know About Business I Learned from Star Trek.’ One of the slides showed a picture of Spock and Data and asked what two things they had in common. The Answer: 1) Both were the smartest people on their ships; and (2) Neither was in charge.”

      While I don’t know enough about Star Trek to make such presentation, I will be borrowing this for future use. Totally on point.

    2. Kathryn

      I want employees who are smarter than me. I need employees who have different skills and perspectives than I have. I would much rather have a wider and deeper set of skills available than have more of me running around.

      (One of me is more than enough and I barely have that under control.)

  13. ThursdaysGeek

    I wonder if one of the reasons people hate voice mail is because the quality is so much worse than it used to be. Seriously. When it was a new technology, messages from and to those analog phones were pretty clear. Now that it is digital to digital and saved on digital, you’d think it would be better, but I often get messages that are so garbled that they aren’t understandable. If there is any mumbling at all (and there usually is), it just doesn’t work.

    1. MaryMary

      I swear I owned a dinky little answering machine in the 90s/00s that had the ability to rewind mid-message if I missed something and wanted to hear it again. Any corporate voicemail system I have ever used, however, requires me to listen to the entire message and then repeat it from the top if I missed something. And again, and again, until I can figure out what mumbly people or speed talkers are trying to tell me. Why was my circa 1998 Kmart answering machine more user friendly than my 2015 office voicemail?

    2. Kelly L.

      Uggghhh, yes. Most voice mails I get say something like “Hi, this message is for Mumblemumble. This is Wakeen Wharglbargl, at 8-glorg-7-3-hiss-crackle-9. Please call me back as soon as possible regarding glorbleflork.” People who repeat info are glorious and lovely, because if they say it twice, there’s a good chance I’ll be able to construct the whole name or number from the intelligible bits in each instance.

      1. Joe2013

        I am one of the people who not only repeat my name and number twice. I repeat it three times for you. Also I remember to speak slow.

        1. puddin

          I also use the trick of saying the phone number in two different ways…

          555-1234 and 555- twelve thirty-four

    3. Amber Rose

      I blame cell phones. A message from someone’s house is usually fine. More often than not though, our clients call while driving, or from construction sites.

  14. Mike C.

    The thing I hate about voice mail is retrieving it. I don’t get voice mails often enough to remember my password, there’s the whole phone menu to deal with and the whole thing is a mess.

    1. MT

      I don’t know my voice mail password either. I have had it reset 4 times in the last 2 years. Now I just refuse to have it reset for a 5th time. if its important they will call back.

      1. De Minimis

        They make us update our message weekly. It’s a pain, but at least it helps me remember the password.

        I hate when the menu wants to inform you about some feature or other when all you want to do is listen to a voice mail or update your message. I just hang up and start again.

        1. Britcred

          One of my clients used to do it daily. I always knew when she was out sick because it would say ‘this is Monday…’ Instead of Wednesday or something. Would hate doing that myself though!

    2. Cath in Canada

      Ugh, yes. AND ours makes you listen to the whole menu before you can select one of the options. AND you have to listen to the whole voicemail message, and then the whole explanation of which button to press to delete / save / forward, before you can make one of those selections. It’s really frustrating when you’ve actually managed to remember that 7=delete for some reason, and you know the contents of the message within 5 seconds because the person emailed you 27 seconds after leaving the voicemail, and you can’t just instantly delete like you can on some systems.

      1. ThursdaysGeek

        You must have the same voice mail software as my spouse, who complains about that exact thing. It takes FOREVER to listen to a voice mail because you have to listen to every part of every menu. Apparently people who buy voice mail systems don’t bother checking important things like functionality.

  15. Joe2013

    I just wish people would say there number slow on voice mail. People say the first three digits slow and then say the last four digits fast. If I cannot make out your number than I may not be able to call you back. I would love if voice mail would die. I would rather you email or text me a message that way I do not have to replay it over and over agiain to get the entire message or the phone number.

    People need to slow down when leaving a message. I am hard of hearing, so when you go fast I cannot hear nor make out what you said. Just my two cents.

  16. C Average

    I have lots of opinions about lots of this.

    I work in a place where the phrase “work hard, play hard” gets thrown around a lot. And I 99% love it here and have from day one.

    We’re kind of a special case in that we’re not a tech company, as are most companies where that phrase comes up. We’re in sports with a significant crossover into tech, so for us “play” pretty much usually equals something sports-related. Most of us are here at least in part because we really, really love sports, either to play or to watch.

    “Work hard” means work crazy, stupid hours when something big is happening, which it often is. Weekends, evenings, early mornings, holidays . . . nothing is sacred if there’s a product launch coming up or a corporate crisis going on. It’s all hands on deck. We love this place and, honestly, the adrenaline of these occasions is FUN.

    “Play hard” means if there’s a famous athlete making an appearance on campus, we can cancel our meetings and go. If the Final Four is on, we’re all in the campus pub (we have two of them) watching, not at our desks pretending to work. (There are also Nerf guns and foosball tables and the usual complement of bro toys, but I don’t think anyone feels obliged to use them. I never have.) Almost all of this stuff is opt-in and open to all, which makes for a fun atmosphere. (My own manager is a fan of semi-mandatory fun limited to my immediate team, which I hate, but that’s waaaaay outside the norm for my company.)

    I love the adrenaline and spontaneity and overall never-boring atmosphere of my work-hard-play-hard workplace and would miss it terribly if I left. But it’s for sure not for everyone. I’ve seen certain personalities fail to thrive here and not last long.

    Voicemail is from the devil and it cannot go away quickly enough. I support this trend! I do reluctantly listen to the voicemails on my work-issued cell phone, but I never erase them. I’m currently at 92% full. When my voicemail storage reaches 100%, callers will (I assume) just get told my mailbox is full, tough luck. I’m looking forward to this. My desk phone gets about two voicemails a year, and I always struggle to recall how to even access my voicemail, so it takes me days to get around to listening to them. An utter waste of everyone’s time. Plus, if you leave me an important voicemail, I’m going to ask for the same information in writing because my group needs a paper trail for EVERYTHING. Who doesn’t? Just save everyone the time and email in the first place.

  17. Healthcare Director

    I interviewed recently with a large health system. 3 times 30 minutes in the interview when describing the job the VP said we work hard and play hard here. So I asked during the question portion in the interview for her to describe the work life balance. As we dialogued I asked the same question in another way describing how many weekends were normally worked. Like someone else said on this blog….if you hear that run! I think she was glossing over. If I could talk to the person who was in that position who left I would find zero work balance. Since it was an hour commute each way and they were not in favor of any work at home I might as well put a bed at work ha ha. I am sure I didn’t get selected because I asked several questions about this since the work hard play hard statements were making me think it was a sweat shop and sent up red flags.

  18. Vicki

    I have a Skype phone for job-related calls. If I don;t answer (and I don’t answer unless I am expecting a call from a particular person at a pre-set time), the call flips over to Google Voice and GV handles voicemail. I do it this way because Skype will email me a notice “You got a call” and a link to the voicemail recording, but GV will email me a transcript.

    The recordings vary from not too awful to laughably bad**, but at least I have a rough idea of the reason for the call before I try to listen to it.

    ** “Hey Vicky do severe neck source and I could you please give me a girl you know who it was
    contained. Alpert regarding a job interview and confirm the occasions I think the job description at
    your email accounts. I have a look and sent to your optical zoom in on.”

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