Business Operations 101

Nine years later

shlepper shlepper
How many emails do you get? Think about it but I don't want to know. All I want to know is: when I write, will you answer? And when I call, will you call back?

I commiserate with Mike Newton about people we call who won't call us even when we use our cheerful voices. Mike and I used to sell merchant services and we were naive. Now, not calling back is normal. It's so contagious you think you better call someone in the health department. When you leave voice mail, sometimes what you get back is an email . . . and it's from their assistant. It's annoying but it's better than nothing.

It used to be people would call back. If they didn't want to talk, they'd call when you were at lunch. Then the whole thing was back on you. Which I now understand, when I finally do get you on the phone and how I know you know I've been calling, you tell me: "We're playing phone tag." Of course.

One night I was having dinner with two women at the Cheesecake Factory and I said to one, "Your computer is broken." Her eyebrows vanished and she said, "No, it isn't." I said, "It must be, your reply button doesn't work." As you can imagine, this didn't help the friendship. It was contagious; the other one started doing it too. You're thinking, "They're just not that into you" which might have been true but it wasn't; it was passive aggressive and I felt bad about it.

. . . So sad about all this technical failure what with texts flying south and emails sliding off the edge. Email: it's a shout! Someone wants to connect, bore, impose, take advantage, or ask for money. Really, you have that much? You're booked? Write anyway.

© December 26, 2011 Kitty Kaufman is a New Yorker who lives in Boston. The whole story is here. . .

CORPORATE EDGE: Business Operations

- - - We're business pros helping business pros work:

  • by the day/week in your office
  • space
  • errands
  • logistics
  • clutter
  • systems
  • moving
  • paper

CASE HISTORY: Goodwill on Comm Avenue in Allston near Boston University recycles home computer gear. I do it. It's Dell's Reconnect program for residential equipment. Drop off any brand at participating Goodwill stores. Goodwill takes monitors, scanners, mice, printers, keyboards, laptop batteries, ink and toner cartridges, hard drives, speakers, cords and cables. What they take


CASE HISTORY: One gig was a corporate makeover. We were called project managers. Departments were growing like mad and what had passed for organization when they were small no longer worked and they were smart enough to know it.

The president, the smartest man I know, had the corner office. There were piles of paper on the floor. The desk, as it turns out, was immaculate. I said, all the drawers and filing furniture must be full. We talked for a while and he told me he is a visual worker: he knows what to do next if he can see it.I got up and walked around to where he sat behind the desk. I apologized and opened a drawer. It was empty. Then another and another. Each drawer had nothing in it. The desk was empty.


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