Pet Peeve #16

Posted 2009.09.03 15.57 in Pointless Blather by Stephanie

Getting a voicemail like this: Hello, this is XXXXX, I have some questions about YYYYY please get back to me.

Or getting an email like this: Hello Stephanie, I have some questions about YYYYY please let me know when would be a good time to discuss. Sincerely, XXXXX

Do you see the problem with both of those scenarios? Incase anyone reading this is one of the people who do this, let me tell you the problem.

If you have questions, ask them! Don’t just tell me that you have a question, tell me what the question is!

In either of the scenarios I described above, the person has just wasted some of both of our time. Now I have to write them back or look up their number and call them back, just to I can ask what the hell they wanted to ask me in the first place. Why do people do this? Is it a control thing?

So if I email them back, now I have to wait for their next email to tell me what the question was. If I call, maybe I get their voicemail and now I have to leave them a message asking them to ask me what they wanted to ask me in the first place.

Sometimes I work odd hours, sometimes I work late at night. If they just asked what they wanted in the first place, they’d have answers as soon as I got the question. Instead, the whole exchange gets dragged out and time gets wasted, nerves get stretched thin, teeth get ground down, you get the picture.

Ok I know some people are going to say they don’t like talking to a machine, that’s why they just say to call them back. That’s fair – I hate talking to machines too. In fact I hate talking to my own machine, which is why my outbound message specifically does not say to leave a message. It says to call my cell, or email me. Nobody listens to it. They just leave messages that I confess, take a long time to get listened to.

And granted, some people are slow typists, or just don’t like to write much, so they only use short emails to get the point across. That’s fair too. But in either case, if you can say ‘i have a question’ you can at least give me a frigging hint! I mean, that way when I do respond at least I have a chance of being prepared and can maybe answer the question immediately. Otherwise, if there’s no hint at all, I’m going into it cold and now there’s a good possibility (depending on the complexity of the question) that we’ll need yet another email or telephone exchange once I’ve figured out what the answer is.


If you have a question, ask it. It’s a crazy far-out idea I know, but trust me, it works. And it works better than the alternatives!

End of rant.

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