“When did I begin paying above or around $100 for a monthly cellphone bill, just to make it easier for others to contact me?”
Have you ever asked yourself this question?
I did recently, and I found that the basic answer has slowly, and unbeknownst to me, changed.
Full disclosure: This may be pure conjecture, my own sentiments towards the diminishing divide between our work and personal lives, so please take this with a grain of salt. Down the rabbit hole we go!
Phone Bill Answer
I have concluded that I pay money…so that it becomes easier for others to make money off me!
Whether it be ads within emails, ads on social media platforms, telemarketers, robo calls, etc., the additional profit to be gained off me—rather than the profit off the service I require—seems to be the goal nowadays. I have the same sentiment towards paying a cable provider, only for them to broadcast an exorbitant amount of advertisements from which they also profit, but I will leave that for my next blog/rant.
Adding to the Communications Problem
The modern person, or consumer, has become accustomed to getting answers almost instantly. We ‘Google it.’ Or crowdsource our questions on social media. When we have a specific business question, we look for a chat feature on their website.
On the flip side of that, the modern worker is now expected to be more available and to provide said responses almost immediately.
To that end, for the last 10 years as a modern worker, I have tried to promote customer satisfaction by saying, “I may not be at my desk, so take my cell phone number.” And unsurprisingly, reaching me on my cell phone provides more value to my clients and less effort for anyone trying to reach me. Ten years ago, doing this wasn’t an issue. However, after using this tactic for over a decade, I have created a monster of an opportunity for my cell phone service provider and all their affiliated advertisers.
I’ve also blurred, if not smudged out completely, the lines between my work life and my personal life. Rather than answering work calls at my desk in the office, where I have easy access to information and am mentally prepared for those types of conversations, my cell phone might ring as I’m picking up my kids from school or making dinner with my wife. I’m not at work and not expecting questions about server capacity and the bandwidth requirements for a new hosted phone system at those times, but there’s no indication on my cell phone to prep me.
Proposing a Solution
So what can we do, living and working in this modern world? I propose an effortless way for us to draw the line, to separate the divide, to enjoy the time away from our professional lives, just as much as we enjoy helping our clients find success. This solution is VOIP, or voice over internet protocol, essentially desk phones that use the internet…but with so much more.
Think about the convenience that first sold the idea of a cell phone, the ‘be anywhere’ and ‘always connected’ concept, and now apply that to a desk phone. “But how do I communicate out of the office?” you might ask. This is where the conveniences of a cell phone step back in, as most hosted phone systems will offer an accompanying app. With an app, you can answer and make calls on your cell phone, wherever you are and whenever you want but from your work number. And perhaps more importantly, you can disable it at any moment.
When you need to be out of the office but accessible to your clients, the app allows you to answer calls on your personal phone in the proper professional mindset. And when you need to make business calls away from the office, you can do so without broadcasting your personal phone number.
So now I still have the flexibility, but instead of sharing my personal cell phone number everywhere and with everyone, I can see a clear line between work and home life. And I can blur it by choice, not by necessity or lack of other options.
As for the constant, obnoxious advertising, I don’t have a solution for that yet. But at least now I always know who’s calling.