Tuesday, February 03, 2009

I Don't Have Time For This (Open Letters to Anonymous People)

I'd like to think I know who most of my readers are. I'm 100% positive that none of the people below read my blog.

To A Person:

To use an analogy -- You cannot call me today and say that you want to change the flooring material from granite to Red Chilean Bamboo and still expect to get the custom kitchen installation done next week.

To Another Person:

Computers often have this problem called a "buffer-overrun." This is where you throw more information at it than it can handle. Unexpected things happen... it might shut-down entirely, it might do something completely irrational and illogical (like digitally vomit) or it might throw up protective shields and start ignoring you to protect itself. When you send me six emails before 11 am, there's a good chance I'm going to set them aside to deal with later. Could be days, could be weeks. Your impatience is causing your own delays.

To Another Person:

If you ask me if I read your last email, I'm going to assume it was the one you sent at noon. Not the one you sent at 11:41 am. Or even the one you sent at 11:45 am.

To Another Person:

To use another analogy -- If you're going to drive from your house to my house and that takes an hour, and then it will take me another hour in this traffic to drive from my house to the party, but you only left your house 90 minutes before the party started, even though you haven't yet arrived at my house, we are going to be late. I can't drive really fast and make up the time. If it's someone else's fault that you left late, then you shouldn't be the one asking me if there's anything I can do, they should. But in either case, the answer's still the same. No.

Finally, an Observation:

When I have voicemail, it's indicated by a red light on the phone and a second flashing light a few inches away on the phone. (Seems redundant and the blinking produces anxiety so sometimes I put a post-it note over the whole thing.)  That indicator could indicate one voicemail, it could indicate 1,000 voicemails. This to me represents the potential of a "buffer overrun" an unknown factor that I may not want to stop everything to find out the answer to. (Not to mention it's Nortel Callpilot, the worst voicemail system I've ever encountered.) (Not to mention that people - myself included - are generally bad at leaving messages.) So, I'm going to handle what I can see first (email) and then check my voicemail, typically as I'm closing things down at the end of the day. When you hear my voicemail and it says you're going to get a much faster response from me if you email, it's totally true. I've set your expectation before you begin speaking. You agree to my terms when you begin speaking. Hopefully, my boss who regularly reads this won't comment saying I need to check my voicemail more often.
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