Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Gatekeepers

Gatekeepers are technically powerless but in many occasions, they do play a very powerful role in damaging your projects, and life. Mostly, they come in the forms of executive secretaries, operators or simply receptionists. If you are lucky, you'd interact with the nice and helpful ones. But, sometimes you'd meet the ones who are very tactful in filtering your objectives to the top, hence makes everything more difficult. Or, you'd get to talk to the very dumb ones that almost make you vomit blood.

In general, what they do definitely waste your time, energy and patience. Most of the time the way they treat you makes you boiling hot, though sometimes they also make you laugh hard until your stomach hurts.

See how bombastic gatekeepers can tease you and practically ruin your peace:

A brief conversation with a non-English speaking secretary who only mastered a single English word.

Country called: China

Christine: Hi, can I speak to Mr. Tan?
Secretary: No.

Christine: Umm, is he in a meeting now or out of the office?

Secretary: No.

Christine: Err, so what time can I call him back?

Secretary: No.

Christine: Do you know his email address? I mean... can I just drop him an email instead?

Secretary: No

Christine: Actually, do you speak English?

Secretary: No

Christine: (Speechless) Hmph.. Thank you. Bye.

A conversation with a Secretary from a Government-Owned Company who was either damn lazy to print out some information or in the midst of saving the forest.

Country called: Indonesia

Christine: Halo. Selamat Siang. Bisa saya bicara dengan Bapak Direktur?
Bapaknya sedang keluar, Mbak. Ada pesan?
Hmm.. sebenarnya saya ini telpon dari Singapore, Bu. Kebetulan saya sedang menyiapkan sebuah event di Singapore dan berniat untuk mengundang Bapak untuk jadi salah satu pembicara di acara ini.
Secretary: O
h gitu. Wah.. Bapaknya sedang nggak di tempat tuh.
Err, OK. Kalau saya kirim proposal acaranya lewat email gimana, Bu? Bapak atau Ibu ada email address kan?
Ada sih. Tapi, di fax aja lah, Mbak.

Christine: Emang kenapa, Bu? Emailnya lagi down atau rusak ya?
Secretary: Ya nggak sih.. Emailnya bisa kok. 
Christine: Kalau gitu, gimana kalau saya email aja Bu.. Kalau saya fax kayaknya kepanjangan. Attachmentsnya lumayan tebal.
Yah... kalo di email kan nanti saya mesti print emailnya lagi buat Bapak. Di fax aja lah Mbak.. Biar saya bisa langsung kasih ke Bapak.
Christine: OK....... (Whatever!)

An executive secretary from an International Oil and Gas Powerhouse who doesn't believe in the existence of the cyber world.

Country called: China

Christine: Hi. Good Morning.
Secretary: Morning.

Christine: Yes, can I speak to Mr. Darcy, the Director of Gas and Power, please?

Secretary: He is in the meeting right now. Who is calling?

Christine: Oh yes. My name is Christine calling you from ABF Singapore.

Secretary: OK. What is the purpose of calling?

Christine: Well, I am currently putting together a Conference in Singapore and would like to invite Mr. Darcy as one of our guest speakers.

Secretary: But Mr. Darcy is still in the meeting right now.

Christine: Yes, I know. So, how can I send him the proposal? Can I drop him an email?
Secretary: No. Please send us a fax.

Christine: I have a lot of attachments in my proposal. I think it's better if I can just send it via email. What is your email address? I can just send it to you and you forward that to him.

Secretary: No. Please send the letter via fax. I think email would be inconvenient.

Christine: (Unbelievable!) OK. What is your fax number then?

Another silly conversation with an operator who was trying to be funny with me and made me speechless for five seconds and swallowed my saliva after hearing her bloody stupid response.

Country called: Japan

Christine: Hi, can I talk to Mr. Sugaya?
Sailor Moon: Mr. Sugaya is still in the meeting now.

Christine: OK then.

Sailor Moon: Is this urgent? Can I take a message for you?

Christine: Yes. In that case, can I know his email address then?

Sailor Moon: No.

Christine: I really think it'd be much better to have his email address so I can contact him faster. Do you know his email address?

Sailor Moon: Yes. I know his email address but I have no authority to tell you.

Christine: Can I just have his email address please so I can drop him my proposal via email? I've been calling your office like three times today and he's always still in the meeting.... So....

Sailor Moon: Yeah... so.. Mmm.. so... so what are you going to do now?

Christine: So, I am going to send him email now! Will you give me his email address? Haha.
Sailor Moon: No...

Christine: Hmm.. So how am I to contact him then?

Sailor Moon: Ohh.. What if I give you my email address and I will forward your email address to him...

Christine: OK. That's fine. What is your email address?(Why didn't you say this way early on, woman!?!)

Coupled with their fantastic English and annoying thick accents which often make my stomach in distress; spending some time speaking to them and having to deal with them several times in one single day, do really make my head so dizzy and abstain from practicing forbearance. Yet, still most of the time I hear nothing after a couple of days, am unable to reach the top part and likely, being turned down too.


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