My Corporate Ladder is Missing a Rung

All day long, I listen through my cubicle wall, eavesdropping on phone conversations. I sit, mouth agape, refusing to believe this is actually how business is done. To have a successful career, do you really need to yak and yaw with someone eight states away about the weather? About what you’re going to have for dinner? That is, if your lazy, good for nothin’ wife/husband/butler actually has something prepared. During this time, when the drool is slowly forming on the corner of my mouth, I could probably be having my own conversations. Something long-winded in detail about a local sports team and their inability to be successful at their specific athletic endeavor. But instead, when I receive a call, I’m to the point, brief. It’s bing, bang, boom, this discussion is over. This, I believe, is how it should be. To further explain why I’m not on board, here’s an example of a conversation I had this afternoon:

Matthew: Personal Lines Underwriting, this is Matthew.

Guy: Hey there, Matt. This is Guy LaFleur up in Albany, how’s it going down there??!

Matthew: Just fine, sir. How may I help?

Guy: Only fine? You still bummed out over the Bucks?

Matthew: The Bucks? Uh, Starbucks?

Guy: Haha, no no. The Buckeyes! They got stomped this weekend, man!

Matthew: Oh, that’s right. Football. They did get beat. Did you have a questi….

Guy: ….Yeah, with them and the Bungles, you guys must be losing sleep. How are you even awake right now?

Matthew: Oh, I don’t really watch football.

Guy: WHAT?!?!? I thought you guys who dey’d till you passed out in the Nasti?

Matthew: I mostly stay away from people in orange and black. Can I help you with something insurance relat…

Guy: ….Well, you’re missing out there, Buddy. Me and your pal Steve over there talk about Ocho Cinco all day long!!

Matthew: ……

Guy: …..

Matthew: Yeah…..what was your question again?

Guy: So how ’bout that weather? Crazy, huh?


The times when I get someone on the phone that wants exactly what I want — the shortest conversation possible — are few and far between, and incredibly appreciated. I’m thinking about answering the phone like this: “Personal Lines Underwriting, I don’t watch football, I don’t think the weather is out to get us, and I don’t care if traffic is bad in Poughkeepsie, this is Matthew. Seriously, how can I help you?


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