When Life and Work Collide

By Rebeldad Brian Reid

My little one may be -- pound for pound -- one of the louder creatures on this Earth. We like to attach cute euphemisms to her happy utterances ("awwww ... she's squawking again"), but I must face facts: A scream is a scream, and she's extraordinarily good at it.

And now most of my co-workers know of my daughter's talent. Last week, I was in the car with the whole family during one of those rare but inevitable periods in which each family member needs to be picked up, dropped off or otherwise delivered somewhere during a staggeringly small window. (And one of those periods where being a one-car family has serious drawbacks.) In my delusional state, I assumed that we could get everyone where they belonged by 4 p.m., when my conference call began.

We were still 5 minutes from home when I hopped on the call, wishing there was a patron saint of telecommuters to whom I could pray for silence. And for the first couple of minutes, all was well. Then, as I was in the middle of making some point or another, the little one let out one of her ... ahem ... squawks. I muted, my wife shushed, but it was too late.

My colleagues on the other end of the line laughed good-naturedly, but I was horrified. Screaming babies rank pretty low on the professionalism scale, and I began trying to calculating the extent to which I'd just damaged my lifetime earnings -- the perception that I'm actively juggling kids and work can't be a good thing when bonus time comes around.

I have tried to be honest whenever possible with my bosses -- letting them know that late-in-the-day calls may sometime suffer from excessive background noise and warning them when it's clear that a midday family commitment will take me away from my desk. But sometimes things like the Scream happen, and all I can do is apologize after the fact.

I can't be the only person whose family life occasionally, and embarrassingly, overlaps with work life, and I'd love to know how some of you handle it. Can you be too honest? Or is it easier to gain forgiveness than permission?

Brian Reid writes about parenting and work-family balance. You can read his blog at rebeldad.com.

By Brian Reid |  July 26, 2007; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Conflicts
Previous: Men Speak, Women Stay Silent? | Next: Cartoons!


Add On Balance to Your Site
Keep up with the latest installments of On Balance with an easy-to-use widget. It's simple to add to your Web site, and it will update every time there's a new entry to On Balance.
Get This Widget >>


Comments

Please email us to report offensive comments.



Changed a diaper while one a conference call. Had a headset for the phone and kept it on mute unless I had to say something. I don't think anybody knew.

Posted by: Father of 2 | July 26, 2007 7:18 AM

Coming from the "other end"...if I was on a conference call and heard a child screeching in the background, I would definitely reschedule. There is no way your attention would be focused on work.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 7:20 AM

"I assumed that we could get everyone where they belonged by 4 p.m"
"We were still 5 minutes from home when I hopped on the call"

So, who was driving? You or your wife??

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 7:21 AM

And "on the other hand": some people (bosses, to be clear) can act like they don't hear a thing - neither the background screams nor you several explicit attempts to reschedule the call (made, by the way, during your non-working hours)...

Posted by: portuguese mother | July 26, 2007 7:25 AM

Ummm..since when is 4Pm "non-working" hours? Can I have your job?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 7:28 AM

to 7:28
I wasn't referring to Brian's call, but to my own experience (e.g., 8p.m. calls). (Anyway, you can't have my job unless you're fluent in Portuguese)

Posted by: portuguese mother | July 26, 2007 7:37 AM

Sorry, Brian. You'll get no sympathy from me this morning! The scenario you describe is absolutely foreign to me ... and probably to a lot of other folks all across the country who don't have the luxury of telecommuting. It's time for you to start writing about situations that the rest of us can identify with!

Incidentally, your description does rather beg the question of where your wife was! Presumably she was in the car with you (you did state that "the whole family" was there). And if she was there, why wasn't she the one to be getting the rest of the family to where they needed to be? You could have (and should have) taken the call somewhere quiet and without interruption.

Posted by: Murphy | July 26, 2007 7:38 AM

Portugese mom - sorry, not fluent! :-) What do you do?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 7:40 AM

I would think that a telecommuter with a family would run into a situation like this from time to time. Hopefully their employer would understand it as well; telecommuting doesn't mean that the family is isolated from the worker at all times.

However, I do wonder about why Brian's wife wasn't doing the driving task if he knew there was a possibility he'd need to get on the conference call before getting home. Driving while talking on a phone (not to mention the additional kids' distraction) is a hazardous mix and can lead to all sorts of troubles.

Posted by: John L | July 26, 2007 7:44 AM

Happens to me all the time. I would have trouble working with or for someone who didn't understand that people can multitask. I am sure Brian has heard enough crying babies that he can continue to focus on his conversation, especially since his wife was in the car to take care of the baby.

Posted by: Leslie | July 26, 2007 7:45 AM

Leslie - I am glad you can multi-task, but I am not sure if I could concentrate if there were screeching children in the background.

Posted by: L | July 26, 2007 7:48 AM

The question is: why was Brian in the car at all? Why wasn't he at home taking his conference call in the privacy of his home office?

Posted by: Murphy | July 26, 2007 7:51 AM

to 7:40
I'm a law school teacher/researcher - wouldn't give you my job even if you were fluent! (True I can work flexible hours when I'm not teaching, but still 4 pm is regular working time)

Posted by: portuguese mother | July 26, 2007 7:54 AM

The question is: who cares?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 7:55 AM

It sounds like you had already outlined the parameters of your telecommuting--end-of-day tasks may be noisier than usual, for instance--so the company knew the situation when they scheduled a 4pm call with you. With such a strong disruption, I'd be inclined to follow up with an email to the group that starts out with something like, "Thanks to all of you for enjoying Jane's aria this afternoon. I also wanted to follow up on one point..."

To all those inquiring minds out there: it sounds like Brian's wife was one of those who needed to be picked up and couldn't do all of the pick-ups/drop-offs herself...

Posted by: At-home this summer | July 26, 2007 8:01 AM

"so the company knew the situation when they scheduled a 4pm call with you"

Either schedule your life around work or schedule work around your life. The two shouldn't overlap.

Brian screwed up. It's either "I can't me on a conference call at that time" or "I can't pick up the kids at that time".

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 8:04 AM

You can't schedule your life perfectly 100% of the time. What practical difference did it make if a baby were crying in the background?

One big advantage I've found as a parent, especially in client service, is that both require you to be accessible 24/7. I'm always on call to kids or clients. The small price to pay is that sometimes they collide.

Posted by: Leslie | July 26, 2007 8:06 AM

has it occurred to anyone that maybe the children's activities should not have taken precedence over work? It wouldn't kill the kids to miss karate once in awhile any more than it would kill mom and dad to miss a call once in awhile. everything seems to be about the kids these days as opposed to the family and everyone in the family making sacrifices for the common good of the family. sometimes you get everything you want and sometimes you don't but hopefully everyone gets what they need. didn't Mick Jagger sing a song about that? :0)

Posted by: Moxiemom | July 26, 2007 8:11 AM

"so the company knew the situation when they scheduled a 4pm call with you"

No. I expect my employees to be able to take my calls during normal working hours. I don't think about "situations" or "needs". My customers REALLY don't want to hear these excuses. I wouldn't dream of presenting these excuses.

Does the baby ever scream in the background when Brian takes a work call at home or elsewhere? How is that handled?

Why is Brian a limo driver for his kids during work hours? Sheesh!

Posted by: nony | July 26, 2007 8:12 AM

I fail to see what the point he is trying to get across. He was embarrassed that his kid was crying and he was on a phone call?
Maybe one day when I get to work from home I can relate...

Posted by: KraziJoe | July 26, 2007 8:14 AM

Unfortunately, it is scenarios like this that fuel the fears of offering telecommuting positions at corporations. Work is work, whether you work from an office building or a home office.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 8:15 AM

wow...based on the comments thus far, makes me wonder why telecommuting and flexible work schedules haven't caught on (sarcasam noted)

Posted by: pkc | July 26, 2007 8:16 AM

"In my delusional state, I assumed that we could get everyone where they belonged by 4 p.m., when my conference call began."

Grandiose ego, bad planning, bad management skills, bad employee, and bad, bad boy Brian.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 8:19 AM

"Either schedule your life around work or schedule work around your life. The two shouldn't overlap."

That a nice theory, but a little naive (at least in my job).

"Sorry, Brian. You'll get no sympathy from me this morning! The scenario you describe is absolutely foreign to me ... and probably to a lot of other folks all across the country who don't have the luxury of telecommuting. It's time for you to start writing about situations that the rest of us can identify with!"

I don't think this situation applies only to telecommuters. In many industries where client service is paramount, urgent matters/emergencies do come up during so-called non-working hours.

Posted by: BLE | July 26, 2007 8:20 AM

I'm not a completely faithful reader of this blog, mainly because it depresses me to read how judgemental and cruel people can be to others who may not do things exactly as they would like. But I'd like to weigh in on Brian's predicament.

First - I'm guessing if Brian is a one-car family, and he's the stay-at-home (or telecommuting) parent, perhaps he has to pick his wife up somewhere after her work. So that could explain why everything collided the way it did.

But regardless, no matter how well-planned things are, stuff like this will happen. Brian's boss knows he telecommutes for a reason. And those reasons just may get in the way of work. And if Brian weren't doing the job he needs to be doing, the arrangement wouldn't last long.

This is when a sense of humor is critical. I say laugh it off and move on. But I will admit that if Brian's boss doesn't find it laughable, it's not a good sign and it may be time to change things (either the schedule or the job).


Posted by: AB | July 26, 2007 8:21 AM

When I was on maternity leave, I participated in a few conference calls. The participants were so pleased that I was on the phone that a few cries here and there were ignored. Then, when the kids got older, I would be home with them when they were sick and sometimes, calls needed to be made. I never had to schedule a call that I was the leader in at those times. I was just a participant so I could mute the phone and hold a sick kid. But if I had to, I would bribe the kids sufficiently -- lolly-pop or popcicle to keep the mouth closed :)

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 8:28 AM

I think everyone is being a bit harsh. Sometimes things don't always work out the way you'd like them to, especially when traffic is concerned.

I worked in an office at a job with fairly regular hours, but there was one weekend when something urgent came up and I found myself working at home. Yes, my husband was around most of the time and I could hand off my then-infant daughter when a call came in, but there were a couple of times when it was necessary for me to take a call while holding my daughter.

Everyone was understanding that I was juggling, and even though there was some baby babbling and fussing going on I was able to communicate and complete my tasks.

Yes, these were somewhat different circumstances than Brian's, but the underlying issue is the same - things don't always work out the way you want them to.

And to answer your question, no, I don't think you can be too honest - it's better than lying! ;0)

Posted by: Vienna Mom | July 26, 2007 8:28 AM

I really don't understand why Brian would be worried about future earnings or be embarassed at all. Sometimes these things happen. I've been on a conference call where someone fell asleep (no joke, 15 people were on and you could very clearly hear someone snoring). So, there are distractions all the time. And, I think you can be focused on 2 things at once. I often call into meetings so I can wrap projects up at my desk. That way I don't stay late.

So, from someone who does not have kids, I don't think it is a huge deal and definitely think there are bigger things to worry about!

Posted by: Thought | July 26, 2007 8:33 AM

Vienna Mom

"I think everyone is being a bit harsh. Sometimes things don't always work out the way you'd like them to, especially when traffic is concerned."

This was a SCHEDULED conference call. Plan for the traffic and other snafus! Have the kids skip one day of their activity B.S. Im not paying you to be a limo driver for your family!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 8:36 AM

Bom dia, mãe portuguesa!

Posted by: catlady | July 26, 2007 8:37 AM

My best wishes to Emily and Jen S. on their respective news, and my hopes for healthy, happy babies (and parents!) all around.

Posted by: catlady | July 26, 2007 8:38 AM

«I think everyone is being a bit harsh. Sometimes things don't always work out the way you'd like them to,»

«Posted by: Vienna Mom | July 26, 2007 08:28 AM»

Yes, I agree. Too harsh. Cannot we all just get along?

Would it help if Brian could have two wives? One wife, she is a Staying In the Residence Mother, taking care of children, no need for him to pick her up or drop her off. Second wife, she is a Working Outside the Residence Mother.

Posted by: Abu Ibrahim | July 26, 2007 8:40 AM

"Sometimes things don't always work out the way you'd like them to"

Right. It's called Natural Selection.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 8:42 AM

Would it help if I could have two husbands? One husband, he is a Staying In the Residence Father, taking care of children, no need for him to pick him up or drop him off. Second husband, he is a Working Outside the Residence Father

Posted by: Sauce for the Goose | July 26, 2007 8:42 AM

to catlady
por cá já é boa tarde, senhora dos gatos :)

Posted by: portuguese mother | July 26, 2007 8:44 AM

Brian, if it was an "internal" call with company only, and your boss and others on the conference call know of your situation, then there's nothing to be embarrassed about - these things happen.

If a customer was on the line, then an apology (from your boss to the customer) is in order, but it shouldn't impact the situation.

I am concerned about whether you were trying to hold a conference call while you were driving. Please, please say your wife was driving! There are enough non-attentive idiots on the road; somebody trying to chauffeur an entire family while holding a conference call is just begging for a wreck - and try explaining that one! If you were driving, my only response would be "hang up and drive."

(Last year, an idiot ran off the road and wound up with her car embedded in my next door neighbor's front doorway - totaled the car and did $7,500 in damage to may neighbor's house. The driver missed the kids waiting for the school bus by maybe 10 feet. We ran over to see if the driver was okay - she shushed us all and told us that she'd be with us in a few minutes, this was an important cell phone call. If my wife hadn't been there, I would have tried to beat the driver to death with her own cell phone!)

Posted by: Army Brat | July 26, 2007 8:46 AM

I think the impact of this scenario depends on the boss and the telecommuting culture in your office.

I worked from home for about a year and was therefore always on conference calls. I've heard everything from teenaged children screaming at their parents to "pillow talk." We all laughed it off (mostly) because about half of our staff worked from home--that is a fact of life. At my job now, I worked from home one day and, during a conference call, my dogs barked. My team laughed and continued. We have a small group, and my boss has dogs.

In a work environment where only a few people telecommute, it is important to be more professional because you have to prove that you deserve this priveledge. Also, if you're talking with clients, I can see how an interruption like that would have a negative impact.

Posted by: Meesh | July 26, 2007 8:46 AM

How do we even know that 4:00 PM was during Brian's regularly scheduled work time? Sure, that would be the work day for regular 9 - 5 folks, but the concept of flexible scheduling means that sometimes people don't work "regular" hours. My (accounting) firm offers telecommuting and flexible scheduling. I don't have any children, but I respect my coworkers who work part time or different hours. It works because we are all accomodating and understanding of each other.

I don't get offended if I call up my supervisor while she is at home during the day and hear a kid in the background. I know that she often works late at night when the kids are asleep, and I appreciate the fact that she is willing to help me out when she is technically not working.

Flexible scheduling and telecommuting can work just fine, as long as people are willing to step back and be willing to try something new. My firm is doing excedingly well, we are able to provide excellent client service because we have people working at all different times, and we're able to hire great people because our work environment is appealing.

Posted by: Carifly | July 26, 2007 8:46 AM

"Sometimes things don't always work out the way you'd like them to"

That explains why you're still here snarking away at constructive comments with your pointless nastiness.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 8:46 AM

This has definitely happened to me before. There have been times when I arrange to have my au pair drop the kids off at work at the end of the day so we can go somewhere, and even though I could be walking out the door, someone has needed something at once. Usually it's just a quick thing, but it has also been in one instance a half hour ordeal and my au pair had already left. My kids were as good and patient as a 2- and 4- year old could be, but after about 15 minutes, they'd had it. My daughter had a seriously loud meltdown that I tried unsuccessfully to stopper. Where's the TV when you need one?

When I am working at home, I'm upstairs away from the children and if there's going to be a conference call, I tell my kids and au pair in advance that I am not to be bothered unless there is serious loss of blood or body parts. They are very good at respecting this.

Once, my husband had to interrupt vacation with an uber-important conference call, and we happened to be driving. We stopped and got the kids lollipops and used his laptop's DVD player to put in a Bob the Builder show. That's the beauty of rarely letting them watch TV -- when it's on, they are SILENT. This plan worked great, except for the sticky lollipop hair and carseats . . .

Posted by: WorkingMomX | July 26, 2007 8:47 AM

Leslie wrote:
I would have trouble working with or for someone who didn't understand that people can multitask....
and....
What practical difference did it make if a baby were crying in the background?


You can Google for the studies that show multitaksing leads to less productive, quality work.

As your client or employer, I want you focused on my assignment, and not distracted.

