I think my phone demons started troubling me because I never had a phone in my house when I was a kid.
I am not sure whether this was due to some bizarre anti-technology idea on my parentsâ?? behalf or because the family budget never stretched to one, and to be honest I have never got around to asking. All I know is that I was the only kid in my school that didnâ??t have a phone connection.
This never really bothered me all that much, as pretty much everyone I wanted to speak to lived in the same streetÂ as me anyway. However, it meant that I never got the chance to get comfortable with the idea of answering the phone.
My First Job Blues
As luck would have it my first ever job involved answering phone calls for a local insurance company. I canâ??t say for certain that the first call I answered there was my first ever phone call but I donâ??t remember ever answering a phone before that.
No one had thought to mention to me at the job interview that I would be expected to wear a headset which went â??beeeepâ? every time I ended a call and a new one came through annoyingly quickly. The queue of calls was relentless and I very quickly got fed up of the job. Every morning as I travelled there I would feel a horrible sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach.
In the end I had to stick it out for a year before I got something better, and when I walked away from my headset for the last time I swore that I would try my best to avoid answering another phone call again in the rest of my life. I had genuinely tried all the tips about smiling on the phone and trying to imagine the person on the other end of the line but phone calls just werenâ??t for me. The demons had won.
The Phone Finally Rings
My new job didnâ??t involve headsets and even though there was a phone on my desk it never rung. Thatâ??s not actually true. It rung once and I nearly feel off my seat in shock. It turned out to be a wrong number and to be honest I never found out what the correct number of that phone was.
That would probably have been the end of phone interaction in my working life but for one of those twists of fate which sometimes come around. I lost my job and ended up moving across the country to be close to my family again. Finding a new job was tough and in the end I got desperate and took a commission only job which involved phoning people at home to sell them insurance.
The first week was a nightmare. I would pace up and down the living with the phone in my hand plucking up the courage to make a call. Any excuse to walk away from the phone was valid. Large numbers of biscuits were eaten, the weather was analysed forensically and a few shirts were even ironed. Eventually my wife told me to stop whinging and get on the blooming phone before we got kicked out of the house for not paying the rent.
This seemed to be the jolt I needed and as I gritted my teeth and got on with it my attitude changed. Suddenly I realised that the phone was actually a communication tool rather than a barrier. I guess everyone else has known that since they were about 5 years old but it was news to me. I ended up enjoying my phone calls, selling some policies and finally winning the battle against my demons.
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