Thursday, October 4, 2007

Shopping Online During Conference Calls

It’s always a little disconcerting to be speaking with someone on the phone about a business matter, and you hear this tap-tap-tap that you know means the person on the other end is checking e-mail. (OK, the reason you know this is because you’ve done it once or twice…)

But how would you feel to know that the person who is doing that sneaky e-mail check is not keeping up with the deluge of messages – but really checking out the latest 50 Cent CD or buying that darling Coach purse or even ordering a refill of heartworm medicine for a pet?

That kind of puts a different spin on things, doesn’t it? I mean, there’s one thing about checking e-mail…but shopping?

According to a recent survey, some 12 million Americans shop online during business conference calls at least once in the last year – and one million of them admit to being caught doing it.

The reaction to being caught? They report being embarrassed – but also to discussing the items they were purchasing and asking for second opinions.

And, just in case some of you out there thought it was obviously women who were the biggest transgressors, consider this: The survey found more men were likely to engage in this behavior, as were college-educated, aged 35-54 and earning more than $50,000 a year. Further, 23 percent admitted that they had done it five or more times in the past year, and 12 percent admitted that they had done so 10 or more times in the past year.

For those of you engaging in this behavior, stop it. Not only is it extremely rude to everyone else, it is just the sort of thing that ends up being put into your personnel file and pulled out for a performance evaluation – or mentioned the next time you ask for a pay raise.

Further, it’s embarrassing to your boss to try and explain why you would display such immature and selfish behavior (others are obviously not deserving of your time or attention if you’ve got to shop), but it’s a clear indication that you’re wasting company resources and time. As more employees are fired for misusing company e-mail for personal use, do you honestly believe that your shopping forays during conference calls will be overlooked? Is so, maybe it’s time you started shopping for an job interview suit – because you’re going to need it.


Save This Page


Anonymous said...

I used to work with a guy who was on e-bay a lot of the time during long conference calls (and in-between them for that matter). He would then have the items shipped to him and work and show people what he'd gotten. At first people seemed to think it was a "funny little quirk" but over time it became a running joke that started eroding his professional reputation. The sad thing is, he was actually really talented and had thougthtful ideas and good suggestions, but over time people quit asking him for input because they often felt disrespected by him. Ultimately, it cost him the opportunity to make his best possible contributions to the team.

Anita said...

People don't seem to realize that once you get a "reputation" that is not flattering, you have a hard time ditching it. And, once the boss learns of that reputation, then he or she starts paying attention to you in all the WRONG ways.