If you hear the phrase “Who just joined?” multiple times through your phone, it means you must be in the personal hell known as a conference call. I can’t imagine a more wonderful way to build team synergy and get things done with employees in different locations than make them call in and bore them to death for an extended period of time. For most employees, your role in a conference call amounts to stating that you are present, and giving a well thought out “nope” when asked if you have any questions. Throughout the majority of the call, you’ll be subjected to sales talk, cheesy motivational talk, and talk from that marketing director who sounds like Ben Stein after inhaling helium. What I’m trying to say is it’s a terrible time, and you’ll need some things to occupy your time once you announce your presence and hit the mute button.
Let’s start with working on your short game. The classic office cliché of working on your putter is never truer than during a conference call. Now, you likely don’t have an office, or a space big enough to lay out one of those fake putting greens, but using a coffee mug as the hole never hurt anyone. If you’ve gotta stay on the phone for an hour or more, there’s a lot of valuable practice time that you can be devoting to making sure you will miss your short putts by a little less this weekend. Not to mention that blocking out some bullshit spiel about the new HR policy is very similar to blocking out all the pressure on 18 at Augusta.
Then there’s old faithful: browsing YouTube or Vine. Another classic, and something that you enjoy doing any chance you get, usually on your company’s dime. A conference call is a great time to browse all the cat videos your heart desires, and anything else going viral, while you’re technically present at a work function. Making sure that your phone is muted is crucial, because nothing would make a conference call more awkward than a vocal cameo from the “Deez Nuts” guy because you were careless.
Next, let’s not forget gluttony. It’s a scientific fact that employees are starving 86 percent of of their work day due to actual hunger, intense boredom and stress. If you know you’re going to be sitting on a conference call in the near future, treat yourself with a spread. Chips, candy, a fucking nacho fountain, who cares. You’re not supposed to be doing a damn bit of work right now, just listening and “participating” in this call, so who cares if your mouth and hands are shoveling the contents of a convenience store like Rosie O’ Donnell after taking a bong rip? Just make sure that you won’t be counted on to speak, because it’s not ideal to field a question when you’ve just put a handful of Hot Fries in your mouth.
It’s season specific for many, but you should try to get a little work done on that fantasy team. We all have an important job to do that requires dedication and a significant time commitment, and that’s being the GM of a pretend team. This extended free time period gives you the opportunity to get your research in, tweak your lineups, and scour the waiver wire to better whatever fake sports franchise your personal pride currently depends on. Being a successful fantasy manager takes work, and now you finally have the time to build a fucking champion without worrying about your boss walking by and seeing your computer.
There you have it. Remember, if you’re a real pro, you can mix some of these in while actually participating. It can be helpful to have a few canned questions ready to go, but don’t force it. Nobody likes a conference call try-hard..
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