I have apologized for work/home construction noises that were out of my control, but I would not bring my noisy child to the office because the distraction would impact my performance, and eventually lead to my dismissal.

Posted by: calico | July 26, 2007 8:48 AM

Mãe portuguesa, está em Portugal ou no Brasil (ou noutra parte?

Posted by: senhora dos gatos | July 26, 2007 8:49 AM

I have apologized for work/home construction noises that were out of my control, but I would not bring my noisy child to the office because the distraction would impact my performance, and eventually lead to my dismissal.

Posted by: calico | July 26, 2007 08:48 AM

Some employers are more tolerant (family-friendly) than yours.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 8:51 AM

"There have been times when I arrange to have my au pair drop the kids off at work at the end of the day so we can go somewhere, and even though I could be walking out the door, someone has needed something at once."

Interesting. You have an au pair and there are times where you can't make it work! Boo hoo! Give me a break!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 8:53 AM

Brian has asked for our personal experiences, so here is mine. It is absolutely TABOO to have any children around when teleworking according to my agency policy. If my boss heard a child screaming in the background while I was on conference call during my scheduled teleworking hours I would lose this privilege, pure and simple. My boss is like Mr. or Mrs. Murphy above -- an older worker who could care less about the demands of today's working parents. I bet he has a wife who took care of such minor things a child care.

Posted by: fedmom | July 26, 2007 8:54 AM

calico (and others): how do you handle construction noises on conference calls from your office?

I had a 5-hour conference call last week with folks from the "Left Coast." The landlord is doing construction in our office building - overhauling the HVAC unit, among other things. The folks in Cali could hear the banging and hollering several times.

Posted by: Army Brat | July 26, 2007 8:54 AM

I am concerned about whether you were trying to hold a conference call while you were driving. Please, please say your wife was driving!

Or park the car, or pull off the road

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 8:56 AM

My oh my did some of us post before we had our coffee this morning???

To all of you who live in a black and white world where work doesn't overlap with life, more power to you, but I think you might be reading the wrong blog.

Brian, I can sympathize, my 3 year old did not come with a volume control and I too must occasionally take calls at the end of the day when all are present.

I do my best to avoid the overlap, but it does happen. When there is an outburst, I make an effort at quick humor and then I move on.

If you were handing in jam covered reports or she was sqwaking on EVERY call, I'd worry about it, but one ill timed sqwak does not a job end.

To those of you who whine that you can't relate, we all make choices. Brian telecommutes, his family only has one car. We live remotely so I can work from home and be available for our kids. It means a long commute for my spouse, but to us the trade offs are worth it.

By now, you all ought to know that flexible job opportunities are MADE, not handed to you. If you don't like your lot, change it, but don't chide Brian (or me) for making it work.

Posted by: Lee | July 26, 2007 8:58 AM

to catlady
em Portugal, mesmo.

Posted by: portuguese mother | July 26, 2007 8:59 AM

I telecommute 2 days a week and I've had people hear my daughter (she's too little for "the scream" yet) One of my coworkers always says "Oh I didn't mean to make you cry". If people know you telecommute or work a flexible schedule I'm not sure what the big deal is. I'm more embarrassed when people hear my dogs going crazy.

Posted by: Millie | July 26, 2007 8:59 AM

Interesting. You have an au pair and there are times where you can't make it work! Boo hoo! Give me a break!


BUGGER OFF, troll. She's an au pair, not a slave.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | July 26, 2007 8:59 AM

Wow Lee, so you get to stay home and your spouse has to enter commuter hell? What a guy...did the long commute for 9 nine years. Will NEVER EVER do it again. That, to me, is never worth it.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 9:01 AM

My employer is fairly family friendly, but there are times when the work has to get done, or I need to particiapte in a call.

I am unable to control the outside world, say a barking dog, but if the controllable distractions became overwhelming, I would have to excuse myself from the call.

btw, I used the word eventually, because on an onging long-term basis, the company is in business to make money for its stockholders.

They will bend to accommodate my family needs, but....

Posted by: Calico | July 26, 2007 9:01 AM

Thanks for the thoughts on both sides of this.

I am not particularly worked up about occasionally being away from my desk at 4 p.m. -- because I work from home, my work day starts at 6 a.m. and I end up putting in a couple of evening hours at least a couple of times a week. And I do work in a client-focused business and consider myself on-call pretty much all the time. In return, I don't feel bad about doing the morning drop-off routine, cooking dinner, or making the periodic get-someone-from-point-a-to-point-b run. But I work like heck to make sure those excursions don't impact my performance or my professionalism -- if they do, I'm putting myself in jeopardy. And that's why the Scream was so horrifying. It might not have been a fatal problem (at my employer, anyway), but it certainly undermines my standing.

Posted by: Brian Reid | July 26, 2007 9:01 AM

Mãe portuguesa, Tenho saudades de Portugal, especialmente dos Açores.

Posted by: senhora dos gatos | July 26, 2007 9:03 AM

"If you don't like your lot, change it, but don't chide Brian (or me) for making it work."

If Brian is embarrased and asking for advice, he is NOT making it work.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 9:03 AM

Seems like a lot of the people defending Brian and saying sometimes things happen then follow up with an example that happened at 8 PM or on a weekend, not at 4 PM in the afternoon. Of course things happen at night or on weekends and you haven't scheduled to have someone taking care of the kids, but at 4 PM, if you're supposed to be working, you have to work. Period.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 9:03 AM

the 8:59 comment implying sexual intercourse with one's own alimentary canal includes both veiled profanity, and a personal attack, and as such is a candidate for removal.

Posted by: To WaPo | July 26, 2007 9:07 AM

but at 4 PM, if you're supposed to be working, you have to work. Period.

Posted by: | July 26, 2007 09:03 AM

And if your formal workday is already over?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 9:08 AM

If I were your boss and determined that you were chauffeuring your children around during business hours, I would fire you. Yes, that might impact your income.

Posted by: robert7ii | July 26, 2007 9:09 AM

You are referring to the nether reaches of the alimentary canal, right?

Posted by: To 9:07 | July 26, 2007 9:10 AM

"but at 4 PM, if you're supposed to be working, you have to work. Period."

Posted by: | July 26, 2007 09:03 AM

"And if your formal workday is already over?"

Posted by: | July 26, 2007 09:08 AM


THIS WAS A SCHEDULED CONFERENCE CALL !!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 9:11 AM

If I were your boss and determined that you were chauffeuring your children around during business hours

Read the article & followup. It was after Brian's regular work hours. AFTER!

Posted by: To robert7ii | July 26, 2007 9:13 AM

Dang, the number of perfect people with perfect lives on the blog this morning is impressive.

Sh*t happens. You deal with it and you move on. I'm really lucky to have the flexibility I do. But the flip side of that means that I have to be flexible, too -- I don't have set "hours," and that means sometimes I need to do calls on the way to or from preschool/daycare. Yeah, you try to avoid it (done any number of calls in the preschool parking lot). But sometimes the client really needs to do a call on the Friday when you're driving down to NC with the family for vacation.

I deal with it by being straight up: yes, you can reach me on my cell, but advance warning that there may be some background noise; or we can do the call at X time, after we arrive. Then they can decide whether they want to do the call then or wait until the two little distractions are gone. It's just not an issue -- all my clients care about is that I do my job well and meet their deadlines. And it doesn't hurt that many of them are also parents of young kids, so we're all in the same boat.

Posted by: Laura | July 26, 2007 9:13 AM

to catlady
só conheço S. Miguel, é lindo...

Posted by: portuguese mother | July 26, 2007 9:15 AM

My, my, what a dirty mind some of you have:

Verb 1. bugger off - leave immediately; used usually in the imperative form; "Scram!"buzz off, scram, get away, go forth, leave, go away - go away from a place; "At what time does your train leave?"

Posted by: WorkingMomX | July 26, 2007 9:17 AM

As it happens, I'm a she, not a he. It also happens that I think Brian is trying to have his cake and eat it, too. Guess what? That's not always possible! It's also not fair, either to his employer or to his family.

Posted by: Murphy | July 26, 2007 9:17 AM

"Dang, the number of perfect people with perfect lives on the blog this morning is impressive."

Does Brian want to know what people really think or does he want a load of B.S. that will please YOU?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 9:17 AM

And this comment was sexist too, because it logistically excludes women.

Posted by: To 9:10 | July 26, 2007 9:17 AM

To JenS and Emily,

Congratulations on your big news! I wish you and your daughters the best.

Posted by: Maryland Mother | July 26, 2007 9:19 AM

My husband has a home office. Our children are older so they aren't crying in the background although they have been known to barge in and demand money during work hours!

His problem is the bird that we inherited from his mother. "Birdie", a crow-sized parrot, goes into screaming mode. It sounds like a child crying.

If "Birdie" is in a fit before the call starts he moves him outside for the duration. But during the winter or when "Birdie" starts up during a call it's hard to tone him down.

Most phones have buttons that let you turn off the sound from your end. I situations where there is background noise that's probably the best thing to do. You can shoo everybody out or run put the cover on the birdcage when you need to talk.

Overall it isn't professional to have home-like background noise on calls. The responses here may be a bit ruder than what your co-workers and clients will actually tell you, but I think you have to assume they may be thinking about the same thing.

Posted by: RoseG | July 26, 2007 9:25 AM

>


Why not dial in 5 minutes late to the call? Then everyone is home, and you are focused.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 9:28 AM

"Some employers are more tolerant (family-friendly) than yours."

And some employers APPEAR to be more tolerant. I may not say anything, but I am making mental notes when this type of nonsense occurs.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 9:30 AM

Seems like a lot of the people defending Brian and saying sometimes things happen then follow up with an example that happened at 8 PM or on a weekend, not at 4 PM in the afternoon. Of course things happen at night or on weekends and you haven't scheduled to have someone taking care of the kids, but at 4 PM, if you're supposed to be working, you have to work. Period.

Posted by: | July 26, 2007 09:03 AM

Sure, if you're supposed to be working, but you are merely assuming that Brian is "supposed to be working" because you see everything through your 9 - 5, government employee attitude. In the IT world, because employees frequently put in a lot of hours in the evening and on weekends, and work with colleagues in different timezones worldwide, they essentially take comp time during late afternoons/early evenings, as appropriate. IOW, because Brian might have worked from 7 to 10 the night before, it's understood by his boss and colleagues that he has the flexibility to take care of personal business the next day. There's no reason for him to drive home and sit in his home office for a ten minute call. Wireless service essentially exists to provide the flexibility to take a call wherever one might be.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 9:30 AM

If it only happens this once and then not for a good long time, then you have nothing to fear. I'd apologize to the boss, of course. I imagine you will be forgiven. Particularly as you describe a situation where you start early (6 a.m.) and work extra hours after dinner. So how many hours a day, on average, do you work?

Life happens. Maybe next time you'll add an additional 15" to the calculations. Not that that will guarantee there won't be an accident on the road.

Posted by: Bedrock | July 26, 2007 9:31 AM

To catlady and portuguese mother:

Does your conversation have anything to do with the topic of this message board? If it does, please write in English. Otherwise, get each other's e-mail addresses and conduct your private conversation off the board.

Posted by: Annoyed | July 26, 2007 9:33 AM

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 9:34 AM

catlady and Portugese mother, please feel free to converse in whatever language you please. It's better than the garbage written in English posted by all the trolls and anons, who are ruining this blog. Thank you all, so much. You should be so proud of your posts.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | July 26, 2007 9:35 AM

Vienna Mom

"I think everyone is being a bit harsh. Sometimes things don't always work out the way you'd like them to, especially when traffic is concerned."

This was a SCHEDULED conference call. Plan for the traffic and other snafus! Have the kids skip one day of their activity B.S. Im not paying you to be a limo driver for your family!

Posted by: | July 26, 2007 08:36 AM

Some of you must live in a world where A Conference Call is a major life event. Some are, but many are not. btw, 8:36, here's a newsflash: you are not paying Brian at all.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 9:35 AM

It is highly unprofessional to conduct a conference call with children in the same room/car/whatever when you know they're too young to keep quiet. Your co-workers won't tell you this, but they've lost all respect for you. I'm glad I don't work with you.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 9:35 AM

To catlady and portuguese mother:

Does your conversation have anything to do with the topic of this message board? If it does, please write in English. Otherwise, get each other's e-mail addresses and conduct your private conversation off the board.

Posted by: Annoyed | July 26, 2007 09:33 AM

Take it up with an administrator. Their conversation is no doubt far more polite and restrained than what has been going on the past few days.

Or take up the gauntlet of challenge and demonstrate your mastery of another language, or two.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 9:36 AM

BTW, congrats to Emily and Jen S. on finding out the sexes. Exciting! Also, Laura, I hope you enjoyed your visit to NC.

I usually try to read through the comments from a day I missed, but yesterday was tough to get through because of all the crap. Will the trolls go away once the summer is over?

Posted by: Meesh | July 26, 2007 9:38 AM

Yes, as many have pointed out, why do so many take this blog as an opportunity to attack as snidely as possible? The situation is simple: unless something important would be lost (a contract, customer trust, etc.) an occasional baby crying is not the end of the world. As long as the work gets done (well, presumably) let's live and let live. I would rather be focused on real results than on abstract notions of professionalism, since I see so many cases in which persons obsessed with order and appearance accomplish nothing while those with (apparent) disorder etc. accomplish a lot.
On telecommuting, the first day I did that, there was a fire in the downstairs apartment. Being at home enabed me to call the fire trucks as soon as I smelled the smoke.

Posted by: Diane, Baltimore | July 26, 2007 9:39 AM

Annoyed asked: "Does your conversation have anything to do with the topic of this message board?"

Since every day a goodly portion of correspondence posted to this board is off-topic, sometimes even insulting in content, I'm wondering whether you complain as much about all of those posts -- or whether your complaint really has more to do with the fact that a few pleasantries were exchanged in another language. The latter, I suspect. Get over it.

Posted by: catlady | July 26, 2007 9:41 AM

The scheduled phone call and operating a motor vehicle are conflicting items.

maybe you really can't multitask after all.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 9:43 AM

I hate people at work who act like they don't have afamily. They act like it's some dirty secret that must be ignored.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 9:45 AM

The scheduled phone call and operating a motor vehicle are conflicting items.

maybe you really can't multitask after all.

Posted by: | July 26, 2007 09:43 AM

He didn't say that he was driving and taking the conference call. Simply that the entire family was in the only vehicle they own.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 9:47 AM

It is highly unprofessional to conduct a conference call with children in the same room/car/whatever when you know they're too young to keep quiet. Your co-workers won't tell you this, but they've lost all respect for you. I'm glad I don't work with you.

You obviously are an Ahole. Hope you stay perfect at all times.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 9:50 AM

"It is highly unprofessional to conduct a conference call with children in the same room/car/whatever when you know they're too young to keep quiet. Your co-workers won't tell you this, but they've lost all respect for you. I'm glad I don't work with you."

It all depends on your job.

I manage a group that primarily works from home. They are all senior professionals with a relatively high [>$150K] average annual compensation. We have scheduled telecons as early as 0300 [since I was in Hawaii at the time] and have had telecons that have started as late as 2300. We occassionally have telecons on the weekend.

I've had people on my team on telecons when they were at amusement parks, driving to the beach with the family, and on the golf course. I've conducted telecons while walking the kids to school in the morning and while driving the family on vacation.

For our environment, it is much more critical to be able to communicate whenever is needed than it is to have individuals isolated away from their families.

While all of us put in more than 40 hours / week, the flexibility we have in the time and the ability to integrate it with other activities has made our general work / life balance pretty nice.

Posted by: A Dad | July 26, 2007 9:51 AM

More and more people telecommute nowadays and I bet more people are understanding. Now if you told your boss that you are in the office and he hears a child crying that might be a problem.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | July 26, 2007 9:53 AM

If I were your boss and determined that you were chauffeuring your children around during business hours, I would fire you. Yes, that might impact your income.

Posted by: robert7ii | July 26, 2007 09:09 AM

Yet I doubt you would think twice about scheduling something after business hours, because it's IMPORTANT right. Maybe a call about the TPS reports?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 9:54 AM

Your co-workers won't tell you this, but they've lost all respect for you.

ALL respect? As opposed to the warm regard in which they hold sexual harassers, contract defrauders, data falsifiers, embezzlers and their ilk, presumably.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 9:54 AM

Your co-workers won't tell you this, but they've lost all respect for you.

Who cares, you won't even remember these nitwits names in a couple of years but family is forever. I could care less what some of the losers I work with think of me.

