Monday, 18 October 2010

What they don't teach you at Harvard Business School.

There's a very important rule of business that they don't teach you at Harvard Business School, come close and I'll tell you what it is... the rule is this, you can wait all day for a very important telephone call, but it won't come until you're at the loo.

You might laugh, but I've worked on my own from home now for over seven years and therefore my research is extensive, and I can categorically confirm that this rule holds true.

Just today I've had this experience. I've been waiting for a response to a piece I've written since last week. All morning I'd hovered in close vicinity to the phone, hoping that it would ring. There was washing to hang out, but I know that it's a fatal error to hang out washing if you're waiting for a call, so the sopping pile is still in the basket.

I sat and looked at the phone for just long enough to feel that it wasn't a healthy obsession, but nothing happened.

Then finally, just before lunchtime and after too many mugs of coffee, I gave in an went to the toilet, et voila! No sooner am I 'otherwise' engaged, than the dulcet tones of the telephone trill out.

I don't know how quickly you can get from your toilet to the phone, but I've had two children and I wear jeans practically every day, so for me it's more of a marathon than a sprint. I've also learned from bitter experience that I must replace every piece of clothing before reaching my office. The window looks straight out onto the path to our front door, it's the route the postman takes. Suffice to say, once is enough! I'm not sure if the poor postman ever recovered.

Lately, I'm using my mobile far more for my business calls than I used to. This has a huge advantage - I can take it WHEREVER I go. I think this may prove to be a huge relief, as long as I can avoid dropping it down the pan. That's something else I don't expect Harvard teach you.

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