our new phones have fewer speed dial buttons and everyone is freaking out

I greatly enjoyed this story I spotted in Friday’s open thread and hopefully so will you:

So, a few months ago our 20+ years old phone system started to show signs that it wasn’t going to last any longer. I researched for a while but end up finding us a system that was pretty close to it but would come with a few improvements. Since staff is on the phones constantly, everyone got a peek at what we had looked at, and, for the most part, everyone approved.

I ordered the system, we hired an outside company to install and everything was going great.

Until one of the phones arrived.

Now, before this everyone’s phones had 8 buttons to program for speed dial, with the system needing to use 2 of them. So everyone had 6 choices for speed dial! This new phone also has 8 buttons… but the system needs 4 of them, so now everyone has only 4 options for speed dial.

This… this somehow becomes the end of the known world. Chaos ensues. People are making lists of who is the most important to them to have on speed dial. It becomes a thing, “who are YOU getting rid of?” “It’s not fair that no one wants to keep me!” It is almost as if I’m asking them to murder the coworkers they don’t want as speed dial. It’s a popularity contest. There are people who demand to be always kept on speed dials!

Despite the fact that no one’s extensions are changing and there is a very quick and easy phone book option available to them. No one cares! No one wants a phonebook! Everyone wants more speed dial options!!!!!

Everyone’s complaining and kicking up such a fuss, my boss asks me if I can, the day before install, cancel and change systems. The answer is no, no I can’t. We’ve already put too much into this for such a small, small, inconvenience for staff. There are only 30 people in the building, it’s not the end of the world.

Install day comes and goes, the staff is asking the outside installers how to fix the nonexistent problem, outside installers are confused as to why this is a big deal. Everything else goes off without a hitch, the system is wonderful, it works so well, the phones are so much better and easier to use. But I still get complaints. People are opening tickets in our ticketing system to complain about only having 4 speed dial options. Someone finds out you can buy a phone that has 16 buttons but it’s 3x the cost of the normal phone but people are putting in upgrade requests nonstop!

Boss sees the light and realizes the insanity and refuses to spend a couple thousand on 16 button phones.

One manager, in all seriousness, puts up a note on our staff lounge requesting that everyone keep him on speed dial, because it’s very important to him that he’s always available for everyone to call. It looked like a campaign poster! That then incited a few other people to send out emails saying the same thing. It was like people were running for 6th grade class president, it was both hilarious and brain melting.

Someone comes up with a solution to the distress! The solution is to print out a list of all 30 numbers, which people are taping on their desks. It’s harder to look at the list than it is to just look at the phone book installed in the phone! The list is like a holy grail. It takes someone a week to figure out how to do columns in Word to make it one page instead of like five.

Four months go by and this is STILL an issue. And then we get a new girl in. As she’s being trained by another employee, I get to hear this wonderful gem.

EMPLOYEE: This is your phone, you only get to choose 4 people to put under the buttons. We used to have 6 options but now you can only do 4!

NEW GIRL: Oh, but I can still just dial anyone’s number, right?

EMPLOYEE: Oh no you can dial whoever you want but you have to look them up!! We printed out a list, we’ll have to get you one.

NEW GIRL: Can’t you just hit the phone book button? It shows everyone alphabetical on the screen and then you just hit their names. It’s pretty easy.

Employee is at a loss for words over New Girl’s lack of anger and I merely cackle from my seat. The tides may finally be changing!

{ 550 comments… read them below }

  1. Catalin*

    The new girl is the kid in the Emperor’s New Clothes, lol.
    Sometimes, people just get so caught up in BEING OFFENDED that they can’t see clearly. Hilarious.

    1. Wintermute*

      this! So, so much this. Though often it is a sign of deeper dysfunction, usually “I can’t complain about the REAL thing I’m upset about because of fear of retribution, or complex reasons, so this shall become my outrage surrogate!” or “I have no control over my circumstances and it’s stressing me out, so I am going to put all my anxiety and desire for control onto this one small thing I might be able to influence”.

      But sometimes, nope, it’s just inexplicable.

      Recent neurological research has found out something fascinating… outrage releases a lot of neurotransmitters, adrenaline, cortisol (the stress hormone), etc. but it ALSO releases *dopamine*, as in the reward-pathway stuff, the same stuff many illegal stimulants release. Outrage is literally addictive.

      That’s why rage-bait political headlines work so well on social media and in blogs. People are literally wired to be addicted to getting indignant.

        1. SheLooksFamiliar*

          I haven’t but I’m going to now. I know too many people who get riled up over all kinds of little stuff.

        2. Maya*

          It’s just like a webcomic strip I’ve seen a few times floating around the internet:

          Baby throwing a fit: I’m mad!
          Parent: Here, have a soother. (gives pacifier)
          Baby: I don’t want to be soothed.
          (Throws pacifier.)
          I want to be mad.

        3. Alice's Rabbit*

          Me, too. I have seen so many previously-sane people descend into madness in recent years, constantly outraged at something. And when they run out of enemies to despise, they turn on friends and family.

        1. Salymander*

          I love this!

          I had a housemate at University who I think qualifies as being Creatively Indignant. He wanted to get a bunch of people to protest the uni because, while we had all moved in to newly built on campus housing, with brand new, expensive and very nice furniture, the landscaping around the buildings was not complete. He felt that having landscaping put in during the first month of school was unacceptable because we were all paying for housing. This guy found a few others to meet with him late at night in the laundry/common room in order to plan the Revolution. I tagged along to a meeting once because they had brownies. The Revolution never achieved anything, and it sort of faded away once the landscaping was finished, but at least they had quality baked goods.

          1. Marion Ravenwood*

            This reminds me a bit of when I was in university and my two neighbours on either side in halls were both members of a society I had absolutely zero interest in, but would frequently try to persuade me to join. I’m ashamed to say I went to more than one meeting purely because they had really good curry.

            1. Salymander*

              I would have done the same. A good curry is worth a few weird meetings when the alternative is a can of beans in my dorm room.

            2. Someone On-Line*

              Was it the Hare Krishnas? Because they make really good curry. I took some pamphlets in exchange for a free meal in graduate school.

    2. MusicWithRocksIn*

      I think in an office sometimes it is anything to drum up a little excitement. It’s why my office came to a standstill when some turkeys were walking by and everyone had to run over to the window and watch. Or when everyone gets hyper competitive over a rivalry collage football game- anything to make a dull work day seem more exciting.

      1. Jarp*

        That’s ‘dog-in-the-playground’ syndrome. A dog shows up on the playground at school and the kids go craaaaaazy. Half of them probably have dogs at home, they definitely see dogs out and about. But a Dog. In. The. Playground. is Special.

        1. DataGirl*

          once there was a cat outside the window of a class I was in (all adult learners) and everything stopped for at least 15 minutes so we could look at the cat.

          1. Princesss Sparklepony*

            That’s a much better reason to stop class than the time my exercise class had a guy engaging in a “personal massage” outside the window. Of course, I was the one that noticed him…. I hate doing abs…

          2. fluffy*

            I feel like this is a close cousin to how every time someone’s cat appears on a Zoom call, the entire conversation pivots to the cat. Even if everyone at the company has cats of their own.

            1. Rosalind Franklin*

              We have 3 cats but one of them is my Office Cat. Occasionally he will insist on being held like a baby mid-meeting. My team recognizes that there is nothing to be done but hold the catbaby and soldier on.

        2. Consuming all the tea*

          The last time my class got interrupted was when a koala strolled by with a joey on her back. Okay, yes, it was super adorable but, come on kids, they’re in trees right across the school – just look up!

        3. Thin Mints didn't make me thin*

          Back in the early ’50s my mom was attending an all-women college in Alabama. One day the cry went up in the dorm: “Men in uniform!” The girls all flocked to the windows on one side of the building … to see two painters in overalls trudging across the campus.

      2. Liz W.*

        Well we had bobcat kits come for a visit a few years ago. Watching them play in the flower beds was worth stopping everything for…but then no one wanted to leave because they didn’t know where mom was…

      3. VanLH*

        Actually, my wife and I used to live a quarter mile from a cemetery that had a flock of wild turkeys living there and we enjoyed it.

        1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          I had a mob of wild turkeys evict the Barn Owl from the 50 foot pine tree in my back yard as a kid. I missed the owl really quickly. The owl left my dog alone and didn’t make anywhere near the level of noise those birds made. There’s a reason turkeys are nickname “thunderwings.”

          Yes, the turkeys liked to harass our dogs to the point that a black lab/Great Dane mix refused to go in the backyard. And taking a dog to the vet for stitches from peck wounds was interesting.

          1. Corporate Lawyer*

            “Thunderwings” LOL! I’ve never heard that before, but can confirm it’s 100% accurate. We have a couple of flocks of turkeys in our neighborhood, and sometimes we’re like, is that a helicopter taking off? Oh, no, it’s just a turkey.

      4. Middle Aged Lady*

        We had a red tailed hawk who frequented the trees near my workplace and we would all run over and gawk as she eviscerated various creatures, mostly squirrels.
        Quite exciting and as one wag put it, ‘perfect metaphor for office politics.’

        1. The Starsong Princess*

          I remember class coming to a full stop back in high school so everyone could observe observe some fornicating squirrels out the window. The teacher had a difficult time getting that class back on track.

          1. Zoe Karvounopsina*

            The most exciting thing we had was Wombles going past the science block. I never did find out why…

              1. BubbleTea*

                No, the actual Wombles. They’re incredibly rare, only native to one small part of London, and a sighting is headline news in England.

        2. MarfisaTheLibrarian*

          I used to work in a building in NYC that had hawks nesting by a 12th floor window, and the company set up a livestream camera, which my whole office would have up on our computers while we worked, and every once in awhile one of us would call out when they were doing something interesting “Oooh, she’s bringing a rat, ooh ewwwwwww” “OMG THE BABY IS JUMP-FLAPPING”

      5. Marion Ravenwood*

        This type of stuff was a regular occurrence in my second-to-last job. The office building was right next to the canal and had floor to ceiling glass windows all the way along, and so we’d regularly get things like groups of kayakers, people in those hot tub boats, ducks/geese/swans with young etc going past that would often cause us all to stop what we were doing and watch what was going on. I seem to recall one particular incident where we watched two canal boats coming the opposite way and trying to work out how to navigate through the gaps and everything ground to a halt for a good half an hour.

      6. SportyYoda*

        There’s at least one meeting I cannot remember because I was next to a window and there were two Canada geese on the front lawn. People kept going over to try to interact with them, and I kept waiting on someone to get ganked.

      7. Galadriel's Garden*

        One of my company’s satellite offices once had a Canadian goose mother lay her eggs in one of the parking lot “islands,” the ones with the shrubs and such. Well, Canadian geese are already an unfriendly lot – but a nesting, protective mother was a menace. She brought other protective geese into her fold so now there was a whole gang of geese roving around and chasing people, and it got to the point where daily emails were being sent around the office indicating when was a good time to make a run for one’s car. People who sat near windows that overlooked that part of the lot became mini-celebrities, goose posters went up throughout the office. They ordered office-wide lunch when the goslings were first spotted, as “the end was near.” I was blown away hearing this whole story because on the one hand, it started with something rather useful (“let’s all try not to get attacked by a goose today”) and spiraled into hilarity…probably for these same reason you mentioned, “anything to make a dull workday more exciting!”

        1. Salymander*

          This is hilarious! Goose Attack!

          Actually, geese are pretty scary. I was attacked by geese in a terrifying childhood duck pond incident. It was bad. I keep an eye on any geese in my immediate vicinity, so I can’t blame your coworkers one bit.

          Turkeys are also rather fun. My boss had turkeys as part of her 4H project when she was a teenager. Her brother was a huge jerk as a teen, and unwisely decided to shove TeenBoss because she wouldn’t let his 15 year old arse borrow her car. The female turkeys surrounded JerkBro, so he couldn’t escape. Then, the Tom turkey attacked. JerkBro was pretty messed up, and was a whole lot more respectful after the Attack Turkey incident.

          1. Bob-White of the Glen*

            I love this story! I imagine my cats being this protective, but who knows. (Plus all 5 are boys.)

    3. quill*

      I mean, it took the collective outrage a week to figure out how to make columns in Word, I wonder if they were perceiving things too clearly before this.

    4. commonsensesometimesmakessense*

      Seriously, the new girl cannot begin to fathom why this is even a conversation!

      1. Windchime*

        That’s the first thing I thought of! Everyone was jockeying for position on the speed dial list. This is a hilarious letter and I’m sorry that I missed it in the open thread.

      2. Dumpster Fire*

        I forgot about that episode! I was actually thinking, how can this NOT be an episode in something like The Office?

      3. Cuddleshark*

        It’s times like this I wish this comment section had upvotes. Please take this imaginary upvote.

        My actual first thought was MySpace top 8, even though I somehow missed out on that corner of the internet during its glory years.

        1. MigraineMonth*

          In college I wrote a MySpace web crawler to map people’s top 8 relationships for a social study. Apparently there are 2 main types: “mutual” friends (both rank each other as #1), and “popular” friends (a large group of people all rank person A as #1 even though A can’t rank them all as #1 back).

          In this case, it sounds like the manager is trying way to hard to be the popular friend.

      4. Bluesboy*

        British TV show, Coupling in the early days of mobile phones, parapharased:
        “I only have space for ten numbers in my phone, and I’ve classified people by order of importance. Here are the first six.”
        – “Am I number seven?”
        “I’m so sorry, I didn’t have space for you”
        – “Ah. So who’s number seven?”
        “I haven’t met a ‘seven’ yet”.

    1. The Dogman*

      Yes, more of this type of thing if possible please Alison, it is really funny and a lovely change of pace from the seriousness of most posts!

  2. EPLawyer*

    Oh this is WONDERFUL.

    For someone who didn’t have to deal with the insanity.

    It’s ONLY THIRTY PEOPLE. Even if you had to scroll through the whole phone list that would not take long. I could see the furor if it were a huge company and you had a lot of people you were in regular communication with. but THIRTY PEOPLE? That’s like no need to even have ANYONE on speed dial.

    1. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain*

      I think that it being a small group is why this is such a Big Deal. If people in a small group are freaking out that the company moved their cheese, it feels HUGE. But in a larger company the uproar gets drowned out a lot faster.

      1. Berkeleyfarm*

        I think this is exactly it … easier for one or two change-resistant people to influence the whole group.

        I am in IT AND I used to be a board member at a “pastoral sized” church … the “who moved my cheese” is so real.

        1. Bad at picking names*

          Berkeleyfarm, what do you mean by “pastoral sized?” Wouldn’t that mean every church? I’ve attended churches large and small and I’ve never heard that expression.

          Also, are you in/near Berkeley? If so, hello fellow Bay Area-an! I’m currently in the South Bay but would much rather be in the East Bay.

        2. JESUS IS THE MAN!*

          Oh, mercy. I’m the pastor at a parish consisting of two congregations that size. I know exactly what you mean.

      2. Salymander*

        Yes, smaller groups seem so much more likely to have this sort of problem. One or two super dramatic or unreasonable people can have an outsized influence, and everyone else dealing with them can get really persnickety out of self defense and frustration.

        I worked in an office with fewer than a dozen people. We shared office space with another business that typically only had one person there. She did a lot of eye rolling at us because our dozen people would get worked up over ridiculous things. I tried to stay out of it because I was a teenager at the time and these grown ups all behaving ridiculously and yelling were a bit scary to me. We had lots of new phone system issues, compete with tantrums, and a couple of meltdowns of the more scared/anxious type. I mean, it is just a new phone system, right? Not the apocalypse? This is the same job that taught me that some people get really upset if you replace a roll of toilet paper without “starting the roll” by detaching the first piece so it isn’t stuck together and then folding the first piece over so it doesn’t show a ripped edge. My boss yelled at me that he unrolled a third of the roll and threw it away because he couldn’t get it to work when I didn’t “start the roll.” Boss and Other Boss argued, then other adult coworkers argued, and eventually they reached a consensus that we all have to “start the roll.” I just sat there drinking my terrible coffee (they decided it always should be 1/2 decaf Cheap Coffee Brand because that was The Way To Do It) and watching them complain and argue about the One Right Way To TP. It has been 30+ years and I still “start the roll.”

        1. Middle Aged Lady*

          Wow, what a bunch of weirdos. My first boss was having an affair and used to leave me alone at 18 to run a little pizza restaurant (my summer job before college) while he slipped off for a quickie at his nearby home. It was terrifying but I was afraid to tell my parents for some reason.

