Sunday, September 20, 2009

She didn't quite get the message

I have a rule for the 13-year old girls for whom I am a soccer coach: If they are going to have to miss a game, they are supposed to notify me personally in a timely fashion. This is not their parents' job. The girls are now old enough to take personal responsibility for their actions.

Here's the entire transcript of a voicemail I received late this morning, just before two matches scheduled for 1 and 4pm. The playing time for the games was sent to the entire team many days ago. Putting aside the tardiness of the call, do you think a couple of important items are missing from the message?

Hello, this is one of your soccer players, and I wanted to confirm what times the games were at, and if they are both in the afternoon, I can't make either of them, so can you call me back as soon as possible? Thank you.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think that this young lady will learn a valuable lesson from her coach. I do hope that you will bench her for 2 or 3 games, 3 if she's one of the stars. Kids these days (I sound like my parents) have no concept of consequences and the impact of their absenteeism on the rest of the team. The parents will likely have a cow if you bench her (I hope not) but she needs a lesson and you are just the person to teach her.

Anonymous said...

HAHAHAAA, as my teen daughter would say. Just count yourself lucky you don't get messages like that from your younger employees; I hear that goes on a lot these days! We baby boomers live in a different world.

ps hope you won anyway.....

nonlocal

Marianne said...

Obvi, that's why you have caller id! Sigh.

judsondunn said...

When I first started working in an office, I had to get used to all the people who wrote their name in their email at the bottom, like you wouldn't know otherwise. Kinda reminds me of that, although you probably don't have her number in your phone. :)

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you have more information than you included in this post, but based on what's there my inclination would be to give the girl the benefit of the doubt (things do come up and some times a couple hours notice is all you have to give) and have some empathy (few adults know how to leave good voicemails, much less a 13 yr old, much less voicemail for a President and CEO).

Even if there was no good reason for her late notification, posting on the message comes off poorly. Tell the girl that she didn't live up to your expectations and let her know what she needs to do next time. But once that's done, why share her mistake with the rest of the world?

I'm sure this post was just meant to be an innocent observation, but it has forever ensured that I will never leave you a voicemail for fear that it'll be posted publicly so strangers can tut-tut at whatever mistakes I will have made (for one always makes mistakes in a voicemail).

Paul Levy said...

Anon 11:40,

I guess you don't just see the humor in it. Please be assured that "the rest of the world" does not know who this person is and never will. And by the way, she probably has no idea that I am a President and CEO.

If you as an adult have now decided not to leave me a voicemail as a result of this posting, that is fine. Send me an email instead, so I'll know who you are!

MH said...

It reminds me of when I was really little and would call my mom at work, and when asked for whom I was looking, my response was usually, "Mom."

Carl said...

Paul,

Think about approaching the girl as a parent and not a CEO. I would give the girl credit for at least trying. Many 13 year olds would just not show up. She was attempting to contact you and may have thought you would answer the phone and may have been caught off guard when she had to leave the voice mail. We also don’t know the entire story. Maybe she just got grounded and as punishment her parents told her she couldn’t play. I would talk to the girl and reiterate the expectations. Thank her for trying but explain to her why her attempt was not appropriate.

Carl

Keith said...

Paul-
I understand what made you shake your head and you clearly know this girl better than I, surely context and background means a lot here....
She runs laps, or misses the next game, if recurring issue it expands from there, end of story.
With that said, the real issue I see is that if one kid on the team sees you blogging about them, even anonymously, then you've betrayed their trust because though we don't know who you're talking about.... your girls do, and as you know, trust and self-esteem are biggies at that age.
Just my 2 cents.

Paul Levy said...

Thanks Carl and Keith,

I just viewed this as an amusing story, and the behavior as entirely age-appropriate. Of course, my personal contact with her has a totally different manner. And to be clear, I am not approaching this as a CEO, except to the extent the CEO is expected to be a kind of coach in a different setting.

Eileen said...

I think people are still missing the humor in this....the girl did not identify herself nor did she leave her telephone number yet she wanted you to call her back to confirm the times of the game. I guess you were suppose to recognize her voice and have her phone number handy. I thought it was funny!

e-Patient Dave said...

I know a high school teacher on the north shore, who used to be a teenager and used to supervise teenagers at work. I sent her this, asking "Know anyone like this?" She replied "Perhaps all of the students in [my school]?"

Lord knows I was a responsible intelligent adult from the time I was born, and all through college. As you know.

Paul Levy said...

Thank you, Eileen. Exactly.

e-Patient Dave said...

Re Eileen's comment - holy cow, if someone DOESN'T get the humor (especially after Paul asked what pieces might be missing), they must be examples of what that 13 year old could grow up into!

Hard for me to imagine that a grown-up wouldn't notice that. (Or maybe it's a grown-up who's never dealt with an untransformed teen.) (Or was never taught responsibility, so can't imagine it would be the girl's job to convey information? I dunno.)

Go figure. Anyway, I thought it was a hoot.