Cee tells us this week’s set of questions were inspired by Having an Introvert Day, which sounds like a perfect plan to me. I really enjoyed that post, it’s about time us introverts stood up and got noticed (if only we weren’t so – well – introverted….)
Without further ado – on to the questions:
Do you recharge your energy by going out with friends for a good time or by spending with quiet time alone?
I absolutely prefer to recharge by spending quiet time – but not exactly alone. An outsider might observe that in the Baskerville Beastie pecking order, I’m pretty much at the bottom of the list, having to make sure the needs of every furry or finned critter in the house have been met before I get to settle down to do my own thing. It’s just as well that I consider looking after my menagerie as doing my own thing.
What is the most number of blankets you’ve ever had on your bed?
You are invited to a party that will be attended by many fascinating people you never met. Would you attend this party if you were to go by yourself?
This entirely depends on what type of fascinating the people at the party would be. Guaranteed to be fascinating? Yes. Perceived to be fascinating? No.
Do you like talking to people on the phone? Or do you prefer voice mail or email?
I don’t like talking to people on the phone at all. For incoming calls, you really can’t know who might be at the other end – never forget Ghostface’s modus operandi in Scream.
On the first day of my first full-time job, I was assigned to an eight-line switchboard with 24 extensions. I thought I was Lt Uhuru from Star Trek – I loved it. Because not everybody had a phone back then, most callers were uncertain enough about making calls to remain polite and reasonable. When we finally got a phone installed at home, I was thrilled. Until the first time my parents went on holiday and left me home alone. Some local yokel decided it was fun to inflict a series of very scary prank calls which I did not appreciate. When I was about seventeen, my employer’s phone number was almost exactly the same as The Samaritans – to this day I admire the volunteers who are ready to pick up the phone and listen to the worst kind of pain and sorrow, but I really and truly was not equipped to deal with it.
But life goes on and if you want to work in an office, you generally don’t get away without taking at least one phone call through the day. Some years ago I worked in an English language school, and was driven quite mad by potential students who would have carefully worked out their question about the course from Google translate or a phrase book, and never realise that if you ask a question, the most likely response you will get is another question, that you are not equipped to answer. There is no room within a phone call for the expressions, gestures and sometimes little sketches that get you through a conversation with somebody who does not speak your language. At least I could include a diagram in an email.
I also spent some time working online support and figured out very quickly that people on the phone only pick up about a tenth of the information you give them. Callers seeking technical support can be so worried about what they can’t achieve because XYZ service is not working that they can’t take in the instructions they need to make it work. There was a classic call where the voice on the other end rained vituperations and curses upon me, my employer and all our works for several minutes because of the suffering caused by this terrible online service he was subjected to, only ceasing when I finally managed to tell him he wasn’t actually our client at all – if only he had looked before he dialled and yelled.
Calling people is also quite a pain, because, until your call interrupts whatever they are doing (and it could be something quite important that needs concentration) you have no idea whether they really want to hear from you at that moment. So voicemail doesn’t do too much for me either, unless I can respond by sending an email, or the caller specifies an exact time when it is appropriate to reply to them, and if they do, that the specified response time is miraculously something you can actually meet. Scrolling through endless spam voice mails to get to a message you really want to hear is a complete waste of time.
Finally, at the end of a working day, when I get home, the last thing I want to do is pick up a phone unless there is a very good reason (for example, to arrange to meet somebody I want to talk to). My family and friends know I will only answer calls from people in my contact list. If you haven’t made it into my contacts, don’t leave a message, send me a text.