Posted by: haha | July 26, 2007 9:56 AM

Your co-workers won't tell you this, but they've lost all respect for you.

I would imagine it's what your boss(es) thought that counts for much, much more.

What did they think? Have you inquired?

Posted by: Huh? | July 26, 2007 10:02 AM

until those losers cut my salary, raise, bonus.

Life isn't all about work, and family is more important, but you need to keep the job for money and benefits unless you are independently wealthy.

set boundaries between work and family.

Posted by: hahahah | July 26, 2007 10:02 AM

«To catlady and portuguese mother:»

«please write in English. Otherwise, get each other's e-mail addresses and conduct your private conversation off the board.»

«Posted by: Annoyed | July 26, 2007 09:33 AM»

Mr. Annoyed, you attack catlady and portuguese mother. «senhora dos gatos», she also writes in Portuguese, at 9:03 AM. You do not attack her, Why attack catlady or portuguese mother, if I wrote in Arabic would you attack me? Why attack anyone? Cannot we all just get along?

Posted by: abu ibrahim | July 26, 2007 10:02 AM

"He didn't say that he was driving and taking the conference call. Simply that the entire family was in the only vehicle they own."

True, but in his response he also ignored many poster's questions about who WAS driving - a little telling, don't you think?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 10:07 AM

Hello- Fidel (White House First Dogs barking in background)
Hello- George

Say, Fidel. We really have to do something about this situation before it gets out of - what?- I can't hear you- you'll call me back when? - Laura, could you please do something with those dogs? - I can't hear a word Fidel is saying - Fidel, Fidel, please don't hang up. Laura!!!!!!

Posted by: Elaine | July 26, 2007 10:07 AM

Hello- Fidel (White House First Dogs barking in background)
Hello- George

Say, Fidel. We really have to do something about this situation before it gets out of - what?- I can't hear you- you'll call me back when? - Laura, could you please do something with those dogs? - I can't hear a word Fidel is saying - Fidel, Fidel, please don't hang up. Laura!!!!!!

Is that a gay porn thing?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 10:14 AM

I cut off a subcontractor (male) who called me at home with his 2 girls quarelling on the background. Won't take any of this. Of cause, he was not a stellar performer either, just a regular Joe the English Major. For 6 months he was working with us, more or less on par with everybody else, but when time came to renew the arrangement, it just did not happen. That little incident tipped the scale. He was given some legitimate "restructuring/refocusing" reason.

Posted by: Fedcontractor | July 26, 2007 10:16 AM

This topic has been covered so extensively that the first thing that popped into my head was to congratulate you on being a one-car family. It must be difficult, but overall at least slightly better for the environment and a nice alternative to the showy consumerism that inundates us daily. I'm currently car-free, and will stay that way as long as possible through law school. Again, it won't be easy (not in California, for sure), but I'm sure my thighs will thank me after dozens of miles-long bike rides or walks to the grocery store, Target or whatnot. Plus, I'll save on gas, insurance, maintenance, and do my part for the environment.

I'm sure this has happened to everyone. I know I will be lambasted for this, but I conducted personal errands during my workday several times over the last few weeks, while preparing for the move. My hours are flexible, and people always knew where I was, so taking the cats to the vet, saying goodbye to friends and family, running to the post office, ordering airline tickets, and trying to arrange student loans during the day wasn't a problem as long as I got my work done. My best friend will mute a conference call to speak to her visiting grandfather if he needs her. We all have clashes between work and life. Luckily, your co-workers seemed to take it with good humor.

WorkingmomX, it may be because I'm not used to these glasses, but I swear I thought you wrote "au jus pair" instead of "au pair." Maybe I'm hungry...

Posted by: Mona | July 26, 2007 10:17 AM

Why is Brian a limo driver for his kids during work hours? Sheesh!

Posted by: nony | July 26, 2007 08:12 AM

Why am I getting blackberry messages at 11:00 at night that need to be responded to? Because I work for people like you, that's why.

Posted by: Bob | July 26, 2007 10:20 AM

Re: Phone Status. I placed the call from terra firma, then entered my vehicle and continued to participate. I was driving, and I was using a headset.

Go at it ...

Posted by: Brian Reid | July 26, 2007 10:25 AM

"Re: Phone Status. I placed the call from terra firma, then entered my vehicle and continued to participate. I was driving, and I was using a headset.

Go at it "

Bored to tears. Beyond caring. ZZZZZZZZZZZZ

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 10:28 AM

I will be lambasted for this, but I conducted personal errands during my workday several times over the last few weeks, while preparing for the move. My hours are flexible, and people always knew where I was, so taking the cats to the vet, saying goodbye to friends and family, running to the post office, ordering airline tickets, and trying to arrange student loans during the day wasn't a problem as long as I got my work done.
_________________________________
Sooo, you are one of those people in line at the post office making annoying business calls and holding up the line. I'm not sure which is more annoying? hmmm

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 10:29 AM

I was driving, and I was using a headset.

While it's better that you had both hands on the wheel, the mere fact of conducting a phone conversation while driving has been proven to be a danger. Brian, you should have pulled off the road if you knew you were going to be speaking on the phone.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 10:29 AM

Re: Phone Status. I placed the call from terra firma, then entered my vehicle and continued to participate. I was driving, and I was using a headset.

Go at it ...

Posted by: Brian Reid | July 26, 2007 10:25 AM

Before anyone gets too horrible about this, I doubt that everyone here drives in silence (no radio, no passenger, no humming or whistling either!). At least it was hands-free. Not ideal, but not the same as juggling the handset while changing gears.

Yeah, I have a standard transmission.

Posted by: Bedrock | July 26, 2007 10:31 AM

Sooo, you are one of those people in line at the post office making annoying business calls and holding up the line.

Mona never said she held up the line. While I'm no great fan of listening to other people's cell phone conversations in public, this is so minor. You are just deliberately trying to be nasty.

Posted by: To 10:29 | July 26, 2007 10:32 AM

I have to take the afternoon off to wait for a home repair guy. The repairs MUST be done. I have a con-call during that period with higher-ups that have dictated that I MUST attend.

Sometimes life does not schedule itself as neatly as we want it to, and we just can't control it.

If they happen to hear some hammering and drilling in the background while I am speaking, I consider this to be proof of my dedication to the employer. After all, I could have simply dropped the ball and passed responsiblity for this call onto some other co-worker -- then all you single people on the board would be crowing about how the married people/parents constantly screw you over by handing you their work....

Posted by: Proud Papa | July 26, 2007 10:33 AM

Not the same thing. The difference between a live conversation with a person in your vehicle and a phone conversation is that because your passenger is present they can actually tell if they need to stop talking so the driver can concentrate in a sticky road situation, or the driver can ask them to stop talking until it's over. Music playing in the vehicle can be ignored or turned off.

Posted by: To Bedrock | July 26, 2007 10:36 AM

"While I'm no great fan of listening to other people's cell phone conversations in public, "

I've been a captive audience where I had no choice but to listen. I can't repeat some of the things I've heard. Zowie!

Cell phone conversations! What a great topic!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 10:37 AM

Why am I getting blackberry messages at 11:00 at night that need to be responded to? Because I work for people like you, that's why.

No kidding, i have gotten emails from these types at 3 am. Sorry you have such a crummy life that you email people at 3 am. I won't do personal stuff and you stop expecting me to be up at 3am to answer an URGENT message about casual friday or some other crap.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 10:40 AM

Music playing in the vehicle can be ignored

People in the car can be ignored too.

I didn't say it was ideal. I doubt Brian embraces every opportunity to drive and talk. But it happens--note he was trying to get people where they needed to be.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 10:40 AM

Ok, back to today's topic (até já, catlady).
We´ve been focusing on the family/work overlap from the workplace perspective. What about the other way round?
I have a dear friend who keeps answering the phone on the few occasions we get together with our kids to have some "fun time" (park, ice-cream, book shopping, etc.). What really upsets me is her 2 year old kid's reaction while she's on the phone - running around relentlessly, making her chase him, calling her attention the best he can, in what looks like a much-rehearsed routine.
I get the distinct feeling it is never an emergency, not even a "mild" one. The caller could simply leave a message and she could call back; or she could answer only to assess if it was something relevant and otherwise postpone it. Yet she never does it. I've brought the subject up and she explained she feels "compelled" to answer and deal with the issue that very moment. I still don't fully understand why, appart from the occasional "emergency call" from work (including the client demands that a lot of posters mentioned today), some people aren't willing to (or capable of) keeping a "phone-free" slot of time when they are (apparently) spending some special time with their kids.

Posted by: portuguese mother | July 26, 2007 10:46 AM

Mona never said she held up the line. While I'm no great fan of listening to other people's cell phone conversations in public, this is so minor. You are just deliberately trying to be nasty.

________________________________
Not trying to be nasyt, just sick and tired of people acting like the whole world is their living room and behaving accordingly. Sick of people acting as if their lives are the only ones that matter. As if they are the only ones who have kids. As if they are the only people who have to get to work or get work done. The level of civility and consideration in our society has dropped significantly.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 10:48 AM

"Your co-workers won't tell you this, but they've lost all respect for you."

Nice how you know everything about Brian's work, his colleagues, and the nature of their expectations. On my team, my co-workers respect a colleague who makes every effort to participate in a call, whether or not it's scheduled at a mutually convenient time. Brian's availability at 4 meant everyone didn't have to wait until the next business day to move forward on the topic at hand. Responsiveness and flexibility are often more important than perfection. Of course, it depends on the team and other variables that we can't know.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 10:49 AM

The level of civility and consideration in our society has dropped significantly.

Leslie, please take note: This would make a great blog topic.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 10:52 AM

I've brought the subject up and she explained she feels "compelled" to answer and deal with the issue that very moment.

I think that's the only explanation you're going to get; it's all she's got!

I don't know why either. I turn my cell phone off, or leave it on silent but look to see if there is a message, when I'm out with family and/or friends.

But I also refuse to pause one conversation on the telephone to click over if there is another call. That's what voice mail is all about. Leave a message. I'll return it.

Maybe it's tied to a feeling of urgency? Or she feels she has to justify having a cell phone, therefore she has to answer it?

Of course, wouldn't it be interesting if she tried to wean herself off of it. I wonder if that is as hard as quitting smoking, or drinking?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 10:53 AM

good heavens, mona is back, and the oversharing resumes

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 10:53 AM

Sorry but I have no sympathy for this at all

As a single person I am expected to be available during normal working hours

I am fortunate that I can telecommute on certain occassions. However it is always understood that I will be available for work related duites. I would love to be able to take care of personal business but I don't because I am on COMPANY TIME and getting PAID

As other posters have said situations like this diminsh the likelyhood for telecommuting options and could even lead to revoking of telecommuting

Posted by: new poster | July 26, 2007 10:56 AM

I forgot to sign at 10:53 (the long post).

Posted by: Maryland Mother | July 26, 2007 10:56 AM

Simple solution: Don't read the posts you don't want to read.

Posted by: To 10:53 | July 26, 2007 10:57 AM

"As a single person I am expected to be available during normal working hours"

The same expectation is there for married people and parents too.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 10:58 AM

As other posters have said situations like this diminsh the likelyhood for telecommuting options and could even lead to revoking of telecommuting

This is stupid. Most telecommuters put more hours total than non telecommuters

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 10:59 AM

snippet from Brian's post at 9:01:

because I work from home, my work day starts at 6 a.m. and I end up putting in a couple of evening hours at least a couple of times a week. And I do work in a client-focused business and consider myself on-call pretty much all the time.

Sounds like 8-11 hours/day to me.

Posted by: to New Poster | July 26, 2007 11:00 AM

obrigada

Posted by: Leslie | July 26, 2007 11:02 AM

It's not holding the phone that is the distraction while driving, but the talking and listening.

There've been enough studies conducted to determine that trying to drive and talk on a phone increases your reaction time considerably, as well as reducing your ability to perceive potential hazards. Throw in yelling and disruptive children in the mix as well and you've got a potentially dangerous situation.

If your wife was in the car she should have been the one to drive while you handled your business on the phone.

Posted by: John L | July 26, 2007 11:02 AM

As other posters have said situations like this diminsh the likelyhood for telecommuting options and could even lead to revoking of telecommuting

Posted by: | July 26, 2007 10:59 AM

Failure to use spellcheck like this diminishes the likelihood for job opportunities whether or not telecommuting is an option.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 11:04 AM

obrigada

Posted by: Leslie | July 26, 2007 11:02 AM

I looked it up (excuse me); you wanted to join in?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 11:06 AM

Thank you 10:58 that was my point

Overall its time for all of us single, married, childless, parents, men, women, old, young to band together and say

Since when is it expected to work outside work hours. Give me more compensation or I am leaving.

This is the only way to achieve true work-life balance.

Posted by: new poster | July 26, 2007 11:06 AM

portuguese mother

"I still don't fully understand why, appart from the occasional "emergency call" from work (including the client demands that a lot of posters mentioned today), some people aren't willing to (or capable of) keeping a "phone-free" slot of time when they are (apparently) spending some special time with their kids. "

I didn't grow up with a phone, so there was a time that when a call came in for my family from the corner store, it was a true emergency, and we rushed to answer the call (telegrams are a rough equivalent).

When I finally could afford a phone, there was no caller ID or answering machines, so yes, I did run to answer each call. The vast majority of the calls were baloney, but you never could tell when the call was important. Answer for me - NEVER.

Now I have caller ID and I don't run to answer my personal cell phone EVER. The vast majority of my calls are still baloney.

It's a matter of conditioning, personality, and ego. Relates to yesterday's conversation about big yakkers.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 11:07 AM

"Of course, wouldn't it be interesting if she tried to wean herself off of it. I wonder if that is as hard as quitting smoking, or drinking?"

It would, Maryland Mother, but I think that - unlike smokers or drinkers - "cell phone addicted" persons don't (or won't) realize they actually have an addiction. Perhaps they should begin by trying to understand the source of those "feelings of urgency"...

Posted by: portuguese mother | July 26, 2007 11:08 AM

Maybe extra hours are the price one pays for the luxury of telecommuting.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 11:09 AM

I think you may be overlooking an important point, he doesn't have "normal" working hours. His day starts at 6 a.m. So if he were an 8-hours-in-a-row employee, his day was done at 2 p.m. Oh, all right. 2:30 (lunch is unpaid).

Posted by: to New Poster | July 26, 2007 11:09 AM

11:04 I feel sorry for your pathetic excuse of an existance

Posted by: new poster | July 26, 2007 11:09 AM

Maryland Mother, your replies to Portuguese Mother's description of her friend are right on target.

I'd add that there may be a slight cultural difference operating between the US and Portugal. While individuals in any culture will vary, of course, my personal observation is that many Portuguese embraced the cell-phone culture sooner and even more avidly than Americans have, so it has become more entrenched in the culture already.

Another difference I've observed is that a higher percentage of Portuguese (than Americans) seem to be polite enough to remove themselves from the room or to step outdoors in order to take an incoming call (or possibly they want to conduct the conversation in private without others eavesdropping!).

Portuguese Mother, are you actually from Portugal, or an American living there? In either event, do you think your background might make a difference in how you perceive the situation? Just grasping at straws here.

Of course, it all might boil down to the personality of the individual cell-phone using mom, and have nothing to do with anything else!

Posted by: catlady | July 26, 2007 11:12 AM

Spelling Police!

"11:04 I feel sorry for your pathetic excuse of an existance"

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 11:13 AM

Brian, I agree with John L - you placed the call while the car was stopped. That was the perfect opportunity for your wife to take over the driving while you participated in your conference call. That's the much safer option.

And yes, I have participated in conference calls while in the car on vacation, and it's always been done while my wife is driving.

When I'm driving in the car by myself, I don't answer the cell phone unless I'm safely stopped. (If I'm at a red light, I might answer and tell whoever's calling that I can't talk, I'm driving; I'll call back in a couple of minutes if it's a crisis.)

Posted by: Army Brat | July 26, 2007 11:13 AM

"The vast majority of my calls are still baloney."

Posted by: | July 26, 2007 11:07 AM

Maybe 55% of the time, the call is from someone who wants something from me, and that's OK, because I'm paid to do things for people. Another 40% of calls are the wrong number, or more precisely, the wrong telephone exchange plus the last four digits of my number. The other 5%, it's just someone with something to tell me.

Posted by: Matt in Aberdeen | July 26, 2007 11:14 AM

"Existence".

