I would consider switching careers and becoming a mid-level corporate boss just so that I could have a secretary who would make phone calls for me. On multiple occasions, I have driven across town to drop in on someone in person to ask a question or make a comment without having to initiate a phone call. Stephen has started threatening to stop enabling me after one too many times when he’s had to call our friends to work out plans that were my idea.
In my personal life, my social engagements are limited to those activities that I can coordinate via e-mail or through a phone call from Stephen. It’s cost me the occasional relationship or two, but I consider it a fair sacrifice for getting to avoid the telephone.
Unfortunately, I cannot be so discriminating in my professional relationships. My boss still does not understand the deer-in-the-headlights look that I give her when she casually asks me to call so-and-so to set up a conference. (But then again, this is a woman who thinks nothing of recording an outgoing message on an answering machine with a room full of people standing by–which is my equivalent of the nightmare about showing up to work in underwear) If I say, “I really hate calling people,” she might sympathize, but she still expects me to make the call. She does not understand that that statement is code for, “Will you please call this person for me?” Actually, I think she does understand, but pretends ignorance.
So anyway…I’ve recently been battling my flesh on this whole phone-calling issue. There is a person in town that I would really like to invite to come talk to my class as a guest speaker. I have tried every subtle method of delegating this responsibility, and it keeps coming back to me. For two days I have had the phone number on a Post-It on my desk. For two days I have told myself to get on the phone. For two days I have given in to my weakness.
Since I would always rather psychoanalyze my problems than actually work through them, here is what I have decided is the base issue: I don’t like to be told no. I don’t want to call the lady and ask her to come to my class because she might be busy. I don’t want to call my friends and ask them out to dinner because they might not want to. Even when the excuse is legitimate, I take the rejection personally. Don’t ask me why.
Deep breath. I am posting this confession here so that I feel peer pressure to act. I WILL CALL MY GUEST SPEAKER TOMORROW. Or Thursday.