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Handling the telephone

I thought the community might be interested in reading an email I sent to a colleague recently.

The recipient had called me earlier in the day, and was surprised when I mentioned the fact that I was at my desk and had missed the call because I was ignoring the telephone. It wasn't one of my more diplomatic comments.

At the end of the day, I took time out to write a more lengthy email. I might be in for flames, I'll find out tomorrow.

Here's my explanation:

**********

I'm sorry that earlier today I didn't have very much time to give you a more detailed explanation of how I manage the telephone that is at my desk.

As you may know, I am a programmer here. My job is to think 80% of the time and communicate 20% of the time. In the past I have had other jobs, such as managing large teams. In some of those jobs, my job was to think 20% of the time and communicate 80% of the time.

The trouble with thinking is that there's a big cost to 'context switching': you start working out a problem, the telephone rings, and when you get off the phone you have to start all over again.

One of the reasons top programmers are such night owls is that there are many fewer interruptions after regular business hours. I'm writing this after 8PM, and I can tell you I've gotten more programming done after 5PM today than I did before 5PM.

So here I am at my desk and it seems every few minutes my telephone shouts out that someone I've never heard of, who works in another office, needs to pick up a parked call. Is it any wonder that I've hacked my phone so it is as quiet as possible and in addition I keep a handy set of earplugs for when I really need to get something done?

Of course, that means I might miss a call from someone such as yourself. Please understand that if I miss a call or two I am NOT screening calls and deciding who is important and who is not: I am merely implementing a "DND" policy during certain hours when I need uninterrupted programming time.

Now compare the telephone to email. I check my email during breaks in thinking. I can respond very quickly, and I can often read and reply to email while my computer does some boring task like reboot Websphere for the hundredth time today.

When you receive my email, you can respond immediately or at your leisure. You can scan a dozen or so emails in your inbox and respond to the urgent and important emails without having to read each one. If my reply isn't that important, you aren't interrupted by a call from me!

And believe me, after one or two of my calls, you'll realize that I am a rather talkative fellow. I never use one word when two would do. That only adds a few seconds to reading an email, but it might add minutes to a telephone call. And your time is important!

This is why I encourage people to send me an email. I believe I can give faster and better service by email, and I believe I can give my employer my very highest productivity by ignoring the telephone for most of my working day.

Here's my concrete suggestion: let's use email for the 95% of the communications that are best served by a quick exchange of notes. For the 5% that are best served by a call or meeting, let's schedule a telephone or face to face meeting. There's nothing wrong with setting up a phone meeting!

Let me know if this works for you.

Warm regards...

--
Reginald Braithwaite-Lee
work: **********
personal: www.braithwaite-lee.com

Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new. - Albert Einstein

Reginald Braithwaite-Lee
Tuesday, December 03, 2002

Incidentally -- it's very annoying when you're a member of some club, and a few members refuse to use e-mail.  If _everyone_ used e-mail, then you could do away with snail-mail flyers, and with many phone calls.  But nooooo... some people can't even be dragged kicking and screaming into the 20th century.

A few Luddites ruin it for the whole bunch.

J. D. Trollinger
Tuesday, December 03, 2002

I'm now going to take your email and use it myself... :)

Marc
Tuesday, December 03, 2002

What was the response from the colleague?

Scot
Tuesday, December 03, 2002

Reginald,

It's a great email and belongs in the email hall of fame.

Very diplomatic too - an offense taken by the recipient would certainly be due to his own issues and not the way you have handled it which was exceptional.

X. J. Scott
Tuesday, December 03, 2002

Reginald Braithwaite-Lee:

Who is this guy who tried to call you? Designation?

Prakash S
Tuesday, December 03, 2002

What's a "DND" policy? You can't mean Dungeons & Dragons.

Julian
Wednesday, December 04, 2002

Do not Disturb, i am sure you know; this is just for you to feel reassured :-)

Prakash S
Wednesday, December 04, 2002

Kudos on a great email, Reginald.  Thanks for sharing it.

Aaron D.
Wednesday, December 04, 2002

Cool email. It is a shame that it is a little too long to put it on the answering machine tape.

But something different (if related):
Do any of you notice that you start to switch most of your private remote communication to email, too? This has happened to me. I recently bought a cellphone, because I felt I should have one for emergencies and the like, but I have not yet used it once.  I also get more and more reluctant to call people on the phone. Writing an email feels much more comfortabel most of the time. This has the undesired side effect, though, that people who do not have email-access (yes I still now some of those, including my parents for example) or who do not check their email every day, somehow drop out of my line of vision.