It's a good point though, you may be dinged for misspellings and not ever be aware that it was a problem for your supervisor(s). They are under no obligation to tell you this information.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 11:15 AM

Can we please stop talking about these inane issues. Yes, we know. Day care sucks. No it doesn't. Stay at home moms need to get a life. No, we have a life. Blah, blah, blah. Let's talk about the important issues. Should Lindsay Blow-Han go to jail???? What do you think people???

Posted by: Baba Booey | July 26, 2007 11:17 AM

I guess it comes down to the employer and the employee

(Obviously this is all guessing since I don't know all the details)

If the employer requires the employee to be available 24/7 then there is no excuse for what happened

You have to look at it from the employer. To the employer the employee is a cog in a money making enterprise and is expected to perform with no distrations

It is up to the employee to negotiate a better working environment, more compensation for additional duties, or leave the company.

I would note again IMHO that more people should leave companies that have hostile work environments. Instead people stay and overtime these hostile environments become accepted. There are tons of companies out there

One other note I have noticed. New and younger hires are willingly to put up with much more "abuse" Always remember you ultimately have the power not the employer. You should never feel overwhelmed. If you do its time to get a new job.

Posted by: new poster | July 26, 2007 11:17 AM

Listen to all the rigid 9 - 5ers and their inflexibility.

Sometimes what you get from jobs that demand more hours is far more valuable to work-life balance than a 37.5 hour week where taking a sick day stops the world from turning on its axis: flexibility. Both my spouse and I take advantage of the flexibility of our jobs' time demands to handle personal tasks. We can cover a snow day from home, take a child to the doctor's or participate in a mid-day parent/teacher conference, take a 2 hour lunch to go the gym, and our colleagues do the same -- all because we don't punch a clock, fill out a time sheet, or use leave slips. Yes, we work more than 37.5 hours per week, but we often can shift our responsibilities to hours that work with our family life, e.g., he can get on the phone with a developer in India when the kids are in bed.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 11:18 AM

I have kids, but so far no incidents like this. I've been on a call, and my son will come in the home office, but usually I persuade him to exit quickly. I have been on the other end where someone is on a call with kids in the background. Typically, people will give a heads up before the meeting begins, and I think that is a good idea. I mean, it's pretty inevitable that in a situation like the one described here that there will be some noises. I would just say, "hey, fyi I was running late (insert excuse), so I'm on the cell in the car with the kids. so you may here an occaisional shout." That usually defuses things, and people chuckle. And use mute liberally. That means you actually have to learn how to use mute on the cell phone.

Personally, I don't care if someone's kids make an occaisional sound on a call or two. If the person does it on one or two calls, its fine and even cute. If it became a habit, that would be a problem.

Posted by: Cliff | July 26, 2007 11:19 AM

Does your job require you to write a great deal? I ask because I wish to get out my big red pen and correct your misspellings, punctuation errors and other grammatical mistakes.

If it doesn't, then don't worry about it.

Posted by: to new poster | July 26, 2007 11:22 AM

Oh, I forgot: Some employers are flexible. Some are not. Oh my God!!!!! What insight. Thankfully, I am my own employer. (But I'm not all that flexible. I can't put my legs behind my ears for example.)

Posted by: Baba Booey | July 26, 2007 11:23 AM

Why were you on a cell phone and driving? I must have missed the part where you pulled over to the side of the road, huh?

Posted by: Phillyfilly | July 26, 2007 11:24 AM

"To catlady and portuguese mother:

Does your conversation have anything to do with the topic of this message board? If it does, please write in English. Otherwise, get each other's e-mail addresses and conduct your private conversation off the board.

Posted by: Annoyed | July 26, 2007 09:33 AM"

Were you here yesterday? It was disgusting. And it was in English. I'd say about 30% of posts were either on-topic, helpful and polite, or both, and the rest were just sexist trolls. Portuguese Mother and Catlady have posted, what, three times each, in Portuguese? Get over yourself, and if you want to pick on someone, pick on the sexist trolls from yesterday. "Get me a sammich, baby, and telepathically guess whether I want ketchup or mustard, 'cause all you'll get is a caveman grunt from me!"
----------
"Sooo, you are one of those people in line at the post office making annoying business calls and holding up the line. I'm not sure which is more annoying?"

Fair enough, but maybe I didn't make myself clear. More like I would run to the post office during my lunch hour and maybe make it back a few minutes late because of the line that was there BEFORE me. I remember taking exactly ONE phone call in line at the PO, it was about five minutes, it was on a Saturday, and it was personal. I was at the back of the line and exactly zero people had to wait on me. What I meant was more like, I've made personal calls from the office, especially in the last few weeks. As with most things, however, there is an exchange. When someone was needed to do cross-breeding at two a.m., I was the one who stayed. When someone was needed to camp out overnight to finish a procedure, it was me. I don't think anyone minded the occasional phone call to a bank or student loan lender or veterinarian at 3 p.m., if I was still there--and working--at 3 a.m. It was just the way the cookie crumbled at my job.

Posted by: Mona | July 26, 2007 11:28 AM

What if you had to be in the office on this call, not driving a 2-ton vehicle in traffic on a cell phone with a squaking kid. Would you have taken your screaming kid into the office? That would have smacked of unprofessionalism. Why couldn't you make sure you were home for the call. Your wife could have done the driving, picking up, dropping off. Bad example of scheduling conflicts == poor management skills.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 11:28 AM

Hey Brian - I've been there - sometimes crap happens and you just have to take it in stride.

I think the real question is what you negotiated when you set up your situation. My boss and I both telecommute, my boss had done it for a long time before he hired me. When we interviewed, we were very explicit about what kind of hours I would work and what both of our expectations were, and we have a very good match. Both of us are focused on the work, we both recognize that the other may not always work regular hours, and we communicate a lot about deadlines and timing.

This tweaks out some of my colleagues who don't have the same flexibility. But the fact is that the nature of my job is different, this is what I negotiated, and my boss is happy with my work.

Posted by: Megan | July 26, 2007 11:29 AM

This is the only way to achieve true work-life balance.

Posted by: new poster | July 26, 2007 11:06 AM

The world exists in shades of gray, not black and white as you seem to believe.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 11:29 AM

I have been in so many conference calls where people are calling: from a cell phone with poor signal; from a busy and noisy airport; from an office with a lot of background noise (people talking loudly, construction going on, etc.). An isolated baby scream is not different. Now if she was screaming continuosly all the time, that would be a different matter.

Posted by: ogs | July 26, 2007 11:30 AM

i am one of theose people who cares more aobut the content than ther presnestion

As longs as you get the jist does it really mater?

and yes I am an engineer

P.S. Word has spell and grammer check for people like me

P.P.S Blogging style and work style are two different things

Posted by: new poster | July 26, 2007 11:30 AM

"Can we please stop talking about these inane issues. . . . Stay at home moms need to get a life. No, we have a life. . . . What do you think people???"

Posted by: Baba Booey '88 MPP | July 26, 2007 11:17 AM

I think these issues are the heart and soul of Leslie's "On Balance" blog. Celebrity news and scandals are just the "circuses" that the élite capitalist bosses use to distract working families from their everyday difficulties in putting bread on the table and keeping a roof over their heads. Ignore the celebrities and scandals and discuss how we can build a better world where workers are not torn between their children's needs and the near-insatiable demands of their bottom-line-hungry bosses. That's what I think.

Posted by: Matt in Aberdeen | July 26, 2007 11:32 AM

11:29

I think it all comes down to what work environment/culture you are in.

Posted by: new poster | July 26, 2007 11:32 AM

i am one of theose people who cares more aobut the content than ther presnestion

It's sloppy and unprofessional and will affect your lifetime earnings.

As longs as you get the jist does it really mater?

Yes. I am an engineer too and I want precision.

Posted by: Your boss | July 26, 2007 11:33 AM

Can we please stop talking about these inane issues. Yes, we know. Day care sucks. No it doesn't. Stay at home moms need to get a life. No, we have a life. Blah, blah, blah. Let's talk about the important issues. Should Lindsay Blow-Han go to jail???? What do you think people???

Posted by: Baba Booey | July 26, 2007 11:17 AM

you are one of the more self-absorbed people this blog has ever attracted, and the more you post, the fewer posts there are from people who have something constructive to say.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 11:34 AM

Cliff

"Personally, I don't care if someone's kids make an occaisional sound on a call or two. If the person does it on one or two calls, its fine and even cute. If it became a habit, that would be a problem. "

But because you tolerated the screaming kid a couple of times, I am entitled to your support ('cause after all, I am raising the future of America!) and you are a big meanie child-hater when you make an issue of my kid in the background.

You should have nipped the problem in the bud.

Posted by: Barney Fife | July 26, 2007 11:35 AM

Hey Brian - I've been there - sometimes crap happens and you just have to take it in stride.

I think the real question is what you negotiated when you set up your situation. My boss and I both telecommute, my boss had done it for a long time before he hired me. When we interviewed, we were very explicit about what kind of hours I would work and what both of our expectations were, and we have a very good match. Both of us are focused on the work, we both recognize that the other may not always work regular hours, and we communicate a lot about deadlines and timing.

This tweaks out some of my colleagues who don't have the same flexibility. But the fact is that the nature of my job is different, this is what I negotiated, and my boss is happy with my work.

Posted by: Megan | July 26, 2007 11:29 AM

Ah, Megan - the voice of reason once again.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | July 26, 2007 11:36 AM

Yes. I am an engineer too and I want precision.

Oh joy, one of those who needs everything just so before they can make a decision. Engineers are the most boring people in the world.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 11:38 AM

"you are one of the more self-absorbed people this blog has ever attracted, and the more you post, the fewer posts there are from people who have something constructive to say."

Why, thank you!!! Thank you my child. I love you more than God him- (or her-) self.

Posted by: Baba Booey | July 26, 2007 11:38 AM

"I think these issues are the heart and soul of Leslie's "On Balance" blog. Celebrity news and scandals are just the "circuses" that the élite capitalist bosses use to distract working families from their everyday difficulties in putting bread on the table and keeping a roof over their heads. Ignore the celebrities and scandals and discuss how we can build a better world where workers are not torn between their children's needs and the near-insatiable demands of their bottom-line-hungry bosses. That's what I think."

God Bless you Matt in Aberdeen. We are two peas in a pod, as my grand-pappy used to say.

Posted by: Baba Booey | July 26, 2007 11:40 AM

I actually am trying to come up with a plan for my maternity leave, which will accomodate me and also disrupt my job as little as possible. Paid leave is not an issue. I have more than enough to cover me for more than 3 months. But my co-worker partner is retiring at the end of the year (which is when the baby will be born), and I work at a government agency, which means it takes a long time to hire new people. So that means that other folks in my office who are not familiar with my duties may have to take them on for a few weeks while a new person is hired and trained (if we are lucky enough to get a new person in on time).

My boss has asked if there is anyway I could put in some hours from home, before the 12 week maternity leave expires, maybe after 6 or 8 weeks. She cannot require me to do this, but I am willing to accomodate her in a pinch, because I know that if I needed accomodation, she would also be flexible with me. Rather than taking 12 full weeks, I will take 6 - 8 weeks, be on call for emergencies, and then work part-time from home for another 3 months or so, while also being on call for emergencies. I have no doubt that family and work will collide during these times, and I have explained this to my boss. But she is fine with it, because she needs my help and is willing to put up with some background noise if necessary. To her, it's worth it. I would much rather just take my three months of leave and not worry about work, but I like my job and am willing to be flexible with them, since they are flexible with me.

Posted by: Emily | July 26, 2007 11:40 AM

"Portuguese Mother, are you actually from Portugal, or an American living there? In either event, do you think your background might make a difference in how you perceive the situation?"

I'm Portuguese and I live in Portugal (flattered you could even mistake me for a native "writer"; I sometimes refrain from posting because I fear I wouldn't get it right !).
The way I perceive the situation has more to do with standard issues (as pointed by 11:07 am post - you don't need to rush to the phone anymore in the era of caller ID and voice mail) than with background. In such matters, globalization blurs the differences.
People who put themselves "on call" all the time may have ego-related issues; it can be a way of overstating their importance, either to themselves or to their imaginary audience (usually the ones forced to hear the conversation...).
But I guess it can be a little more subtle than that, depending on what kind of interaction are you removing yourself from in order to answer the call.

By the way, catlady, I'm afraid the percentage of Portuguese that "seem to be polite enough to remove themselves from the room or to step outdoors in order to take an incoming call (or possibly they want to conduct the conversation in private without others eavesdropping!)" has been experiencing a dramatic decrease...

Posted by: portuguese mother | July 26, 2007 11:43 AM

Emily - your plan sounds like the mature, reasonable response to a real business need. Would that everyone going out on maternity leave would be so thoughtful and that every boss would be direct about expressing the business need and appreciative of your accommodation.

Posted by: MN | July 26, 2007 11:45 AM

I would guess the question is, how often does this happen. If it's like once in a complete blue moon, then not a big deal. If it's once a month, then there's something wrong. I would say you learned a lesson about how loud babies can be, and next time make sure you can be well away from your little one during a call. My boss used to telecommute and call me from home with multiple screaming kids in the background. It was really awful- I could barely understand him and it was almost impossible to concentrate on what he was saying. I never understood why he couldn't just go in another room, or how in the world he actually got any work done from home.

I also REALLY hope you were not the one driving while you were on the phone!

Posted by: reston, va | July 26, 2007 11:45 AM

"I love you more than God him- (or her-) self."

Posted by: Baba Booey '88 MPP | July 26, 2007 11:38 AM

"God Bless you Matt in Aberdeen."

Posted by: Baba Booey '88 MPP | July 26, 2007 11:40 AM

Exodus 20:7. Deuteronomy 5:11.

Posted by: Matt in Aberdeen | July 26, 2007 11:46 AM

Emily

"But she is fine with it, because she needs my help and is willing to put up with some background noise if necessary. To her, it's worth it."

What the employee can bring to the table is usually what tips the scales.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 11:47 AM

Emily:

In all seriousness, I think you have it right. The U.S. has very different maternity policies compared to the rest of the world. But we all know that and must live within those rules (and if we don't like it, we can try to emigrate to Canada I suppose). Anyway, my employer at the time also (subtly) pressured me that maybe three months of maternity leave was too long. Because we had such a good relationship before my son was born, I was willing to accomodate him. This is all about respect. If my employer respects me, I might make some concessions toward him or her. And (I would hope) vice versa.

Posted by: Baba Booey | July 26, 2007 11:50 AM

"Exodus 20:7. Deuteronomy 5:11."

Gosh darn those Gideons. They didn't have the good sense to put a Bible in my office drawer!!!

Posted by: Baba Booey | July 26, 2007 11:51 AM

Some of the responses tell me what I already knew -- even people who claim to be family friendly really don't understand.

I don't schedule any calls when I'm on "mom" duty. It's not possible for me to concentrate on the call and take care of my DS at the same time. But... Like so many others have said, sometimes things happen (in my case, it's usually a sick child and a deadline and I have to find a way to take care of both).

My co-workers understand and are usually patient because they know I'm taking care of a sick child and still trying to meet their deadline. But I've never done a conf. call with a client or outside partner/vendor while I'm "on duty" with my DS. You never know who understands and who doesn't... And I've been surprised by the number of people who give lip-service to work family balance, but don't practice felxiblity.

Posted by: San Diego Mama | July 26, 2007 11:52 AM

Ah, Megan - the voice of reason once again.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | July 26, 2007 11:36 AM

Again? ha, but i guess if your Megan's Neighbor, you want to kiss up a little

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 11:53 AM

Matt in Aberdeen:

'88 MPP!?!?!?!? How old do you think I am?

Posted by: Baba Booey | July 26, 2007 11:55 AM

Emily, good for you for being willing to negotiate. I actually agree with Baba Booey (wow) - it is all about respect. And honesty, I guess - everyone has to be upfront about what they're really expecting and really willing to do/tolerate. Nothing worse than someone saying, "no, of course it's fine if _____" when in fact it's not.

Posted by: Megan | July 26, 2007 11:57 AM

San Diego Mama

"You never know who understands and who doesn't... And I've been surprised by the number of people who give lip-service to work family balance, but don't practice felxiblity. "

The truth is that most people don't care about your kids or your aging parents; that's why you change their poopy diapers and I don't. We pretend to care, but we don't. Are you really surprised?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 11:59 AM

I think what it comes down to is Brian deciding if he really is a SAHD (as his blog proclaims) or if he really is a working dad (which is the reality.) If he did this, there wouldn't be a need for him to wonder about the questions he's asking in today's blog entry.

Most SAHPs don't worry about their children ruining their professional lives because they don't HAVE professional lives.

