Several of the things I post about on this blog are going to be difficult because I have to walk the fine line of avoiding a rant and conveying information that may seem obvious but is apparently hard to put into action (based on observation of people). Because yes, after years of interacting with John Q. Public, despite my best efforts, I have become a cynic.
Today's topic is obsessive-compulsive behaviors. It's a clinical term, but it's also a term we throw around very easily and with good cause--EVERYONE is OCD about something.
But when it comes to being well-mannered, you need to learn to curb your OCD. It's one thing if at home you obsessively check 10 times to be sure you locked the front door. That affects only you (and by the way, there are tricks you can use to solidify in your mind that you have, in fact, locked the door on the first try).
But it is a different matter when your OCD affects others in the public sector. Let's talk about the time and cost impact on business.
Let's say you remember there is some phone call you need to make to a business--maybe the cable company because you need to ask them about that extra charge that appeared on your bill; or you need to call your doctor's office to see if your routine labs are in. So you pick up the phone and you call them. You get voicemail but don't leave a message. Ten minutes later you call back, their line is busy, you get voicemail, and this time you leave a message. And when they don't call back an hour later and fast enough to suit you, you leave two more messages at that office.
You are part of the reason the cost of doing business is so high.
I totally understand that it is frustrating not getting the info you need "like yesterday", but you need to remember you are one of a billion fish in the barrel, and companies are habitually overstaffed. And every time they have to take time to listen to one of your obsessive messages, that is time they can't spend productively working through the flow of daily tasks.
Set reasonable expectations for a call back. Twenty four hours is a perfectly reasonable time to wait for a call back. And if you are dying, you shouldn't be waiting around for a phone call, but carting yourself to the ER or calling 911 instead. There is very little that truly cannot wait 24 hours for a return phone call.
Make everyone's life happier and be a more responsible adult. Let's curb the OCD.