Have fun,

Jutta Jordans
Wednesday, December 04, 2002

The same applies to SMS on mobiles
Two great things
1. Unobtrusive... I respond when I feel like it
2. The 160 character limit forces you to be very succinct.



**ps message above is 156 characters and could have been sent via SMS or text messaging :)

tapiwa
Wednesday, December 04, 2002

Have already printed it and will translate into Spanish. Great mail

David
Wednesday, December 04, 2002

Hmmm..that does seem a tad more diplomatic than the recording on my phone, which is:

"I'm quite busy working on fixes to your payroll system right now, but if you really need to bother me and delay receiving your pay check, feel free to leave a message. Otherwise, I will continue working."

That little voice mail indicator never lights up! <g>

Mark Hoffman
Wednesday, December 04, 2002

"Please don't bother me, I'm thinking."  Give me a break!

I'm surprised that nobody else finds the message extremely rude, as I do.  It strikes me as unnecessarily blunt and makes the message-writer seem prickly and hard to get along with.

And in the process, it confirms that many unfortunate stereotypes of computer people as socially inept nerds are, in some cases, on target.

If you were to send such a message where I work (a university where accessibility and ability to work with non-technical staff is prized) you would have taken the first step toward getting fired.

programmer
Wednesday, December 04, 2002

How about "Please don't interrupt me, I'm thinking - it's my job to think, it's why I'm here"

Would that be any better?

Developers aren't here to keep seats warm, they're around to write code. Interrupting them every five minutes is a good way to lower the quality of that code.

I've got a nice simple solution. I'm not in the phone directory... people can't call me unless they email me first to find out which phone to use to call me on. If it's REALLY urgent, they can interrupt my team leader and get him to hand me the phone, but somehow having to interrupt a /team leader/ seems to provoke more "do I need to make this a phone call or will email do?" consideration than "merely" interrupting a developer in the middle of writing code...

This is another one of those things that Microsoft do, but no-one else thinks is important to being a successful IT company. The massive amounts of overtime yes, the personality issues yes... the not interrupting developers while they're making you money... no. Somehow that one gets missed off. Why do cargo cults never carry USEFUL things around?

Katie Lucas
Wednesday, December 04, 2002

Uh..programmer...

If you were referring to Mark's comments, I think it was a joke. So lighten up a bit, ok?

Idiot Savant
Wednesday, December 04, 2002

>>>I'm surprised that nobody else finds the message extremely rude, as I do. <<<

"Extremely rude"?  There might be points where it could be improved, but it does seem fairly straight forward about explaining the problem.  It seems the recipient of this message may have been a bit rude himself, expecting the poster to interrupt his work for a random phone call.  Not a good excuse for being rude, but how do you tell someone his expectations were inappropriate.

>>>If you were to send such a message where I work ...  <<<

Apparently the original poster works in an environment where he is expected to develop software.  If your employer has different expectations, then you should adapt accordingly.

mackinac
Wednesday, December 04, 2002

Hmmm, did I dereference the wrong pointer there?

mackinac
Wednesday, December 04, 2002

The original message seems unnecessarily condescending.  And it's too long.  I'd suggest writing a much shorter message where you simplty tell the recipient that you'd prefer to receive e-mail over phone calls.  No need to belabor the point.

J. D. Trollinger
Wednesday, December 04, 2002

I think the previous poster hit the nail on the head. Adapt accordingly.

If you work at a university and are expected to spent a lot of time interfacing with non technical types, then so be it.

If you work at a for-profit corporation and your job is to build software the directly or indirectly adds to the company's bottom line then it is your responsibility to ensure that you have adequate time writing code. If that means unplugging the phone, closing the door and effectively ignoring people then that is what you do to accomplish what you are being paid to do.

If you work at an organization which expects you to crank out heaping amounts of code but also expects you to be readily available to any person that wants to speak with you at any time then you might consider finding a new job, for you will only experience endless frustration.

Mark Hoffman
Wednesday, December 04, 2002

In reply to "programmer":

I see three possibile 'fixes':

1. Say what I said in a nicer way
2. Don't say anything, but maintain my policy
3. Change the policy

You comment seems to question both my message and the policy.