        2. Critical Rolls*

          “Couldn’t get it to work”? With the caveat that I’m not a teenager, if an adult told me they couldn’t operate a roll of toilet paper, I would have laughed until I needed a nap to recover.

        3. Elenna*

          Wait, so… what did he do when it was his turn to “start the roll”? Did he just never do that himself? Like, if he knows how to do it when he’s the one replacing a roll, can’t he just… do that when someone else replaced it???

          1. Salymander*

            No, he literally never started the roll himself. He would finish a roll and then go to one of the women who worked there and tell us that we needed to replace the roll. I have no idea how he got through life being so infantile and weird. He was a doctor. Very successful. He just got so frustrated by trying to start the roll that he ripped off about a third of a roll of TP before he could make it work. Or something. I don’t know. He had a huge tantrum, yelled at me for awhile, got all the other adults to join in his discussion/yelling, and then made a sort of proclamation about the proper way to do TP. I watched the whole thing with wide eyes while I sipped my gross half decaf cheap coffee, trying to prevent myself from giggling, and then I went in to the bathroom to find a little mound of shredded TP on the floor next to the trash can, and little bits of TP all over the place. He tracked it out into the hallway, and it got everywhere. I was horrified, but also very, very entertained. I mean, they were all so dramatic, and absolutely serious about the importance of deciding what the One True Right Way of starting a roll of TP is. This was a stone cold serious debate, punctuated by a lot of yelling. I came from a horribly dysfunctional family that yelled all the time, and even I thought this was weird. Doctors and Registered Nurses, all yelling at each other and at me, because of toilet paper.

            1. Maseca*

              I think Allison needs to break out your story as its own post next! I’m dying picturing all the bits of shredded TP marking his angry path out of the loo.

              1. Salymander*

                I don’t know. Nothing can ever top the letter about the guy who was lighting toilet paper on fire and exiting the bathroom in a cloud of poopy smoke. I think that one was the funniest letter ever. I still snort-laugh just thinking about it.

                Who knew there were so many people with weird toilet paper issues?

        4. MigraineMonth*

          There’s a hilarious book called “Motel of Mysteries” set after all North American civilization collapsed (it was buried under 3rd-class mail due to an accidental mail cost decrease). An archaeologist stumbles (literally) across a perfectly-preserved Motel 8 and deduces that it must be a sacred tomb.

          The book speculates on the likely religious and ceremonial significance of the end of every toilet paper roll being folded into a Sacred Point.

          Perhaps your boss felt the importance of that ceremonial Sacred Point.

          1. Salymander*

            That is definitely it. It wasn’t folded in a point, it had to be fixed straight across if the edge was rough. There must be some kind of religious or philosophical significance in that, right? Because otherwise that means that a grown man was really that weird and infected his co-workers with his strange toilet paper issues.

            I definitely need to read Motel of Mysteries. It would explain so much.

    2. Princess Trachea-Aurelia Belaroth*

      This is so baffling to me because I work in a high school. We have about 60 teachers, and that doesn’t even account for admin and stuff. We are all in separate rooms and have assigned places, as well as different lunches and plan periods and places to be, so we can’t just all step over to someone’s desk. On top of that, we’re often calling to track down a student, so first we have to use our clunky system to find where a student is at any given time.

      But, for teacher numbers, we have the phone book and also, you know… just a functional “locator chart,” with room numbers, phone extensions, and the teachers’ full schedules, and we get by just fine. It’s so easy and I don’t even get the need to BE on so many people’s speed dial! Like, I would like more people to NOT be able to contact me, please.

      1. Middle School Managment*

        I just moved to a new school that…doesn’t use the phones. No one knows how to call another teacher’s room; the office uses the intercom; and we don’t have a display, a voicemail, or a phone book set up on the phone. It’s wild. Don’t take your phone use for granted!

        1. Perpetuating the Façade*

          We DON’T EVEN HAVE PHONES in my middle school. It’s horrid. Luckily, we’re a small school-30ish teachers-but if you need someone you better have your cell and their number OR have a student to send in search of them.

      2. RSTchick*

        Same here. I don’t think we have speed dial, but I rely on the extension list tacked up next to my phone quite frequently. Of course, there are a few teachers who don’t respond to phone or voicemail and I have to physically hunt them down to get the details I need to help raise money for a specific project they’re involved in. They’re all lovely people though, so I don’t mind too much.

    3. LinuxSystemsGuy*

      Back in the day when I was in the Army we used one of these VOIP systems. I even managed part of one when we were deployed to Iraq. This hubbub is even more ridiculous than it sounds. These directories are almost always searchable, and you can make a “favorites” list with as many numbers as you want.

      Even in a fairly large organization (I think we had about a thousand phones in the Division level tree in Iraq), on much older phones without touchscreens, it took about 10 seconds to find anyone you had a name for. Favorites, even if they weren’t on your speed dial, could be found in a second or two.

      1. Just J.*

        Or if you are even older-school like me, you can tape a post-it note on your phone with numbers of the people you call most often.

        1. Juneybug*

          I was crazy old school and made my own paper phone list. Quick glance at my printed list and I could call folks that I talked to all the time without an issue. Never did load numbers onto my work phone.

        2. Alexander Graham Yell*

          I had an old manager who used me as his external memory for stuff like this – he’d ask for the same number almost every day. So one day I taped up the number for Pizza Hut and put it on my cube wall right below where his head was so I could read the number but look like I was just looking at him. (He was calling an outside vendor so it wasn’t like I was giving him an external number instead of an extension.) When they answered he looked startled, laughed, and magically remembered the number himself from then on. No pizza, though. :(

      2. Anon Supervisor*

        Absolutely. People don’t realize that they can make speed dials outside of the physical buttons and just push *5 for Joe Blow down the hall.

        1. Asenath*

          It is astonishing how many people don’t automate things that are really, really easy to automate. I worked in a place that still used fax, and the big communal photocopier had a fax option as well as a scan-to-email option (for those recipients who weren’t concerned over email privacy and would use email instead of fax). I was the only person who programmed in the email addresses and fax numbers of people I sent things to regularly, and I only did it for offices I needed to send things to. I think one person asked how to use the pre-programmed number for one office. Everyone else put in all the numbers or the email address every time. Me, the first time I needed to send the same information to a dozen or more offices, I thought “there has to be an easier way” and I found one.

          On the other hand, I did not like the address book built into the new VOIP system we got during my tenure there, but I also didn’t use speed dial. It wasn’t really necessary since I didn’t phone that often, and anyway had all the information for my regular contacts in my Outlook address book.

          1. Anon Supervisor*

            I hear you on the faxing. I programmed them in for my department after I typo’d a number once too often. Also, I got tired of my print outs getting mixed up at the communal printer, so I figured out how to use the print to file option on the printer so I could just print them all at once.

          2. Salymander*

            Yes. A lot of people never really learn how to automate basic things, and many more just never get around to it. I did figure these things out at OldJob, so that I could make the copier, printer, fax and computers all function reasonably well. My coworkers were so baffled/impressed that it was almost like I was a wizard.

        2. quill*

          My theory is that no one knows how they need to set their phone up early on, and most people don’t have the manual available.

          … I still don’t know how to call out of the office on my phone. Do you press 9 or 1 to call out? I’ve had to do it once in six months.

    4. Lacey*

      That was my thought too! I worked in a company with 30 people – most of the ones I’d need to talk to were within 20-30 feet of me.

      To be fair, everyone with a phone did have their own button on the phone (some departments just had one phone for the whole department, because they almost never needed to take calls) but I needed to call people… I don’t know, twice a month? Maybe?

    5. Watry*

      Right?! My phone list, printed out, is thirteen pages long*, and that’s just my department–anybody else you have to look up in the Outlook address book. Since for some reason my unit also handles phone calls, each of us has between twenty and thirty numbers memorized. Our phones don’t even have speed dial!

      *Admittedly each entry has enough information that it’s only one person per line.

    6. Dragon_Dreamer*

      Wait, the phone list was originally *5* pages? For 30 people? That’s 6 people per page! What are they including, photos and resumes?

      1. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

        Yeah, it seems like you could get a 30-person list of names and phone numbers on one sheet of paper with it only being mildly “busy”/too small as long as you weren’t trying to also include other information and set “fits on one page” as your primary goal?

      2. Me*

        Yeah really, our speed dial list at my library is about ten numbers long and prints out to maybe 3 inches tall, with the name of the phone you’re calling (ex. circulation desk) and the four digit extension. I honestly have no idea how 30 names/numbers don’t fit on one page, two at the absolute most.

      3. Princess Trachea-Aurelia Belaroth*

        Wait, what?! We have 60 teachers, room numbers, extensions, and entire 7-period schedules on two sides of one sheet! And it is a smaller font, but not unreadable at all!

    7. Esmeralda*

      I’m sure most if not all of those folks are able to use the contacts list in their personal phones…

      1. Nanani*

        I’m picturing a labyrinth of cublicles and partitions so that even though Jane is only across the room, actually getting to her requires navigating a beige and gray obstacle course, so you call instead.

      2. Thin Mints didn't make me thin*

        Because it’s too much trouble to get up and go over to Brenda’s desk to see if Brenda wants to do lunch now or at 1.

    8. commonsensesometimesmakessense*

      I work for a far larger organization and don’t even know how to set up my speed dial just because I have no reason to bother.

  3. sssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss*

    It never ceases to amaze what people will have a meltdown over in an office environment. Thermostats, tissue boxes, access to a fridge, desk size, parking spaces (oi, parking…), upgrading to new software, etc. This is hilarious and sadly so true.

    I’ve had similar experiences but never ever to this scale of “my world is ending.”

    Thank you for sharing!

    1. Wintermute*

      a lot of the time it’s a symptom of feeling absolutely no control, so they focus on one little thing and use it as a proxy for their greater inability to stop any change they see as detrimental from happening to them.

      1. Seriously?*

        Yup. I remember once after a whole bunch of nonsense being foisted on us teachers at my school, about which I could do nothing, I had a meltdown because they took away my large trash can. I really did need it, we did projects that generated a lot of trash, but I had also just had it!

        I got the trash can back.

        1. Middle Aged Lady*

          Yep. I was doing two people’s jobs while someone was out for a while and I cried when my boss took one of my file cabinets. Hard to believe it now, but I NEEDED it.

      2. RE*

        Exactly. The whole time I was reading this, I was thinking- this isn’t about the phones. This is about control. With so much uncertainty and unpredictability in the world, people really do get attached to the little things that they can control. Having change forced on you (even small, necessary change!) can be really hard. The reason the new person didn’t have a problem with it is because she didn’t have to deal with the change from the old system- this new phone is the only one she’s used at this job.

      3. Aunt Piddy*

        Yup! At Nightmare Firm, they decided to give us all name plates and you would have thought it was the APOCALYPSE. People freaked out that they were only doing this to monitor who was taking to long on breaks or going to the bathroom too much, and that giving us nameplates was tantamount to working in a police state, etc.

        It was absolutely a symptom of the lack of control people working there felt. Which is probably why someone ended up pooping outside of the managing partner’s office.

        1. Jean (just Jean)*

          Might that person be related to the job interviewee who (unobserved) pooped in the potted plant?

        2. Aunt Piddy*

          Re: The Poop Incident

          Really that’s the whole story! There was a poop found outside the managing partner’s office one morning! There was a WHOLE investigation to find out who did it, but came to nothing. We didn’t have cameras because of the sensitive nature of the work (otherwise they ABSOLUTELY would have had cameras) so they couldn’t prove who did it. The Mystery Pooper fueled the rumor mill for months.

          I have suspicions.

          There was also a case where they fired one of the workers and he stood up, whipped it out, and peed all over his desk and computer, then left. It was a wild place to work, just incredibly mis-managed. Which is how I found this site!

      4. metadata minion*

        I get upset all out of proportion every time my phone updates its operating system and the buttons are DIFFERENT. They used to be SQUARE and now they are ROUNDED SQUARES and this is WRONG. Etc.

    2. enough*

      You forgot windows. Did a floor office layout due to a merger of 2 groups. Those who would not have a window were a trip. They were coming from a smaller room, no privacy and not as bright. So on the whole this was better.

      1. sssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss*

        Oh, didn’t think of that! I meant Windows from Microsoft but yes, yes, a window in a work environment would be worthy of a office battle.

      2. Anonymous4*

        The concept of having a window can be so much more rewarding than the window itself. Cold in the winter, broiling in the summer, a straight view of the parking garage — but the thought of a window!

        (I’m pretty happy being two cubes away from a window, myself — I get the brightness of the sunlight, and the ambient heat transfer is moderated by the time it gets to me.)

        But I’m sure I’ve got oddities that make my coworkers exchange glances; we all do.

      3. ceiswyn*

        I actually used the pandemic WFH to sneak myself a window seat. Because when people were allowed to be in the office again, only a few people wanted to come back, and it didn’t make any sense for us to sit in the dark and artificial light and leave the window seats for people who were WFH, right?
        Fast forward a year and all my stuff is now on the desk with views across the river to the Old City and park. Nobody has protested this fait accompli… yet… and it makes me, yes, quite disproportionately happy!

      4. Berkeleyfarm*

        I still remember one office move at a former company (which shuffled people around a lot) where one director measured his perspective office vs. another director’s, found that the other director’s office was 6″ bigger in one direction, and promptly pitched an epic hissyfit.

        Both had corner offices etc.

        1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

          I’m vaguely recollecting a story, maybe from The Devil Wears Prada? where the boss has a fit because a rival managed to find an earlier flight back from Paris. So the poor assistant was tasked with finding an even earlier flight… which she did, but oopsie, it was a smaller plane and actually arrived later than the rival’s flight. Yeah, if you’re a bitch boss, you can expect a little malicious compliance from your assistant now and then.

    3. Magenta Sky*

      It certainly reminded me of the many, many, many tales we’ve all hear of The Great Thermostat Wars, and the scorched earth policies they always lead to.

      1. Nanani*

        At least thermostat wars have -some- grounding in reality. Some people really are more sensitive to heat/cold, and expectations about what to wear at work (e.g., suit jackets = too hot, flimsy decorative women’s shirts = too cold) compound it.

        Whether you’re on someone else’s speed dial does not.

        1. Random Bystander*

          Or there is something truly screwed up in the way the heating/cooling worked. Back when we were in the office, when we first went in, there was one co-worker who sat where the air came in who was always bundled up in her winter coat (which is absurd indoors–no one should have to wear a winter coat in the office to not freeze). Other people were complaining about sweltering. Plant operations came, measured the temp in the middle of the room “it’s fine–it’s 68”. Multiple tickets later, it was found that the air coming in above winter-coat co-worker was at 45, while the sweltering people had air coming in at 95, and somehow when it all got around to the middle, it was “right”. It *finally* got fixed (ie, same temperature coming in at all locations matching the setting on the thermostat).

          1. wittyrepartee*

            Everyone at my job always tells me that I can always bundle up. Back when I had to be in the office, I occasionally had a lap blanket, gloves, a andean ruana, AND my office sweater. Sometimes this was on days where it was 90 degrees outside.

          2. LV426*

            I’m embarrassed to say that I once threw a fit when my desk was moved from it’s nice comfortable spot to a window seat that was right beneath the AC vent and was absolutely freezing. My manager tried to say I was being promoted to a window seat and it was like the straw that broke the camel’s back due to everything that had been piled on my plate and I almost screamed “IT’S NOT A PROMOTION IF I DON’T WANT IT!” logged out of my phone and went on a break. I had to go for a walk and just take a breather before I could come back and discuss with my manager that the seat was not a good fit for me and could I choose somewhere else. At that moment though it felt like moving my seat was the end of the world.

          3. ceiswyn*

            Our office thermostat is located in the gap between our ceiling and the next floor, above the insulation. This means that setting the controls does not do what you expect, because the temperature at the thermostat can be different from the temperature in the office by up to 8C.

            My colleagues complain, but they don’t seem to grasp the issue and none of them can be bothered learning the login details for the controls or how to adjust them. This means that when I’m in the office, the temperature is exactly the way I like it :)

            (Similarly, when I was doing my MSc the thermostat in our study room was in the path of the aircon. We kept complaining to facilities, and they kept popping their heads in and measuring the temperature at the door. It was five degrees cooler further in, but they never listened to what we were telling them or read further than the title of the complaint, so it stayed bitterly cold in there until the aircon broke. Which was two days after we told them it was spitting ice and water and they told us it was fine.

