I have to make quite a few outgoing calls to people at work. I hear a lot of voice mail messages, and I feel it’s my duty to inform some of you: you are doing it wrong. The worst offenses?
1. Not saying your name on your outgoing message. I’m sure you assume everyone calling you knows you are you, but some people don’t. What if someone is calling you for a professional reason? If they’re not sure they’ve reached the right message you might never know. I know I can’t leave a message if I can’t confirm that I’ve gotten the right number.
2. In that same vein, holding the phone to the radio while it plays a song does not an outgoing voicemail message make. What it makes is a garbled mess, and I am unsure if it is your voicemail or you answering the phone in a crowded bar.
3. Vivaldi Four Seasons ringback tone. First off, the last time a ringback tone was acceptable was 2004. I know they were cool, mine was Poison’s Talk Dirty to Me. But that time is over. Secondly, picking the one classical song you can recognize does not make you classy, it makes you unoriginal. Also, the extremely large number of people who pick this leads me to believe maybe it’s free. So possibly you’re also cheap.
4. “Hello? … … … Gotcha, leave a message!” Is not funny. It has never been funny. What it does is piss me off, which makes me hang up, which means you don’t get whatever information I was calling you with. Also I send all my hate-y vibes for the day into the universe specifically for you. And they’re pretty poisonous. So beware.
5. Please try to keep world frustrations from creeping into your outgoing message. It’s super awkward to hear about your loser baby daddy, or how much you hate your job. I know whatever you’re dealing with probably sucks, and I’m sorry, but it’s hard to focus on why I’m calling you when I have to hear a four minute message about how much of a bitch your mom is.
Voicemail messages are not an arena of creativity and self-exploration. They are not your therapist. If you can’t manage something like “Hi, this is Joe, leave me a message,” maybe just say your name so it can be inserted into the automated message. No confusion, and I don’t wish for a piano to fall on your head, Looney Tunes-style.