Going analog — what a concept!

March 12, 2009, 5:42 PM UTC

Aren’t you bored with career strategies? Don’t you feel sometimes, when you’re looking at business magazines or books or listening to drivel from guys who supposedly know everything, that everybody is simply reinventing the same wheel over and over again?

You’re right. The problem is that business people often need to hear the same things over and over again. It’s not because we’re stupid. Probably.

The good thing in this case is that the story is about me. I know I’m not stupid. I mean, I think I do. And yet…

Anyway, here it is: I had a problem earlier this week closing a certain situation that required resolution so that I could sleep. It wasn’t a huge thing. It was just something that I wanted done that had certain financial implications for me personally. So what did I do? I started sending e-mails.

My first e-mail went to a guy who I’d dealt with on this issue throughout the process. As happens sometimes these days, I got a message back that there was no person at the corporate e-mail address. Woooo. Spooky. Dude no longer existed. Bye bye, bro.

So I bethought myself and went down one notch on his corporate ladder, found the second person I knew in that location and e-mailed her. Nothing. That was Monday. By Tuesday, there was still nothing. I was reminded of an old song, reprised by one of my favorite groups when I was a kid. It was called Nothing. Here’s how it went:

Monday nothing
Tuesday nothing
Wednesday and Thursday nothing
Friday for a change a little more nothing
Saturday and Sunday nothing

It’s an existential song that pretty much summed up the matter as far as I was concerned. Last night I went to bed thinking that the entire deal was in the dumpster. It made me sad. During my 3:30 AM anxiety hour, I spent at least fifteen minutes obsessing about it before falling back asleep thanks to extreme boredom with myself.

This morning I went nuts. I did something I haven’t done on this kind of situation for quite some time. I abandoned the e-mail protocol and picked up a phone. Got the woman on the third ring. Turns out she’d been sick for two days. Apologized for being very busy after that. No problemo. Everything is copacetic.

This tedious conclusion is exactly what I was seeking and I could have short-circuited the whole process if I had simply talked to the person when I first had an inkling that something was awry. Sounds idiotically simple, does it not? But do you know how many people are festering right now because their corporate culture mandates exclusive use of digital communications? He’s not answering his BlackBerry! I left him six e-mails! Aieee!

I’m going to kick it up a notch from here on in. I’ve got a bone to pick with Fredricks, who owes me a nice little memo to remove my personal responsibility on a certain subject. I’ve e-mailed him about it; no response. It’s easy to ignore an e-mail. I’ve also left him two voice mails. No reply – it’s almost equally easy to duck that kind of incoming also. But it’s hard to ignore a guy who’s standing in your doorway, and the guy is quite literally right down the hall.