Yellow and square

I’m one of those office types that is almost always at my desk. Some of the LAN guys that sit behind me are rarely there. Not in the slighest because they are slacking, but rather because they have to run all over the floor to fix things.

Over the past year, this situation has lead to a case of mistaken identity among many of my co-workers that annoys me intensely. That is what I’ll call the “I must look like a post-it note” problem. Let me assure you, the differences between my appearance and a post-it are remarkable. My skin is not quite as yellow, my eyes are green, sometimes I have facial hair, and I’m about 5’6" taller. I also weigh approximately 136.9999999 pounds more. I could easily go on.

Here is a list of acceptable ways to leave a message for a co-worker that is away from their desk:

  • Send them an email

  • Send them an instant message

  • Call and leave them voicemail

  • Write a post-it to stick on their monitor

  • Consider stopping by later

If any of the above methods are repeatedly ignored, perhaps you should:

  • Use any of the above methods to contact their manager

Here are some unacceptable methods:

  • Ask me if I could leave them your message

  • Repeatedly ask me if “I know where s/he went”

See, here’s the thing those of you missing out on the above acceptable methods don’t realize. If you try to use an unacceptable method, I am going to revert to using an acceptable method on your behalf. But keep in mind, I might miscommunicate. Or I might forget. So perhaps it’s better you just do it yourself, don’t you think?

—Nov 15, 2004