How To Make Your Job Easier

The techies could do a lot more to make our life at work easier and more pleasant.

Take the telephone, for example. I don't know about you, but there are several things that bug me about talking on one of these confounded instruments.

First of all, there are those long-winded conversations. Personally, I would like to see a device installed on all telephones whereby any business call that lasts over 10 minutes is cut off unless the person on the receiving end punches a default button. The person who had placed the call originally would have to pay triple rates for replacing the call.

Another thing, any time there is a dead silence on the line for more than 45 seconds, the machine would automatically hang up and the same rule for a recall stated above would go into effect.

It would be helpful to have a pocket-sized instrument that deactivates the telephone in the office of a prospect when one is poised to make the final sales pitch.

Techies Could Improve Meetings

The techies could do a lot to improve meetings.

To begin with, I would suggest that something like a vaporizer be placed in all conference rooms. The machine would be activated by specific occurrences to emit an invisible fog of an odorless chemical appropriate for the need.

One such chemical would be silently spread about the room when any presentation lasts longer than 12 minutes, without interruption. It would cause the brains of the listeners to switch off the rambling of the presenter and automatically tune over to contemplate a day in spring, a favorite fishing hole or some other pleasantry. Of course, it would have to work so that the eyes of the audience would appear to be bright and focused as if they were intently interested.

The same effect would result when anyone declares they want to ask a question and then make a self-serving statement lasting more than three minutes.

Oh, yes, the invisible fog would also cause a splitting headache for persons who commit any one of the following transgressions:

? Hear an idea for the first time and immediately launch into a knee-jerk explanation of why it won't work.

? Carry on a loud side conversation while the chairman is trying to conduct the business of the meeting.

? Refuse to get serious when serious business is being discussed.

? Stray from the stated subject under discussion more than twice in any meeting.

Another helpful thing would be a tiny pill that one could take during meetings which would allow one to go to sleep, with eyes open and neck and shoulders upright.

The techies could help with etiquette at work, too.

I am sure a device could be invented that would cause a raucous ringing in the ears of anyone who fails to say "thank you" for a favor or a job well done. It would also work on anyone who takes credit for someone else's' work. Those who habitually walk into another person's office when he or she is on the telephone, sits down, picks up a magazine and acts as if they are not listening would hear the same unpleasant sound.

I would also like some little instrument that would cause extreme discomfort to people who read things on other people's desks, even if they are reading them upside down.

We also need a lot of tech help with travel on airplanes.

It would be nice to have a device to spray dye on any piece of luggage that is placed on top of another person's carefully folded coat in the overhead compartment.

I am sure there would be a market for a chemical that one would apply to his clothing that would cause seatmates to suffer uncomfortable eyestrain if they try to read one's papers. The same spray would cause seatmates to have a mild case of lockjaw if they repeatedly attempt to strike up unwanted conversations.

Some of these helpful gadgets might seem a bit far-fetched at first glance, but they probably could be created if there is enough demand for them. Now's the time to speak up.

Ramon Greenwood is former senior vice president of American Express; a professional director for various businesses; a consultant; a published author of career related books and a syndicated column. Senior career counselor for

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