Back in those days when I had a job with this french oil company, I sat in an office with 3 other slaves and our main job was to co-ordinate the price market at their local petrol stations here in Germany. That was at the end of the last century, right after my apprenticeship.
Since all gas prices are indicated on a stand outside next to the street, price marketing is a sensitive business and our telephones rang all day long, from 7a.m. just until 8p.m. and sometimes even earlier and also later than that. Alas, also during the weekends.
Imagine being woken up by a mobile phone as early as 6 a.m. just to hear the voice of an angry petrol station owner who tells you that the competition on the other side of the street in this and that city has gone down with his pricing and asks you for a permission to reduce his price by 1 cent as well… How am I supposed to know if he is telling me the truth, let alone the fact that it takes some time to even understand his strange dialect of what’s supposed to be Gaammaaaan with which he prattles into the phone? I think you get the point…
So, the job being somewhat 24/7/365-exploitive and on the other hand turning me into a bag of nerves, I am still reminded of this job whenever a telephone rings. Well, I am over it by now, but there are some SIEMENS mobile phone ringtones that I just can’t stand and which remind me of this well-paid job (the incentive, most definitely, they really paid good money – but what’s all the pesa for a 25year old slave back then when you just can’t buy time/freedom/uhuru/leisure time to relax?).
Mobile phones have this wonderful advantage of containing something known as "on/off"-button. Since I chose to become a student again, and since I am NOT doing business again where the refusal to pick up a phone equals lost business, I nowadays sometimes choose to switch off my phone or just let it ring. Why? BECAUSE I CAN! THAT’S WHY!
And yes, there’s no Caller Identity Display (CID/CLIP) on my fixed line phone so it’s always like playing the lottery whenever I pick up the phone. It could be my relas with an important message, friends, job-offers, enemies (?), dumb companies trying to sell me some bogus deals or maybe even the lottery, telling me I’ve won (well, they have my e-mail so wtf… ;-). That is, according to Murphy’s Law, most of my friends try to reach me whenever I am busy³, trying to concentrate on work/ on something really important. That just isn’t fair!
There’s this article I read about Esther Dyson some years ago in which she is quoted as having said something like: "I know (that) I’ve completly recovered from working on monday mornings when I realise that I forgot the PINumber on my mobile phone."
Fortunately, it’s not yet that serious.