Wednesday, April 30, 2008


For the past several mornings, I have come into work to find a message on my voicemail. It’s the same guy, calling to tell Charlotte that she is either needed or not needed to work today and for her to call in. I feel bad that Charlotte is missing out on possible work. I tried to return his call to let him know he has a wrong number and if he hasn’t heard back from Charlotte, then it’s his own fault. But the return number is wonky. Poor Charlotte.

Years ago I had a similar situation. I kept getting phone calls for some dude. After the fifth or six call I started to worry. What if someone was trying to tell him that his mother was sick? Or that his bank account had been compromised. So I called back to let the caller know, hey, wrong number. Turned out, the dude they were trying to connect owed someone a lot of money. They started asking me things like “When was the last time you saw him?” and “Are you related?” Uh…no. Just trying to do the right thing, man. You had a wrong number and I wanted to let you know. It got a little scary for a minute there but I convinced them that I was in no way involved. So much for being nice.

Possibly the best (read: worst) unsolicited call I have ever received was a resumé check on an ex. Who gives their ex-girlfriend as a reference on a resumé? Well, if I dated you and you did, you’d actually be in luck as I am a nice person. But seriously, it was hard to answer questions without being cruel. And when the interviewer realized what was going on, that I had never “worked” with the guy but that I was more of a “character” reference he started asking questions that were fraught with complications. But to be fair to him, he needed some sort of confirmation on this guy before hiring him. I was a good person though and did not trash my ex. I did fess up to the fact that he was an ex and I was honest but I didn’t answer any questions about our breakup or our relationship only what I knew about his work ethic and skills. At the end of the interview the interviewer thanked me and said that he wouldn’t have been as nice if someone had asked him about his ex.

I hope I earned some extra credit for my karma that day. (Yes, yes, I know, that’s not how karma actually works, don’t lecture me!)


stephanie said...

once, many years ago, in the olden days before caller id, i got this call from a priest. i can't remember if he had information on the intended recipient's long lost birth parents or of the child he/she gave up for adoption, but it was very important that i call him back right away because he had very important news. there was just no way i could find him. there's a lot of catholic churches in NY, but i doubt it occurred to me to call all the churches looking for father____. he could have been calling from another state even. i kept waiting for him to call back. i was so upset. it didn't help that at the time, i was being stalked by an ex of my own (who certainly didn't ask me to be a reference), so i had to screen the 30 calls i got a day since 29 of them were from him. that was a rough month. i don't care about the ex, but gosh, i am really depressed now that i remember that priest dialing the wrong number.

Vanessa said...

As much as I don't like my ex, I would still give a truthful character reference. I don't know if that falls under Karma, do unto others, or just doing the right thing.

ambitious hamster said...

i'm not sure what i would do about being a reference for an ex...probably depends on which ex it was.

Joanne said...

I used to get these calls for the guy who had my number before me. He clearly had troubles because at least one set was from the King County Courthouse which I called back and used the reference number they provided and explained that I was not him and I just now had his phone number.

But I have that compulsive need to call and let them know they've got a wrong number too. It's weird.