Did I miss the memo?

Qualcomm QCP-2700 phone

Has it really become acceptable etiquette for a professional to 1) leave his phone on during meetings and 2) answer it?  I only ask because since starting my job, I’ve been in four or five different training sessions, and in all but one, the presenter’s phone has rung, and in all but one of those instances, he’s answered it! (I should note that these are all different presenters; they just all happened to be male)

Keep in mind that these are professionals, conducting scheduled, prearranged training sessions.  This isn’t an informal, spontaneous meeting.  Also, none of these calls seemed to be urgent (they were all answered with something like, “Hello?….Uh-huh…..Hey, can I call you back?  I’m doing something right now.”).  If this is acceptable, I’d like to reserve the right to play Angry Birds or shop online during boring presentations.  As it is, I don’t, because I’d like to show a little respect for someone who’s supposedly teaching important things (also, sometimes because I’m sitting next to my boss).

Emily Post provides the following reflection on the use of cell phones in public:

How are my actions affecting others and how am I perceived? Both are important aspects of good etiquette. If you are perceived as being disrespectful it can be as damaging to a relationship as actually disrespecting someone.

We’ve all been guilty of accidentally leaving our phones on at the wrong time, but for goodness sake, when did it become a fire-breathing master that needs to be answered immediately, every time?  The correct response is to turn it off, not answer it and stage-whisper, “Hello?  I’m in church.  No, church!  Oh yes, it’s very pretty…well, there are some annoying children behind me…”

Answering your phone automatically tells whoever you’re with that they’re a lower priority than whoever’s on the phone.  Sometimes, that may be true, but as Ms. Post points out in the full text of the post above, it’s worthwhile to clarify any motivations or extenuating circumstances ahead of time.  Otherwise, business clients, God, and anyone else whose company you keep will be left  to form their own assumptions.  And then, heaven forbid, they may blog about it!

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Christmas Movie Countdown

From now, roughly until Christmas, I’m going to post some of my favorite Christmas movies. Some are old standards, some might be…unexpected. The first selection is the latter.

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What – you didn’t forget that Die Hard was a Christmas film, did you?  The reason all those people were still in the building to begin with was because of the Christmas party.  And come on, nothing says “spirit of Christmas” like a barefoot walk across broken glass.  Hmm…apparently this was Alan Rickman’s first feature film.  Glad he didn’t end up getting typecast forever!

Plus, this film includes a Christmas bonus for those of us who watched Friday night TV in the 90s: Carl Winslow, playing – you guessed it – a cop.  Okay, so there were no bold casting moves made in this film.  It’s worth watching anyway; just be sure to avoid the sequel, which shamelessly also takes place on Christmas.  Talk about implausible plot setups…

7 Quick Takes (the Better Late than Never edition)

— 1 —

I know that security questions like “mother’s maiden name” or “high school” aren’t very secure, but I have to say I prefer them to totally subjective ones. Yesterday, after 40 minutes on the phone trying to get our Internet working, plugging and unplugging every cord in the house, resetting and describing blinking lights to my new friend in India, the only thing standing between me and checking Facebook again was this: “Who is your favorite singer?” I must’ve groaned audibly, because the tech support guy said, “Don’t worry – you get two guesses before I have to lock you out of your account. I made one wrong guess, and he offered to give me the first letter of my answer. Luckily, that was enough.

Really, though, my answer could’ve been just about anything. Not to bring down the fairer sex or anything, but let’s face it: there are Alanis Morissette days and then there are Barry White days.

— 2 —

I’m notoriously bad at finishing novenas. I should probably be more ashamed of that, but it seems to be a pretty universal problem. A Facebook friend recently linked to Pray More Novenas, which allows you to sign up for daily email reminders for a variety of novenas. Simple concept, well-executed, and very helpful.

— 3 —

After letting my laundry pile up over the holiday weekend, I finally tackled it all the other day, including several sweaters that needed to be hand-washed. Never again. The washing was no problem; the drying was another story. Turns out it’s hard to find places to dry 15 dripping sweaters. Three days later, I’ve finally got my bed back to myself.

— 4 —

Today marks four years to the day since Mr. Wonderful first asked me out.

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The night I realized he was cute. Yes, that’s a napkin mitre. There was also a ketchup stigmata involved, as I recall. There’s no accounting for taste.
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The night he realized I was cute...three months later. I'd like to think this photo captured the very moment, but I kinda doubt it. (photo credit to Kate, who also hosted the party at which this revelation happened)

— 5 —

Christmas party season has arrived in full force. I don’t know if this is how it works in the real world too, but since my life is still mostly dictated by the academic calendar, Christmas parties seem to happen early. I’ve got one this weekend, then three (all work-related) next week, and two of those are directly back-to-back. ‘Tis the season!

— 6 —

‘Tis also the season for Christmas cards. I think my perfectionism is conspiring with my fine arts degree to convince me that nothing I come up with is going to be creative enough. I know – I need to get over myself. As long as I don’t scrawl my name inside the Thomas Kinkade Christmas variety pack and slap a Kwanza stamp on it, I probably won’t be judged too harshly.

— 7 —

Last but certainly not least (to me, anyway), I got my final grade back for the Law course I audited this semester. The instructor called my desk phone and asked me to come to his office (fairly unusual around here), and when I got there, he told me he had my test graded and we needed to go to his secretary’s office to look things over. By this point I was fairly certain I had gotten a C and was going to be fired…and then they told me that I had gotten an A (and actually, one of the highest grades out of all the 1Ls). Whew.

I should probably stop taking classes, while I’ve still got a 4.0.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!