Thursday, August 13, 2009

Ring In the Old

Just when I'd almost forgotten I work in state government, a reminder dropped into my lap in the form of some righteous blog fodd - er, I mean, in the form of this handy booklet, published during (I'd estimate) the Kennedy administration to train state employees how to comport themselves on that newfangled phone thingummy.

The kicker is that WE STILL USE THIS BOOKLET. I shit you not, it's still distributed to employees who have extensive telephone dealings with the public, apparently on the idea that the guy in the picture above is exactly what you hope people are imagining when they're on the phone with you.

Check out that phone - that is one high-tech piece of desk candy, n'est-ce pas?

Some things haven't changed much since the Kennedy administration, apparently - I swear I've worked with this guy.

And they were some sick little bastards back then too, weren't they? This is a truly disturbing image. The page goes on to tell you what not to say when answering a coworker's or boss' phone (remember that voicemail will not be invented for a few decades yet): he's hasn't come in, he left early, he's on break, I don't know where he is. Or "He was last seen going into the men's room with a newspaper tucked under his arm 45 minutes ago, and if he hasn't come out in twenty more minutes, I'm sending in a HAZMAT team."

Or "He preferred a violent, untimely death to the prospect of conversation with you."

Well, this is still valid advice, I suppose. Have writing materials. On your desk. Where you work.

I don't know, based on Mr. Question Mark's paper cutouts and the fact that this guy can take notes in the accumulated dust on his desk, something tells me the agency that published this booklet didn't have the highest expectations of its employees' productivity. Just a thought.

UR DOIN IT RONG!!!1!11!!!

Einstein? Seriously?? Given the rest of this booklet, though, I kind of think they're being sarcastic. The other guy looks kind of cool.

Um, because I've become convinced that I'm a frog and hopped onto a levitating lily pad, which just happens to pass right outside my caller's window?

The caller has no one but himself to blame; clearly it's after hours.

I keep in pretty close touch with Paoonel Heisii, myself.

Yes. These are detailed, step-by-step instructions on how to talk on the phone. I guess the agency was afraid the more subtle insults contained earlier in the booklet might be missed on its employees, so in one last desperate attempt, decided to make everything perfectly clear on the last page. "Our employees are such morons they don't even know which way to hold the phone," they are saying. "For God's sake. Are you paying attention to what we're saying here? This is the public you're talking to here. They can HEAR you."

Act your extension, not your IQ.

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