Someone is in your office/cubicle. The phone rings. What do you do?

Does this ever happen to you? You’re standing in someone’s cubicle, discussing some work-related matter, when the phone rings. The person you’re talking with turns from you and answers the phone. Wow, what just happened here?

Now, I understand that there are circumstances where interrupting the person in front of you to answer a phone call are called for:

1. The phone call is from your wife/partner.
2. You are expecting an important phone call.
3. The phone call is from your boss.

Okay, I’m sure there are other good reasons for interrupting a live human being standing in front of you to answer the phone. But, and listen well, there are VERY FEW. It’s just plain rude. Now, I must be a throw back to the days when people gave a crap about other people’s feelings, and that I can’t help. But in my opinion, a person in front of you takes precedence over a phone call (in most circumstances, as I’ve said). Especially today when voice mail is so prevalent.

There are degrees to this too. The worst, in my opinion, is when someone walks into my office to ask for help, and we’re chatting along. Suddenly the person’s cell phone begins to ring. Equally suddenly, my help or advice for whatever situation they needed to discuss has been upstaged by whomever has called. Wow.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think any of these people mean to be rude. They’re not idiots, morons, goobers, goofballs, or in any other way mentaly impaired. They’re just rude. Actually, they’re ACTING rudely.

How long does it take to say, “Excuse me, I’m expecting a very important phone call. Just a sec.”???

In my experience, though, the person on the other end of the line is a friend or family member. I’m cool with chatting it up with friends and family every once in a while during business hours, but come on… I’m standing right here in front of you.

So, to sum up. If someone’s standing in your office/cubicle to discuss a work-related matter with you and the phone rings:

1. Check the caller ID. If it’s important, excuse yourself and take the call.
2. If the call can wait, give the person standing in front of you a little respect and deal with the person who called later.

And if I’m ever standing in your cubicle when phone rings and you answer it, I’m gone. I think that’s fair. And if you needed my help, I think something else just came up. I’ll get back to you when I can. Have you tried calling me?

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