Posted by: a SAHM | July 26, 2007 12:00 PM

http://www.kcra.com/news/13757790/detail.html

CONCORD, Calif. -- A man who said he mistakenly left his 11-month-old son in a hot car for more than six hours while he went to work was arrested Wednesday night in the boy's death.

------------------
Another reason not to multitask

Posted by: joys of multitasking | July 26, 2007 12:00 PM

Sheeeeesh. Not everyone works 9 - 5. My schedule is 7-3:30 and yes, I am a professional. I get more done between 7 and 10 am than I do the rest of the day.

Posted by: shoefly | July 26, 2007 12:02 PM

I'm not a neighbor of either Megan or her neighbor, but I also view Megan's comments as most reasonable.

Portuguese Mother, your English is excellent -- better than that of some of the native-speakers who post here!

Posted by: catlady | July 26, 2007 12:02 PM

Baba Booey

No need to speculate about the future of skanky druggies.

Darwinism will always take its course.

Posted by: Beagle | July 26, 2007 12:02 PM

"Caring" is irrelevant. Valuing the bottom line productivity of an employee over your deep-seated preferences for how everyone in the universe should behave is what matters. Talking about poopy diapers suggests you stopped maturing at 11 years of age. Get off the computer and read Captain Underpants.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 12:02 PM

Listen to all the rigid 9 - 5ers and their inflexibility.

Sometimes what you get from jobs that demand more hours is far more valuable to work-life balance than a 37.5 hour week where taking a sick day stops the world from turning on its axis: flexibility. Both my spouse and I take advantage of the flexibility of our jobs' time demands to handle personal tasks. We can cover a snow day from home, take a child to the doctor's or participate in a mid-day parent/teacher conference, take a 2 hour lunch to go the gym, and our colleagues do the same -- all because we don't punch a clock, fill out a time sheet, or use leave slips. Yes, we work more than 37.5 hours per week, but we often can shift our responsibilities to hours that work with our family life, e.g., he can get on the phone with a developer in India when the kids are in bed.

Posted by: | July 26, 2007 11:18 AM

_________________________________

Very well said!

Posted by: BLE | July 26, 2007 12:03 PM

LOVE the "Office Space" reference. Umm, yeah, we're going to need to move you to the basement...

Posted by: to 9:54 | July 26, 2007 12:04 PM

Workin' 9 to 5
What a way to make a livin'
Barely gettin' by
Its all takin'
And no givin'
They just use your mind
And they never give you credit
Its enough to drive you
Crazy if you let it

Posted by: Thanks, Dolly | July 26, 2007 12:09 PM

AUGH! Now I will have that in my head all day. Thanks, Dolly, indeed. She sure nailed it though!

Posted by: Megan | July 26, 2007 12:10 PM

I think what it comes down to is Brian deciding if he really is a SAHD (as his blog proclaims) or if he really is a working dad (which is the reality.) If he did this, there wouldn't be a need for him to wonder about the questions he's asking in today's blog entry.

Most SAHPs don't worry about their children ruining their professional lives because they don't HAVE professional lives.

Posted by: a SAHM | July 26, 2007 12:00 PM

So . . . Brian and his family have the option to have a parent at home and also not have all of their economic eggs in one basket - sounds like a plan to envy, not sneer at.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 12:11 PM

"I remember taking exactly ONE phone call in line at the PO, it was about five minutes, it was on a Saturday, and it was personal. I was at the back of the line and exactly zero people had to wait on me."

We may not have had to wait on you, but we sure as hell had to listen to you...gawd, I hate listening to people's inane phone calls EVERYWHERE!

Posted by: CJB | July 26, 2007 12:33 PM

"I think what it comes down to is Brian deciding if he really is a SAHD (as his blog proclaims) or if he really is a working dad (which is the reality.)"

I disagree, I don't think every parent should have to make a stark choice between staying home full time and working full time - those are very limiting options. Creating part-time positions that are substantive and meaningful and full-time positions that are flexible is possible and can provide many parents with a balance that better suits them. The fact that there are problems to be ironed out or that it's not a solution for everyone doesn't mean we have to go back to the same rigid choices, it means we have to figure out how to do it better.

Posted by: Megan | July 26, 2007 12:33 PM

"She cannot require me to do this, but I am willing to accomodate her in a pinch, because I know that if I needed accomodation, she would also be flexible with me."

Discuss this at length and in minute detail. How will she accomodate you for this? For how long? What if you try and it really can't possibly work (for example, your baby lands in the NICU for an extended period of time)?

Get it in writing. Don't forget that your boss could disappear for any number of reasons herself, along with all her promises.

Not saying it will happen, but be very careful.

Best wishes.

Posted by: I'm a fed too | July 26, 2007 12:35 PM

http://www.kcra.com/news/13757790/detail.html

CONCORD, Calif. -- A man who said he mistakenly left his 11-month-old son in a hot car for more than six hours while he went to work was arrested Wednesday night in the boy's death.

------------------
Another reason not to multitask

Posted by: joys of multitasking | July 26, 2007 12:00 PM

Shame on you for smugly citing this tragedy to help make a point. An helpless child is dead, a family is in agony, a father is jail and all you can think is how this helps make your point. Even if it does (and I don't agree at all), it's not worth even bringing up. I have a 9 month son and feel like crying.

Posted by: Shame | July 26, 2007 12:41 PM

Ah, Megan - the voice of reason once again.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | July 26, 2007 11:36 AM


Again? ha, but i guess if your Megan's Neighbor, you want to kiss up a little

Posted by: | July 26, 2007 11:53 AM

FYI - Megan and Megan's Neighbor are only virtual neighbors. Kissing up to sensible people strikes me as more than useful on this blog, since I'd rather read what sensible people like Megan, Laura and Proud Papa post then the senseless, multiple punctuation point, incoherent, abusive rantings of a few others. To each his own plan.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | July 26, 2007 12:42 PM

A man who said he mistakenly left his 11-month-old son in a hot car for more than six hours while he went to work was arrested Wednesday night in the boy's death.

Besides, Brian works at home. Remember? Plus his wife was in the car with him!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 12:43 PM

"An helpless child is dead..."

A helpless child is dead.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 12:45 PM

"An helpless child is dead..."

A helpless child is dead.

Posted by: | July 26, 2007 12:45 PM

Do you correct people's pronunciation and grammar when they are crying, too?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 12:47 PM

Most SAHPs don't worry about their children ruining their professional lives because they don't HAVE professional lives.

Posted by: a SAHM | July 26, 2007 12:00 PM

Finally, a realist among the SAHMs. Now shut up and fix dinner. Shut the kid up too.

Posted by: Mike | July 26, 2007 12:52 PM

http://www.kcra.com/news/13757790/detail.html

CONCORD, Calif. -- A man who said he mistakenly left his 11-month-old son in a hot car for more than six hours while he went to work was arrested Wednesday night in the boy's death.

------------------
Another reason not to multitask

Posted by: joys of multitasking | July 26, 2007 12:00 PM

This has zero to do with multi-tasking and everything to do with being forgetful. Using this tragedy to somehow suggest that the use of a cell phone while driving presents a risk of leaving your infant in the car is more than a stretch. You might want to enroll in a community college class on statistics that distinguishes between correlation and causation.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 12:54 PM

Being the only paid staffer of a small organization, I brought my daughter to work with me for the first year of her life (she's now 8). Once while multi-tasking -- nursing the baby and participating in a conference call -- I attempted to move her to the other side with the phone crooked between my neck and shoulder. Just as her head was even with the phone she let out the biggest burp of her entire life. I was horrified! The others laughed it off and even teased me a little for trying to blame it on the baby. I'm not sure any one but me remembers the whole event, but colleagues still respect my abilities to balancing motherhood and my career and some feel particularly attached to that precious little girl they saw as often as they saw me that year.

Posted by: busyb2 | July 26, 2007 12:55 PM

That's a funny story! Does she know it too?

Posted by: to busyb2 | July 26, 2007 12:58 PM

What I hate are the corporate automatons that act as if we are all not human. We all have child problems, health problems, personal problems. Keep that in mind, the next problem MAY BE YOURS!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 1:00 PM

here I was hoping that, overnight, Mike had fallen under a bus or developed carpal tunnel syndrome.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 1:02 PM

Brian's post has less to do with the flexibility of one's working hours than it does with the level of professionalism that one is willing to bring to the table during the hours that one has agreed to work. It is a sad commentary on our culture that so many people seem to think it's okay to take calls from wherever - the beach, the amusement park, the car when one is chauffering the family around. Personally, I think it's rude. What you're saying is that everyone else must accommodate their schedules and working preferences to yours. It's just one more example of how individualistic and narcissistic American culture has become.

Posted by: Murphy | July 26, 2007 1:05 PM

Ok, I've finally recovered from my laughing fit at the idea anyone, much less a neighbor, should suck up to me, so now I can say right back atchya, MN and Catlady!

Posted by: Megan | July 26, 2007 1:06 PM

You may want to read the rest of Brian's post at 9:01 a.m.:

"I am not particularly worked up about occasionally being away from my desk at 4 p.m. -- because I work from home, my work day starts at 6 a.m. and I end up putting in a couple of evening hours at least a couple of times a week. And I do work in a client-focused business and consider myself on-call pretty much all the time."

Posted by: to Murphy | July 26, 2007 1:08 PM

the beach, the amusement park, the car when one is chauffering the family around. Personally, I think it's rude. What you're saying is that everyone else must accommodate their schedules and working preferences to yours. It's just one more example of how individualistic and narcissistic American culture has become.

No, it actually is a sign that sitting at a desk does not comprise work. The wonderful thing about, email, fax, phones and computers is that work can be done outside the cubicle farm. Sad that there are still retro 1950 bosses out there with so little management skills.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 1:09 PM

Brian's post has less to do with the flexibility of one's working hours than it does with the level of professionalism that one is willing to bring to the table during the hours that one has agreed to work. It is a sad commentary on our culture that so many people seem to think it's okay to take calls from wherever - the beach, the amusement park, the car when one is chauffering the family around. Personally, I think it's rude. What you're saying is that everyone else must accommodate their schedules and working preferences to yours.

Posted by: Murphy | July 26, 2007 01:05 PM

You already made the same point this morning and you are oblivious to the fact that what you label "rude", in many industries, is considered exatly what you say you want - "responsive" and "accommodating". My colleagues value a willingness to be available NOW more than waiting for perfectly convenient - for me - conditions LATER. Leave the condescending comments about the decline of American culture. This is a much smaller issue and more specific to certain jobs than others.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 1:10 PM

Makes me wonder if Murphy has co-workers, or a sound-proof private office. No distracting noises or sights, ever.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 1:13 PM

Murphy probably believes in really strict office dress codes, too.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 1:15 PM

"Matt in Aberdeen:

"'88 MPP!?!?!?!? How old do you think I am?"

Posted by: Baba Booey | July 26, 2007 11:55 AM

The default poster in this blog -- even if no one else posts anything -- is Leslie Morgan Steiner '87. So the default age is Leslie's age. I gave you an extra year to get the MPP at KSG. '87 + 1 = '88. Plus, the initials "BB" look sort of like the numeral "88".

Posted by: Matt in Aberdeen | July 26, 2007 1:20 PM

Murphy probably believes in really strict office dress codes, too.

I am sure there is a 3am email on saturday night laying around to from him

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 1:20 PM

What you're saying is that everyone else must accommodate their schedules and working preferences to yours.

which is what you are saying too.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 1:21 PM

Murphy probably believes in really strict office dress codes, too.

Posted by: | July 26, 2007 01:15 PM

Murphy is the one who calls HR and complains that a colleague lacks hosiery in August in DC, is wearing open-toed pumps, black garments that aren't all from the same dye-lot, and chipped nailpolish, and came in to the office at 9:03 this morning (for the first time in 7 years).

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 1:21 PM

MPP at KSG

WTF?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 1:23 PM

Murphy is the one who calls HR and complains that a colleague lacks hosiery in August in DC, is wearing open-toed pumps, black garments that aren't all from the same dye-lot, and chipped nailpolish, and came in to the office at 9:03 this morning (for the first time in 7 years).

And is not a team player because she can't stay for the meeting that was called at 5:30 on a friday to discuss whether red shirts or blue shirts should be worn to the conference next year.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 1:24 PM

Masters in Public Policy from the Kennedy School of Government - a reference to yesterday's blog comments

Posted by: tf is | July 26, 2007 1:24 PM

Murphy probably believes in really strict office dress codes, too.

Posted by: | July 26, 2007 01:15 PM

Murphy is the one who calls HR and complains that a colleague lacks hosiery in August in DC, is wearing open-toed pumps, black garments that aren't all from the same dye-lot, and chipped nailpolish, and came in to the office at 9:03 this morning (for the first time in 7 years).

Posted by: | July 26, 2007 01:21 PM

Which is what Murphy does instead of her real job.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 1:25 PM

1:24 - Touche, LOL.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 1:25 PM

The best thing to do when you interview is to find out the hours your boss works, if they are single and if they seem like they have no life out of the company. You will be working like your boss works so be prepared.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 1:26 PM

Which is what Murphy does instead of her real job

Well put. Murphy's hero is Dwight Shrute

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 1:31 PM

And is not a team player because she can't stay for the meeting that was called at 5:30 on a friday to discuss whether red shirts or blue shirts should be worn to the conference next year.

Posted by: | July 26, 2007 01:24 PM

No, not fior the conference, you mean for the retreat. Business suits with long-sleeved white shirts for the conference.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 1:33 PM

The best thing to do when you interview is to find out the hours your boss works, if they are single and if they seem like they have no life out of the company. You will be working like your boss works so be prepared.

Posted by: | July 26, 2007 01:26 PM

That's a great starting point, but it assumes that people stay in exactly the positions they currently inhabit for awhile. Even bosses get promoted, down-sized, relocate, retire, or otherwise move on some time. If the person hiring you has less stringent expectations or is more lenient than everyone else in the organization, don't count on him or her being in place forever to give you cover.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 1:34 PM

Murphy will report you for typing "fior" instead of "for" on the memo.

Posted by: To 1:33 | July 26, 2007 1:35 PM

No, not fior the conference, you mean for the retreat. Business suits with long-sleeved white shirts for the conference.

He reminds me of my old dilbert boss. We went as a group out of town and had a per diem of 50 bucks a day, which we went to chilis, etc with. When we got back he was mad and said we spent too much money. Apparently he had eaten at mcdonalds for EVERY meal to save money. I told him they approved that money to be spent and if they wanted us to eat at mcdonalds they would have approved a lower amount. Total idiot ( By the way this was 4 day conference!)

Posted by: say no to pointy headed bosses | July 26, 2007 1:38 PM

you must stop - you're making me laugh way too loudly in my office with your murphy and pointy headed boss comments.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 1:41 PM

No, not fior the conference, you mean for the retreat. Business suits with long-sleeved white shirts for the conference

Yes his boss may be there, must look sharp for that conference in phoenix in july.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 1:43 PM

"And is not a team player because she can't stay for the meeting that was called at 5:30 on a friday to discuss whether red shirts or blue shirts should be worn to the conference next year."

Or, because I won't stay after work for all hours listening to my boss cry about her husband's latest affair with the au pair!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 1:44 PM

Or, because I won't stay after work for all hours listening to my boss cry about her husband's latest affair with the au pair!

Or because I don't want to go to the strip club and talk about "business".

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 1:46 PM

She can't come in early for the emergency 8 a.m. all hands on deck call either. It's before her regularly scheduled 9 a.m. arrival and if she changes her plans for one day, her Miniature Schnauzer named Mussolini might be confused.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 1:47 PM

Or because I don't want to spend all of Sunday as a flunky at the boss's Church Social while she Queen Bee's around.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 1:49 PM

Or because I don't want to spend all of Sunday as a flunky at the boss's Church Social while she Queen Bee's around.

Posted by: | July 26, 2007 01:49 PM

Huh? What are you talking about?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 1:51 PM

I had a dilbert boss that thought he was god's gift to women(married). He hit on everything that moved , he was 45-47 and one time at corporate get together he hit on 3 or 4 18 year old girls and was completely drunk. He was the highest ranking person there. He fianlly left the company for 'personal reasons".

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 1:52 PM

Emily and Jen s., that is great news! Best of luck with your little girls.

Brian, don't let this get you down. I work from home, and if people call me after work hours then they should expect to hear my kid. She lives here. Besides, the worst offenders at my company for loud con calls are the people who have pets and/or retired spouses.