My message was to the point. And perhaps I could have been more diplomatic. One option would certainly have been to pretend to go along with the recipient's wishes but carry on ignoring the telephone.

This is called 'feigning respect', and it goes against my personal ethics, but it is an option some people would certainly find advantageous.

On the other hand, there's the issue of my avoiding the telephone in the first place, my 'policy':

In previous roles where I've been responsible for managing teams, accessibility and communication weren't art of my job, they were my job. One of the things I used to do was get the rest of the organization to phone me instead of the programmers!

I also understand that there are environments, such as your University, where accessibility and communication are a big part of a programmer's job. That's just the way it is.

However, those environments are not condusive to writing lots of software. Ask Joel, ask Bill Gates, ask just about anyone in this industry: programmers get more _programming_ done when they aren't interrupted.

Programming isn't the only place where this is the cae: most time management gurus recommend ignoring the both the telephone and email for most of the day, returning messages during scheduled breaks.

This doesn't suggest that rogrammers (including myself) should not talk on the telephone, send emails, or use IM. But do these things have to be interruptive?

In summary, I certainly appreciate the feedback that I could find a better way to set expectations for my colleagues, however I believe very strongly that programmers do need to be unbothered during their thinking time.

http://www.braithwaite-lee.com/

Reginald Braithwaite-Lee
Wednesday, December 04, 2002

Well, I certainly understand that if your job is to produce code and only produce code, then it's wise to shut out anything that distracts you from that task. 

However, let me suggest this way of looking at your situation.  Your job is solving problems with software, not thinking.  Many things are involved in solving problems with software.  Uninterrupted thinking is part of this job, as are meetings, phone calls, memos, etc.

I would be very surprised if your suggestion that you must spend 80% of your time in uninterrupted thinking (forgive me if I am misquoting you) is an accurate characterization of your job.  I have never heard of a programmer who had this luxury -- maybe I just don't know enough programmers.

programmer
Wednesday, December 04, 2002

"Programmer":

Thanks for the thoughtful comment!

Looking back over my own follow-up, I see that I misspelled 'programmers' as 'rogrammers': a fredudian slip?

Rogueishly yours,

Reginald

http://www.braithwaite-lee.com

Reginald Braithwaite-Lee
Wednesday, December 04, 2002

I spend one day in 10 in meetings, and 5 hours once per week in specification briefings.  The rest of my 40 hour week is coding, as much as possible.  That's roughly 77.5% coding time.  It does happen.

Tom (a programmer)
Wednesday, December 04, 2002

"And in the process, it confirms that many unfortunate stereotypes of computer people as socially inept nerds are, in some cases, on target."

After reading the email, I was left with the impression that Reginald is a tall, strong, fashionably dressed bald black man who has the unusual combination of professionalism, competance and ability to communicate that is not often seen in one developer.

"If you were to send such a message where I work (a university where accessibility and ability to work with non-technical staff is prized) you would have taken the first step toward getting fired."

Wow! Glad I don't work there! Seriously sounds like you got some uptight people there. I don't know how it is there but in these parts at universities there is a value system where people are considered to be doing demanding intelluctual tasks and should only be disturbed when it has been specifically scheduled -- that's why there are office hours and not random drop in when you feel like it hours.

X. J. Scott
Wednesday, December 04, 2002

Programmer,

Ever read the book "peopleware" ?

If not, I suggest you do it. Very interesting book.

BTW, at Microsoft and Borland, the DND policy is in effect (or at least was when I was there) and phone was almost never used (except for managers).

Robert Chevallier
Wednesday, December 04, 2002

Quoting XJ: 

"I don't know how it is there but in these parts at universities there is a value system where people are considered to be doing demanding intelluctual tasks and should only be disturbed when it has been specifically scheduled -- that's why there are office hours and not random drop in when you feel like it hours."

Unfortunately, X.J., at my university we don't deal only with problems that can be corralled into a few office hours a week, or scheduled meetings.  We are expected to be available -- and "don't disturb me, I'm thinking ... solving demanding intellectual tasks," would come across as laughably prima-donna-ish.  I'm sure some people would hate working here, but I like it.  The hiring process focuses on weeding out the people who can't deal with -- or would prefer not to deal with -- situations that you apparently would regard as a disruption.

programmer
Wednesday, December 04, 2002

The email is really way too long.

Something like the following should be sufficient (if the recipients are reasonable).