          4. JESUS IS THE MAN!*

            Old office of mine had the wonkiest heat ever in a very cold climate. I would regularly wear a woolly hat, fingerless gloves, thick sweater, blanket…

            The best part was that it was an energy efficiency nonprofit, so we probably looked like we were *that dedicated* to conserving energy, rather than just freezing our butts off because nobody could get the heat to work.

    4. CrankyPants*

      This just triggered my recent phone system change trauma……
      Mine was similar yet different…..I ended up changing our in-house phone system from one that didn’t even have call waiting to a lovely new one that came with everything from LED handsets to desktop and calendar integration and a mobile app so you can make calls from the bloody moon and it would look like you were at your desk.

      What’s the non-stop every 30 seconds twice an hour complaint?????
      You can have multiple lines…..let’s say Jon Snow and Fergus share office space with multiple desks and want to be able to grab each other’s calls if the other person is on the line.
      No problem, that works fine.
      Let’s say Fergus grabs Jon’s call and its just gotta be taken by Jon……Fergus then has to transfer back to Jon’s desk, he can’t just put the call on hold then Jon pick it up.

      NOW mind you when Fergus goes to hit hold or transfer there is a 3rd button that says park……if he hits that then Jon can hit park on his own phone then Fergus’ extension thus claiming the call……so SAME FRIGGIN DIFFERENCE right? WRONG

      That’s too much for everyone. It’s too many steps, it’s annoying, it’s ridiculous, I wasted money etc etc etc

      Mind you…..our old phone system couldn’t do any of the above…..AT ALL…..and its saving us $260 per month (plus another 200 on the internet switch I made for 10x the speed)

      1. misspiggy*

        Ooh, offer to change it back and ask for the chief complainer’s cost centre/budget info to charge the extra cost to.

      2. Magenta Sky*

        We had . . . adventures replacing our old in house PBX with hosted VOIP, but the difficulties there were quite real, and involved a lot of dropped calls and angry customers.

        It ended with a very tense conversation with our telco, in which they were informed they had 30 says to solve it, or we’d be taking our quarter million dollars a year to new carrier.

        1. Another h*

          Lol okay . I used to work for a telco installing voip. I promise you that I loved my job and did the best I could for my customers, always. But threats from a customer? I promise you that no one took your threat seriously ..we had a good chuckle at you flipping out and worked hard to resolve your issue despite your temper tantrum. I promise you – your threats do nothing

    5. Fake Old Converse Shoes (not in the US)*

      Desk placements. The back to office rules say no group can stay in a conference room for more than two hours, so we all hot desk now. People now run to get a desk at the heart of the office floor, away from the too cold hallway, the too hot windows, and curious people (or bosses) peeking at your computer.

    6. SleepyHollowGirl*

      I worked on a replacement for a beloved internal tool.

      The new version had a dark mode and a light mode. But what was still in development was a blue mode, which closely matched the colors of the old tool. So when they finally decided to turn off the old tool, people were SO UPSET that there was no blue that it ended up going to the VP level of the large company that the old tool could not be turned off until the new one had a blue mode available.

    7. Sylvan*

      I was once shuffled to a spare desk in the IT department. The people around me complained with Windows stopped supporting XP because they didn’t want to move on to something else.

      People in IT. Relied on Windows XP. In 2014. They thought they were completely reasonably angry about it.

      1. quill*

        To be fair windows has been getting more smartphonified since about 2016. Making it harder to use older muscle-memory shortcuts. And also upgrading software is a pain in the rear, usually involving buying completely new software. Used to be you could purchase a program in 1994 and be reasonably certain it would still be useable in ten to fifteen years. Now, if your internal database is running on a custom solution built in 2014, but maybe using architecture built before that… You end up explaining to baffled bosses that once you have to run a database in an emulated version of Internet Explorer 2009, you have to upgrade FAST.

      2. L*

        I work in tech (though not IT) and was one of those people who was irritated when XP support was finally dropped. I knew many people in tech who felt the same — this does not surprise me at all from an IT department! Subsequent Windows OS updates have been buggy, unstable, full of significant data collection and user privacy violations that are hard to opt out of, and often more challenging to use if you need to do complex tasks. Windows XP was a security nightmare towards the end but I certainly understand the people who miss it! It’s not as much of a ‘speed dial’ issue as it may appear on the surface because it really did have far-reaching impacts on people’s work.

    8. RSTchick*

      We complain about the thermostat on a regular basis. No conspiracy theories or major drama, but several of us wear our coats in the office or have space heaters. Our poor maintenance guy has tried to fix it many times, but it’s just an awful heating system and needs to be replaced.

      1. ScruffyInternHerder*

        Yup. Can confirm. We deal with a heating/cooling system that is three office layouts old. I’ve been known to wear a stocking cap in the office.

    9. Gumby*

      My office is generally full of reasonable people. We moved offices. There were repeated complaints about thermostats. I agreed – I was cold but then I frequently am in offices. I figured we would come to a happy medium once people were settled in. So I threw on a sweater and used my lap blanket and just let people figure out where things would end up.
      … More than 3 weeks into our occupancy it is discovered that the heat? Was never turned on in the building. So, yes, we have been working in an entirely unheated office. In November. I mean, sure, in California, but it does get cold here. Or at least “to cold to have zero climate control in your building” anyway.

    10. commonsensesometimesmakessense*

      Well, thermostats make sense. After all, the one in my office is literally making me melt down!!! LOL!

    11. SimplytheBest*

      My current position was newly created at my office when I started, so they needed an additional workspace. I was put in an unused cubicle. Apparently before I started, there was a staff meltdown because the cubicle was used every Tuesday night to hold the pizza dinner for the Tuesday night language class. Like…the person who ran the class literally thought I shouldn’t have been hired because it was too annoying for them to have to find another place to put the pizza boxes.

  4. Turingtested*

    I can’t tell if this is an amazing place to work because the biggest inconvenience in years is a minor change to the phone system or if everyone there is that crazy all the time.

    1. Me, I think*

      I mean, sure, that’s a great question, but based on story I am going with Door #2, Crazy All the Time.

    2. Anonymous Hippo*

      It’s so crazy I almost wonder if it is partially a joke, especially the campaigning to stay on people favorites list.

      1. Berkeleyfarm*

        Some people definitely don’t have enough work to do and are spending their work time spreading drama.

      2. Nanani*

        When the crazy tone is beign set from above (it’s a manager doing the campaign thing after all) it can spread very easily

    3. LadyProg*

      If it was just 1 person or 2 people, I’d put it as odd but probably still an ok place
      When it’s this widespread? And trying to rile up the newcomer? Bananacrackers for sure

      1. Berkeleyfarm*

        I mean, it’s a big important thing in their world

        I wouldn’t be surprised if the newcomer doesn’t end up staying because “she didn’t fit with our culture” e.g. not willing to play along with our drama

      2. Princesss Sparklepony*

        I think it’s a bit like a virus. It spreads through the office and infects everyone. People who last week had no problems with the new system are suddenly up in arms over the function they never really used…

  5. Joy*

    This is truly hilarious – however, the thing that confuses me is that it sounds like all 30 people work in the same office. Is there truly an office remaining out there where people *call* each other regularly? Even when I was last in such a situation, pre-pandemic, you either emailed, IM’d, or stood up and went to their office instead.

    1. Expelliarmus*

      Right? I don’t need to remember anyone’s phone number in my office; we just use Microsoft Teams for IMs, meetings, and calls now.

      1. UKDancer*

        Same. I can’t remember the last internal person I physically rang, We just use teams for messaging and calls.

        This is so funny. Talk about fuss over nothing.

        1. Charlotte Lucas*

          I worked somewhere that people would call someone one aisle over. So much fun being on the diagonal from on desk & next to the other. Which meant I would hear the *entire* call. Between a manager & her staff, neither of whom were in my department.

          The company disabled any kind of IM, because they were “time-wasters.” Unlike being forced to listen to irrelevant conversations.

            1. Charlotte Lucas*

              Actually, a different coworker sat by a department where the entire team would huddle around the phone on speaker in one person’s cubicle for meetings. We didn’t have enough conference rooms, but invest in some headsets, people!

            2. Elitist Semicolon*

              This sort of happened to me a few weeks ago, when my office neighbor to the left and my office neighbor to the right were in the same web meeting but I was on a completely different one. We all discovered the hard way how thin our walls are.

            3. Purple Jello*

              AND their doors were opened AND the sound was bouncing off the walls so everyone hears echos. Not that this has ever happened.

          1. Anon Supervisor*

            I knew people who would do this because they got in trouble for camping out at peoples’ desk to chit-chat.

          2. quagmire*

            At my old company, the owner and the main financial guy had offices next to each other. They would frequently have phone conversations on speakerphone, with their doors open. It was so annoying and they like didn’t understand how distracting it was for everyone in cubicles in that area of the office.

            1. Berkeleyfarm*

              I used to work with a bunch of Navy ex-submariners … they did not have indoor voices.

              (And liked speakerphone, with their office doors open.)

        2. comityoferrors*

          Some close colleagues still call me occasionally. They Teams me first to make sure I’m free and to confirm my “new” number (which I got last September and include in my email signature – they just call so infrequently that they forget). This story makes me laugh too, though I really really feel for OP!

        3. The Prettiest Curse*

          I do not have a work phone or phone number in my current job. (It’s a small team and we hot desk on the days we work in the office.)
          I have needed to speak to someone on the phone precisely once in the year since I started and I just had that person call my mobile number. Maybe the speed dial outrage people are in a huge office space or on multiple floors and it takes forever to walk to people’s desks?

      2. KatieP*

        I think I’d actually be irritated if a colleague called me on the phone instead of IMing me. A phone call requires immediate attention. I can reply to an IM after I finish the calculations I’m holding in my head, write the number down, and save my spot on the spreadsheet I’m updating.

        1. Anonymous4*

          Can the call go to voicemail if it’s not convenient to talk right then? I have no problem leaving messages, myself, and if I absolutely positively have to talk with someone about something Right Then, I get myself up and trit-trot over to their desk.

          1. Nanani*

            Doesn’t change the fact that the ring interrupted your thoughts, unless you had the foresight (and ability) to mute the ringer ahead of time.

        2. Esmeralda*

          Pro-tip: a phone call does not require immediate attention. Let it go to voicemail.

          Win-win for me, as I’ve set up my voicemail to route to my email.

          1. Cat Tree*

            Ugh, I’d rather never hear the message than navigate through the voice-mail system. You’re lucky that yours can go to email. But does it do voice-to-text or do you still have to listen to it?

            1. allathian*

              I hate voicemail as well. The worst is voicemail tag, when someoneo leaves you a message and then is unreachable. I’ll do this precisely once, and then I’ll leave a message to tell them I’ll write them an email or contact them on Teams. Luckily at my office, it’s Teams all the way, I can’t even remember when someone from my office called my work cellphone, probably in the summer of 2020. Now if it rings, it’s usually a telemarketer. Those I’ll interrupt mid-spiel and say they’ve called my work phone, and hang up.

              I’m comms adjacent, and that means the people I work with closely are comfortable communicating in writing, that’s what we do all day anyway.

            2. quill*

              Voicemail has the weird quality for me of being even harder to understand, if the connection is not great, than a phone call. I think it saves at a lower quality than the phone transmits? Either way, it’s not just because the only people I don’t routinely delete voicemails from are my parents, who like to call in the car, on the freeway, sounding like they’re shouting down a tin can in a wind tunnel.

              1. Salymander*

                Yes my MIL does this. She is the only person who leaves voicemail messages at our house except for the telescammers trying to get us to buy insurance for nonexistent things or refinance fictional loans or whatever. She doesn’t seem to understand texting or email. I tried to send her photos of my kid, but she couldn’t click on them to open them. So we still have to listen to the dreaded and oh so undecipherable voicemail. It always sounds like people are yelling into a very long hose. Like the adult voices in Peanuts cartoons, you know? Like, “Mwah mwah mwah mwah mwah mwah.”

          2. Nanani*

            Doesn’t change the disturbance of the ring itself!
            Nor the attention-breaking process of looking t the caller ID to check whether it can, in fact, go to voicemail.

    2. Wintermute*

      It really depends on the office. For instance in my current role I do a ton of calling, because I need to ensure there’s an audit log of contacts and my soft phone tracks calls. If I get up and go talk to them there is no proof. This could come into play if I need to say “I called the oncall and let them know process X had failed at 12:47pm, I called the backup at 1:02pm and left a voicemail” etc.

      Likewise a lot of what I do is informing people their stuff is broken and needs attention.

      1. Joy*

        That is so fascinating! I’m a public servant so in theory every thing I do can be shared with the public, so we ruthlessly use verbal conversations (now on MS Teams but before in person or by phone only if the person wasn’t in your building) to ensure there *isn’t* a public record of complicated internal discussions. :P Anything we need for CYA reasons goes in an email.

        1. Wintermute*

          we use email a lot as well but that’s not sufficient for a “CPU usage is at 16% and climbing and if no one does something in the next five minutes people trying to report a car crash might get the spinning beach ball of doom in our iPhone app” type issue.

        2. Amtelope*

          Yep, I work in an industry where disputes with clients are not uncommon and we could potentially be required to hand over all our email and chat conversations about a project to the client. We still use the phone for things like “So the client is asking for something impossible because they are new to the industry and don’t really understand what we do, how do we tactfully explain that nothing works that way?” Or, “I think we screwed up, can we fix it in a way that has no outward-facing consequences, or do we need to explain that we screwed up to the client?”

        3. Friyay*

          Oh, I’d be careful on this, as a state employee we’ve been warned Teams messages can totally be public record if someone knows to ask for them.

          1. Zoe Karvounopsina*

            Yeah, it recently came up that someone was putting a Subject Access Request for basically, everything that had ever mentioned her name, and my first reaction was “Oh shit, last week I said she could go boil her head in a Teams message.”

      1. Windchime*

        Back in the day, before chat and Teams, I worked at a place where I had probably 10 people that I had to telephone regularly. And I did the same thing; I eventually just memorized the extensions. I also kept a sticky note of names and extensions taped to my monitor. It’s not that hard, people.

        1. Butterfly Counter*

          Back when I lived on a very small college campus, we had the same deal. Every person had their own 4 digit extension that would connect automatically if you called on campus. This was before cell phones got widespread. You would just memorize your friend’s 4 digits.

          And WAY back in the day, you had to memorize all 7 digits to call your nearby friends! I still remember my elementary school best friend’s number!

          1. SnappinTerrapin*

            Even further back, there were some towns where you only had to dial the last 4 digits to call someone else in town. If you were in the next town, you did have to dial all 7 digits.

            Yes, it was a dial. The buttons came later.

            1. Magpie*

              There are still echoes of that in the small town where I live, although now you have to of course use the ten-digit number to make a call. All the businesses in the north end of town have 932-xxxx numbers and the south end businesses have 938-xxxx – they used to be two seperate towns, but merged. I imagine it would be the same pattern with residential landlines if anyone had those anymore.

    3. Caramel & Cheddar*

      I would have sent a company-wide email saying, “If you need to sacrifice someone from your Special Six, I volunteer as tribute to make your decision easier.” Please don’t call me, and you’re less likely to do so if you don’t have me on speed dial!

      1. River*

        Absolutely love this! I’d steal your email and volunteer to be the second one removed from the phone list. I refused an extension at work. No unexpected calls please. Imma triage and screen all calls through Slack to see if I have time to handle each convo.

      2. Elitist Semicolon*

        I am exactly the sort of person who would do this! One of my colleagues tried the “we’re all a family” line in the group chat a while back and I said I wanted to be the weird cousin who never comes to any of the reunions.

    4. Still Queer, Still Here*

      I mean… maybe this is a different situation, but: I work at a small higher-ed institution (1000 students, 200 faculty & staff), and I use my desk phone a LOT. Mostly because of Covid though. I didn’t work here pre-Covid, so maybe it’s just a weird culture. But I work in a department with 5 other people. We’re all in-person most days, but each in our own office. With the door closed, we can work without a mask most of the day. Institution-wide, the gmail IM system isn’t used, it’s all either email or phone, and we have pretty strict Covid protocols. Most meetings happen over Zoom or phone. But I call or am called by my coworker next door throughout the day. If we get up and go talk to them, we have to put on a mask, knock on their door, they have to put on their mask and open the door, and if it’s a 2-minute question, that’s a lot to go through.

