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A Rant About A Lack Of Communication

September 2, 2011 · 49 comments

in Misc Tips, Work

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.





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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

MoneyCone September 2, 2011 at 10:50 am

I have a friend who will reply to every facebook post, but doesn’t find time to respond to emails! What the heck!


Kris September 2, 2011 at 11:44 am

Oh that is funny MoneyCone. Obviously, facebook takes priority over all else, which is kind of scary. I wonder how many times a day he ‘tweets’??


krantcents September 2, 2011 at 11:23 am

When I was in the business world, I use to respond to telephone calls and emails within 24 hours. I still do the same with professional and personal life. The funny thing is I expect the same from other people or businesses! I am generally disappointed about 50% of the time.


Kris September 2, 2011 at 11:44 am

I am totally with you KC, except I am disappointed lately more like 75 percent of the time. The project I am on right now has ridiculous timelines and the ‘gurus’ never have time to even glance at their emails. They are the gurus, so they can somehow get away with it.


gharkness September 2, 2011 at 11:29 am

Now, I agree with you. But how about a new rant? How in the HECK do you get people to get to the topic and get OFF the phone?

I am totally on board with answering emails and returning phone calls. But if I know that a returned phone call from :X: is going to take up an hour instead of 5 minutes….that makes me reluctant to call back.

I try not to be rude, so if you can come up with some great suggestions on how to shut people up 🙂 that would be great!


Kris September 2, 2011 at 11:42 am

Well, with you could always return the call (or answer the phone) by starting with “I only have 5 minutes because I meeting I have to get to” or something like that. Set a predefined time up front and when that time is done, you gotta hang up.

I agree with that rant though. I have been trapped at work trying to leave before and someone would not stop talking when I really needed to leave. One guy even walked me to my car and kept jabbering. Not an easy situation for sure.


Holly September 2, 2011 at 12:13 pm

You pick up another phone and call yourself and say, “Sorry, I have another call and I have to get this.” Before you return the call, you could also set up a friend or spouse to call you in five minutes and say the same thing.

Worse is when you are face-to-face with the jabberer and can’t get away.


Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager September 2, 2011 at 11:54 am

Couldn’t agree with you more. I leave all my emails unread until I can actually answer them. Usually once in the morning and once at night. Simple solution.


Kris September 2, 2011 at 11:58 am

That is a perfect plan Jenna. Life is busy, but with a little organization, it can sure make things easier.


Holly September 2, 2011 at 12:20 pm

That doesn’t work for me since some of the e-mails are time-sensitive. For example, there was a change in my daughter’s bus route and I needed to know where and when she would be picked up in the morning.


First Gen American September 2, 2011 at 11:57 am

I’m not sure what the deal with coaches is, but I think in the working world there are just fewer people doing the same amount of work. So, someone who used to get 50 emails a day may get 150. I’m in sales so the 24 hour rule is one I try to live by as well, but sometimes, a couple slip through the cracks and I always feel bad about it. It was easier for me to stay on top of email when I was on Outlook and I could sort by date, but my company went to googlemail and the nesting of strings still screws me up because if you’re supposed to do something in the middle of a thread I’ve missed it on more than one occasion.


Suba September 2, 2011 at 7:29 pm

I struggle with my emails, esp. now handling few blogs, work and personal. But I try to reply as soon as I can, work – right away, blog/personal within a day. I use the priority inbox in google to flag messages that I need to follow up or think more before sending (otherwise I will forget). Some days answering emails is all I do. Those days some emails fall through the crack and I kick myself for letting it pile.


Squirrelers September 2, 2011 at 9:17 pm

It’s sometimes tough to answer all calls/emails right away. I suppose we all have different schedules and capacities to be really responsive. That said, totally ignoring calls is rude. I’ve deal with people like that professionally, which is even nuttier!


101 Centavos September 3, 2011 at 7:27 am

I can honestly say that during my years as a soccer coach, I overcommunicated with my team parents, if anything.
I think I made the subject of a career tip post… answer *all* emails and messages.


Brandy September 3, 2011 at 1:17 pm

I also work from home. I understand that not everyones by the phone if I call them, but I hate when:

people act like youre a bill collector being all suspicious,

dont answer, dont answer and call right back and say “someone called me from this #”

I leave them a message, they dont listen to it and call right back wanting to know who you are,

and people with no phone etiquette at all.

People dont know how to communicate anymore. Its ridiculous.

Also too, its ok to have a personal email thats silly but when it comes to business have a professional email. If you say it to a 12 year old and they giggle then its not an acceptable email address for business.

And why is everyone in such a hurry its like pulling teeth to keep them on the phone2 seconds??


Jacq September 4, 2011 at 10:01 am

I’m not a perfect email angel, but my goal at work in the past has always been Inbox Zero – every day. And if it isn’t empty, I get kind of anxious because everything that’s not answered represents something I have to do. What I usually do in a work situation is, if I can’t answer something right then, I’ll email them and tell them I’m looking into it and give an estimated time frame they can expect an answer. The reason why I do that is that when I send an email asking for something, generally it just drops from my consciousness and I have this naive notion that it’s being handled by that other person. I like just knowing that they’ve acknowledged my existence and will get to it so I don’t have to think about it. This works for about 75% of the population and the others – I learn who they are and modify accordingly.

Sometimes I don’t respond at all to emails if it’s something like an ad request for the blog or a request for a guest post (either written by me for them or they want to write for me). I used to respond and say no, but it started happening so regularly that it just annoyed me.

I see in my sent file that I emailed you back on July 26 Kris. I don’t have the original email you sent, but my apologies if it was over a day – but more likely it was a week or two. 😛

I wonder if the reason why you see the problem with soccer coaches is because they aren’t corporate types and don’t have that world’s response standards?


Barb Friedberg September 11, 2011 at 6:43 pm

Me too!!! But I think the culture may have changed a bit, or maybe not….


Kris September 12, 2011 at 4:14 pm

I think people should always have manners. The day I wrote this post, I emailed my son’s travel soccer coach and asked him a question. Of course, he never did get back to me. It was just a question about practice so it was no big deal, but he at least could have sent me a 2 word response. He even has a smartphone too.


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