"The problem with phone calls is that they are an interruption. Email is better because I can control when I look at it and not break my concentration when doing other work. Since there is alot of stuff I'm involved in, email makes it easier to satisfy your requests, as well as everybody else's, in a limited amount of time. Another big advantage of email is that both parties can keep documentation about the request and avoid later confusion about what was requested."

A big problem is that people use the phone because they are plain lazy and it's easier for them. Phone calls are also frequently used to coopt your focus. People making requests never seem to realize that other people are making requests at the same time (i.e. what they want is not the only thing on your desk).

Exactly how to change people's behavior in a way that won't piss them off is hard (even when people are clearly abusing the phone).

You know something is wrong when you transcribe stuff off a phone call to enter into a program (e.g. test cases).

Anything that is a commitment should be in writing (i.e. an email).

Even in a place where "accessibilty is prized", people can, and should often prefer, email. Pointing this out (and the reason behind it), is useful.

njkayaker
Wednesday, December 04, 2002

Sometimes the problems discussed on this board seem like the same ones that have been around forever.

The study done for the Santa Teresa lab found that developers spend 30% of their time working alone on tasks that require concentration, 50% in small group meetings and the rest in large groups and other activities.  In my experience the percentage working alone is quite a bit higher than 30%.

Software development in general is going to require both types of activities.  The problem many of us face is that the work facilities for developers seldom provide for the quiet individual work efforts.  It doesn't matter if it is only a small percentage of total time, it has to get done.  That is when the code or the design spec is getting written.

The Santa Teresa report was written over 25 years ago.  Perhaps Microsoft and a few other companies, like Fog Creek, have learned the lesson of the kind of environment needed for software development, but for the most part the report has been ignored and people keep complaining.

mackinac
Wednesday, December 04, 2002

"Unfortunately, X.J., at my university we don't deal only with problems that can be corralled into a few office hours a week, or scheduled meetings. "

What kind of work do you do for the university? Sounds like you are doing tech support or IT work. If you are developing software and are constantly running around putting fires out then I'd suggest that your environment or culture could use some productivity tweaking.

It's been said by countless others, but if you are a software developer and are constantly being interrupted, or having to run around and solve other problems all day then chances are you aren't being very productive. (Or you're a manager! <g>)

Mark Hoffman
Wednesday, December 04, 2002

We develop, and maintain, administrative applications that run on a mainframe.  Some of it has a web front-end; other applications are accessed through old-fashioned terminal screens.  We run around putting out fires because there are probably millions of lines of this code, much of it from the eighties and early nineties.

I am certainly not denying the desirability of peace and quiet -- I have been known to sneak away to conference rooms when I really need to concentrate.  But just coming out and saying, "Please leave me alone while I do my demanding intellectual work" would not fly.

I don't think e-mail is always an acceptable substitute for a phone call -- sometimes you just need a quick answer, and waiting for people to reply to an e-mail can take forever.

programmer
Wednesday, December 04, 2002

Programmer,

"sometimes I just want a quick answer to a question, and waiting on other people to reply to an e-mail can take forever."

This is a "me first" attitude.  You sound like you don't care at all that you may be interrupting a train of thought that may have taken quite a while to develop.  That's not reasonable of you.

If there's a fire in the building, you should shout out.  Otherwise, how much is REALLY so important that you you must interrupt another to get your quick question answered?

We have a saying here where I work: "lack of prior planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part."

Karl Perry
Wednesday, December 04, 2002

Karl, at least quote me accurately when you're shooting down my point.

You quote me as saying,

"sometimes I just want a quick answer to a question, and waiting on other people to reply to an e-mail can take forever."

When in fact I said,

"I don't think e-mail is always an acceptable substitute for a phone call -- sometimes you just need a quick answer, and waiting for people to reply to an e-mail can take forever."

See, I said "you" -- that is, I am speaking generally about how people work.  In the context of this discussion, my attitude is more appropriately described as a "client-first" attitude, because we're talking about clients getting in touch with programmers.  In my work environment, problems come up that need to be solved, NOW, and it  makes sense to be available for these situations.

Sometimes urgent situations come up that aren't the result of anyone's lack of planning.

If you never encounter urgent situations in your workplace, good for you.

programmer
Wednesday, December 04, 2002

"In my work environment, problems come up that need to be solved, NOW, and it  makes sense to be available for these situations."

Excuse me, but that's not programming.