      So yeah. People are still using phones. Once my campus drops masks and distancing protocols, though, I bet I’ll use my phone only for cross-campus conversations that are short and sweet.

    5. Dumpster Fire*

      As I was reading your comment, Joy, I reached the phrase “or stood up” and the next words in my head were “and yelled for them”. That’s what happens in the school I work in (for the people who are nearby), in the office I worked in before I became a teacher, and in the neighborhood where I grew up! “Hey Jeff!” “What?” “Can you send me that quiz please?” “Sure, coming at you!”

      1. Elitist Semicolon*

        Any number of work conversations have taken place by my neighbor and I yelling through the wall at each other.

        1. quill*

          Yes, though we try to keep it to a dull roar because someone is always in a teams meeting.

          Most of my work conversations are “hey Bartholomew, is it more appropriate to use the frog scoop or the fish scoop to sample tadpoles?” “Uh, we usually use the fish scoop.” “Okay, thanks! *types fish scoop into lab protocol*”

    6. Theothermadeline*

      No joke I used to be in an office that was 95% cube farm and then manager offices making up the edges of the room – managers typically kept doors open. So everyone could hear EVERYTHING.

      The phone culture was not only to call people no matter what their proximity to you was, but to do so on SPEAKER.

      1. NotRealAnonForThis*

        Would not have lasted a week. I loathe speakerphone in general. Don’t like using it, like being on it even less.

    7. RussianInTexas*

      My company is about this size, and the owners REFUSE to use any kind of IM system. Absolutely refuse. “This is more trouble than it worth”. The floorplan of the office is such, people are sort of siloed in to various corners and offices, so we would call each other a lot.
      Now I am working from home along with some of my coworkers, and we are running the underground slack between us.

    8. NerdyPrettyThings*

      Bafflingly, this is still a thing in my office. I can literally hear the person next door speaking through both the wall and the phone when she calls me.

    9. Show Globe*

      Are we sure that there isn’t some time travel going on and this letter wasn’t written in 1995?

        1. Anonymous4*

          They weren’t making rotary phones then. I think those started getting phased out in the ’70s. It was all The Cool New Modern Touch-Tone Phones in those days, and while the cast-iron rotary antiques held on for a while, even those eventually died and were replaced.

          1. Seeking Second Childhood*

            Replaced yes. But rarely because they died. People just replaced them with push buttons when they decided it took too long for the wheel to return to the start so they could dial the next number.

            1. Nanani*

              Not to mention the rise in phone menus that required you to PRESS buttons but didn’t work if you dialed them on a rotary phone.

              1. quill*

                Hold out long enough and you could have skipped dial buttons to a voice-system that will get it wrong every time anyway.

            2. Jackalope*

              Not to mention how annoying it was if you dialed the wrong digit and had to hang up and start ALL OVER AGAIN.

      1. time for lunch*

        In 1995, you memorized phone numbers. Noting then memorizing two more would not be an issue. This is 100% a post cell phone (no need to memorize), post smart phone (just click on it, no need to keep it in your head or write it out before dialing) problem.

        1. NotAnotherManager!*

          Ha! Yes, I had at least my 10 closest friends’ plus my parents and grandparents phone numbers memorized from late elementary school on. Now, I know my spouse’s number and my aunt’s number (was my grandparents’) by heart, and everyone else is from Contacts. I should probably memorize my kids’ numbers.

          I have no idea what anyone’s number is at work – the VOIP system has a directory attached, and I can dial anyone directly from the IM interface by name. People ask me all the time what my neighbor’s number is and I have no idea because I just either IM them or walk over and talk to them. I don’t think I’ve ever used speed dial at work in the two decades I’ve been in an office.

    10. Katie*

      I used to get random calls from clients that were not for me. I would then have to transfer to the right person. We had a phone book of all the people in an excel file to look them up.
      However, it has been a very long time when I had to call a coworker. We ping each other with issues now. Heck our clients ping us.

    11. Texan In Exile*

      A VP used to call me on the phone. He was the only person who called me on the phone – usually, it was salespeople or faxes. I got in the habit of lifting the receiver and dropping it without even saying hello.

      I finally walked the 20 feet to his office and showed him how to IM me.

    12. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      We called, pre-pandemic. Our meetings (distributed teams, spread over multiple states/countries) were phone calls as well. But I couldn’t tell you if our phones even had speed dial! There was a directory button and that’s what everyone used.

    13. anonaccountant*

      Unfortunately, Teams is this new phone system in my office. People outright refuse to use it. “It’s just one more thing that I have to check,” “I already have email and now you want to pile more on,” “it’s bad enough we have to use email at all.” They act like using Teams is this incredibly onerous, time-consuming burden. We did a company-wide training pushing everyone to use Teams for internal comms and there’s still only about 5 people I can reliably reach via Teams.

      Most people here would rather yell for someone from across the building or call them 15 times in a row when they don’t answer than just send an email or chat. Just straight up stubborn.

      1. Jessica*

        Well, I applaud your company for actually bothering to train people. Our approach was just to throw a new platform at us and then start putting stuff on it to force people to go figure out how to do it.

    14. doreen*

      There sure are offices like that still – I just retired from one a few weeks ago. My choices to communicate with someone in my office were to call them on the desk phone, text them on their work phone if they had one ( which still required me to look up a phone number since I didn’t have most in my cell phone’s contact list), walk over to wherever that person sat, or page them. We didn’t have any sort of IM system and I could be waiting for days for someone to read their email . Of course, we didn’t get real email and access to Word etc until 2005.

    15. Nanani*

      It definitely sounds like the social prestige (is that even the right word) of being on a lot of speed dials is more important than the practicalities of said speed dial.
      Reminds me of ads for phones in the pre-iphone era where X number of speed dials was a feature, by being more than a competing phone or being free if they were with the same provider or something.

    16. Caterpillar*

      This. I have used my phone maybe 5-6 times in the entire 8 years I’ve worked at my company. If I need to contact an outside vendor – email except for the very rare situations that resulted in the 5-6 phone calls. If I need to contact a coworker – IM or email or if face to face discussion is necessary, walk to their office down the hall (or zoom call now that half the office is at home). The thought of calling a coworker on the phone is a bit mind boggling. I’m not even sure I could use my phone if I needed to – we got new ones recently. I haven’t had any reason to use mine yet, and it looks dauntingly fancy.

    17. sara*

      In every office I’ve been in, the only person who actually had a physical phone was our receptionist. Everyone else just uses soft phones via some app if they took external calls, or otherwise slack/google meet for all internal purposes.

  6. sssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss*

    Also: how on earth did a 30-person phone list end up on more than one page?! I’ve seen a whole company of 100+ on a single legal page with department fax numbers too!

    1. Xl*

      Because they initially didn’t know how to make columns, so presumably it was just a long single-file list.

        1. Ally McBeal*

          They probably didn’t know how to adjust the print view in Excel that allows you to squeeze all list items onto one page. I’m always dismayed at how incurious people are about Microsoft Office products.

          1. Free now (and forever)*

            I once instructed our clinicians to change the font color on the names of people on the reboots year’s Thanksgiving Turkey distribution list who wanted one for the current year. I figured this would save them from starting with a blank list and adding in all the information (address, phone number, clinician name delivery needed, number of people in family) and I would just go through at the end and delete everyone from the previous year who didn’t want one in the current year.
            The response from several people:
            “You can change font color?”

          2. Mitford*

            I’m a proposal manager, and we sometimes do final edits with the proposal up on a screen with all the key stakeholders in the room. As the proposal manager I’m always the person driving. I once heard gasps of awe when I changed something from lower case to title case while everyone watched. You would have thought I’d just brought them fire and led them out of the cave.

            1. JanetM*

              I forget what exactly it was, but I did something in Excel in a meeting with the workbook up on the screen. The next day I got a call (yes, a call) from a friend on that team.

              He said, “So-and-so mentioned yesterday’s meeting and asked, ‘Is she Just That Good with Excel?’ so I told him yes, you are Just That Good.”

              And at that, I consider myself at best an intermediate user. I can sometimes record a working macro, but I have no knowledge of VBA.

              1. quill*

                I had to teach people that pivot tables don’t work if you merge cells at Last Job.

                I gave up on that and made all functions besides typing into the table admin-locked. Then my boss told me I couldn’t keep the admin lock password to myself in case someone needed it later, so I literally wrote the password out on another sheet in the workbook.

                No one ever tried to unlock the spreadsheet. :)

          1. quill*

            I’m expecting like, 3-4 lines per person

            Bastian Balthazar Bux
            Director of Naming
            Intertextual Travel Department

          1. sssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss*

            I used to, because it was short enough. Had I been at a larger office, I would have likely ended up using Excel.

    2. Dark Macadamia*

      This was my favorite detail. I originally pictured it as a single page spreadsheet or columns (you know, like literally every other printed out list of phone extensions I’ve seen in my life) but it was multiple pages?? I also feel like that means they probably didn’t think to crop them down or overlap them so each office has like a solid wall of Word docs that are 90% blank

    3. PBP*

      Original poster here. It was because the person who made it thought that the bigger the names were the quicker you’d be able to find it so I think there was probably five people per page. Also included on there I think like the non-emergency police, 911 and like four other random numbers. I don’t remember why to be honest with you, I think the woman was like if I’m going to print out a mini phone book I might as well put other information in there.

        1. PBP*

          I should have clarified, she made a list that was like, “EMERGENCY, FIRE…” and then it showed 911, just in case someone forgot that’s who you called in an emergency I guess. It wasn’t like she just listed 911’s number as 911.

          (As if that makes it any better!)

  7. Cmdrshpard*

    My phone has no speed dial options! after reading this story I now realize this is UNACCEPTABLE! I need to send my company an ultimatum, spend $100k on new phones with 6 speed dial options or I quit!

    1. The Cosmic Avenger*

      I would submit my Intent To Flounce letter about this, too…if I had an actual, physical phone instead of MS Teams! LOLOL

  8. MsM*

    Meanwhile, I’m just over here boggling in millennial over an office where phones – let alone landline phones – are a Big Deal. I know there’s an up to date copy of our phone extension list somewhere, but I’m pretty sure only HR has it because nobody else uses it.

    1. sssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss*

      Now that you mention it, all desk phones were removed three years ago where I am and we all had to use Skype to call. Now we use Teams to call.

      I was sad to lose my desk phone only because it had a clock on the display.

      1. An American(ish) Werewolf in London(ish)*

        I was going to say something very similar – I can’t remember the last time I had a desk phone. We do, though, irritatingly, seems to use EVERY COLLABORATION TOOL EVER – Teams, Webex Teams, WhatsApp plus mobile – for a while we were also using Skype, and Slack.

        When the computer ‘rings’ you’re left wondering which app is causing it!

        1. Marco Diaz's Red Hoodie*

          My office had this issue for a LONG time, but the company finally put their collective foot down and banned every other IM platform except Webex Teams. It’s done wonders for my sanity.

        2. Alienor*

          I had one at my last in-person job, but it sat on my desk almost untouched for the 6 years (minus 14 months of pandemic) that I worked in that office. I dusted it once a week when I cleaned the rest of my work station.

      2. Storm in a teacup*

        We’ve had our desk phones removed during lockdown and now use zoom. It took me until a couple of weeks ago to realise this had even happened

        1. An American(ish) Werewolf in London(ish)*

          Ah yes – we get people using Zoom as well – another one of the EVERY COLLABORATION TOOL EVER installed on my computer :)

    2. WindmillArms*

      I started working in offices in ~2010, and I’ve always been assigned a desk phone with an internal extension. Across a half-dozen sites, I don’t think I’ve ever been called on a single one! It used to blow my mind when people knew their “work numbers,” because my phone was mostly used as a monitor prop.

      1. quill*

        The phone is for calling IT when your computer / internet is down.

        Other than that I only get spam calls.

    3. Misslucy21*

      Yeah, I *have* a desk phone, but I don’t know my phone number and can probably count on one hand the number of times it has rung.

    4. YogaSloth*

      My company switched to Microsoft Teams calling, and provided a phone for anyone who wanted one….and most of us declined. I’d rather just call straight from my computer.

    5. NotAnotherManager!*

      There are people in my office who do not use the IM platform. If I want to get a hold of them immediately, phone it is. Both office extensions and cell phones for managers and up are on an internal directory. I (tail-end GenX) prefer IM or email, but I have to communicate with people where they are, too. There are also things that do not go in a written communication medium.

      I hate the phone, personally, but it’s not leaving my industry any time soon. For my younger team, I always IM before calling; for my older team, I call because either they’re not on IM or they would find it annoying to have to give permission for a phone call.

  9. Ashley*

    There are so many odd pieces, but “It takes someone a week to figure out how to do columns in Word to make it one page instead of like five.” How is this possible to work in an office where so many care about this holy grail list and it takes 5 days to format it? (And FYI Excel can be easier to use for formatting this info often.)

    1. Observer*

      Yes! That really jumped out at me. Like who ARE these people who can’t get a simple list to print out properly.

      And you don’t even need tables to do a basic 30 person list!

    2. London Lass*

      As an accountant with Excel-illiterate colleagues who routinely send me tables they have created in Word or Outlook, this was my favourite line. And yes, I also know how to do columns in Word, how it took 5 days to work this out is beyond me!

      1. Siege*

        I was once working a temp gig making ID badges. People would send in photos and names, I’d pop them into the template, and then we’d process them. I once got a CD-Rom that had a single file with an Excel workbook with a Word file somehow embedded in a cell, with a single photo in the Word file. I do not even know how one would do that.

        1. knitcrazybooknut*

          I work in a place where we track events, with probably about seven key characteristics – room, presenter, name, number, date, time, etc. When I first saw the spreadsheet that tracks it, I was like, great! I can filter and see what I need.


          This excel spreadsheet is being used like a word document. The data is in different cells, but there are random numbers of BLANK rows between each section, and sometimes between each event. There are random notes made in the middle of some of the blank sections. There are two different ways we need to look at the data, and every time there’s a new draft, someone has to spend about six hours going through and resorting the data, one step at a time.

          I’ve created a database to actually allow us to use this information well. Haven’t implemented it yet but we’re getting closer. OMG.

    3. Sled dog mama*

      Also what was going on the list? 30 lines should easily fit on one page even without any formatting

      1. Sled dog mama*

        I just counted. My company phone list has 52 lines in the 1st column. What was on this list that made it 5 pages?!

    4. Insert Clever Name Here*

      The default settings in Word for me allow for 29 lines per page. My guess is that they typed it like this:
      Name 1
      Phone number
      (empty line)
      Name 2
      Phone number
      (empty line)

      Doing it that way you only get 7 records on one page.

      Experience has taught me that most people don’t actually have very good Word or Excel skills, especially where it comes to formatting things to make them easier to read. I had a boss that once complained about me reformatting things before I started working on them, but then he saw side by side an original document and my updated document and he went “OH. That’s why. How did you do that?” Like, I used bold for section headings and changed the amount of space between lines…which is apparently rocket science.

    5. PBP*

      Original poster here.

      You would honestly be surprised. The woman doing it her job really doesn’t require her use Word all that often and certainly not to make columns. The thing is people might know it exists but if you don’t use it often sometimes it doesn’t necessarily work on the first try. In any case what I meant by that kind of is that a week after the original list was printed somebody redid it with columns, so I’m assuming someone figured out that was better within the week.

  10. hiptobesquared*

    I think am more angry that 1. the list was made in word and 2. it took them a week to figure out how to bring all columns.

    1. EPLawyer*

      Yeah. Like this is not rocket science folks.

      But you know it takes a while because you have to rant after typing every name that you even have to make a stupid list because you lost TWO speed dial buttons.

      1. sssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss*

        Now there’s something I don’t miss: updating the phone list every few weeks/months. OMG, it was constant at one point.

      2. Insert Clever Name Here*

        And you know they’re going to just retype it. No way they’ve figured out how to add a row.

      3. Berkeleyfarm*

        I mean, I wasn’t unhappy at my last job (smaller company) that someone took on that job because instead of looking up in AD, some people regarded me (sysadmin) as their personal directory service – phone me (not the receptionist, LOL) and have me tell them

      4. Purple Jello*

        My first job I had to type the phone list. On a typewriter. Too cheap to have word processors for anyone, but that’s another story. They had really high turnover

      5. PBP*

        Original poster here.

