QUOTE OF THE DAY (OR MORE): "No, no. You don't understand. This is an '89 Calico. I'm pretty sure that exceeds the Kelly Blue Book value. The cat's totaled." --A comedian whose name I forget talking about a vet who presents a $3,000 bill for a 12-year-old cat

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Please Hold...

So one of my worst fears came true… a conference call gaff.

As a preface, it’s necessary to know that, when one is put on “hold” on our company phone system, the listener is treated to a detestable, and very loud, array of elevator music tunes. There are no words, just an irritating, extremely loud bouncy tune repeated a million times. It would be more pleasant to stick a needle in your eye than to be unnecessarily and cruelly subjected to this happy, bouncy, loud elevator tune.

So… I had been on this high-level, “important” corporate task force team for months studying the ways in which our company could be more global. In the end, we had pulled together our research and ideas and were scheduled to present our findings via conference call, armed with a Power Point Presentation, to the CEO of the 10 billion dollar umbrella parent company. Not everyone who had been on the task force was included in the call, but I was very honored to have been requested to participate. The conference call dial-in was all set up, and we were instructed by our task force leader that, once we had done our part in the presentation, please to stay on the line so that the call with the big-whig CEO would not be interrupted by the audible beeps that chime when people join or leave the conference call. Easy enough. I was all set.

The day of the conference call arrived. When called upon, I submitted my remarks on our part of the presentation, satisfied that I had done a good job and was then quiet. Our portion was finished, so I muted my phone and just prepared to listen to the rest of the companies’ presentations. In the meantime, another call was beeping in, so I put the conference call on hold to answer it. I finished the call and hung up.

About an hour later, my telephone rang again. I picked it up. “Was that YOU who put the call on hold during the conference call?!!!!” the task force team leader demanded.

I was horrified. When I had answered the call that came in via call waiting, I had put the conference call on hold, thereby causing the bouncy “hold” music to infiltrate the entire big-whig CEO conference call. Oh my God.

The team leader laughed (thank goodness she likes me) and told me that they were in the middle of a presentation when the bouncy happy “please hold” music invaded the conference call, and all were stunned and confused… had someone put the call on hold? They couldn’t hear each other over the deafening happy tune. After a few minutes of confusion they all had to hang up and call back on a different conference call dial-in number. She said she had wondered if it had been I, but didn’t mention anything to the other folks on the phone, thank God. I’m pretty sure she has kept my secret, and I’ve learned my lesson.

Technology is a dangerous thing….call-waiting capability in the hands of those not trained to use it can have very bad consequences…


  1. Oh, man. You must have been all different shades of red!

    Thank goodness she likes you!

  2. I thought you were going to say that you had a very embarrassing conversation and everyone could hear it. Annoying music isn't the end of the world.

  3. How completely embarrassing. Well, at least it wasn't some really awful conversation you had. Whew!

  4. How embarrassing! Thank goodness your co-worker didn't rat you out.

    Great Blog!

  5. Hi, Aliceson... thanks for checking out my blog! Yes - my coworker is going to heaven for sure!


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