Leonardo Herrera
Wednesday, December 04, 2002

No one is likely saying that only email is acceptable. Sometimes, a conversation (by phone or face-to-face) is the only way to arrive at a conclusion.

Usually (in my experience), many more things can be done via email that are commonly done via phone and people use the phone because it is easier for them (and them alone).

It is pretty rare (at least in my experience), that something really needs to be answered immediately.

At times, being responsive and being able to provide an answer immediately is useful. People, though, need to be selective when using such a channel. Instead, due to the "uglier" side of human nature and habit, people use this channel all the time (and it's that fact that the original poster was trying to deal with).

If you are "owned" by a particular person (or a "help desk" person), it might be a requirement of the job that you deal with whatever somebody needs immdiately. If you are a shared resource as well as having to do concentrated development, you have to have some control over prioritizing tasks (which is hard to do when requests are made mostly via the phone but relatively easier using email).

njkayaker
Wednesday, December 04, 2002

Leonardo:

"Excuse me, but that's not programming."

If the problem involves writing and/or maintaining software, I'm not sure what it could be other than programming.  What would you propose that we call it?

programmer
Wednesday, December 04, 2002

Writing software and maintaining software are two very different animals. The former is the only thing most people include under the term "programming". The latter is tech support, or your favorite synonym/euphemism. A job that requires you to do both will inevitably cause headaches, because the requirements to do each task well directly conflict with each other.

Martha
Wednesday, December 04, 2002

If it was common practice for people to respond to e-mail messages within a reasonable length of time, then it wouldn't be necessary (in most cases) to pester them with phone calls.

However, a substantial number of people never reply to their e-mails, and never return voice-mail messages.  With such people, you are forced to keep calling them until they actually pick up the phone.

.
Wednesday, December 04, 2002

[Developers aren't here to keep seats warm, they're around to write code. ]


A CEO also has a job yet still finds time to answer the phone. Oh wait they have secretaries! DAMN THEM!

Ian Stallings
Wednesday, December 04, 2002

Martha,

When I wrote of maintaining software, I mean things like fixing bugs, adding small features that were not needed when the program was written a decade ago, rooting around in code for the source of various problems that come up day-to-day ("why is everyone's paycheck off by twelve cents?").  That sort of thing.  We write most of our own software, so we also have to maintain it.

I don't think this sort of work can fairly be called "tech support." It requires all the knowledge -- often MORE knowledge -- than went into writing the program in the first place.

programmer
Wednesday, December 04, 2002

Programmer,
                    One of the most famous statements in database programming is "It's only an application; it not intended to do everything."

                      It was made to a US Navy Admiral by the head of a development team, when faced with another demand for application creep.

                      For some reason universities seem to get these kind of behemoths. Our college has just wasted a large amount of money on a database application that is supposed to do everything, and in fact does everything wrong. Why on earth we need to have degree plans on the same database as student attendances is beyond me. Having the scheduling and attendances and marks on the same database would seem to be a good idea, but I reckon the added complexity brings more headaches than it solves.

Stephen Jones
Thursday, December 05, 2002

Programmer, do you know why your university has an environment that requires you to: "run around putting out fires because there are probably millions of lines of this code, much of it from the eighties and early nineties?"

It's because nothing was ever designed properly, and your university has never understood how to develop good software or to hire or create the environment for error-free, productive software.


Thursday, December 05, 2002

Programmer,

I don't understand something. Can you give us an example why an answer to a request cannot wait a couple of hours when you job is to do maintenance work.

Maintenance in my opinion doesn't require quick feedback and urgent needs. It's another phase of the life cycle, and should be like initial development carefully planned.

But if your job's is (also) tech support, then I understand.

If you job is maintaining an apps, I don't.

Just curious

Robert Chevallier
Thursday, December 05, 2002

"It's because nothing was ever designed properly, and your university has never understood how to develop good software or to hire or create the environment for error-free, productive software. "

And this planet exists, where? Are you guys for real? Do you have jobs? Even Joel Splosky released a server app that seemed to implode immediately and was down for days. They may or may not have had the phone ringing, but I'm pretty sure regular development was interrupted and everyone had to concentrate on fixing that particular system.

At a university, you have "summer" to implement a huge bolus of features. You have zero time to test all features thoroughly. Thus, when students start registering mid-august, and bugs are discovered, you (the developer/maintainer/sysadmin) will start getting phone calls. 

get real.
Thursday, December 05, 2002

Stephen --

We do store a lot of different information on a "behemoth" database.  I don't know enough about the alternatives to second-guess that decision.  We've been doing it for years, and it works for us.  You might not like doing the work that we programmers do here, but it's our job.