        100%! It was printed the next day and it also amused me greatly. Our turn over here isn’t really high so they’re not going to have to do this very often but I’m going to laugh every time.

    2. hbc*

      If I was stuck on a something like that for more than 30 minutes, I would have kluged some workaround together. Print everything, overlap (or cut and arrange) the five pages so that it photocopies as columns, done. Though I’m guessing the Venn diagram of “Able to come at problems from different angles” and “Gets stuck for days on simple formatting issue” has a very small overlap.

    3. Berkeleyfarm*

      I’m in IT and have been the person helping replace the phone system … the basic incompetence at Word did kind of make me ruefully chuckle.

    4. Storm in a teacup*

      This is what got me too. I mean I could understand if it took an extra few mins for someone to figure out how to reformat the printing pages if it was in excel but….
      This is probably a place where the phone list had to be in a specific order, full names and full job titles, years of service, favourite animal and phone number

  11. Newbie101*

    Thank you for sharing this epic saga.

    Sometimes I don’t feel like I’ve got this “workplace” thing sorted out but, ya know, maybe that’s not such a bad thing.

  12. Economist*

    If there were just 6 people necessary for my work for me to contact, I’d just memorize their phone numbers. Everywhere I’ve worked I’ve had at least 6 numbers memorized.

    1. Pomegranate*

      Ha, I’m surprised people weren’t coming up with jingles to their extensions. Five-two-three-seventy-one, dial Bob, he is the one!

      1. Berkeleyfarm*

        Yeah I didn’t really want people to phone me. Because it was usually something they should send a ticket for

  13. Resident Catholicville, USA*

    My last job was at a multi-state conglomerate with headquarters being in a different location. Calling anyone at a different location was a pain because you couldn’t dial an extension to any of the other offices- you had to use their full phone number plus extensions. Our phones were upgraded to a fancy system with less buttons but much more web-integrated features (ie: we could look up extensions and phone numbers on an app) and it was *glorious*. I might have been the only one who was happy because instead of having all the numbers memorized, I could just search by names. Also, I was able to keep Christmas hold music on all year round for my phone, so I was pretty happy. When we had to work from home for Covid, they offered to let me take the phone home with me and I opted to use the app for my personal cellphone- it was even easier to use AND I didn’t have to figure out how to sync my desk phone up with my computer/home network.

    1. NotAnotherManager!*

      This sounds like the system we’re on – it is glorious. My phone extension (say, 1234) is very close to our old voicemail extensions (like 1324) and also very close to one of the C-level people’s numbers (1244). I got a lot of misdirected calls. With the lookup directory, I get practically zero calls that aren’t intended for me. I can also use an app to make cell phone calls via the VOIP system.

  14. Wants Green Things*

    You have phones? In *this* economy?

    I jest, but for real, my company just switched to entirely Zoom-based “phones.” No more physical appliances, just Zoom. God help you if you forget to log in one day. Also, we still use Teams, so the only people really calling the Zoom numbers are clients, and all of our main clients have either Teams or the managers’ cells.

    GG on the new girl. She gets it.

    1. Storm in a teacup*

      Haha I have a similar problem. Just realised we have zoom only phones now – fine for internal. However most of our customers (government) cannot use zoom as their IT governance doesn’t allow it and only have MS Teams so I get emails requesting a call back.

    2. Xenia*


      We currently are rocking 4 different communication platforms. Jabber (for phone calls), WebEx (for some video meetings; this was our precious one and has not been phased out), Zoom (for those clients who don’t have a lot of tech and also bizarrely in-house training), and Teams (which is good for chat but has the fewest features/conveniences of any of the other video programs). It gets exhausting

    3. LikesToSwear*

      My employer recently transferred our phones to Teams. It works fine, I get both outside and internal calls without issue. The desktop phones no longer work, so I removed the one on my desk so I could use the space.

      My biggest issue is now I don’t have a clock on my desk. I’ll deal; likely by finding a small digital clock I like to stick on my desk.

  15. Sillysaurus*

    This whole thing is incredible. I’m utterly baffled that speed dialing would matter to anyone in 2022. Does this office not have a chat system of some sort? Slack/gchat/Teams/etc.? People are picking up a physical phone and speaking into it out loud??

    1. SuperBB*

      Same. I have never once called a co-worker who was in the office from my desk phone. I either walk over or chat them on Slack. Most of our phones go unused. On the rare occasion they ring, there is general alarm.

    2. PBP*

      Original poster here.

      So a majority of my coworkers are about 40+ and have very low tech skills which is fine for the job they have. I can get maybe about 10 of them to use Google Hangouts (we use Google Workplace) and the rest have no idea what it means. I suggested we try using Slack not too long ago but realize the idea of trying to train everyone to use it would probably be my villain origin story.

    3. DataSci*

      Same here. I was reading too fast and thought the “20+ years” referred to how long ago the story took place, rather than how old the phones were, which sort of made sense. But picking up a landline and dialing it in 2022? Madness. I haven’t had a desk phone in my last few jobs, and though I have a work cell the only calls it ever gets are spam or me calling it from my personal phone if I’ve misplaced it. And I have literally never called a co-worker on the phone in several jobs, either – it’s Zoom / Slack calls all the time.

  16. MishenNikara*

    “It takes someone a week to figure out how to do columns in Word to make it one page instead of like five.”

    Not a single soul knows the basics of Word in an office and apparently no one knows what Google is either. I’m starting to see why a lack of speed dial might be the end of the world for them.

    1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      Yeah – really. We have Teams and another program in my company called Jabber. Jabber handles all external calls for us. I greatly prefer it to the old physical phones we used to have.

      Our Teams is set to not make external calls due to some encryption setting the company requested.

    2. Caramel & Cheddar*

      Yeah, that line made me think “There is a much larger problem here than the number of speed dial buttons.”

      1. Double A*

        Yes. This exactly. The lack of flexibility and problem solving skills in this group is… concerning. (I’m sure that a lot of people are flexible and have decent problem solving skills in this office, but I’d guess the Venn diagram between them and the people who care about the speed dial issue is two separate circles).

  17. Essentially Cheesy*

    I am amazed at the fixation on phone usage! I guess Teams and Skype haven’t truly taken over.

    1. JanetM*

      Almost all the calls I get at work these days are external callers who have wrong numbers. They want either Purchasing (that guy retired six years ag0) or Student Health (their mail stop is my extension). The majority of the rest are my husband.

      One of the other project managers calls my cell phone occasionally (I gave him that number when we were all working from home).

      Everyone else uses Teams for chat, and Zoom or Teams for scheduled meetings / conversations. We do not, thank ghu, have Slack or Jabber.

  18. Saberise*

    At least they still have a phone. Once covid hit and most of us are now working hybrid they got rid of our phones. We all have jabber on our laptops instead. The only real expense was buying some headsets for those that wanted them for the days they are working onsite.

  19. Chris*

    Wow! This is insane. People have such a hard time w/ change. I actually wonder if part of this is that people have been so on edge w/ the pandemic that this is like one more thing is that stack of stresses.

    I don’t know what kind of business this is and obvs they decided this was really important, but my agency got rid of our phones about 9 months ago. We still have phone numbers, but we call each other using software on our computers. It’s super easy.

    1. After 33 years ...*

      We don’t have speed dial, but if we ever got rid of the desk phones, people here would be very unhappy.

    2. Antilles*

      I started working at my job eight months ago. I’m not sure I’ve had a single call from my desk phone in that time – if I’m at my desk, there’s Teams; if I’m away from my desk, there’s a company-issued cell phone.
      It lists the current date and time, so I know it’s not just a fake cardboard prop…but for all intents and purposes, it might as well be.

      1. After 33 years ...*

        My last one on the desk phone was about 20 minutes ago … we don’t use Teams, and haven’t used Skype in years. We will not be getting university-issued cellphones.

    3. Just Here for the Free Lunch*

      My husband’s company is getting rid of their desk phones, and he is absolutely beside himself. He is also very change-averse in general.

  20. dresscode*

    I used to work in a company of 30 people that was also over 100 years old. There was a TON of weird, specific stuff like this that people got mad at. I am thinking specifically of when they started giving us digital time cards to fill out.

    1. PT*

      Digital timecards can be a nightmare, though. I worked somewhere that had ADP and somewhere else that had Workday and the portals were constantly crashing. So the hourly staff couldn’t punch in/out at least twice a week and had to email their boss their hours to manually input them. Some departments had 10-25 hourly staff and that was a HUGE burden on the bosses, it made approving timecards take close to two full work days. Because first the boss would have to go through and fix everyone’s timecard errors and then they’d have to contact the employee when they were done to approve their own, revised timecard.

      1. Observer*

        That’s terrible. I’m not a fan of our timekeeping system, but this level of dysfunction is epic. Even with all of our problems, the portal basically works. The app? A bit wonky. But actually logging into the web portal has only been an issue a couple of times (literally) in the almost 10 years we’ve been using this system.

      2. dresscode*

        For the many years I worked there, there wasn’t an issue but maybe once with the digital timecards. It was mostly a human error dislike of logging into something rather than manually turning them into the manager on Friday morning.

    2. Charlotte Lucas*

      Back in college in the early 90s I had two part-time jobs. One required us to clock in on a computer. New to me only because my previous jobs were at places so small that we didn’t have to clock in or just had to write down when we got in/left. I thought it was charmingly old-fashioned that my other job had an old-school timecard system where you literally had to punch in with an actual card.

  21. Jean*

    Sounds like these people don’t have nearly enough actual work to do. I’d like to see how this office would have reacted to what happened to the phones in my workplace – once we all got sent to wfh, we went all digital and the desk phones went away completely. (We now use VOIP strictly through our laptops even though we’re back in the office. No more telephones. I think there was 1 person who objected, the rest of us love it.)

    1. Berkeleyfarm*

      I still very much have a desk phone, but it forwards to my cell.

      We run a call center and have other call queues so some of our folks have SIP phones at home e.g. an office phone set.

    2. Chief Petty Officer Tabby*

      Ahaha and here I thought I was the only one who hates land lines. I sm always like WHAT?! when people ask me about them, and yes I am old enough to know how to use one!

  22. Alpacas Are Not Dairy Animals*

    Sometimes, just sometimes, a new person comes in and says “well why don’t you just do it this way?” and is 100% right.

    I wonder how long New Employee’s co-workers will stay mad at her for the effrontery?

    1. PBP*

      Original poster here.

      No one was mad at her! The employee who talked to her was one of the leaders in the we need our 2 speed dial button back, but she didn’t really put up a fuss. She had like a moment of oh crap I hired someone who understand how technology works and then moved on! I don’t think anyone else has said anything to her.

    1. Usagi*

      That’s what I came here to say hahaha. But your Top 8 aren’t really your Top 8, it’s really more like your Top 6, because the top two are obvi your Girlfriend/Boyfriend (or who you’d want to be your Girlfriend/Boyfriend) (or or the fake profile you made for your Girlfriend/Boyfriend who lives in Canada or something), and your celebrity Crush.

  23. Down to the minute*

    This reads EXACTLY like the posts on the @DHOTYA account on Twitter (for the unfamiliar, it’s an account that posts obviously fake stories that people try to pass off as real online).

    I’m not saying this story is definitely fake, just that it’s probably fake. The whole story is just “too” perfect, filled with a lot of details that just don’t sound true.

    1. Antilles*

      What parts of it don’t sound true?
      The idea of people getting angry over irrelevant small stuff seems totally plausible to me. So does the idea that people might be offended because you got dropped from someone’s speed dial because well, I’ve had people get mad at me for trimming my list of Facebook friends and this isn’t far off from that.
      At most, I might say this story sounds like it should be led off with “so this is a few years back, but it’s still crazy to me…” simply because we’re well into the era of voice calls via IM plus nearly everybody having a cell phone.

      1. Charlotte Lucas*

        Sounds 100% plausible. And I bet some people would be surprised at how many places still have desk phones.

          1. allathian*

            My office got rid of desk phones in 2005 or thereabouts, certainly before 2007 when I started working there. Everyone got issued cellphones instead, which were often left in a locked drawer overnight. We weren’t allowed to make private calls on those phones except in true emergencies, so pretty much everyone had their own cellphone as well.

            I don’t know anyone under the age of 90 who still has a landline at home. My son’s nearly 13, and he’s never seen a landline phone, except on old TV shows and movies. Phone companies here are actively trying to get rid of them, which is fine in cities and towns, but can be more difficult in urban areas where cell coverage is patchy.

            1. Charlotte Lucas*

              I’m under 90 & have a landline. Also an SO who can never remember to charge a cell phone. As someone who grew up in an area with a lot of power outages, I feel safer having a phone that doesn’t need charging.

              I assume you live in an area with many cell towers & no dead zones.

            2. DataSci*

              I think a lot of people in their 60s or 70s (thinking of my parents and my in-laws) have landlines just because they have bundled phone/TV/internet packages and have no reason to get rid of the phone part of it. My parents don’t actually USE their landline (my in-laws do), but it’s still there out of inertia.

      2. Vanellope*

        How do people know who is on each other’s speed dial list? We still have landline phones in my office, but I don’t have the first idea how any of my neighbors have theirs configured. Unless people are specifically going around looking at the labels?? (Not the person you were talking to, but just spitballing here) Regardless it’s nuts

    2. Sillysaurus*

      I have been in the workplace long enough to know that even the tiniest change will make some people lose their minds, and in small workplaces you can end up with everyone rallied behind those change-averse people pretty easily. I once had grown men yell at me when I announced a small change to the format of a schedule (not even their own schedule!). I wish this story didn’t seem plausible to me, but sadly it does.

      1. tessa*

        Yep, this. About a year ago, we had an office spring cleaning by the one person who wasn’t working from home. Once, while she wasn’t there, I dropped by to pick up some things from my office, and wound up placing a a couple of routine office items on a table that had those those same items instead of taking them with me. The next day, co-worker sent a five-alarm departmental email about there being an extra stapler and two – T

        1. tessa*

          TWO! – extra file folders in a box that already had at least two dozen.

          People get weirded out over the dumbest things.

    3. Myrin*

      Oh my, why rain on people’s parade when they’re just enjoying a funny story? Also, the person who posted this in the Friday thread later interacted with others (including Alison) in a manner which didn’t seem fake or vying for attention (and whose, really? The ten people who replied?) at all.

    4. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      Sounds like someone didn’t get added to anyone’s new speed-dial lists! Sorry this happened to you!

    5. Anonymous4*

      I’m afraid that you’re in for a rude awakening, one of these days — I’ve never seen a group of people go ballistic over a change in phones but I sure have seen them jack-knifing all over the office over a minor change in software, and I have NO problem believing the phone story!

      As some sage has remarked, “People be crazy.”

      1. Down to the minute*

        As others have pointed out, there are a lot of things in the story that seem implausible.

        *Why are people calling each other (but not chatting) when they all work in the same building? (My old office had a chat function in the late 90s, before we had internet on everyone’s computers)

        *Why are people walking over to check their co-workers’ phones, but not to talk to them?

        *Why did it take a week for anyone to figure out how to make a list of names and extensions? How did they even do this, without being able to use the phone book function? Why didn’t the OP do this, since they’ve been dealing with this problem for “a few months” minus research/install time/etc. or “four months” (later in the post)?

        *Why is everybody in the building calling exactly six people, and never had to access any numbers before?

        It’s funny, because the Twitter account I mentioned gets the same type of responses (“Why try to ruin it for everyone? Have you met any humans? This must have happened to you so that’s why you think it’s fake!”)

        If you enjoyed it, I’m happy for you, and I mean that sincerely. Myself, I’ve seen too many online stories written exactly the same way to think it’s true.

        1. Myrin*

          Okay, so? I guess I just don’t see why you feel the need to point this out. And I don’t mean that snarkily, but sincerely – if the OP made this story up to entertain people (in the Friday Open Thread, mind you, where people are much less likely to see it than if it were an actual letter published by Alison), what’s the harm in people believing it’s actually true? Even if they later show up in the comments to yell “FOOLS I GOT YA!!”, again, so what? One person none of us knows feels superior because they tricked others into believing a funny story – what’s the big deal?

          1. Down to the minute*

            I’ll respond because you genuinely seem interested in a discussion, rather than being snarky or defensive.

