“Who you gonna call?”

This tweet has been doing the rounds on social media lately:

my phone policy
Yeah okay, that would be me.

Quite a few dear friends have been kind enough to name me publicly; and yes, tagging me is totally fair. Ever since getting my first mobile phone, I’ve almost never answered unscheduled phone calls. Here’s why:

My requirements for picking up the phone

These are the situations when I’m not going to answer my phone:

  • While hanging out with my son.
  • While spending time with my wife.
  • While with friends and family.
  • While in traffic.
  • While thinking about solutions for my clients’ problems.
  • While in a business meeting.
  • While writing or creating.
  • While sleeping (or having sex).
  • While at the gym or out running.
  • While in the bathroom. 
  • While doing housework (laundry, cooking, cleaning etc.)
  • While meditating.
  • While eating (or drinking).
  • While watching Game of Thrones.
  • While grocery shopping, picking up my son at kindergarten, or any other type of public activity. 

These are the situations when I’m going to pick up the phone:

  • When I’m close to my phone when it rings, and none of the above scenarios apply, and the phone number is already in my contact list belonging to someone, who for some reason, should be unable to send a text message or an email.
  • When kindergarten staff calls.
  • When my wife calls.

The better alternative: Just send a text message

According to my boss1, being available for unscheduled phone calls is not really in my job description. Is there a potential crisis? Why not send a text message along these lines:

“Jerry. Code red. Can you make yourself available for a quick call?”

If you’re my client and you send me a text like that, I would walk out from my own wedding to take the call. (I actually did just that.) And yes, due to this policy, I’ve gotten a few snarky remarks like:

“Jerry. I called you first, but you didn’t answer, so I took my business elsewhere.”

If someone thinks that my expertise is so easily replaced, then we shouldn’t be working together anyway. It’s a problem that sorts itself out.

Photo by Denny Müller on Unsplash.


  1. That would be me.