An Honest Day's Work

My Not-So-Smart Phone


It’s a little frustrating when I think of an anecdote I wish I had remembered when I was writing, “An Honest Day’s Work.” It happens from time to time.

It happened today, and although I can’t go back and put it in the book, I can recall the incident here. Consider it a bonus track.

I was VP of Communications at Standard & Poor’s during the darkest days of the financial crisis. Every day brought an onslaught of hostile media calls and all the stress that accompanies them.

One day, I received an email from IT informing me that I was eligible for a new cell phone. When it arrived, I shut my office door and gave myself the quiet time to set up the new phone and learn its tricks. I listened to all the ring tones, and discovered I could set different tones to ring when different people called – my wife or my boss.

After that, I started flipping through screens and looking at other features, but before long, the landline started chirping and I put the cell phone aside.

A while later, a colleague called me on my cell phone. We discussed whatever it was she was calling about and as we were about to end the call, she asked, “By the way, do you know that your phone plays music to me instead of the normal ring buzz tone?”

No, I admitted, I did not know that. We disconnected and I reached for the user manual that came with the phone. Evidently, the phone had a feature that allows the owner to select a song callers would hear when they dialed my number, just as had happened to my colleague. I followed the many little steps to get to the feature – yup, it was “on.”

What song would the hostile reporters hear when they called me? I picked up my desk phone and called my cell phone. Immediately came a most soulful (and doleful) trombone rendition of “Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen.”

Thanks for nothing, Verizon.

Categories: An Honest Day's Work

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