Technology has been great in a variety of ways. People can work from home at any time of day. Calling long distance is much cheaper than it was when I was a kid. You can email someone at 2:00 am if you want to. However, not everyone likes that others have the ability to communicate 24 hours a day, or at all.
My Public Service Announcement: Answer Your Emails and Return Your Phone Calls!
I work from home, and I work part time, but I try to make it appear that I work full time so that my work arrangement does not affect anyone else. In other words, I check email even when I am not working because I know people have questions 8 hours a day, and not just during the 4 I work. I don’t want to delay a project or anything because of my work schedule. Also, I want to prove to management that working part-time is a viable solution so that the door is open for other people to work part time.
However, not everyone shares my philosophy. My rant today is centered around people that just do not acknowledge your email or phone calls.
An Example Of My Rant: Soccer Coaches
All three of my kids have played travel soccer at various times over the years. One thing that almost all coaches have had in common is that you are plain lucky if they reply to an email or return a phone call. I have no idea why these coaches feel it is OK to just completely ignore communication from parents. Yes, I recognize that some parents can be a major pain. However, if I ask a question, I deserve an answer. We pay a lot of money to these coaches each year, and it is part of their job to interact with parents. So often, I will send an email asking a completely benign question, and I won’t get any response at all. Then I wonder “Did he get the email?”, “Should I send another email”, etc. (By the way, most parents complain of this problem.)
Exactly why does this segment of the working population feel like they do not have return any form of communication? If I ignored all emails from customers and coworkers, I would be fired in a heartbeat, and rightfully so.
(I also love a rule that coaches have around here that parents cannot approach them to discuss a game until 24 hours have passed, so that parents can ‘cool off’. So basically, these coaches don’t have to communicate, and if they are forced to, they can tell you when you are allowed to approach them. Maybe I will try that at my job and just have an autoresponder that says “I am sorry, but not enough time has passed where it is acceptable for you to ask that question. Please try again in 13.77 hours.”)
Of course, I am stereotyping and obviously not every coach falls into the ‘non-communicative’ territory…
My Advice For All You Non-Communicators Out There
So, if you do not answer emails/phone calls because you are totally disorganized, then fix that problem. Maybe set aside 20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes in the afternoon to respond to emails and phone calls. If you don’t respond to people because you are just plain rude and feel you are above it all, then adjust that attitude ASAP. Nobody is inherently better than anyone else, and believe me, if you are non-responsive, people know that and probably dread communicating with you as much as you dread communicating with them. Think you are too busy to respond? Well, everyone is busy, so get over it.
Thank you for listening to my rant.