            This stuff is interesting to me. It’s fascinating to me that I tend to believe what I’m told, and that people believe what they read online, sometimes beyond all reason (there was a viral Twitter post about an NBA player who impregnated a woman and married her, then she “secretly divorced him” one weekend and now he has to pay $18 million a year in child support for the next 18 years. People passed this on without checking who posted it, or stopping to think that you can’t secretly divorce someone over a weekend.)

            I enjoy the research aspect of it – looking through the story for things that don’t make sense. If I wanted to just ruin everyone’s fun, I’d go on other posts and respond with things like, “New Girl won’t come on here with an update because New Girl doesn’t exist.” I didn’t. I made a post. Someone asked me for examples, so I gave them. Someone asked me a different question, so I answered it.

            In the big scheme of things, whether this story is true doesn’t hurt anyone. But neither does my posting that it’s probably fake.

            1. Myrin*

              I’m fascinated by this as well although “from the other direction”, probably – I’m pretty cynical (sometimes too much!) and tend to view basically everything I hear with a grain of salt first and foremost; I’m also highly trained in research and have been told numerous times that I’m exceptionally good at it.

              I now find myself wondering where I draw the line and if there even is a specific line I draw when it comes to calling out improbabilities. Because I’ve absolutely soured people’s mood on my blog when I pointed out that a popular and widespread post was actually bogus. On the other hand, I have a personal tag on my blog that says “I don’t even care if this is real but it’s an amazing story” and I will totally reblog stuff without any intention of checking whether they’re true or just made up simply because it’s entertaining.

              I think what it comes down to for me – aside from practicalities, such as “do I have the time to actually research this right now” – are two things:
              – Does whether this information is correct or not matter in a substantial way? As in, are people going to be actively harmed by this, e. g. by donating money to a cause or recommending practices that are dangerous to one’s health?
              – Is something objectively false in a way that I can prove? Are there aspects in a story which common sense alone can tell me are impossible? Can I do actual research and tie my findings to hard facts and sources?

              In this particular case, the answer is “No” on both counts – no one is being harmed by believing this story, and it’s not really something you can actually “research” either, you can just say that you find it unlikely because of X and Y.

              Additionally, I’d say that my original points still stand:
              – The poster didn’t intend for this to be its own post; posting something in the open thread is hardly a grab for glory or a guarantee that a lot of people will read it. I don’t really see their motivation for making something like that up. Posting for clout but it only pertains to a handful of people?
              – They interacted in the comments in a way which didn’t at all seem fake or over-the-top.
              And a personal observation: I could easily answer all of the questions you asked from experience I’ve had with people; not in these exact situations but in analogous ones. I work in customer service and this is exactly what people are like.

              This was a very interesting discussion and I enjoyed thinking a bit more deeply about my own boundaries and habits around this topic. Thanks for being a good sport about it!

              1. Down to the minute*

                @Myrin you make some good points. I appreciate your well-thought out response, and I appreciate you being a good sport as well.

            2. Antilles*

              Couple thoughts:
              1.) From where I sit in my chair, every story on this site could be fake; I’ve never recognized myself or my company in any story in the half decade-ish I’ve been reading AAM. Even though plenty of stories resonate well with my experience (as I said above, people getting angry over irrelevant small stuff seems perfectly plausible to me!), that could just be a really good writer knowing how to make it sound good. But as long as you can learn something from the advice and it’s reasonably entertaining, does it actually matter? To me, the answer is and always has been no; it lands in my lap the same either way.
              2.) I’ve heard advice columnists in the past say that often when they post a particularly unique-sounding question, they will usually get two types of emails: One from someone going “that’s totally fake! no way that’s real!”…and then another email from someone who is fully convinced that they know exactly who you’re talking about because “wait, the same thing is currently happening to me, did they mention the company? is it Wakeen’s Teapots?” No idea if that’s the case here, but it’s apparently a pretty common phenomenon.

            3. Batgirl*

              A secret divorce to a celebrity is highly implausible. People losing their minds at work over a small change is so plausible as to be predictable. Though I’m really happy for you and all of your former workplaces that this has not happened around you with any regularity.

              1. Batgirl*

                Oh and the workplaces I’ve been in didn’t have internet by the late nineties, and some have people who can not use the internet this very day and who would throw a tantrum over changes to paper filing. Never underestimate the spectrum of competence.

                1. Down to the minute*

                  Oh I’ve seen people lose their minds over small changes. That’s not the point.

                  It’s a lot like the story of the baseball scout who got lost going to a game 100 years ago. He asked a farmboy for directions, and the farmboy pointed with his plow. The scout said, “You don’t play baseball, by any chance?” amd the player later became a star.

                  I read a great essay about this once where the author went through all the elements – yes, a farmboy could lift a plow; yes, the scout could have gotten lost in a faraway town in pre-highway days; yes, a teenage boy showing off his strength for no reason would be in character for teenage boys; yes, a scout seeing this display of strength would immediately ask if the kid was a ballplayer.

                  But the author concluded that the story was clearly fake. It wasn’t that none of it could have happened; it was that it all happened too perfectly.

                  I think the same thing applies to this story. Sure, people lose their minds over small things. Sure, people hate new systems of any kind, even when they’re better. If the 20 or so incidents in this story were actually 10, it would be more believable. But every story being more outrageous than the next, complete with a perfect ending with a bow on it, just sounds like a little too much.

        2. Insert Clever Name Here*

          (shrug) I’ve encountered all of these types of behaviors in different offices, but to answer your specific questions:

          1) That’s an office culture thing; some offices just don’t do IM (as evidenced by other commenters on this letter). I’m glad your old office had one in the ’90s, but my old office didn’t get one until 2011 because they were afraid people would chat all day instead of working.
          2) where does it say people are “going over to check their co-workers’ phones, but not to talk to them”?
          3) I do a lot with Word and Excel in my job and am frequently surprised how many people cannot do more than the barest of basics in either program. It’s legitimately puzzling the number of people I encounter like this — truly a few times a month I’m banging my head on my desk about how a Project Manager can’t figure out how to add a comment in a Word doc. My guess is they held their nose and used the phonebook to make the list, or went around and asked everyone their phone number. OP probably didn’t do it because it was stupid and a waste of time to make a tool outside of the system to do what the system does more effectively.
          4) the logical answer to this question is that people programmed in the folks they needed to call most frequently, and if they needed to call someone else just used phone numbers that certainly existed elsewhere.

          People who don’t think this is fake aren’t stupider than you, we’ve just had different experiences that tell us all of these things converging in one office isn’t a leap of faith.

          1. Berkeleyfarm*

            Yeah in the pilot of the chat program that we all started using in the spring of 2020, we definitely had people behaving very inappropriately in chat. It’s probably why it hadn’t been rolled out before.

            I work IT support and am very not surprised at the level of incompetence in Word … some people only know how to do exactly the tasks they need to and no others.

            All this saying … it’s pretty plausible to me. Someone’s “”process”” got monkeyed with and s/he didn’t see/want to see another way, so a drama storm erupted

          2. londonedit*

            Until we all started working from home in 2020, we didn’t have an office-wide chat/IM programme – a couple of teams used Slack between themselves but we didn’t have Teams until March 2020. We all still have desk phones – our offices are old and rambling and speaking to someone in a different department frequently means physically going to a different building, so unless you actively want an excuse to get up from your desk and go for a walk, it’s far easier to call someone. I expect when we’re all back in the office we’ll use Teams instead, because we’re all used to using the chats and calling via Teams now, but before 2020 that definitely wasn’t the case.

            I’m good with Word, but I’ve never had a job that required me to use Excel on anything other than an extremely basic level, so if someone asked me to produce an Excel document I’d probably struggle. Not everyone uses Excel on a daily basis and not everyone has had Excel training – I haven’t, I’ve just picked things up as I’ve gone along. I imagine Word is the same for people whose jobs are different from mine – they might be able to write a basic letter, but I wouldn’t count on them being able to do anything more than that.

        3. calonkat*

          *I often call people as opposed to walking across the building or up/down stairs to talk to them. Teams would work, but it was rolled out with no notice or training, so most people here just close it and never notice any messages.
          *Curiosity? I’ve had people comment on all sorts of things in my cubicle.
          *I’ve written guides up for things that I thought were obvious. I have a phone guide of common numbers I need (people on my team, the IT people I need, a few external agencies I need to refer callers to, family members if I forget my cell phone) There are people who just don’t seem to know how to do things or it just doesn’t occur to them to do it. They would curse the darkness rather that change a lightbulb. They do exist.
          *I don’t think they were calling exactly 6 people, they were just used to that, and it never occurred to anyone to think through why those people were their speed dial (hence the manager who insisted he be on everyone’s speed dial).

          Maybe it’s fake, but I’ve worked with these people (well, not the people in the letter, but like minded). I literally wrote a guide to setting mail delays in Outlook because people were ASTOUNDED that I had a minute delay between clicking send and it leaving my outbox. And I’ve sent it to multiple people inside out outside my agency! Google told me how to do it, but it just never occurs to some people that something might be possible and to look it up.

        4. Anon E. Mouse*

          I am in IT and I can tell you that over my decades long career, I have several versions of this I could tell, all 100 percent true.

          People really, really hate change.

        5. PBP*

          Original poster here. I wasn’t going to respond to this but now I kind of want to sorry.

          I said a few times now but we don’t use any IM service in our office. And while we do all sit on the same floor we ain’t screaming across the floor to talk to each other. I don’t know what to tell you I have an old fashioned office they like to use the phones.

          And to check to see if people around the speed dial no one like just walked over and nosed in to see if they were on the speed dial it literally just became the question you asked someone. Hey who you going to put on your speed dial have you decided yet?? So yes I may have been exaggerating with the people walking over to look at everyone else’s phones but to be honest with you I have an office so people could have been doing it for all I know.

          As for why it took someone so long to print out the list I don’t know. How did they get the list of extensions they probably looked at the phone book on the phone and thought this was too difficult I’m just going to print the list. Up into about 2 years ago we still had a printed list of everyone’s names phone numbers and addresses to keep offline just in case. This is not an abnormal thing for my office just because other people use a lot of technology doesn’t mean we do lol. And more importantly why didn’t I do it? Because I wanted people to use the phone book function on the damn phone. And I sure as hell was not going to do something that would stop people from looking at the phone book function on the phone.

          People called other people before.

          Listen I can’t tell you why losing two people was the end of the world but it was different and it was a change on top of a lot of other changes that people have been dealing with for the last couple years and it was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

          I normally don’t really care for feeding trolls, but meh.

        6. ceiswyn*

          In an office I once worked in, a colleague once called me from the kitchen to ask how I took my tea. Some people do these crazy things, especially people who hate chat programs and like to talk. And such people do exist.

    6. PBP*

      Original poster here.

      You don’t have to believe me I mean trust me, I know it sounds crazy. I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that we had only been back in the office for a little bit since covid. A lot of my coworkers are not super good with technology to begin with (which is fine for their jobs) and I think it just kind of became a thing. Everyone was stressed about how much change we had to go through when everyone had to work from home and then coming in and having something as big as our phone system changing was just kind of the tip of an iceberg. The nature of our business requires majority of staff to be on the phones often and on top of the speed dial there were quite a few other changes they had to become accustomed to including all of the actual phone buttons for hanging up transferring and etc we’re all in different spots and look different.

      If I was going to make up a story I probably wouldn’t have buried it in the free-for-all comments late in the afternoon or I would have made it a lot better to be honest, or at least made myself look like the hero.

      But like I said believe what you want, no skin off my back.

      1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

        Thank you for responding. I admit I do not get the “tHiS sToRy Is FaKe” crowd. Ever. Do they do it in real life too? Are there people who say these things to their friends’ faces – “and then everybody clapped”, “can confirm, I was the speed dial”, “yeaaah your third-grader totally said this”? or is it just in the safety of the internet? Does doing this make them happy? People are so weird. And then they turn around and ask how your coworkers can possibly be as weird as you say they are! I honestly think that someone who has just gone and made a ten-comment-deep subthread about how “this story is totally fake and let me give you all the reasons why”, has forfeited the right to be skeptical about others’ oddities. Such an annoying trait.

        The nature of our business requires majority of staff to be on the phones often
        Again, nothing unusual about this. Call centers exist. My workplace has a few. Nothing in your story jumped out at me as “this could never happen in an office”. And it was a good story, that gave me a laugh I needed in the middle of my workday.

      2. Goldenrod*

        Personally, I think your story is CRINGE-ingly, horribly believable! This is EXACTLY how people strangely lose their shiz in offices, and it happens all the time.

        People lose their marbles over the stupidest things at work. I can’t imagine why people are questioning this.

    7. LV426*

      I install phone systems and this is a perfect account of phone users that have been using the same phone system for 20 years having to learn to use a new phone system. You think it sounds absurd because it is and yet so many of my customers have had the same kinds of issues and some that you wouldn’t even think would be an issue that almost caused an office revolution.

  24. Me*

    I just had an email from our phone guru last week. She had to take an my boss (clearly an important person) off my speed dial for a system thing, and wanted to know who she should get rid of so she could put him back.

    My response? It doesn’t matter I don’t use speed dial – important people I have their extension memorized and any one else I look up.

    People find strange hills to die on.

  25. Former Systems Administrator*

    Been here, felt this. Was at three jobs ago now, we needed to upgrade our internal phone system, and since we were an MSP (IT staff you contract with because you don’t want to hire one yourself), we couldn’t have the phones down because that’s how 95% of all issues got reported.

    New phone system has 4 digit extensions, old one had three. We were all on board with just putting a number in front of those existing extensions, except one person, one of the owners, whined that he wanted his old extension back because his special noodle tech that he favored above all else would have to dial an extra digit. I remember the phone guy at the time programmed a special rule so that if you dialed 107, it jumped to 7107 and left it at that. The rest of us just dealt with it and we had gotten used to it by the end of the first day with the new numbers. I don’t think they reissued 7150 after I left. Bad juju on that number ;-)

  26. Construction Safety*

    They took our phones 8 months ago. We’re all on Teams & have a head set. I don’t use the headset, I just have all calls forwarded to my company cell phone. I have all the employees office numbers saved on my cell of outgoing calls.

  27. Alice*

    Many things here are mind boggling, but I particularly enjoy the implication that people used to only call 5 or 6 people before the Great Phone Revolution. Since clearly they seem baffled by the idea of a phone book. Amazing.

    1. MsM*

      I’m not entirely sure this office has come around to the phasing out of phone operators or party lines.

    2. Batgirl*

      The phone book thing I can’t quite work out: Is it 1) that they don’t really understand they have the phone book function in the panic over losing speed dial, they didn’t listen to the fact they were getting a better feature? 2) they are so incompetent that although they know about it, they can’t use it? 3) the speed dial was actually a form of social hierarchy and that’s why they can’t function without it? I’m not sure which option is scarier.

  28. Me, I think*

    My desk phone has been unplugged throughout covid. I have an outgoing voicemail that says, in effect, “If you leave a message I will never get back to you. Why don’t you try emailing me instead?”

    Oh, and my desk phone had no speed dial buttons. Now I feel bad about that. :-)

  29. Emily*

    As an Office Administrator it never fails to amaze me at what minor things people will absolutely lose their minds over.

    1. Emily*

      Right after we got a new phone system a few years ago, one of the employees almost immediately declared her phone was not working because she had dialed a number and it was not working (spoiler alert: it was an issue with the number she was calling and not the new phone. She actually seemed put out when I quickly showed her by dialing a different number that went through that the phone was working just fine. I think she was looking for something to complain about.)

    2. 653-CXK*

      At ExJob, when we moved from a main building to a satellite building, the first thing that was a hot-button issue was parking. Never mind that there was public transportation on our front door, or that we had our own cafeteria (that didn’t last long because no one ever went to it), the fact that this new building had limited parking was enough to cause a schism.

      At CurrentJob, we have plenty of parking, and people don’t fight over it.

  30. Observer*

    I wish more people used the speed dial buttons on their phones….

    People can be really, really strange. But it sounds to me like you’ve got people who are VERY resistant to change and who really don’t use technology too much in general. I mean the whole business with printing a directory is just SO weird. It’s not like tables in Word are a recent addition or even hard to use. And why didn’t someone just use Excel?

    Having said that, in my experience, so far I have found that the phones with very few buttons tend to be missing a lot of other useful features that make the more expensive phones worthwhile. Like, in our last iteration, the phones with “only” 8 buttons vs 16 also turned out to have a screen that was really lousy and it was one of the reasons I withdrew them from use even though the officially continued to function. It’s not the only issue I’ve seen, but it’s worth thinking about if / when you need to buy new phones.

