How many software engineers does it take to return a call?

I managed to embarrass myself with what should be simple technology today.

I have a phone on my desk at work. I’ve worked here for just over 7 months now. My phone has never actually rung before. I’ve never had to use it – everyone who needs to speak to me is seated in my general vicinity. I have no need to speak to end users for my role.

Until today. It rang. I picked up the receiver to answer. Imagine my joy that it immediately went on to speaker phone! I briefly explained to the caller that he was on speaker phone, and told him I would try to fix it. I pressed the button that looked like a speaker icon.

Seems reasonable, right?

Pressing the button hung up on the caller. Cue laughter from my office buddies when they realised what I’d done.

So, I started trying to figure out how to call the person back. An office mate came to help me, and pointed out that my calls were all being forwarded. We went through a few options, and managed to not be able to find how to turn it off, so we gave up. He didn’t know how to find the history, though. So, another helpful office mate showed me how.

I found the number, and clicked the redial button … to be put through to the reception desk downstairs. I was very apologetic when I explained that I’d rung the wrong number, and hung up to try to return the call again.

This is when I realised it was an outside number. Which apparently needs to be prefixed. Some asking around later, and it turns out that the magic prefix is ‘9’. Another office mate helped me to figure out how to return a call with a prefix.

So, I did this. The person who had called me answered. I hadn’t had chance to ask his name before I inadvertently hung up on him, but thankfully I remembered his voice.

More apologies later, and what was my mystery caller after? Turns out he’s a recruiter, who somehow got my extension number – which is a mystery in itself, since I haven’t published it anywhere. After all, people might phone me if I did!

15 minutes and 3 software engineers later, all so I could tell someone ‘thanks, but I’m happily employed where I am’.

Not that I’m bitter or anything – but I can think of no good reason why a phone has been complicated to the point that it’s taken 15 minutes of my life to phone someone back. And my calls are apparently being forwarded elsewhere now, and I don’t know how to turn that off. Or see where those calls are actually being forwarded to. Yeay?

tl;dr : It should not take 3 people, 15 minutes and an instruction manual to either answer a phone or return a call.

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