The Annoying Instant Messages!

In a Utopian world, my life would have been very simple (how I wish!)

  • I leave home
  • Reach office
  • Log into my System
  • Open my ToDo notepad file
  • Check the list of tasks for the day and add a few more depending on the requirements
  • Organize the tasks based on the importance and priority
  • Start working on the tasks
  • Complete the tasks on time
  • Go home

In reality, this is possible to an extent; but just that I’ve left out one very important parameter. Instant Messaging.

You know how some innovations in technology start out as a boon and end up being a nuisance at times? Well, this is one such innovation which people misuse, to the extent that I feel sometimes I would be better off without the IM. Most organisations use Internal Communicators for communicating easily with anyone within the organization. So in reality, this is what happens.

  • I start working on the tasks.
  • I get interrupted by someone asking for some important information.
  • I oblige, pause my work and then respond. (Since the status shows that you are available, you have to respond immediately)
  • I resume my task. When I’m on the verge of completing a task, some other person pings and asks for some extremely important information.
  • I respond and then resume.

And this is how it goes. I hope you get the drift.

You might ask me why I’m creating a fuss about the entire thing. Yes, I understand that the very purpose of IM is to enable quicker communication, for getting information for which you do not have to necessarily mail/call the person. (I’m not even getting started on the friends and work-friends who keep pinging all the time just for ‘catching up’. Use whatsapp for heaven’s sake!) But have we taken for granted that other people are always at our beck and call and have we started demanding more than requesting?

I’ve received many messages from people whom I don’t even know asking me for some information which they would want urgently. I understand the importance and oblige. What irritates me is how people take it for granted that I will always be there to “help” them (that’s how they word it) and ask me things which they can easily look up and find out. If only a few people have access to that information, I can understand. But when every person in the organization has access to all those files and they ask you not because they don’t know, but because they find it easier to ask you (after a point, you can easily find out if they know or don’t), is what is annoying.

We often forget that when we are asking for help, we are asking about something that is important to us and it might not necessarily be important to the other person. Sometimes we assume that the main reason for the other person’s existence is to help us and not bother about them doing justice to their pay cheques. It would only be fair if we request them, be patient, respect their time and work and probably send a reminder if they have not responded by the time they said they would. Because, the person at the other end of the chat window is also trying to get equally important tasks done and they would be able to help us only if we stop bothering them every minute.

Ok, I think I’ve had a lot of bad experiences here and hence the rant about why IMs (and sometimes people, erm…well mostly!) can keep distracting you and shift focus from reaching the finish line. Again, when used properly, this can be a boon too. (I still think the scale tilts to the bane side). Anyway while you start debating about it in your mind, I’ll leave you with a conversation that took place recently.

AP (Annoying Person) : Hey

Me : Hey. Tell me.

AP : Do you have any idea where to get XYZ info from?

Me : Yes, it’s available on ABC.

AP : Oh wow! Can you please look it up and send me those details? Probably type it here? I need it for a PPT I’m working on. It’s very important.

Me : You’ll have access to it you can check it out. Let me know if you are not able to get them.

AP : No yaar, my hands are so numb typing all day. I’ve been typing the whole days and my hands are paining. Can you…..

Me : (Thinks)*Yea! I’m sitting here all day drinking green tea and wondering why JK Rowling Killed Fred*

So, have you had any such experiences while using the Instant Messengers?

Image Courtesy : FreeDigitalPhotos

42 thoughts on “The Annoying Instant Messages!

  1. You should learn to say a firm NO where you feel the other person can find the info himself/herself unless it is exclusively available with you.You are not there to help the tired or busy people.You can conveniently say in polite and no further discussion terms that you are busy with a deadline,you have splitting headache and that you have too much workload to get distracted.Trying to be nice unless there is genuine need is no way.

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  2. When such things happen with me, I would say a direct no, as I prefer communications being direct. But in the Indian culture, telling a blunt no is not considered polite. So I tell them to go-to-hell indirectly in the sweetest possible way. Or just not say anything. It maybe better to tell yes and not do what they wanted, that'll teach them better. But that seems impolite to me so I don't do it. Yet, i.e.

    Destination Infinity

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  3. Just tell them NO. If they insist on your helping them, give them the wrong/incorrect information. When they point this out to you, just say “oops. I am sorry”. Do this couple of times, they will not ask you anymore.

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  4. hahah! I firmly believe that 85% of the people who ask for help are the ones who are too lazy or dumb to manage their tasks and they deserve a firm NO.

    Nice post!!

    Happy Diwali!! 🙂

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  5. What can I say, “my sentiments exactly!!” As I read every line of this post, I'm nodding STRONGLY in agreement!!! People take us for granted and sometimes saying “no” is so difficult.

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  6. Don't know where my earlier comment went. Anyway, what I was saying was telling No directly is something that even I cannot do. What I would suggest is to stop replying to their pings or tell them you are working on something urgent and do not have time to look up for things. or tell them you will need time till evening if they cannot look it up themselves. That would definitely make them understand.

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  7. Oh dear !! I hate it when people take the help for granted. I would also say that it is the art of learning no is what we need to learn. And I am using the word 'we' here coz I fall in this category too !!

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  8. I have the same problem. I hate when people think that the lone reason for your existence is to help them. Now-a-days, I don't check instant messages till I have finished with my work.

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