  31. Seal*

    So here’s my question: how does the person you’re calling know whether or not you have them on speed dial?

    1. BA*

      I have the exact same question! Whether I’m on your speed dial, you have my number memorized, or type out all the digits with the chewed up eraser on an old pencil shouldn’t matter, should it?

    2. PBP*

      Original poster here.

      They don’t! Everyone just spent a lot of time asking people who booted from the speed dial island, honestly. It was like, topic #1 in the lunchroom. People could have been lying, who knows, it was just like an insane thing.

  32. Set in my ways*

    I just naturally assumed that the numbers on speed dial were important customers or vendors, you know, contacts outside the company. I never dreamed that they used those speed dial buttons for their co-workers. Don’t they have Teams or something similar?

  33. Elsa*


    I used to notice this syndrome when I was a teacher. Get a new system or a new rule or a new program in, and… pandemonium! We need training! We need inservice days! This is not how we did it before and how we did it before was perfect!

    But when you’re interviewing for a teaching position it’s:
    Interviewer: We use the Tasteful Teapot Program in grade 4. Are you familiar with it?
    Teacher: I’ve heard of it, and I’d love to learn more about it.

    1. Dumpster Fire*

      You are SO right. It seems like every time we have a new tool, it’s immediately “we need training” “we’ve never been trained” “how are we supposed to use this?” We’re supposed to be teaching our kids how to think and take risks and try something….and in reality, nothing that a teacher can do to a new online system is going to break it.

      But wait, there’s more: Hey, there’s a training on this new system – and if you look around during that training, about a third are paying attention, a quarter are chatting with their colleagues, and the rest are grading papers or planning.

  34. Confused By People*

    I’ll never understand how phones or other minor technologies confuse otherwise competent people. I used to work at a small org with 10 staff and a few volunteers for the front desk. They got new phones and somehow no one could learn how to use them except for me and one other person. We’re talking years with multiple training sessions and documents created as reference materials. If it was more complicated then answering the phone, it simply couldn’t be learned. 100% these were standard office phones. Nothing crazy or complicated.

    1. LizB*

      I have to believe this kind of thing is either a self-fulfilling prophecy or deliberate to avoid work. Either people convince themselves so fully that they simply CANNOT learn new things/CANNOT deal with technology that it becomes true, they really can’t get the steps in their head… or they realize “it’s way too complicated for me” is a great excuse to never have to work with that thing.

      1. Philosophia*

        Except when the manufacturer itself has developed a multiple-hour training program for its own fax machine (back in the day) or postage meter or some such. Then you know the thing has been made way too complicated for everyday use.

        1. Eva*

          Seriously, as much as I complain about my coworkers not wanting to even try new solutions, at least two of them have involved hour long training sessions for something like a printer where at the end of it I was like “Okay, that’s all great, but are you going to tell us how to use it to print the reports we use every day or just talk about the bells and whistles?”

          I still don’t know how to use our office phones. That training was two hours and they didn’t even bother to go over checking voicemail.

    2. Nanani*

      Kind of like some people just don’t seem to ever read the sign – any sign. Smart, competent professionals, but will not rtfm and will absolutely make you tap the sign.

    3. Eva*

      I work in an academia-like environment where everybody there has some form of higher ed degree and is very knowledgeable in their field of expertise. These are people that if I had an issue in their field I would absolutely trust their opinion and would go to them for help.

      I cannot handle how often they also just shut down and their minds go blank when confronted with something like “we had to give you a new phone because your old one was literally in two pieces” or “we’re upgrading the computer software to the newest version because there is a massive security risk and you click on every link you’re sent so we’ve got to do something.” You can actually hear the life draining out of our IT staff as the process goes on.

  35. PT*

    I worked somewhere that switched from landline phones to a fancy VOIP internet phone (so when the internet went down so did the phones, which meant we were illegally occupying the building on those days since we were required to have landline access to 911 to be occupied, which is another story altogether.)

    Anyway it switched from seven-digit dialing to mandatory 10 digit dialing, plus you had to dial 9 to get out of the building. A lot of our employees were young and had never used a landline before, and yada yada, we had a lot of false 911 calls causing a police cruiser to stop in for a visit before the cops gave a Lecture on “if you call 911 by accident stay on the line and verbally affirm that you called by accident otherwise we have to send a cruiser.”

    1. Charlotte Lucas*

      We had a similar system at least oldjob, but you ended up having to dial 9911 for an emergency.

      So much fun that sometimes your phone would stop working. Which meant you had to restart your computer, unplug your phone, & plug it back in. Then hope it worked.

  36. Dumpster Fire*

    Thoughts and prayers for all of these supposed professionals who can’t handle dialing a phone.

  37. Florida Fan 15*

    This is doubly hilarious to me because I have a meeting this afternoon on changing our phones. An hour long meeting to explain why they’re changing all our phones to VOIP. We don’t get a vote on this (not that I care either way). But I still get to waste an hour of my life so a bunch of technologically illiterate folks are given “the opportunity to be heard.” You don’t want our opinions, IT, we don’t know what we’re talking about.

    Communication is great, but not every damned thing needs the town hall treatment. Just make a decision, push it out, and let’s all move on with our lives.

  38. Rage*

    I would be SO VERY HAPPY to be off a speed-dial. Then maybe people would think twice before calling me for questions they probably already know the answer to.

    1. Charlotte Lucas*

      Even worse, twice I have had ridiculously memorable extensions. Guess who got every single phone call when people needed to ask her department. Or just when they thought I probably knew the answer.

  39. H.Regalis*

    At my last job I worked with people who definitely would have lost their shit over this. I was support staff at a front desk, and part of my job was signing receiving deliveries, including medical supplies. If I were busy and couldn’t leave the desk, I’d email the employees who were waiting for the medical supplies so they could come pick them up. When I had time, I’d walk the supplies back to the room where they needed to go, which took all of three minutes. We had half a dozen people covering the front desk, so I was never abandoning anyone; but two of my other coworkers were absolutely livid about it. I don’t know why they got so wound up, but I eventually emailed the medical supply inventory person so I had it in writing that they preferred to have packages delivered to their door when possible, in case my coworkers complained to my boss.

  40. Monday blues*

    This is too close to home!

    We have a phone system very much like this, and a printed list of extensions which given some of the turnover the last few months I’ve been updating and resending out to staff every other week it seems.
    A couple of years ago, we went from most phones having a sidecar for 30+ speed dials to needing to remove them all because it was creating issues with calls being constantly dropped, and you would think we asked everyone to cut off their right hands! Just because they had to type in a 3 digit extension now and you could no longer tell if the person you were calling phone was busy! It’s several years in the past, and we’re mostly moved on, but I still get wistful requests for sidecars.

  41. csj*

    I am really baffled here, not by the overall scenario, I’ve experienced similar blow ups over this kind of thing.

    What I really don’t get is why it would matter so much to someone that colleagues kept them on their speed dial. Am I missing something? I mean to go to the lengths of putting up posters. Madness!

      1. Imaginary Friend*

        Apparently that was Top 8, which I know only because I’ve read it here. (I was around during MySpace but never used it.)

  42. Richard Hershberger*

    I actually have a smidgeon of sympathy for these people. So often we are forced into “upgrades” that do nothing for and make us relearn how to perform basic tasks. I held out on moving from Windows 7 to Windows 10 for as long as I could. Say “The system does everything I want it to do and I know how to do these things quickly and easily, so I would prefer not to change it” and people think you are a Luddite or a dinosaur.

    That being said, “The current system is on the point of collapse and the exact equivalent does not exist” is a compelling argument. Assuming the replacement is in fact perfectly good, the proper response is minor grumbling during a short adjustment period. Making it A Thing is silly.

    1. Anonymous4*

      We’re being threatened with a big software change because why the hell not, and I am so pleased. If it were a minor change, a mild adjustment, okay I can deal with that, but why the hell are we contemplating a massive disruption to our workflow?

      Okay, yes, I know why — it is both Cool and Groovy, and our new Whatsis thinks that since it’s so complex, it is just the best thing EVER. (Of course, he isn’t going to be the one trying to figure out how to make the dratted thing work . . . )

      So, yes. Luddite here, thanks. But I’ve just seen too many “upgrades” that were carried out in order to get someone a nice promotion. I am all in favor of “new and improved.” I’m sick to death of “new for the sake of bullet points on someone’s resume.”

      1. SnappinTerrapin*

        Change for the sake of change is as bad as continuing to do the same thing just because that’s what we’ve always done.

        I agree with Richard, though, if the change is inevitable, grumble a bit and get on with it.

        But MS has long irked me with their penchant for changing how you do the things you’ve always done by rearranging the menu bars with no recognizable improvement in function. That slows the work flow for a longer time than it should.

      2. JanetM*

        Seen somewhere, possibly on FaceBook: UPGRADE = Undoing Perfectly Good Reliability And Delivering Evil.

    2. Ed123*

      We had an unnecessary update to transcribing system. Previously you could make the recording go forward and backwards 10 seconds. The new system could only go back to the beginning if you miss a word. After a lot of complaints they got an upgrade that could go back 30 seconds. So with the upgrade it takes significantly longer for the transcribers to do their jobs.

    3. Nanani*

      The thing where a feature gets deleted because MOST people don’t use it but you happen to be in that minority that needs it x-X

  43. Hope*

    This really made me chuckle – a great story of ‘we do it this way because it’s always been done this way. What??? No, you can’t CHANGE it, my god!!’.

  44. Miss Muffet*

    I find the campaigning to be on people’s speed dial lists hilarious. As if the only way you can be constantly available to them is to be on their list? How would you even know? None of it makes any sense and I guess that’s why it’s so funny.

  45. Colorado*

    I love this! About 2.5 years ago, our phones were taken away and now we use Teams with a headset to make (the very few) calls. People were FREAKING out. I was one of them. :-0

  46. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

    I want to tell the complainers to do the math. Six minus four equals two: there are only two numbers that each person might have to start looking up in the phone directory, or learn from entering them often enough. That’s compared with two dozen internal numbers that they never had on speed dial.

    It seems unlikely that most of the people in that office who have to call exactly five or six coworkers regularly–not four, not seven, not fifteen.

    1. PBP*

      Original poster here.

      Yeah, I had typed New Woman first, but it did not sound well, haha. If it helps, I’m also a woman in my 30s and so is the new person, so it wasn’t me being condescending, it was just what sounded better when I was typing it.

    1. Sleeping Late Every Day*

      Or not-for-profits, or small businesses of the Mom & Pop type, or older repair businesses, or any older small business – all kinds of places.

      1. Delta Delta*

        I want the podcast first so I can watch the Netflix documentary and say, “this isn’t true to the podcast, but it’s close.”

  47. OlympiasEpiriot*

    At my last firm, I think we had 12 speed dial positions, the system used 3, including the voice mail button. I didn’t use ANY of the speed dial since (1) we had a handy sheet of extensions, (2) I worked there since before we got the current extensions in autumn 2001 and knew lots by heart, (3) if you wanted tech involved, we had an app on our computers which allowed dialing into our system from Outlook contacts.

    Now, I work somewhere with everything linked to MSTeams and I don’t even need to out people on my “favorites”. I can just call from Outlook.

    People would have been pointing at me in disgust at that firm!!


  48. Aggretsuko*

    In my experience, every time we are forced to upgrade a system, we lose functionality. Losing 2 speed dial buttons is nothing compared to the issues we get. Frequently upgrades make us unable to do the job very well or with any reasonable speed. So I laugh at their angst here. Also what everyone else said about online chat and Jabber. Just wait until they get forced to use Jabber. Which drops calls and the sound doesn’t work half the time and finding who to speed dial is a pain in the ass.

  49. QAPeon (formerly HelpDeskPeon)*

    This reminds me SO MUCH of when we switched to using Gmail at our office. Previously, our email contact list auto-populated with the people we’d previously emailed. Pretty standard and easy to cope with.

    Suddenly, with the switch, our contact lists included everyone in the entire organization that has email. I am not exaggerating when I say that’s possibly 10k people. Now, when you start typing James Smith, there can be 20 of them for you to choose from, and you can’t see titles.

    We eventually got used to it, and the system adapted to show us our most often used addresses first, but the whining was epic. Me included!

    1. Beany*

      We’re an all-MS setup (unfortunate, since my colleagues and I are MacOS users), and the MS Outlook webmail has the unfortunate habit of adding people who’ve reached your Inbox to your personal contacts.

      I say “unfortunate” because we have (non-MS) mailing lists that make outgoing mails look as if they’re coming from the individual who sent them, even though they’re really coming from the listserv. E.g. “Jane Q. Smith” . Then the next time you just want to mail Jane, “wholedepartment@lists.co” will pop up as an option (perhaps the first one), and you can end up sending an individual mail to the whole listserv.

    1. Red 5*

      Good luck, our upgrade to Teams has been delayed twice because every time the deadline is imminent some other exec level person throws a fit about one thing or another. At this point we’re all taking bets about when we’ll have to revert back to faxes.

  50. Retired (but not really)*

    I’m guessing that those who are complaining have been there “forever” and at this point anything changing is a big deal. We get into familiar patterns and the new feels strange for awhile. Also sounds like a bit of ego getting involved as well.
    It also sounds like whoever did the workaround phone list was not as familiar with all the options of the program used to create it (ie may not have known how to do it any other way).

  51. LGC*

    …what in the Myspace Top 8 (well, I guess Top 4 now)

    I wish I was more surprised, but this could be my company. (To wit: our admin regularly sends out directories of extensions. That are scans of print outs. I love her – she’s great, she’s literally been with the company since before I was born – but it causes me psychic pain. And this is relatively low grade!)

  52. All Het Up About It*

    So amazing! Especially the five page paper phone list…
    Over TWO numbers!

    I mean if you really call your six people with such frequency, just adding a post-it to your phone with the 2 kicked off speed dial people solves the “issue” in an incredibly low tech way. And certainly easier to use than one of those phone list spreadsheets. I’m pretending that the word doc versions don’t even exist, because I just CAN’T!

  53. Nanc*

    I see your two-less-speed-dial-fancy-phone and raise you and old school rotary phone plugged into a dohicky box so we could dial (in the true meaning of the word!) internal extensions. And we looked up people and departments in an old school paper directory that was reissued twice a year and was indexed by first name, last name, and department and I’m pretty sure was typed on an IBM self-correcting Selectric.

    Now I just use the online app that came with our new system and the physical phone is still in its box. I think it’s under the bed in the spare room? Or maybe in the storeroom next to the Halloween decorations?

    I can’t wait for New Girl to drop into a future Friday Open Thread to talk about her old job where she quickly grew tired of the Great Phone Drama and started searching for a new job her second week in.

  54. Not really a Waitress*

    My company does not use phones, we do everything through online messaging or we stand up in the bullpen/prairie dog farm and yell.

    However, I can understand how being short those 2 speed dials can knock the world off axis

  55. Casey*

    I help keep the phone system up and running at my local school district (over 2,000 staff). We are looking at switching our phone system but hopefully won’t have something like this happen! The smallest phones we have have 8 buttons, with 2 being needed, leaving the rest free. Some of the newer ones have probably something like 24+ that can be used.

  56. Don't Touch My Snacks*

    “It takes someone a week to figure out how to do columns in Word to make it one page instead of like five.”

    How? How did someone not know this already?

  57. No Dumb Blonde*

    It’s like people who use their phone to take a photo of their screen instead of just learning how take a damned screenshot

    1. Esmeralda*

      Interestingly, my students will take pix of the screen in class, even though every slide is posted on the class LMS. At first I thought it was weird and/or lazy. But I’ve done it myself at meetings or trainings where I just need the info on that one slide, which is why I now get it. If you take a pic it’s on your phone and you can find it pretty quickly. You don’t have to log in to the LMS, find my class, find the correct week, find the slides link, scroll thru the slides. (For me, I don’t have to go digging through my email to find the message that has the link to the slides and then scroll thru the slides — I got it on my phone, easy peasy, and it’s dated, too)

  58. EBG*

    1) Send out a memo explaining the new phone system, along with an office extension quick list with everyone’s numbers on one sheet of paper
    2) Place a printout of the extension quick list on everyone’s desk.

    1. AEM*

      This! She’s a grown adult who can understand how to use a phone. Surely she deserves the dignity of not being referred to as a child!

    2. PBP*

      Original poster here.

