This evening someone wrote to me, and asked for my phone number. I think they wanted to convey some information without leaving a trail, and of course this is understandable.
But from time to time people do this. They write an email, and then I get a request to talk by telephone. It is never welcome, really. What do I have to say to anyone?
It makes me feel quite awkward, when I decline (as, almost invariably, I do). It seems that some people are more comfortable with the telephone than with typing. But I really don’t want to talk to people I don’t know by telephone. Am I alone in so feeling? Am I alone among bloggers in getting these requests, I wonder?
At the moment, indeed, I have a cold virus that makes me cough like a man with TB when I speak. Indeed, judging from the sounds in the supermarket this afternoon, most of my local area has the same cold. So I have a just excuse to put people off. Miserable git, no doubt you’re all thinking.
All this reminds me of an episode in a job that I did a couple of years ago. At the time I was working for a major pharmaceutical company, and I had been recruited a couple of years earlier by a very pleasant chap whom I respected greatly. But he had a near-supernatural talent for recruiting the wrong people. He had since moved to another project, where he had recruited two utterly unsuitable people as his development team.
The first of these was travelling long-distance to the job. He was also an albino, and was suffering from the illnesses associated with that condition. This, combined with the tiredness, meant that he hardly spoke to anyone. He resigned; and my old boss looked for someone to replace him, which was where I came in. Of course I was glad to help, and I went and sat at the desk in question.
Sitting next to me was the other team member. I leaned over and cheerily said “good morning”. Rather to my surprise I got back a scowl and a “don’t talk to me; send me an instant message on your PC”. That was a shock!
In fact, he thawed over time, as he discovered that I was inoffensive and no threat to him. We got on well, and I’m still more or less in touch with him. But he remained very quiet and reluctant to say much.
In the end he fell out with my boss, and announced that he was going to go to California, and cruise the beaches in order to “pick up surfer chicks”. And off he went.
As he was short, balding and inarticulate, I gave him zero out of ten marks for probability. But I gave him ten out of ten for ambition!