Posted by: scarry | July 26, 2007 1:56 PM

Or because I don't want to spend all of Sunday as a flunky at the boss's Church Social while she Queen Bee's around.

Posted by: | July 26, 2007 01:49 PM

Huh? What are you talking about?

Reasons why my boss doesn't see me as a team player ...

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 1:56 PM

Reasons why my boss doesn't see me as a team player ...


Mine hates me because I only wear 14 pieces of flair..sigh

Posted by: Joanna | July 26, 2007 2:02 PM

More reasons why my boss doesn't see me as a team player ...

I won't buy/sell Girl Scout cookies or other fund-raising crap from her kids

I won't do her kids' homework or projects or help them apply to Harvard

I won't "fudge just this one time" on the office expense account


Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 2:04 PM

Love the per diem story. I worked for one company where you could either keep your receipts and submit them with no strict limit (but if it wasn't reasonable you'd hear about it and not get reimbursed) or you could just collect a per diem of $21 without having to submit receipts. All the lower-ranked employees were masters at finding the absolute cheapest food available in order to collect the per diem and keep the rest, which could add up over a one to two week trip; meanwhile the better-paid big whigs would go to real restaraunts and submit their receipts.

Posted by: Megan | July 26, 2007 2:04 PM

Megan

"meanwhile the better-paid big whigs would go to real restaraunts and submit their receipts."

Same deal in my office. But the better- paid big whigs are such airheads, they forget to ask for receipts!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 2:07 PM

But do you really want to be someone who only does the bare minimum?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 2:08 PM

For a while, my Fed agency was on a "trial" program where you got the hotel per diem regardless of how much you spent for a hotel.

So the one cheapskate in the office went to Los Angeles with its $105 hotel allowance. He stayed at a $29 dollar per night place in one of the worst parts of town, and then bragged for years about how much he pocketed that week!

The rest of us were honestly surprised to see him survive.

They cancelled that program in a hurry; it was back to getting reimbursed for your actual expenses up to the limit. The boss seriously expected this guy to stay in the same fleabag on the next trip.

Posted by: Army Brat | July 26, 2007 2:10 PM

Flexibility of course, has it's own drawbacks. If you can be on call at all hours, you may be expected to respond to calls from work on evenings, weekends, and vacations. I know people who are as tied to their blackberries as Lindsay Lohan is tied to her ankle bracelet. Some people like that they can work anywhere. Others don't. I have a friend who works for a very family friendly company that lets her come in late and leave early so that she can care for her two kids. But this woman also works late hours from her home on evenings and weekends, and is constantly on her blackberry. She likes it because she can drop her kids off at daycare and pick them up as well without getting flack from her employer. But it seems to me that in her life, work and family are pretty much combined at all times. She takes conference calls in her car (she has a headset), at home, and even when she is at the beach. It works for her, but I think I would find it overwhelming to constantly be on call and have to juggle family and work on a continual basis.

Posted by: Emily | July 26, 2007 2:10 PM

Same deal in my office. But the better- paid big whigs are such airheads, they forget to ask for receipts

My favorite (and true) story was about how one boss said we need to watch expenses. He then took me and a couple others out to a nice steak house and since he loved wine, ordered a 100 bottle of wine, mainly for himself. I vowed that day to spend every last nickel that ever came my was that i could expense.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 2:12 PM

Sometimes, kids aren't the annoying background noise. I remember a conference call where one of the attendees could be clearly heard urinating and then flushing the toilet. It was pretty funny.

Posted by: Emily | July 26, 2007 2:13 PM

So the one cheapskate in the office went to Los Angeles with its $105 hotel allowance. He stayed at a $29 dollar per night place in one of the worst parts of town, and then bragged for years about how much he pocketed that week

One guy in our office is so cheap, he went out with coworkers and got drunk, we all chipped in to get him a cab (50 bucks). He kept the money and walked 5 miles at night. Then when we found out about it, he refused to give the money back!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 2:16 PM

Sometimes, kids aren't the annoying background noise. I remember a conference call where one of the attendees could be clearly heard urinating and then flushing the toilet. It was pretty funny.

Posted by: Emily | July 26, 2007 02:13 PM

I was going to post about this also...I cannot believe how many people think this is somehow OK! Or think we can't tell where are. *Shudder*

Posted by: Me | July 26, 2007 2:18 PM

I understand your point, Emily, but that flexibility makes all the difference for me and some of my colleagues. No one in management frowns if we are out of the office because our track records indicate we ARE working, just not always here. Two of my colleagues drop off their children at 8:30 and pick them up by 5. Another hasn't missed a soccer practice or game for any of her three boys in 8 years That's only possible because their Treos give them a tool to respond timely from out of the office. Establishing boundaries can be more challenging, admittedly, but I like not having to worry about whether Murphy is bent out of shape about the occasional 10:30 arrival and/or 1:30 departure from these four walls. I suppose I advocate that families consider the pros and cons of each approach and determine, based on their personal priorities, whether flexibility, on the one hand, or a clear separation between home and business, on the other hand, gives them more personal peace.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | July 26, 2007 2:18 PM

"So the one cheapskate in the office went to Los Angeles with its $105 hotel allowance. He stayed at a $29 dollar per night place in one of the worst parts of town, and then bragged for years about how much he pocketed that week!

The rest of us were honestly surprised to see him survive."

So he missed out on his opportunity to become a candidate for a Darwin Award. That time.

I bet he's kept on trying for it though!

Posted by: Maryland Mother | July 26, 2007 2:20 PM

"Sometimes, kids aren't the annoying background noise. I remember a conference call where one of the attendees could be clearly heard urinating and then flushing the toilet. It was pretty funny"

Too funny, Emily. My boss and I often talk with kids one end or the other (he has a child the same age as mine) and that is usually fine, but what I hate is when he calls me from his cell when he's driving through the mountains. The background noise combined with spotty reception makes those phone calls torture for me, and of course since he's driving and can't be doing any other work it's the time when he wants to just chat up a storm.

Posted by: Megan | July 26, 2007 2:20 PM

Sometimes, kids aren't the annoying background noise. I remember a conference call where one of the attendees could be clearly heard urinating and then flushing the toilet. It was pretty funny.

Posted by: Emily | July 26, 2007 02:13 PM

Sheesh. I haven't had a colleague do this, but my husband calls me and then walks into the restroom, etc. TMI, my man, TMI.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 2:20 PM

What happens when mommy misses a goal scored by her child because she is texting the office? Pretty sad...

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 2:21 PM

"I remember a conference call where one of the attendees could be clearly heard urinating and then flushing the toilet."

A male worker on my floor goes to the Men's Room at 10:00 am sharp M-F
WITH A NEWSPAPER IN HAND!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 2:24 PM

What happens when mommy misses a goal scored by her child because she is texting the office? Pretty sad...

Posted by: | July 26, 2007 02:21 PM

Not every child is a forward. There are the midfielders, the fullbacks and the goalie.

You can usually tell by the marked increase in volume when someone is making a serious move towards the goal.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 2:25 PM

"I know people who are as tied to their blackberries as Lindsay Lohan is tied to her ankle bracelet."

You mean they make blackberries that are purely ornamental, and don't actually function?

Posted by: Mona | July 26, 2007 2:26 PM

"I suppose I advocate that families consider the pros and cons of each approach and determine, based on their personal priorities, whether flexibility, on the one hand, or a clear separation between home and business, on the other hand, gives them more personal peace."

Totally agree with that (sucking up to my neighbor again). I struggle with what Emily describes, although I've gotten better at it. I actually am torn about whether to get a crackberry-type device because I can't decide whether it would give me more freedom to take advantage of downtime or would end up making feel like I can never turn it off. Right now I've found a pretty good balance with my boss in terms of expectations of availability. But some days it takes a very conscious effort to shut out one or the other and focus on where I am at the moment precisely because the boundaries are so unclear.

Posted by: Megan | July 26, 2007 2:27 PM

"What happens when mommy misses a goal scored by her child because she is texting the office? Pretty sad..."

Yep, it's the end of the world! BTW, where is Daddy?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 2:27 PM

"I know people who are as tied to their blackberries as Lindsay Lohan is tied to her ankle bracelet."

You mean they make blackberries that are purely ornamental, and don't actually function?

Posted by: Mona | July 26, 2007 02:26 PM

Are you talking about the bracelet or Lindsay?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 2:27 PM

"What happens when mommy misses a goal scored by her child because she is texting the office? Pretty sad..."

Again, I don't give a damn!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 2:28 PM

Yep, it's the end of the world! BTW, where is Daddy?

Posted by: | July 26, 2007 02:27 PM

With the au pair, of course! pay attention!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 2:29 PM

Emily and MN --

I second MN's point about the flexibility that comes with being able to work remotely. While I have not yet been tied down to a Treo or crackberry, my laptop allows me to work from the lobby of my daughter's dance studio one afternoon per week. I'm not the only parent enjoying that perk, judging from the number of laptops and hand-helds I see every week. I can check my work e-mail via the Internet from my home computer and take advantage of quiet moments in the evening or on a weekend to catch up and clean it out. This allows me to work faster and more efficiently when I'm in the office.

I agree that sometimes I'd like more separation, but I wouldn't trade the flexibility. However, last weekend, I left my laptop at the office for the first time in a couple of months. It felt great to walk out without it for a change, LOL.

Posted by: Vegas Mom | July 26, 2007 2:29 PM

2:27, I meant the Blackberry, but now that you mention it, it could really go both ways...though I'm not sure Lindsay can accurately be considered "ornamental" anymore...

Posted by: Mona | July 26, 2007 2:30 PM

A male worker on my floor goes to the Men's Room at 10:00 am sharp M-F
WITH A NEWSPAPER IN HAND!!!

Our idiot nicotine addicted boss SMOKES in the bathroom!He pretends no one notices. I REFUSE to go in there. The thought of him taking a big dump while smoking nauseates me. Talk about losing reopect!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 2:30 PM

Yep, it's the end of the world! BTW, where is Daddy?

Posted by: | July 26, 2007 02:27 PM

With the au pair, of course! pay attention

Duh, how obtuse of me....

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 2:30 PM

2:27, I meant the Blackberry, but now that you mention it, it could really go both ways...though I'm not sure Lindsay can accurately be considered "ornamental" anymore...

Posted by: Mona | July 26, 2007 02:30 PM

But "useless" on the other hand...

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 2:31 PM

"Our idiot nicotine addicted boss SMOKES in the bathroom!He pretends no one notices. I REFUSE to go in there. The thought of him taking a big dump while smoking nauseates me."

Oh, my God! I just lost my appetite.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 2:33 PM

Brian is boring, his life is boring and his problems are boring.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 2:35 PM

What happens when mommy misses a goal scored by her child because she is texting the office? Pretty sad...

Posted by: | July 26, 2007 02:21 PM

The same thing that happens when she misses it because she was talking to the person next to her, or dealing with little brother, or sneezing.

Given the choice to attend the game maybe have to work or not attend the game at all because you have to be in the office, most people would choose the former.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 2:35 PM

"I suppose I advocate that families consider the pros and cons of each approach and determine, based on their personal priorities, whether flexibility, on the one hand, or a clear separation between home and business, on the other hand, gives them more personal peace."

MN, I'm sorry, your comment violates the blog rules: it displays far too much common sense, and far too little vitriol, to be allowed here. :-)

Posted by: Laura | July 26, 2007 2:38 PM

"Given the choice to attend the game maybe have to work or not attend the game at all because you have to be in the office, most people would choose the former."

I don't attend the games, period. Not every parent is into the sports' crap.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 2:39 PM

The worse is a co-worker who when talking to her teenager on the phone gets a very loud and very agitated voice and you're wondering (1) who is the parent here as she is arguing with her daughter, and (2) does she not realize how loud she is, and (3) how embarassing to have these constant calls - take it outside on your cell phone. But that happens frequently; not once in a while.

Posted by: C.W. | July 26, 2007 2:41 PM

I don't attend the games, period. Not every parent is into the sports' crap

Just the ones who love their children.....

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 2:41 PM

"I don't attend the games, period. Not every parent is into the sports' crap"

"Just the ones who love their children....."

Really? So all the no-show parents don't love their children?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 2:43 PM

"I don't attend the games, period. Not every parent is into the sports' crap"

"Just the ones who love their children....."

Really? So all the no-show parents don't love their children?


Posted by: | July 26, 2007 02:43 PM

Wait, my parents didn't watch me...*dawning realization* SOB!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 2:45 PM

Where is the grammar moron today? I see a lot of typos and spelling errors on the blog. I guess it's just not the right person producing them to make you come out and play.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 2:46 PM

"I don't attend the games, period. Not every parent is into the sports' crap"

"Just the ones who love their children....."

Really? So all the no-show parents don't love their children?

Depends if they think spending time watching their kids do things they love is "crap"

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 2:47 PM

"Wait, my parents didn't watch me...*dawning realization* SOB!"

Me either! Where were they? How could they do that to me? Where was the LUV? No wonder I didn't get into HLS! How come I never noticed before? Wait 'till I vist the nursing home, I'm going to give them a piece of my mind!

Posted by: YLS '85 | July 26, 2007 2:51 PM

I don't attend the games, period. Not every parent is into the sports' crap.

Posted by: | July 26, 2007 02:39 PM

Not even one? Never?

If yes, then you must be channeling Robert Bloch, "I have the heart of a little boy. Pickled in a jar on my desk."

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 2:52 PM

Barney Fife-

I don't really understand the point of your response.

I've heard a kid once or twice in the background, and didn't care. Are you suggesting that perhaps I am being too tolerant? And I'm inviting the behavior? I don't think that's the case. Regardless of whether I tolerated, clearly other folks are just as conscientious as I am about it, because it didn't happen again. Even though I was ok with it.

Posted by: Cliff | July 26, 2007 2:54 PM

I don't attend the games, period. Not every parent is into the sports' crap

As a coach, i can't tell you a sadder tale than a boy/girl scoring a goal and his/her parents not there to see the look on his/her face. Guess that "crap" is not important enough to some people.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 2:57 PM

"I don't attend the games, period. Not every parent is into the sports' crap"

"Just the ones who love their children....."

Really? So all the no-show parents don't love their children?

Depends if they think spending time watching their kids do things they love is "crap"

Posted by: | July 26, 2007 02:47 PM

Or, to restate, there are alot of things I attend because it is important to my child that I'm there. Whether I am interested in the event isn't one of the criteria for determining whether I attend.

Laura - Thanks, LOL.

Posted by: MN | July 26, 2007 2:59 PM

"As a coach, i can't tell you a sadder tale than a boy/girl scoring a goal and his/her parents not there to see the look on his/her face. Guess that "crap" is not important enough to some people. "

How about the sad tale of no house or food or clothes? What planet are you from?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 3:00 PM

How about the sad tale of no house or food or clothes? What planet are you from?

We were talking about sports you dimwit!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 3:04 PM

As a coach, i can't tell you a sadder tale than a boy/girl scoring a goal and his/her parents not there to see the look on his/her face. Guess that "crap" is not important enough to some people.

___________________

On the other hand, as a coach/league official there are some parents who I really wish were *not* there. Like the mother who attacked the 14-year old girl refereeing her son's soccer game in Toronto last weekend. And the son's team was even winning! Imagine what would happen if they had been losing. (See http://www.thestar.com/article/239062 for all the gory details.)

In general, though, it's what's important to the kids, not to me. I don't really care if my 10-year old daughter's team wins the tournament or not, but if it makes her happy to have me there and cheer her on while she strikes out the side in the last inning, I'll be there. She's only going to be 10 once.

Posted by: Army Brat | July 26, 2007 3:06 PM

"How about the sad tale of no house or food or clothes? What planet are you from?"

SMACK, SMACK, DRAG, DRAG, THROW, SLAMMING DOOR, BRUSH SELF OFF, now, where were we? oh yes, talking about kids and parents attendance

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 3:06 PM

"As a coach, i can't tell you a sadder tale than a boy/girl scoring a goal and his/her parents not there to see the look on his/her face. Guess that "crap" is not important enough to some people. "

How about the sad tale of no house or food or clothes? What planet are you from?

Posted by: | July 26, 2007 03:00 PM

This line of comments is in response to a purported parent who refers to sports games as crap and claims to never have attended one because of disinterest - not because his or her job was on the line.

Listen - the kid got to the game somehow. He wasn't beamed up. So stay and watch it already.

If the sad tale of no house, or food, or clothes includes money for the fees to participate in a sports league, perhaps re-evaluating financial priorities is in order.

