The Story

You Don’t Have Email on Your Phone?!


HR, Lessons Learned

A while ago, I was to meet with a potential new partner. The intention was for me to take over the technology aspect of their local business. I loved the idea they pitched, and definitely believed in it. I had every intention to accelerate their growth, and cut down their five-year schedule to two.

I did all the right things pre-interview/meeting:

  1. Set up the meeting, and set it up in the calendar
  2. Reminded and confirmed 24-48 hours in advance
  3. Exchanged mobile numbers
  4. Arrived on location at least 15 minutes early
  5. And waited

There is one wrong thing I did: the client requested the meeting for July 5, so one day after the holidays. I do admit my failure in not thinking that this may be an issue, as it was the potential partner that scheduled it on that day. Regardless, I felt that with a reminder and my phone number, we would push on.

As the minutes passed, I realized I was the only person in the room waiting for someone. In a room full of couples or groups, the one person in the center of the room looking around and waiting is obvious. The waitresses and maître d’  also knew I was waiting for someone.

I had called the potential partner after 30 minutes of no one showing, no answer. After an hour, I left. When I arrived back in the office, an e-mail was waiting for me, accusing me of never showing up.

Now, I understand some of you will say, “Well, it’s YOUR fault for not having e-mail on your phone, especially as an executive!” My question is: why assume that emails work in every or any location? You do know what you do when you “assume”. If you choose to go this route, the lease you as a client/partner/generally nice person could do is text, if you did not want to call.

Here are my reasons as to why having email on your phone is a bad idea:

  1. If it’s THAT important to you (or your client), you (and your client) should call.
  2. If it’s almost important to you or your client, you and your client should text, if you are unable to call (although, I discourage this on a first meeting especially. Texts don’t always go through.)
  3. The location may not have Wi-Fi; or, the location may have Wi-Fi, but you still can’t access your accounts.
  4. Driving and checking e-mails at the same time is not generally a good idea, unless you want to be winning a Darwin Award.
  5. Clients aside, having an annoying sound alerting you to emails at every possible minute is crazy. Unglue yourself from your phone.  Technology is beautiful, but you don’t have to be plugged into the Borg or the Matrix every minute of every day.

However, there are some people who need to have e-mails on their phone because they’re never in the office, or they are around their laptop sporadically throughout the day – that’s fine.

Don’t assume the rest of us have e-mails on our phones, or data or smartphones. Or that Wi-Fi is all prevalent in every cafe, restaurant, and building. Just pick up the phone and do what it was intended to do: make a call.

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About Author

Nate started Yellow Box Studios, a digital advertising agency based in Chicago, in 2010 as a high school senior. He's graduated from the University of Illinois - Urbana Champaign with a degree in Creative Writing and is currently working on a Masters in advertising, also at the University of Illinois.