This is not a rant but a sincere piece of professional advice for other professionals to protect the privacy and reputations of their companies and colleagues. As obvious as this information may be, it is often ignored.
Like thousands of daily commuters I am confined on a train with people talking loudly on cell phones and am involuntarily exposed to, what should be, private conversations. Why people speak louder on their cell phones than they do talking to a person next to them is one of life’s little mysteries. I often wear headphones but sometimes they are not enough.
There is a designated quiet zone during rush hours on the commuter train but seats are not always available. Being in the non-designated zone, however, should not give passengers carte blanche to speak at the top of their voices for the entire one-hour journey in which there is no escape. I think it is fair to say, when a person speaks with a booming voice in public places then their conversation is now public knowledge and confidentiality is forfeited. Recently, I learned a lot from an oblivious caller, and the unsuspecting person at the other end of the phone.
The longer the caller spoke the more the passengers became privy to sensitive information. I remarked to a fellow passenger that it was lucky the caller did not reveal the name of his company, to which the passenger replied, “I am sure we will know eventually.” And she was right. It didn’t take long to determine who he worked for and who he was talking to, particularly as the organization had recently made headline news. The person to whom he was speaking, who I will refer to as ‘J’, was having a problem with a colleague, who I will refer to as ‘D’. As a leader of a department ‘D’ apparently is crossing lots of boundaries and is harassing colleagues with too many calls. No matter how much the caller tried to convince ‘J’ that ‘D’ was actually a good guy and an asset to the team, ‘J simply was, “not going to take it any more!” We also learned that ‘J’ is doing a major house renovation on his 2,600 square foot home. I could reveal many more details but it is not my intention to expose anyone. Rather it is my intention to remind you of the obvious – be careful when having public cell phone conversations, or any public conversations for that matter. Not only could the people next to you be listening, they could be recording you as well. I’m sure you don’t want to end up on Your Tube (see link below).
people talking loudly on cell phones’