Posted by: MN | July 26, 2007 3:06 PM

"As a coach, i can't tell you a sadder tale than a boy/girl scoring a goal and his/her parents not there to see the look on his/her face. Guess that "crap" is not important enough to some people. "

How about the sad tale of no house or food or clothes? What planet are you from?

Posted by: | July 26, 2007 03:00 PM

We're discussing those parents who refuse to attend (sports) events as a matter of "principle" vs. those who can't attend due to the necessity of working.

Posted by: for The Scarecrow | July 26, 2007 3:08 PM

SMACK, SMACK, DRAG, DRAG, THROW, SLAMMING DOOR, BRUSH SELF OFF, now, where were we? oh yes, talking about kids and parents attendance

Posted by: | July 26, 2007 03:06 PM

Note to self: plagiarize this comment some day.

Posted by: MN | July 26, 2007 3:13 PM

Hmmm, what if your parents come to the game and then pretend not to be related to you because you play so badly, LOL? I can tell you I was not scarred for life and was glad that they finally let me quit the dreaded sport after that game.

Posted by: Megan | July 26, 2007 3:14 PM

Cliff, you sound like you are totally reasonable and would be a great coworker.

Posted by: Megan | July 26, 2007 3:16 PM

SMACK, SMACK, DRAG, DRAG, THROW, SLAMMING DOOR, BRUSH SELF OFF, now, where were we? oh yes, talking about kids and parents attendance

Posted by: | July 26, 2007 03:06 PM

Note to self: plagiarize this comment some day.

Posted by: MN | July 26, 2007 03:13 PM

Be my guest, although here it could be posted dozens of times..............

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 3:17 PM

"SMACK, SMACK, DRAG, DRAG, THROW, SLAMMING DOOR, BRUSH SELF OFF, now, where were we? oh yes, talking about kids and parents attendance"

What do this mean?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 3:18 PM

Or, because I won't stay after work for all hours listening to my boss cry about her husband's latest affair with the au pair!

Or because I won't play golf with the boss on the weekend.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 3:19 PM

Hmmm, what if your parents come to the game and then pretend not to be related to you because you play so badly, LOL


I have this image of your parents with bags over their faces like at pro games. lol

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 3:20 PM

"We're discussing those parents who refuse to attend (sports) events as a matter of "principle" vs. those who can't attend due to the necessity of working."

Does a sibling or a nanny count?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 3:20 PM

have this image of your parents with bags over their faces like at pro games. lol

Posted by: | July 26, 2007 03:20 PM

Stop making me laugh at work!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 3:21 PM

Looks like I picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue...

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 3:22 PM

What happened to "Live and Let Live"?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 3:23 PM

What do this mean?

imagine a person doing this to a stupid poster, smacking them, dragging them and throwing them out the door and brushing themselves off.

That be what it mean

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 3:24 PM

Laura wrote: "MN, I'm sorry, your comment violates the blog rules: it displays far too much common sense, and far too little vitriol, to be allowed here."

Laura, you took the words right out of my mouth!

Posted by: catlady | July 26, 2007 3:26 PM

In all seriousness, our son, when he was younger, expressed melt-down quality disappointment one Saturday because we weren't both there at every practice and every game. We had to sit him down and explain why the pressure he was exerting was unreasonable and clearly state what we could and couldn't commit. In short order, he became adept at identifying, in advance, which events were really a big deal, e.g., it was important to him that we both attend, and which one parent or no parent needed to attend. IMHO, letting yourself be spun around by guilt ("How could I have missed that goal? Bad Mother!") creates a manipulative child who knows how to push your buttons.

Posted by: MN | July 26, 2007 3:26 PM

"What do this mean?"

"imagine a person doing this to a stupid poster, smacking them, dragging them and throwing them out the door and brushing themselves off.

That be what it mean"

Oh, I thought it had something to do with Brian... What's today's topic, again?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 3:27 PM

What happened to "Live and Let Live"?

__________

I prefer "Live and Let Die", even though IMNSHO Roger Moore wasn't a particularly good Bond. But the best part of the movie was the boat chase; particularly the part where Bond jumped the boat out of Bayou Bonfouca and came down in Bayou Liberty, about three miles away. Now THAT was impressive!

Posted by: Army Brat | July 26, 2007 3:27 PM

Looks like I picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue...

and don't call me shirley

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 3:28 PM

MN

"We had to sit him down and explain why the pressure he was exerting was unreasonable and clearly state what we could and couldn't commit."

You didn't love your son.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 3:29 PM

Looks like I picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue...

and don't call me shirley

You got the vector, Victor?

Roger, Roger. Over.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 3:30 PM

There's no reason to become alarmed, and we hope you'll enjoy the rest of your flight. By the way, is there anyone on board who knows how to fly a plane?

change the words from fly to write and plane to blog and off you go

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 3:31 PM

Bond.....mmm

Daniel Craig in a bathing suit is.....nice.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 3:31 PM

"I have this image of your parents with bags over their faces like at pro games."

LOL, if only they'd thought to bring bags with them, they would've! That game is one of our favorite family stories.

Posted by: Megan | July 26, 2007 3:32 PM

Daniel Craig in a bathing suit is.....nice.

Posted by: | July 26, 2007 03:31 PM

There's an image such as would sustain a troll for the rest of the day. yumm.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 3:33 PM

The On Balance Blog is now arriving at Gate 7. ... 8 ... 9...10... 23...24...25

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 3:34 PM

Joey, have you ever been to a Turkish prison?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 3:36 PM

I speak jive!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 3:37 PM

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Elaine Dickinson: Would you like something to read?
Hanging Lady: Do you have anything light?
Elaine Dickinson: How about this leaflet, "Famous Jewish Sports Legends?"

Posted by: for MN and MATT | July 26, 2007 3:38 PM

"The On Balance Blog is now arriving at Gate 7. ... 8 ... 9...10... 23...24...25"

Posted by: | July 26, 2007 03:34 PM

Not "Gate," "Platform." Platform 9 3/4 at King's Cross Station.

Posted by: Matt in Aberdeen | July 26, 2007 3:39 PM

Young Boy with Coffee: Excuse me, I happened to be passing, and I thought you might like some coffee.
Little Girl: Oh, that's very nice of you, thank you.
Young Boy with Coffee: Cream?
Little Girl: No, thank you, I take it black, like my men.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 3:39 PM

"The On Balance Blog is now arriving at Gate 7. ... 8 ... 9...10... 23...24...25"

This is Leslie, your pilot.
We hope the removal of the parents and their unruly child hasn't caused you any inconvenience. Have a nice day and remember to fly with Cuckoo Bird Airline
next time! Buh, bye!

Perry, stop!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 3:40 PM

I'm going to have to agree with Murphy re: people in public places making work calls. I can't tell you how many times we've been at a theme park or playground where someone is on their phone - they look at you talking or your kids enjoying themselves with this "hey, I'm on the phone here" look that makes me crazy. I to think that many want to be accomodated but few are willing to accomodate. My 2 cents.

Posted by: Moxiemom | July 26, 2007 3:41 PM

"Look, I'm out there bustin' my butt EVERY NIGHT! You tell your dad to drag Lanier and Walton up and down the floor...

Well, that's what I'd say, if I was Kareem Abdul Jabbar. But I'm not"

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 3:42 PM

Elaine Dickinson: You got a letter from headquarters this morning.
Ted Striker: What is it?
Elaine Dickinson: It's a big building where generals meet, but that's not important.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 3:42 PM

"Elaine Dickinson: How about this leaflet, "Famous Jewish Sports Legends?"

Hey, there are a LOT of Jewish sports legends!

Posted by: Elaine | July 26, 2007 3:42 PM

Moxiemom, here's hoping the FAA NEVER allows cell phones to be used in flight. It will bring about a whole new type of "air rage".

I do not want to be trapped next to some self-important freakin' moron who yaks in a very loud voice for all five hours of the flight to the West Coast.

Posted by: Army Brat | July 26, 2007 3:47 PM

"Elaine Dickinson: How about this leaflet, "Famous Jewish Sports Legends?"

Hey, there are a LOT of Jewish sports legends!

Sure there are Elaine, that is what the leaflet is about.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 3:48 PM

I do not want to be trapped next to some self-important freakin' moron who yaks in a very loud voice for all five hours of the flight to the West Coast.

or the one who wants to go over their prostate exam in blow by blow detail?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 3:49 PM

Army Brat - I salute you. Why didn't they ask any of the presidential candidates that on the You Tube debates? That's the kind of quality of life stuff we need addressed.

Posted by: Moxiemom | July 26, 2007 3:49 PM

"I do not want to be trapped next to some self-important freakin' moron who yaks in a very loud voice for all five hours of the flight to the West Coast."

"or the one who wants to go over their prostate exam in blow by blow detail?"

Or the skank who is on her first airplane flight in her life and spends hours yakking on the phone with Bubba!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 3:51 PM

"I can't tell you how many times we've been at a theme park or playground where someone is on their phone - they look at you talking or your kids enjoying themselves with this "hey, I'm on the phone here" look that makes me crazy."

Ok, that's ridiculous. I've either never seen it or been oblivious, thank god, because I think I would just have to toy with someone for thinking they can expect families to be quiet at a theme park. Just think of the fun you could have...

Posted by: Megan | July 26, 2007 3:53 PM

Moxiemom, here's hoping the FAA NEVER allows cell phones to be used in flight. It will bring about a whole new type of "air rage".

I do not want to be trapped next to some self-important freakin' moron who yaks in a very loud voice for all five hours of the flight to the West Coast.

Posted by: Army Brat | July 26, 2007 03:47 PM

As it is, we have to listen to them at the Gate for an hour before the flight takes off. They dial and dial and talk about "taking it to the next level" "giving it 110%" and every other piece of mission statement, sales guy, mid-management gobbledygook ever published in a best-seller.

Posted by: MN | July 26, 2007 3:53 PM

Army Brat

"I do not want to be trapped next to some self-important freakin' moron who yaks in a very loud voice for all five hours of the flight to the West Coast."

Sorry, I didn't recognize you.


Posted by: Moron | July 26, 2007 3:54 PM

I do not want to be trapped next to some self-important freakin' moron who yaks in a very loud voice for all five hours of the flight to the West Coast."

"or the one who wants to go over their prostate exam in blow by blow detail?"

Or the skank who is on her first airplane flight in her life and spends hours yakking on the phone with Bubba!

Posted by: | July 26, 2007 03:51 PM
Or next to some disgraced former pilot who tells his boring life story and keeps causing people to kill themselves!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 3:54 PM

Some people have to work and therefore they miss games, etc. My dad never saw me play vollyball or cheer. He worked afternoons and we needed the money. Big Deal. I didn't play so he could point and say "look there is my kid." I played because I wanted to.

Posted by: scarry | July 26, 2007 3:54 PM

"To catlady and portuguese mother:

"Does your conversation have anything to do with the topic of this message board? If it does, please write in English. Otherwise, get each other's e-mail addresses and conduct your private conversation off the board."

Posted by: Annoyed | July 26, 2007 09:33 AM"

"Were you here yesterday? It was disgusting. And it was in English."

Posted by: Mona | July 26, 2007 11:28 AM

Yeah, right. English. Mazel, schmootz, bupkis, shmatas, gelt, kvell, chainik, tuchas, shiksa, dreck. If that's English, let's see more Portuguese here.

Posted by: Matt in Aberdeen | July 26, 2007 3:54 PM

"Or the skank who is on her first airplane flight in her life and spends hours yakking on the phone with Bubba!"

Or the lardass with dandruff and bad breath who thinks I am his new best friend! Where is that drink cart?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 3:56 PM

scarry

"My dad never saw me play vollyball or cheer."

Your dad didn't love you.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 3:59 PM

"As it is, we have to listen to them at the Gate for an hour before the flight takes off. They dial and dial and talk about "taking it to the next level" "giving it 110%" and every other piece of mission statement, sales guy, mid-management gobbledygook ever published in a best-seller."

I have never understood why so many people seem perpetually attached to their cells. Maybe I can excuse those who use it for business reasons (annoying as they are) because they might be participating in meetings or long conversations, but what really perplexes me are people who seem to be on their cell phones simply engaging in inane chatter all the time. Teenagers and youngsters who cannot walk down the street or go for a car ride with continually having to talk to someone about something completely unimportant. I use my cell phone to connect with my husband and discuss logistics (who can pick the kid up today, or needing to stay late at work, or even reminding the other person that a car needs to be dropped off at the mechanic or that milk needs to be purchased -- that sort of thing), but my cell phone calls rarely last more than a few minutes. Even most of my land line calls are short, although once in a blue moon, I will talk at length with my mother or one of my friends. But to me, talking on the phone is mostly for short communication. I am always amazed at those people who seem to have a cell phone growing out of their ear.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 4:01 PM

Or the skank who is on her first airplane flight in her life and spends hours yakking on the phone with Bubba!"

Or the lardass with dandruff and bad breath who thinks I am his new best friend! Where is that drink cart?


I like to take my two favorite books with me on the plane. "How to fall in love with the person next to you on the plane" and "How to sell insurance to the person next to you on the plane". For some reason people never interrupt my reading........

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 4:02 PM

That was me at 4:01, btw. Forgot to sign.

Posted by: Emily | July 26, 2007 4:02 PM

"I like to take my two favorite books with me on the plane. "How to fall in love with the person next to you on the plane" and "How to sell insurance to the person next to you on the plane". For some reason people never interrupt my reading........"

Can you fall in love with a Jew?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 4:03 PM

Emily, I think we've forgotten how to be alone. We are so reactive - it does seem that no one can just sit quietly and be alone with themselves. Maybe the dont' like being with themselves?

Posted by: Moxiemom | July 26, 2007 4:10 PM

Yeah, right. English. Mazel, schmootz, bupkis, shmatas, gelt, kvell, chainik, tuchas, shiksa, dreck. If that's English, let's see more Portuguese here.

Posted by: Matt in Aberdeen | July 26, 2007 03:54 PM

Matt,

Oy gevald! Were you the oldest in your family? because any younger sibling would have learned that, if you let everyone know what really irritates you by kvetching about it on a daily basis, you encourage people to use that information to irritate you.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 4:11 PM

«Can you fall in love with a Jew?»

«Posted by: | July 26, 2007 04:03 PM»

If you are Christian girl, OK. If you are Muslim girl, your life insurance, make sure it is paid up before you fall in love with a Jew.

Posted by: abu ibrahim | July 26, 2007 4:12 PM

Emily, I've seen many do it out of boredom, particularly the young. They can't stand to wait in a checkout line, even for 30 seconds, without calling up a friend to say, "What are you doing? Nothing. What are you doing?" There is no purpose to most of these calls and nothing is communicated.

Posted by: MN | July 26, 2007 4:13 PM

If you are Christian girl, OK. If you are Muslim girl, your life insurance, make sure it is paid up before you fall in love with a Jew

Why because some muslim nutjob will kill you?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 4:15 PM

Tips for being a polite seat mate
Sunday, July 22, 2007
By Marylynne Pitz, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07203/802908-37.stm

Introduce yourself to your seat mate and excuse yourself politely if you need to get up and use the restroom.

If you wish to put your seat back, turn around and give the person behind you a polite warning so that you do not crunch his or her laptop.

If you sneeze or cough, cover your mouth with the inside of your elbow (the best spot) or your hand to cut down on the spread of germs.

If you're bothered by babies crying, come prepared with iPods or DVDs and headphones to drown out the noise.

If you're wearing open-toed shoes, try to keep your feet -- no matter how clean -- out of the breathing space of the passenger next to you or in front of you.

Try to keep your seat area clean -- throw out the cups and napkins when the attendant collects them -- as a courtesy not only to your seat mates but also to the passengers sitting there on later flights.

If you're trying to fit your carry-on in the upper bin and it doesn't fit, don't try to jam it in by crushing someone else's bag.

If you need to stretch your legs, walk back and forth but do not stand and hover over other passengers because you are invading their personal space.

To reduce potential crankiness, prepare for delays. Pack an inflatable pillow, granola bar, almonds, banana and a good book.

While talking on the plane, speak softly so as not to disturb fellow passengers who may be sleeping. Avoid asking personal questions.

Pay attention to body language. If your seat mate pulls out a book while you continue to chat, pay attention to that cue and end the conversation.

Posted by: In da 'Burgh | July 26, 2007 4:17 PM

Emily, I see what you mean, but I know that for me, when keeping in touch with friends that are far away, sometimes those conversations of just silly chit-chat are what you need, it's what makes you feel like you're still close by. So I admit to having those inane conversations on my cell phone when I get the chance. I don't do it in public if I'm in a space that's otherwise quiet and everyone would be forced to listen (that creeps me out) or if I'd have to shout, but sometimes if I'm out for a walk or sitting in the park watching my kid run around, why not?