I do know, however, that by writing our own applications, we can tailor our software exactly to our needs, thus avoiding situations where we have to change our business processes due to the limitations of lousy software (such as the PeopleSoft fiasco described in the following article):

http://chronicle.com/free/2002/12/2002120501t.htm

Rarely do we use software from outside vendors.  At conferences, when we show people from other universities what we have done, the response is usually, "WOW!"  At a recent conference, I heard constant griping about the problems other universities were having with the software they bought -- from big, prominent software companies.  We don't really have those problems.

So, in short, don't be so quick to criticize how we do things.  It works for us.

To Robert and the poster before him --

I am not saying that most requests can't wait a couple of hours -- but there are situations where it's simply best to be available by phone.  In some cases your unavailability may be preventing several people from doing their job.  It's the expectation here that as a programmer, you should be flexible and available.  Sending out a message like the one that started this discussion would be frowned upon.

It may be that in private industry, where many people on this board seem to work, you don't experience the sorts of demands we face.  That doesn't mean your way of doing things is the right way, and ours is wrong.  You just work in a different environment, with different business processes and therefore different expectations of you as programmers.

(Incidentally, we DO conduct most communications by e-mail, but I am simply defending the view that one should be accessible by phone, and not resent it as an intrusion upon your precious peace and quiet.)

programmer
Thursday, December 05, 2002

"Why on earth we need to have degree plans on the same database as student attendances is beyond me. Having the scheduling and attendances and marks on the same database would seem to be a good idea, but I reckon the added complexity brings more headaches than it solves. "

Most enterprise programming deals with encoding the particular rules of an organizational system into software. With any human organization, the number of rules are arbitrarily complicated, change relatively frequently, and increase over time. This is the same with any sort of huge system (credit card company, airline reservations, health care). Indeed it might be cleaner to have a number of separate databases passing messages to each other, but that opinion seems to cycle every 8 years. In the 70s you had huge mainframes, where everything was in one database. Then in the 80s, client/ server, where clients could talk to different servers, then in the 90s, everything went back into one big database (database backed web site) then in the 2002+, you get "web services" where we are doing client/server aggregation again. The amount of complexity never really seems to be reduced, so nearly everyone's opinion on what constitutes the optimal design could be considered valid. Whether you have one giant database, or a bunch of small databases talking to each other, in neither case do you really simplify the problem.

programmeur
Thursday, December 05, 2002

Dear Programmer,
                            I am not juimping to any conclusion; merely making a suggestion.

                              You kept saying that  you need to be in contact with your users all the time because things aren't working properly, and now you're saying everything is ust fine and dandy.

Dear Programmeur,
                              An informative reply. Sounds about right; we do it one way, get it wrong, and so do the opposite way next time, and keep going from one idea to the other, thus keeping the vendors happy.

                              I still think the probem is in the whole approach of trying to capture a company's business model in one application, whatever it's external design. It just creates too many dependencies.

Stephen Jones
Friday, December 06, 2002

Reginald --

I checked out your web page -- very interesting stuff!  I found your writings to be as interesting as Joel's.

Perhaps our different opinions about phone etiquette are matters of personality -- I believe you said your Meyers-Briggs personality type was ENTJ?  Mine is INFP.

Everyone, check out Reginald's page if you get a chance.  I enjoyed his essays.

http://www.braithwaite-lee.com/

programmer
Friday, December 06, 2002

Thanks, it's a great website to look at.  (And JProbe's heap tool was exceptionally useful the one time I used it.)

At my job, they actually once had a phone on each island of 4 desks.  When it rang, one codemonkey would answer and give it to the intended target.  Now we each have our phone, and whenever I put on headphones to drown out, people helpfully shout at me that my phone is ringing.

This is the team that develops net apps, but doesn't grok icq or email.  They even used to walk up STAIRS to ask me questions that took me 10 secs to answer.

What many responders don't understand is that some cultures are so inborn with the idea that phone=good that you must extinguish peoples' phone instincts before you're the next zombie.

Anyway, I could just continue my rant, with increasingly worse stories.  That would be a nice workout.

Tj
Saturday, December 07, 2002

What i want is Money.....

Those little green bucks

Duncan Ondigo
Friday, April 02, 2004

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