[Computational Complexity] Losing the Office Phone
About a month ago I had the phone in my office removed. The number was one digit off from both maternity and a nurse's station at the U of C hospitals and if you Googled "Chicago Ballroom Dancing" my office phone number came up. About 90% of the phone calls were wrong numbers and I had gotten to the point of not answering the phone unless I recognized the Caller ID.
I could have had the number changed but I spend enough time outside the office (at TTI, other universities, working at home) that calling me at the office was not a reliable way to reach me. So I just eliminated the office phone and put my mobile number on my home page and in the university directory.
I don't rack up lots of minutes; we are primarily an email-based community and I get on average about one work related phone call a week. I made the change not because I want to use the phone less, rather to make myself more accessible. Our community relies on email too much, there are sometimes the old telephone still comes in handy.
- Calendar coordination.
- Convincing someone to do something. It's much harder to say "no" on the phone than on email.
- Sensitive information. Email leaves an electronic trail and one little typo in the email address can send your scathing comments who knows where.
- Some people like to use the phone for research. I prefer email because it forces you to think about what to write and you get a record of the discussion. But if there is a technical point you disagree on, a phone call can often quickly resolve the issue.
- Handling a disagreement, particularly when one or both sides are emotional over the issue. This situation is even better handled in person, if possible.
- Catching up. At the end of a phone call we often talk about other things going on in our lives. Happens far less in email.
Posted by Lance to Computational Complexity at 11/03/2005 06:57:00 AM