Posted by: Megan | July 26, 2007 4:18 PM

Or....


Fall asleep, snore hog your seat and his
smell bad
be drunk
be loud
be amourous
be rude
talk incessantly
fart
throw up

Posted by: the other side | July 26, 2007 4:19 PM

Or

Stare at my breasts - Yeah, they are real!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 4:23 PM

paw at my real breasts

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 4:23 PM

«Why because some muslim nutjob will kill you?»

«Posted by: | July 26, 2007 04:15 PM»

Muslim nutjob? Cannot we all just get along? A girl who falls in love with a Jew or Christian, her father and brothers, they will find it hard to get along with her, she has brought dishonor upon her family.

Posted by: abu ibrahim | July 26, 2007 4:26 PM

Tips for being a polite seat mate
Sunday, July 22, 2007
By Marylynne Pitz, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07203/802908-37.stm

Introduce yourself to your seat mate and excuse yourself politely if you need to get up and use the restroom.

If you wish to put your seat back, turn around and give the person behind you a polite warning so that you do not crunch his or her laptop.

If you sneeze or cough, cover your mouth with the inside of your elbow (the best spot) or your hand to cut down on the spread of germs.

If you're bothered by babies crying, come prepared with iPods or DVDs and headphones to drown out the noise.

If you're wearing open-toed shoes, try to keep your feet -- no matter how clean -- out of the breathing space of the passenger next to you or in front of you.

Try to keep your seat area clean -- throw out the cups and napkins when the attendant collects them -- as a courtesy not only to your seat mates but also to the passengers sitting there on later flights.

If you're trying to fit your carry-on in the upper bin and it doesn't fit, don't try to jam it in by crushing someone else's bag.

If you need to stretch your legs, walk back and forth but do not stand and hover over other passengers because you are invading their personal space.

To reduce potential crankiness, prepare for delays. Pack an inflatable pillow, granola bar, almonds, banana and a good book.

While talking on the plane, speak softly so as not to disturb fellow passengers who may be sleeping. Avoid asking personal questions.

Pay attention to body language. If your seat mate pulls out a book while you continue to chat, pay attention to that cue and end the conversation.

Posted by: In da 'Burgh | July 26, 2007 04:17 PM

I can't imagine a single guy I know worrying this much about whether the stranger in the seat next to him likes him. It's a flight. You're not getting married. Be reasonable but leave the extensive rules to the insecure first-time flyers from Cincinatti.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 4:27 PM

Muslim nutjob? Cannot we all just get along? A girl who falls in love with a Jew or Christian, her father and brothers, they will find it hard to get along with her, she has brought dishonor upon her family.

But isn't that against can't we all get along? When will muslims learn to get along with the rest of the world? Dishonor?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 4:31 PM

ha, I think the worst was, I had my phone on speaker so I could take notes while I was setting at home, and we're talking about an idea that one of my co-workers had had on a piece of software. I hadn't particularly cared for it, but suddenly out of nowhere comes my cat, who runs up to right near the phone, lets out this ear-splitting HOWL of death, and begins to gurp up a huge hairball (i'm frantically moving the laptop and it wasn't until after the hairball that i could deal with moving the phone away--she didn't hit the phone, but it was close!!) I finally managed to mutter after my coworkers were frantic that I was hurt "Gee X I wasn't that hot on your idea, but it made my cat sick!!" but it was a horrible moment.

Posted by: ljb | July 26, 2007 4:31 PM

"I can't imagine a single guy I know worrying this much about whether the stranger in the seat next to him likes him."

It's not about liking someone, it's about treating someone in the same plane with the same courtesy with which you'd like to be treated (obviously there are no guarantees in life, but the odds improve if you're courteous first).

Posted by: In da 'Burgh | July 26, 2007 4:32 PM

Megan - supervising your son at the playground might be the only 20 minutes of your day you have to relax and share 5 minutes with your girlfriend. The rest of us will get over our aversion to cell phones. We're not all like Murphy. Everyone doesn't have to live by our rules.

Posted by: MN | July 26, 2007 4:32 PM

That's exactly it, thanks MN ;) You gotta take the time where you find it, sometimes (within bounds, of course).

Posted by: Megan | July 26, 2007 4:35 PM

It's not about liking someone, it's about treating someone in the same plane with the same courtesy with which you'd like to be treated (obviously there are no guarantees in life, but the odds improve if you're courteous first).

Posted by: In da 'Burgh | July 26, 2007 04:32 PM

Packing an inflatable pillow and a good book, and worrying about wear your open-toed shoes is not about the Golden Rule. This list is akin to a guidebook for tiptoeing through life making sure not ever to offend. anyone. ever. It smacks of a desparate need to be liked.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 4:39 PM

I agree with MN. As much as I dislike talking on my cell phone, I usually have no problems with people who like using them. To each her own. Megan, if you like to chat with your friends while you are at the park, then I have no issue with it. I am more perplexed by people who seem to constantly be on the phone. It makes me wonder what on earth they are always taking about all the time. I don't think this applies to you, but even if it did, it's my issue, not yours.

Posted by: Emily | July 26, 2007 4:41 PM

what if it is not a muslim girl but a muslim boy who falls in love with a non-muslim?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 4:42 PM

what if it is not a muslim girl but a muslim boy who falls in love with a non-muslim?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 4:42 PM

what if it is not a muslim girl but a muslim boy who falls in love with a non-muslim?

Probably just a good old fashioned beheading

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 4:47 PM

«what if it is not a muslim girl but a muslim boy who falls in love with a non-muslim?»

«Posted by: | July 26, 2007 04:42 PM»

A Muslim boy, he falls in love with a non-Muslim girl, she must become Muslim and then it is OK and the children, they too will be Muslim. A Muslim boy, he falls in love with a non-Muslim boy, he should not do this in Iran, the government will hang them both, or in Saudi Arabia either.

Posted by: abu ibrahim | July 26, 2007 5:02 PM

This list is akin to a guidebook for tiptoeing through life making sure not ever to offend. anyone.

Well, we certainly can't allow that, now can we? You'd rather be offended?

Posted by: In da 'Burgh | July 26, 2007 5:12 PM

You'd rather be offended?

Posted by: In da 'Burgh | July 26, 2007 05:12 PM

Murphy, is that you?

No. I don't go around being offended. If you are looking to be offended, though, you will always find something to offend you.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 5:14 PM

No one was ever diminished as a person by behaving politely.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 5:30 PM

5:14's point is that he's not offended by other people's rudeness, so therefore he thinks he can be rude to them and expect them not to be offended either. SMACK, SMACK, DRAG, DRAG, THROW, SLAMMING DOOR, BRUSH SELF OFF.

Posted by: To 5:30 | July 26, 2007 5:33 PM

"5:14's point is that he's not offended by other people's rudeness, so therefore he thinks he can be rude to them and expect them not to be offended either."

Speak for yourself, but twisting my words is unnecessary. I am not rude to others. Are you? Let's repeat: if you are going around looking for a reason to be offended, you'll always find one.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 5:40 PM

"I am more perplexed by people who seem to constantly be on the phone. It makes me wonder what on earth they are always taking about all the time. I don't think this applies to you, but even if it did, it's my issue, not yours."

LOL, no that's not me, it would make me crazy to be on it all the time. But I wonder sometimes if that's what people think when I am on it. I also still haven't gotten used to the people with the little tiny headsets that you don't see right away walking along and chatting to themselves (or so it seems).

Posted by: Megan | July 26, 2007 5:44 PM

Megan - supervising your son at the playground might be the only 20 minutes of your day you have to relax and share 5 minutes with your girlfriend. The rest of us will get over our aversion to cell phones. We're not all like Murphy. Everyone doesn't have to live by our rules.

Posted by: MN | July 26, 2007 04:32 PM

But this might also be the only 20 minutes the person next to you on the bench has all day to relax and have a little bit of quiet (child in playground notwithstanding). If you're alone, fine. But sometimes others want to sit just quietly and smell the flowers.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 5:50 PM

I also still haven't gotten used to the people with the little tiny headsets that you don't see right away walking along and chatting to themselves (or so it seems).


Posted by: Megan | July 26, 2007 05:44 PM

I see them apparently talking to themselves in the grocery store as they reach for the Cheerios. Then I see the little whatever thing behind their ear. It is odd.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 5:52 PM

I'm happy to see the author get skewered over this. Working parents like him need to understand that there has to be a separation. If you make a commitment to your employer, then you should have the integrity to keep it. Expecting understanding from your coworkers is absurd, and your employer should not be suffering because you chose to have children.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 5:54 PM

Why do you have such a compulsion to defend the rude?

Posted by: to 5:40 | July 26, 2007 5:58 PM

"But this might also be the only 20 minutes the person next to you on the bench has all day to relax and have a little bit of quiet (child in playground notwithstanding)."

Definitely, which is why I said I don't do it when it's an otherwise quiet space and other people will have no choice but to listen. I don't want that anymore than they do, LOL. And there is something awfully nice about having those quiet moments, which seem so hard to come by.

Posted by: Megan | July 26, 2007 5:59 PM

But this might also be the only 20 minutes the person next to you on the bench has all day to relax and have a little bit of quiet (child in playground notwithstanding). If you're alone, fine. But sometimes others want to sit just quietly and smell the flowers.

Posted by: | July 26, 2007 05:50 PM

I prefer silence. Nonetheless, I am not czar. If you are in a public place, you cannot expect everyone else to be silent or try to guilt them into silence by suggesting that the public use of a cellphone is rude. I'd prefer that the bratty, loud child playing on the equipment with my daughter go home, but I can't control that either. Would you feel the same way -- intruded upon -- if Megan was sitting on a bench with her friend physically in proximity chatting? Why is her conversation intrusive simply because she's on cell? Surely we can be a bit more flexible in our tolerance for others' cell phone use in environments from which we can leave. I can't leave the airplane. I can't leave the gate area. But if your chatting at a public park gets on my nerves, it's up to me to depart, not up to you to hang up.

Posted by: MN | July 26, 2007 6:00 PM

"But this might also be the only 20 minutes the person next to you on the bench has all day to relax and have a little bit of quiet (child in playground notwithstanding). If you're alone, fine. But sometimes others want to sit just quietly and smell the flowers."

It's a playground, not a library. Unless the person on the cell phone is being loud and obnoxious, her talking on the phone is no more offensive or disruptive than a couple of people sitting on the bench talking to each other. People looking for peace and quiet are not going to find it at a playground. My sense is that people need to expect appropriate behavior from people according to the venue they are visiting. It is appropriate to speak at a playground and people should not be offended when people do that, whether by cell phone or in person. It is not appropriate to speak at a concert, and people should not do that, either in person or by cell phone. Having a cell phone does not bind you to special rules that no one else has to follow (except if you are driving) or in a place where cell phones aren't allowed (like hospitals or airplanes).

Posted by: Emily | July 26, 2007 6:01 PM

Why do you have such a compulsion to defend the rude?

Posted by: to 5:40 | July 26, 2007 05:58 PM

I don't. Why do you have such a compulsion to be irritated by everyone who doesn't think exactly as you do? If the name Queen Bee fits, wear it.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 6:05 PM

Look at that. Here we go. Emily and MN post the same thing in the space of a minute. Ballbusters of the blog think alike. What a treat for us.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 6:06 PM

Look at that. Here we go. Emily and MN post the same thing in the space of a minute. Ballbusters of the blog think alike. What a treat for us.

Posted by: | July 26, 2007 06:06 PM

and the message is tolerance, but perhaps you missed that part. What is ballbusting about that again?

Posted by: MN | July 26, 2007 6:10 PM

Earlier you derided "tiptoeing through life making sure not ever to offend. anyone. ever." Later you claimed you're not rude. Now you're irritated when someone merely suggests that behaving politely toward others can be a good way to get them to behave more politely in return. You're contradicting yourself.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 6:11 PM

The ballbusting part about tolerance is that the bully can't have his way all the time.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 6:14 PM

It's ok if you call me a ballbuster....Just as long as you don't call me Bruce.

Posted by: Emily | July 26, 2007 6:19 PM

Earlier you derided "tiptoeing through life making sure not ever to offend. anyone. ever." Later you claimed you're not rude. Now you're irritated when someone merely suggests that behaving politely toward others can be a good way to get them to behave more politely in return. You're contradicting yourself.

Posted by: | July 26, 2007 06:11 PM


6:11 - It's most interesting that you read irritation in disagreement, and believe that it is appropriate to berate anyone who doesn't toe your personal line. How rude! You appear to be cursed with the disease of circular logic.

There's no contradiction in saying that acting in a normally polite manner is appropriate, but feeling compelled to satisfy a tedious and lengthy list of inane rules compiled by whomever and distributed online is the sign of the insecure. If you are proceeding through life avoiding at all costs the accusation that some busybody somewhere thinks you might be rude, you are acting like a girl. You will waste innumerable hours worrying about being considered "aggressive" instead of "assertive". You will not speak up in a meeting because someone might think it's unseemly or not your turn. And yet you consider that chastising strangers online is somehow polite. How odd. You are not really interested in being polite. If you were, your politeness would extend to the anonymous world and not only the world where people know you by name.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 6:24 PM

Wait, wait, how come I'm not in the ballbusting club? Darn it!

Seriously, MN and Emily thanks for your posts, you are very thoughtful and tolerant. I've wondered about why it's more annoying to hear a cell phone conversation than one in which both people are present (assuming the person on the cell phone isn't yelling, which isn't always the case), but I think sometimes it is for people. Maybe it's just more jarring because the flow is broken up so you can't tune it out as easily.

To me, if there are other people around talking, or if I can be a reasonable distance away from the other person, I don't think it's rude to have a cell phone conversation. But if I'm sitting right next to someone on the bench and nobody else is talking it just feels weird to me somehow, even though it is a public space.

But if other people want to do that (be on the phone when I'm the one being quiet), I concur with Emily and MN - I can move away from them just as easily as they can, who am I to say what goes?

Posted by: Megan | July 26, 2007 6:25 PM

Allright. We will convene an official meeting of the On Balance Ballbusting Club. New members are welcome. I am nominating myself and MN as co-presidents. Megan, what office do you want?

Bruce need not apply.

Posted by: Emily | July 26, 2007 6:36 PM

YES! I'm in! How about Princess of Plenty? Or Secretary, if you want something more conventional. Just don't make me treasurer, my math skills suck.

Posted by: Megan | July 26, 2007 6:38 PM

Princess of Plenty it is then. Whatever that entails, I have no doubt you will do it well. President sounds so ordinary in comparison. I need to think of a new title for myself. How about, the Keeper of the Torch.

Posted by: Emily | July 26, 2007 6:43 PM

Emily,

I'll be the Carrier of Emily's Queenly Garments so that they doth not scrape the ground. When your daughter is old enough (in your opinion), she can take over, LOL, and I'll be the Carrier of Emily's Queenly Garments Emeritus.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | July 26, 2007 6:52 PM

MN, I am very flattered, but you deserve a much higher position. I would nominate you for the position of Enlightened One and Keeper of the Truth.

Posted by: Emily | July 26, 2007 7:03 PM

"You are not really interested in being polite. If you were, your politeness would extend to the anonymous world and not only the world where people know you by name."

Words to heed.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 7:05 PM

"you are acting like a girl"

I'm gonna join the ballbusters club instead.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 7:09 PM

""you are acting like a girl"

I'm gonna join the ballbusters club instead."

That's the spirit!

Posted by: Megan | July 26, 2007 10:32 PM

I really feel sorry for the men in your lives.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 27, 2007 8:56 AM

I really feel sorry for the men in your lives.

Posted by: | July 27, 2007 08:56 AM

because?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 27, 2007 10:53 AM

"Thank you for serving in the military. Oh wait. Bill Kristol. You did not serve?!?!?!?"

Posted by: Baba Booey '02 MPP | July 27, 2007 12:19 PM

Bom dia, Baba Booey! What does this have to do with balance or cartoons?

"And to you Dick Cheney. I salute you, you are a true military hero. Where did you serve."

Posted by: Baba Booey '02 MPP | July 27, 2007 12:23 PM

I've got my DD 214 right here. Where is your DD 214, Baba Booey? What was your service? Marines? Air Force? Navy? Army?

Posted by: Matt in Aberdeen | July 27, 2007 12:40 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 

© 2007 The Washington Post Company