Answering the phone, a classic rookie mistake


I had taken yesterday off from work just to take a breather, but I stopped by the office in the morning to pick up my bicycle helmet. (How I managed to leave my bicycle helmet at the office is not important.) My office telephone rang and I answered it.

As my colleague Ken described it later, "Ah, classic rookie mistake."

The call was from an emergency meeting in another group. They called to put me on the hook for a problem with Windows Vista Setup because they believed that my group was responsible, being among those that recently RI'd. I ended up staying until 4pm, then resuming the investigation at home for another few hours until the problem was identified. (The problem was introduced by another group, but they want my group to change its code to work around the problem.)

Now I need to take a day off from my day off.

Comments (17)
  1. Antonio Vargas says:

    So… is your group going to assume the mistake of the other group? (cf. the dicussion about not giving an advantage to the programs that behave incorrectly over those that do their work OK ;)

  2. mqpasta says:

    Sir, can we know that which type of prblm was?

  3. Tom Murray says:

    In England, this is also known as a "schoolboy error".

  4. That’s what caller id is for. :)

  5. Sarah says:

    I was also taking the day off and anticipated just this sort of thing happening if I stepped foot in the office. Instead I sat in my car out in the parking lot doing mail for 25 minutes after dropping my husband off for work…

  6. bramster says:

    Ah, yes, bicycle helmets.

    Halfway to the airport, realized forgotten helmet. Go home for helmet. Get stuck in traffic on the return trip (behind a portable classroom being moved). Take off a couple of hours behind schedule. Forced to turn around by bad weather in Pennsylvania. Headed west a couple of days later, landed in the fuzz in Galion, Ohio. We never did make it to Oshkosh for the fly-in. But, Kennebunkport was nice, back in 2001.

    Now, I keep bicycle helmets in several places.

  7. slapout says:

    That’s why you never go by work on your off day (and if you do, wear clothes that don’t meet dress code so they can’t force you to stay).

    And the mistake I made — never give your boss your cell phone number.

  8. Matt Ellis says:

    Raymond, any chance you’ll let us know what part of Vista you’re working on? I’ve always assumed you worked on the shell, is that so?

    Cheers

    Matt

  9. Claw says:

    That’s why you never go by work on your off

    > day (and if you do, wear clothes that don’t

    > meet dress code so they can’t force you to

    > stay).

    There is no dress code at Microsoft (though for some reason, Raymond is always the only one that ever comes in tie — see http://blogs.msdn.com/oldnewthing/archive/2003/09/11/54888.aspx).

  10. joe says:

    I have found that as I get older (and presumably wiser) that rarely is a the phone call coming from someone I want to talk to or about something I need to talk about.

    My experience from the last 10 years has all been in enterprise class companies. It seems that as you move up the ladder within these orgs the chances grow infinitely smaller that it is a friend calling to chat versus someone who wants you to fix their problem and almost never is it someone calling to fix one of your problems.

    My solution. I rarely, if ever, answer the phone anymore. Going so far as to turn off the ringer at home (phone spam) and not publishing my work number in the easy to reach part of the GAL but in a place that requires the person to go through the tabs. This seems to really slow it down because that has now become too much work and they find some other sucker to get on the hook to solve their problems.

    I actually have a blog in draft over this as some friends like to chew me out about not answering the phone. ;o)

  11. JenK says:

    Claw – Raymond is the only one in the product groups who usually shows up in a tie.

    Sales, legal staff, executives, and so on frequently dress like whoever they’re dealing with.

  12. Cooney says:

    joe:

    > My solution. I rarely, if ever, answer the phone anymore.

    Sounds like you need two phone numbers. Ideally connected to the same phone. I think I could do this with vonage magic, but it’d be nice to have it predone.

  13. Norman Diamond says:

    Wednesday, October 19, 2005 9:21 PM by Cooney

    joe:

    >> My solution. I rarely, if ever, answer the

    >> phone anymore.

    >

    > Sounds like you need two phone numbers.

    > Ideally connected to the same phone.

    > I think I could do this with vonage magic,

    I have that with Yahoo, but how would that accomplish what you’re looking for? Caller ID can show who is calling (or can show if the caller blocked their ID from you), but that feature doesn’t distinguish whether the call came in over the voice line or data line. (Well I suppose it could: if the modem or if Yahoo’s own equipment didn’t forward caller ID information then the phone wouldn’t show it for calls coming in over the data line.) Without caller ID, there’s still no real way to know if the incoming call is coming in over the voice line or data line.

    The caller knows. If you dial from a voice line to a number starting with 050 then you know it’s going over the internet. If you dial from a Yahoo line to another Yahoo line (either the real number or the 050 number) then you get six beeps instead of three and you know the call will be free. But still the recipient doesn’t know.

  14. Stephen Jones says:

    If you don’t have anybody else in the office leave the speaker phone on, and don’t answer the phone until the caller starts to leave a message on the answering machine.

  15. Cooney says:

    but how would that accomplish what you’re looking for?

    Turn off the ringer for the business number.

    > Caller ID can show who is calling (or can show if the caller blocked their ID from you), but that feature doesn’t distinguish whether the call came in over the voice line or data line.

    This has nothing to do with caller ID. It assumes that you know what number is being called.

  16. Norman Diamond says:

    Thursday, October 20, 2005 5:39 PM by Cooney

    >> but how would that accomplish what you’re

    >> looking for?

    >

    > Turn off the ringer for the business number.

    My ringer isn’t that smart. Besides, the phone doesn’t even know which number was called. The modem knows, but the modem only tells the phone that it’s delivering a voice call.

    > This has nothing to do with caller ID. It

    > assumes that you know what number is being

    > called.

    Ahah, OK. The modem forwards voice connections directly but translates IP connections into voice signals for the phone. Even though the phone doesn’t know which route the call took, the modem does. I think one of the LEDs in the modem says whether the VoIP functionality is temporarily off.

    But that still wouldn’t work. If the caller also has Yahoo then no matter which of my numbers they dial, Yahoo will route the call over Yahoo’s IP connections, the call will be free, and my modem will still be doing IP to voice conversion. It doesn’t matter if the caller is business or personal.

    Besides, if I call someone and if they have caller ID, then they learn my Yahoo phone number and they can dial it in the future, even if they’re a business contact.

    And on the other hand, if a call comes in from overseas, it’s going to be on the voice line even if it’s a personal contact.

  17. Kelli Zielinski says:

    Also taking Monday off, I ignored anything to do with work and stayed at least 10 miles from Redmond at all times, which seemed to work quite nicely.

    After Thursday, I stopped answering it all together when I got a telemarketing call at work…

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