Tuesday, June 3, 2008

When parents should(not) call their kids at work

My job isn't always high-stress but when it is, that is the exact moment that my parents call me at my desk to chit-chat. Believe it or not, I try to be polite when I tell them that I can't talk but somehow when I actually say that, it never seems to come out as nice as it sounded in my head.

I feel so bad about this too because I love my dad and I love it when he calls just to hear my voice, but he always (unknowingly) calls at the wrong time. For example, he calls when I'm neck-deep in billing worksheets or I have a serious deadline due to my VP or someone is yelling at me in the background. He'll innocently call on his lunch break to ask how my day is and what I did the previous evening. But because of his ill-timing, I end up barking into the phone, "dad I can't talk right now, can you just e-mail me or call me later?" And it's then that he sighs and says, "okay sweetheart," but I can tell he was just looking to catch up. It kills me every time this happens, like it did today.

I asked a few women in my office about this and they all groaned and agreed that they get calls like this to from their moms or dads. A few women in my office have even told their parents that they don't have a phone at work to avoid them calling at an inopportune time.

"You shouldn't give our your work number to family...ever," one woman said to me, but I think it's okay to share it, as long as both sides have an understanding of when to use it.

Examples of when it's okay to call your child at work:
  • You've been in a serious accident and/or are going to the hospital

  • Someone we know has died or another family member was in a serious accident

  • You're coming into town unexpectedly and I'm getting a free dinner and ride home from work

  • You've put money in my bank account because you love me

  • You won the lottery and are buying me a condo

  • The house has burned down

These are all acceptable situations to call me at my desk.

My dad, god love him, is also guilty of leaving a 5-minute voicemail message in the mornings on his way to work. This message is left on my work phone, which I check when I get in. But no matter how many times I've told him that I don't have time to listen to a 5-minute message and that I delete it after minute 1.5, he still leaves it. A couple of times I've gotten busted for not listening to the entire thing because he'll ask me questions later in the message (i.e. dinner locations when I come home for a visit) and I obviously don't respond (because I didn't hear them). When he mentions it later to me, I end up fibbing and saying the message cut out.

So am I an awful child? Maybe/maybe not. But I'd like to think that on the whole, my positive daughter traits outweigh the negatives.

Follow up from yesterday's "fashion flaw" post

Thanks everyone for the great feedback to yesterday's post, I'm so glad that I'm not alone in this thinking. Phew. I promise that if I bump into any of you on the street and you happen to commit any of those flaws that I won't judge you at all.

I do have to say though, I really hate the ill-fitting sandals thing though. I have big feet so I can't judge others, but seriously, shoes that fit are a great thing. No toes hanging over or heels half-off the shoe. Ick. I am an offender at not keeping up on a pedicure though so even I'm not exempt. I need to take my own advice.


Erin said...

I can honestly say that I don't think my parents even know the name of the school I work at, let alone the phone number! My dad just calls my cell...but always in the middle of the day. Dude, I can't talk to you on my cell while teaching. I just can't!

L Sass said...

I have EXACTLY THE SAME PROBLEM. My parents love to call and chat. My mom is a teacher who works at multiple schools and she calls to talk when she's driving between sites in the middle of the day. I always feel so BAD, but I work in an open office, so even when I'm not busy, it doesn't look good to be yammering away on a personal call. Ugh!

Rachel said...

Confession time, I'm guilty of calling my Dad at work. He's sweet about it though, he'll let me ramble and then remind me that he is at work and busy. My hubby on the other hand doesn't even let me get a word out, it's just "I'mbusygottago." I understand how you are feeling though. I'm not hurt when I get dismissed, you all are working.

lifeintheleftlane said...

Don't feel bad. Your dad knows that you are at work and can't have long conversations. Just call him on the ride home. That's my favorite time to talk because I'm usually stuck in traffic, and it keeps me from going insane about sitting still on the highway.

sandy said...

Probably due to the fact that I'm unemployed, I use some time during my day to call either my mom and boyfriend at work. Well, I text the boyfriend. But I don't get upset when I'm dismissed- I get it, you're working- but for some reason I continue to do it.

megkathleen said...

I know! Parents they're difficult sometimes. I just don't answer my phone when I'm at work and my dad always leaves the saddest messages and when I call him back we have to talk forever about how I can never be reached. Insanity.

Jenn said...

I'm lucky. My parents don't have my work number - but they know that my cell phone is attached to my hand at all times. My mom knows better. She'll text and ask me to call her when I have time.

barbetti said...

I know this all too well. I answer the phone calls at work, so I can't begin to tell you how many times I freak out because JESUS H. CHRIST, DO YOU NEED TO CALL YOUR HUSBAND EIGHT TIMES IN TEN MINUTES BECAUSE YOU CANT FIND YOUR FAVORITE RED SOCK?

True story. Sorry for the caps. But my problem is my personal calls come at the exact moment that my boss is in my office, hanging over my desk waiting for me to finish...gah!

redstaplernation said...

Once a week I have to wear a pager for rapid response on pathology specimens, in which I must scoot off to an OR within 5 minutes of the call. My mom picked one of those days to call me at work to cry about how we'd fought three days before. Agh. Is it inappropriate to make a click, say "hello? hello?" and hang up on your mother?

Anonymous Amy said...

My grandma always calls me at 7am on saturday or sunday. I get so angry and end up answering the phone in a huff and telling her i'll call later, but then don't because I'm still angry at her. GRRR Why Grandma? Why 7am??!
The only advice I can give is, try to be as gentle as possible in getting off the phone and always call back when you have 10 minutes to give.

Joy @ Big Time Fancy said...

My dad called me yesterday at the office to ask me if I was going to a wedding this weekend, and to tell me he bought a corvette (to sell for parts, not to have a midlife crisis).

Personally, I love when they call at work because it means that I'll get to talk to someone I actually LIKE talking to for 5 minutes.