      I said this to someone else who pointed it out:

      I used girl because it’s what sounded better. The new person and I are both women and the same age, it wasn’t meant to be condescending. It just sounded better when I was typing it out, sorry.

      1. Goldenrod*

        I agree – “girl” sounds better.

        When I was in my twenties, I always referred to myself as “girl.” It’s a personal choice.

  59. Phone me up Scotty!*

    This is amazing!

    Though, I do have to say it’s “surprising” (not really) how sometimes we don’t get trained on the simplest office things. I just looked at my phone and realized I have a phone book button too! I don’t think anybody in my office knows all the buttons and whizbangs that the phones have, I don’t even think there’s a manual anywhere. When you start working it’s just like “there’s the phone” and that’s about it. Same thing with things like printers and copiers.

  60. NK*

    For reasons I will never understand, the phones where I work have no speed dial buttons, and the phone book function contains all 20k+ employees with no way to favorite them.

    1. Red 5*

      Ours is similar, I just look people up in our email system instead because it also has their extension listed in their info there, and it’s generally faster.

    1. LMB*

      I know we went to phone software a few years ago and just switched to Teams at the beginning of the pandemic.

  61. Nice HR Lady*

    I worked in a department that was housed in a separate building from the rest of the company. About 12 people in a small office, where our desks were no more than a few steps away from each other. While the office was being re-painted, our mailboxes/cubbies were taken down from the wall and someone questioned if we really needed the unit or can we just put the mail on the person’s desk. The anger, sadness, and hate around the situation was something like I’ve never seen! Ultimately, to keep everyone happy, the mailboxes stayed. Some people just don’t like change!

  62. Bookworm*

    Why I don’t miss working in an office and why I’m thrilled to be in a field that seems far more geared towards Slack/G-chat/etc. type of communicating.

  63. LMB*

    They can’t make columns in Word? And what did they do before when they had to call someone who didn’t make the six speed dials?

  64. Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii*

    So funny!

    If i worked there i might start a bidding war, convince me to put you on my speed dial.
    I will accept bribes

  65. LV426*

    As someone who installs new phone systems I have come across this so many times. Old phone system dies, we bring in shiny new system, and the world ends because it doesn’t work exactly like the old one or there aren’t enough buttons, or the buttons are in the wrong place, or any number of unimaginable horrors are being thrust upon the employees with the new phones. I just had to laugh at this post because it’s so true.

  66. SnappinTerrapin*

    Back in the day, being on the speed dial list didn’t have anything to do with being “liked.” The people we liked, or talked to frequently, were dialed from memory.

    Being on speed dial was more likely to mean you were rarely called, but if you were, it was an emergency.

    Sort of like having the police, fire and ambulance numbers stuck to the phone before we had 9-1-1 to dial, or having the doctor and plumber numbers next to the phone.

  67. Phil*

    Everyone commenting about MySpace, I’m thinking of the Seinfeld episode. I wonder if they can hide anyone under the emergency speed dial.

  68. Red 5*

    It honestly took me a few minutes to make sure that this wasn’t about my office. Mostly because they haven’t bothered to upgrade our phones in about ten years because the last time they did it was about this chaotic because it changed the way you checked your voicemail and people had to re-record their messages.

    OP, I salute you and I hope that you and the new girl get a chance to have coffee and laugh about this until you can’t breathe.

  69. Nobody You Know*

    Granted the staff’s response to the new phones was over the top. But honestly I think the OP is not blameless. The should have done a better job in assessing whether the staff’s needs were going to be met by the new system. If they need 6 speed dials, then they need 6 speed dials! Why is that funny? The story’s tone of mocking derision toward the staff tells me the impact of the change was dismissed or at least poorly communicated, and hints at other communication problems in the office (no pun intended).

    1. All Het Up About It*

      In the original post/comment on Friday – the OP added that people weren’t originally even using their “top 6” speed dial. So the impact truly was pretty minimal to non-existent and they DON’T need six speed dials. It’s like someone said above, the users just now have to THINK about who they want to cut and are being pretty dramatic about it.

      This is so reminiscent of smaller (non-profit) offices where I used to work, there is NO way to please everyone and sometimes you just have to step back and enjoy the “mocking derision” to keep your sanity.

    2. Aggretsuko*

      Also, it sounds like this was the most comparable system they could find to the old one. Maybe six speed dials wasn’t even an option to buy any more.

    3. Red 5*

      The OP very specifically says that they spent time with the staff asking them what features they needed in the new phone system and allowed them to have input into the process.

      The number of speed dials didn’t come up in any of those discussions, which suggests to anybody who has ever tried to do this kind of stakeholder management, that it wasn’t actually important and had little to no bearing on how they used the phone systems and simply became a poster child for disliking change or not wanting to shift their habits.

      Even from the basic description here, the OP did more due diligence than my office has for the last four upgrades they’ve done. The office staff is overreacting about their speed dials.

    4. Observer*

      If they need 6 speed dials, then they need 6 speed dials!

      Because they actually don’t need 6 speed dials.

      But, absolutely there are communications problems, as well as basic competency problems.

  70. KR*

    I worked at an organization that was like this. Not about phones – each person had their ~thing~ that they were weirdly invested in working a specific way and it was my job to either help them get adjusted to the new piece of technology or adapt the new technology to fit the new thing they just couldn’t get adjusted to. Luckily I had a boss that was willing to tell people to just get over it when it got too ridiculous.

  71. Ele4phant*

    This reminds me of how are office adopted a whole new phone system shortly before the pandemic. It was web based and the guy who selected it was fairly tech savvy while many of the principals and staff are…not.

    He was super jazzed about all these features it had, like how you could reassign your number to different handsets depending where you were, having different voices messages for internal/external calls, integrated texting with your outlook account, routing your calls through multiple devices including your computer, etc etc. But half the people were like yeah I just want to pickup the receiver and call people – I can still do that right?

    For better or worse we all took like ducks in water once we all went remote for the pandemic and we’ve cancelled that phone system.

    1. All Hail Queen Sally*

      Showing my age here, but Seinfeld had an episode about speed dialing.”Speed dial is a relationship barometer.” You can see it on YouTube.

  72. Love to WFH*

    People call each other on phones at work? I haven’t had a phone on my desk at a job for about 12 years. This is why we have email, Slack, and feet.

  73. lilsheba*

    Meanwhile I work for the phone company, from home, and have an at least 30 year old desk/ip phone here that will probably never be replaced. The display is very hard to read. I want a new one!

  74. Chickaletta*

    Wow, sounds like there’s a rampant competency problem in the office between not being able to use the phone’s phonebook (for only 30 people!) and it taking someone a week (a week!) to figure out how to make columns in Word? This is an office, right? It would be like if a plumber spent a week trying to find the plumbing aisle in Home Depot, or if a pre-school teacher took a week finding a play dough recipe. I almost don’t find this funny.

  75. The Bill Murray Disagreement*

    I’m in consulting and not one word of this story surprises me. No matter how trivial it seems to outsiders, many many people despise change — especially change thrust on them after 20+ years of having it The Same Way.

    As silly as it seems, this story fits the same mold: big focus on the technical/functional results of a change, late-breaking realization (or announcement) of a change in how something works, panic ensues.

  76. All Hail Queen Sally*

    Showing my age here, but Seinfeld had an episode about speed dialing.”Speed dial is a relationship barometer.” You can see it on YouTube.

  77. TRC*

    We worked with a company with a 20+ year old phone system from a vendor that no longer existed. They LOVED it because the phones were only $5 on eBay.

    It had never been backed up and it took 20 minutes to reboot when it froze up. And there was never any guarantee that it would reboot or just RIP forever.

    If it had died permanently, it would have been a disaster. But, you know, the phones were only $5 on eBay.

  78. Excel-sior*

    “It takes someone a week to figure out how to do columns in Word to make it one page instead of like five.”

    Not the big takeaway from all this but… Why Word? Why so long? For 30 people? Why .. why does this hurt so nuch?

    1. Anonylarious*

      Yeah, I was really stuck on this, too. I work with plenty of people that can’t use Office well, but there’s always SOMEONE who can use office that would get tasked with this. I really want to know what it is they do that requires (allows for) really old phones and virtually no computer abilities.

  79. Phil*

    Come sit round the fire, children, and Grampy will tell you a tale of The Old Tymes when we had to actually enter numbers by hand on a dial that spun around. Can you imagine that!

  80. Lizard*

    Wow, this is so wild!!! And to top it all off, this little drama has taken place… recently? In 2022, not 1992?!?!?

  81. AnotherLibrarian*

    This is exactly how people I have worked with in the past would have responded to a phone change. I can see it now. So much drama over such an unimportant change.

  82. Alldogsarepuppies*

    I feel like my most needed speed dials would not be in the company where I could just teams them

  83. Jolene Carl Dean*

    Couldn’t you just write down on a post-it the two extensions you would have had in spots 5 and 6?

  84. Youth Librarian*

    We got a new phone system at the library where I work. I don’t really use the phones much, so I didn’t pay much attention to it. Then, we got an obscene caller. Anonymous/blocked number of course. Well, I’m at the front information desk and I get the caller. This stuff doesn’t really phase me, so I hold him on the line while I jot down the number. I’m thinking, “why did everyone say they couldn’t get the number? It’s RIGHT THERE at the top of the phone screen!” I call over to the police, “hey, I got the number of that obscene caller!” (small town). Very proud of myself. Take another look at the phone. Slowly realize… the number at the top… is the direct line for the information desk phone (I NEVER CALLED IT OK?? I hadn’t even memorized my own direct line!) Just as I am about to call the police back and Confess All the phone rings and it’s the police. Me “um… yeah… that number I gave you…” Dispatcher “you realize that was your number” Me “well, NOW I do…” We all had a good laugh (never did track down that particular obscene caller though.

  85. Erin*

    Omg this was just a nail biter!! My favorite bit is the campaigning that was kicked off by the boss with a poster in the employee break room. I would have most likely insisted upon a few days of campaigning, culminating in candidates making speeches at a podium for why they need to be voted into such an important and distinguished place.

    1. That One Person*

      This would be my request/suggestion too just to see what kind of madness spews from it. From how these people reacted they’d have taken it seriously and it’d have been a further show. My second favorite part though is the new person confounding the trainer with their confusion over a lack of real issues, thus making them question “Wait…maybe…maybe it’s not a problem?”

      I get it though, change can suck and nobody likes feeling as though they had a ‘perk’ taken away. Still hilarious thing to campaign over.

  86. Worker bee*

    I am very confused by the “speed dial” part of this. In this context, does that mean *1 or whatever? My company used to have a phone system where you just had to memorize the extensions you called all the time, otherwise we had a phone list. Our new system, everyone just has a button (well, most. I found out recently that a guy who’s been here for more than a decade isn’t on my phone and the company can’t figure out why. I’ve got a list and all is fine.)

    Also, I still have a phone at my desk and it gets used. Sometimes I’m covering for our receptionist’s lunch and sometimes outside callers say they want extension 123, rather than a person. Most of the time, phones aren’t hard.

    And for those who don’t believe how hardcore people are to change, the software my company uses updated the frontend of the software about 5 years ago. We still have to run both versions because some people freaked out so badly that they were revolting and threatening to quit. The main difference is that the old version has a “GOTO” button that has a dropdown menu for stuff and the new version has 99% of what we use as a stand alone button and the rest is easily accessible.

    Honestly, I wish my company had upgraded everything this winter and said sink or swim; it’s been 5 years. (I’ve very tired of the whiners who keep restricting anything “new”.

  87. Anonylarious*

    This is glorious. Just glorious. Though I love a good collective overreaction in the workplace. It makes for such excellent entertainment!

    I found out recently that people at our work that have been around long enough still recognize (acknowledge?) the anniversary of an incident by which someone accidentally e-mailed something to the entire organization (~20,000 people). Hundreds of people proceeded to reply-all asking to be removed from the mailing list, telling the person they e-mailed in error, yelling at other people to stop replying-all, and by the end just hilariousness.

    It crashed the servers so our e-mail and internet went out for approximately 4 hours (we have departments that provide essential services, so it triggered emergency protocols / processes). IT now has processes in place so it can never happen at that scale again but omg was it amazing to watch go down. The anniversary is named after the guy who (accidentally) sent the first e-mail.

    But seriously, people . The ghost of “but it has never been done this way before!” haunts you. I probably have speed dial on my work phone, but honestly, I just memorize the extension of anyone I call regularly. Plus, we all use Teams now, anyway. Pretty sure most of my team doesn’t even have an extension at this point, at least half of them have never been in the office other than to pick up their laptop on their first day.

  88. Umpire*

    Clearly there isn’t enough work to do or OP’s office is underperforming if they have time for all of this.

  89. Jasmine Tea*

    Is there a “Most Immature Co-workers” award or something at the end of the year? I nominate this office!

  90. HLKHLK1219*

    OMG. The phone speed dial war chronicle almost caused my iPhone to be covered in coffee when I burst out laughing while reading it. It’s amazing what people will latch on to and turn into a hill to die on (I’m mainly familiar with the “you can’t have water unless you pay for the water club” and “it’s too hot/it’s too cold” thermostat wars.

    One observation: when people have enough time to turn something simple into major pain points, it often means they don’t have enough to do. In other words, busy people and teams tend not to get as sucked into drama as much as their coworkers twiddling their thumbs. And yes, this is in general – I’m sure there are plenty of exceptions. But when I’ve come into public or private companies to perform BPR or program auditing, these types of drama can be a big indicator that either there are too many people for the work, or the workflow has stalled out in critical areas.

  91. Susie*

    I have a confession about my work phone: I do not have a single person on speed dial. I just dial their extension when I want to speak to them.

    1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      Back when we were in-office and had desk phones, our Jabber was connected to them and would automatically dial their extension for you, which was a pretty great feature.

  92. CountryLass*

    I’ve just had something similar, but with toilets. We have ladies and gents toilets upstairs, one for each. Separate rooms. We are a really old building, a converted house I believe, and I’m pretty sure that one of the toilets is the original one from the family bathroom! Anyway, the gents spring a leak whilst I was isolating with Covid, so they get my usual plumber to come in and take a look. I’m not the office manager, but with my job I need to maintain a list of tradesmen, so I usually end up dealing with the office repairs.
    I know nothing of this until I get a quote, which my boss authorises. I come back, and it hasn’t fixed the problem, and they have quoted £600 to replace both toilets, because an office Karen decided we need the ladies replaced too?!??

    Nope. Not on my watch. I get my general handyman, who changes some seals, services the cistern in the mens, and replaces both seats, as they were a bit crap. Total cost £150. ALL I HAVE HAD since, is complaints that I should have replaced the functional toilets! We’ve just spent £4k on the roof, with another £8k coming for electrics! We can’t afford to waste money!

  93. That One Person*

    Meanwhile they got rid of our phones (although my mailroom still has ours, they just don’t function properly anymore) due to COVID so they swapped to this program. Even that’s going to get swapped at some point to a different program, but seeing as most people use Teams it’s kind of moot and I simply use my cellphone for the one outside call I generally make once in random while right now.

  94. Nom*

    While reading the beginning of this story i was thinking, why not just write down the extensions of the people you call most often on a post it?…..

  95. Dragon*

    I was so happy when my office replaced its very outdated phone system with modern Cisco phones, like previous employers of mine had.

    However, our installation was different in the following ways:

    1) Caller ID only displayed the phone number, not a name such as “City Clerk’s Office.”
    2) If the boss was on line 1 and another call came in on line 2, both calls were displayed on the secretary’s phone screen, not just the second call.
    3) The big “expansion” display unit attached to the secretary’s base phone, had two buttons per boss. One was the boss’s phone line, the other the secretary’s intercom line for the boss. For some reason at my office, that setup messed up the caller ID if line 2 rang while boss was on line 1. So to fix that they moved all the boss intercom buttons to the secretary’s base phone, which took speed dial buttons away from the secretary.

    None of these were an issue at my previous firms.

  96. Either way you call me*

    I don’t get why I would care if I’m on someone’s speed dial or if they had to physically dial the number. It impacts me in no way. And actually, I kinda like it when you don’t call me. Use messenger instead.

  97. I might be joking....*

    Just… wow. I think management should discipline those who are continuing to incite the anger, in all honesty. It’s absolutely ridiculous. In a world where so much is wrong, and where so many employers are treating their employees so poorly, I’m offended just reading about these morons and their ridiculously petty first-world problems. My sympathy to the letter writer.

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