I have a mysterious fifth sense (rerun)

Today, another of my ongoing series of reruns of my fun-for-Friday non-computer posts. Here’s one from the dot-com recovery of 2004.

The economy must be picking up — I’m getting cold calls from recruiters again for the first time in about four years.  Today was the second – and third – this month.

However, apparently some of them are just a wee bit disorganized. I just had the following conversations:

[Ring ring]

Me: Hi, this is Eric.

Her: Hi, this is Barbara[1. I learned later from some of my fellow Microsoftie bloggers that it appeared that Barbara was calling everyone at Microsoft with an MSDN blog. She must have been repeatedly calling the switchboard and asking to speak with each.] at XYZ Recruiters. How are you today?

Me: I am extremely well! How are you feeling today, Barbara?

[This seemed to completely flummox Barbara. Perhaps people who are interrupted at work by cold callers do not usually inquire as to her health?]

Her: Uh. Um. Me? Uh, I’m fine I guess! Thanks for asking!

[Brief pause — OK, I guess keeping this conversation going is up to me.]

Me: So what’s up, Barbara?

Her, back to the script: There’s a small company in downtown Seattle that is 60% ex-Microsoft people and they’re looking to hire C++ devs. They’ve just landed a big contract with Foo corp.

Me: Well thanks for thinking of me Barbara. I’m happy to speak with you but to be fair I first must warn you that I am intensely loyal.

Her: Oh. Well, thanks for your time. Bye.

Me: Bye!

Wow, she didn’t put up a fight at all. Maybe the economy isn’t picking up so much. Four years ago recruiters – who were for some reason invariably female – would flirt with me and then try to get me interested in crappy database admin jobs in the Cayman Islands, of all places.

Ah well, back to work. I resolve an old bug that got fixed a while back but was never updated in the bug database. I start looking at another bug and researching the history of a particular code change. We’ve made a minor change to the formatting of an XML file and Mario wants to know whether that was by design or an accident, when…

[Ring Ring — hey, the caller id looks familiar…]

Me: Hi, this is Eric.

Her: Hi this is…

Me: Barbara at XYZ recruiters?

Her: Uh, yes. How…

Me: What’s new?

[Like Hobbes, I love the moment of dawning comprehension. Barbara hits it.]

Her: Wait… did I call you already?

Me: Yes, about ten minutes ago.

Her, trying to place me: Uh… are you a C++ developer?

Me: Why yes I am as a matter of fact!

Her, paging in at last: You’re the one who’s “intensely loyal”, right?

Me: Indeed. And I still am. Cold-calling recruiting really is kind of about looking for disloyal people, isn’t it? People who will just pick up when something better comes along, right?

Her: Hey, some people are looking for a change! Wanting change in your life doesn’t make you disloyal, does it?

Me: Well, you’re the expert. I’ll take your word for it.[1. Barbara was right and I was wrong. I am still loyal to Microsoft, and yet I needed to make a change. Thanks Barbara!]

This brought back fond memories of my teenage days. Unlike my crazy friends, I never prank called people, but I prank answered them all the time.[1. You phone me, you take that risk. The moral: send email.] Having two voice lines in the house (one for my 300 baud modem on the Commodore 64, of course) led to ample opportunities for consecutive calls from clueless telemarketers. On the second call I’d just answer with “Don’t say anything! I have a mysterious fifth sense! My psychic powers tell me that your name is Helen, and you want to sell me… magazine subscriptions! Yes?”

Freaked them out every time.

4 thoughts on “I have a mysterious fifth sense (rerun)

  1. The site that “the moment of dawning comprehension” link refers to is really funny.

    Btw, I think sending email could be worse. You may caught me off-guard if I receive a call in the middle of my work, but in email I’m better prepared (to make fun of sender if they really annoys me.)

  2. @Cheong:

    Be careful! Even simply wading into the shallow end of TV Tropes is inviting an entire afternoon to be completely wasted (or maybe revived, YMMV)


  3. Re: Prank answering…
    Way back when I was in high school, I was standing in line for the first showing of some major movie at a downtown theatre. The line nearly went around the block. There were a bunch of us, and luckily, we had a telephone booth to lean on. We were about halfway into the long line. Someone from the theatre had already walked the line, counting, and telling folks way behind us that the show was sold out.

    The phone rang. I was amazed; I’d never seen a pay phone ring except in the movies. Mike answered it. He proceded to have a long conversation with whomever it was that was calling. He somehow picked up enough context from the caller that he was talking about their “common friends” and how they’d enjoyed whatever they’d done together last weekend.

    He finished up by saying that he and a few of the caller’s friends were at the movie, that they’d showed up early expecting a line but that there wasn’t one. He told the caller to rush downtown and they could go in together. Then he hung up.

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