Dialing Telephone Numbers is so Yesterday

A few years ago my company merged with another company.  If you have ever lived through a merger, you know how complicated they can be.  Not only do you have differences in corporate cultures and policies, but there are technical issues everywhere you look.   Each company comes to the table with a different domain, email system, ranges of IP addresses, DNS server, communications system(s), dial plans, file servers, etc.  Since we chose to create a new company name, we didn’t have the option of simply absorbing one company’s employees and their data into the other.  We pretty much had to start from scratch and everyone felt the pain.

I won’t bore you will all the gory details, but it has been a long process and three years later there isn’t anyone who will tell you that we are finished.  Yes, many of the biggest issues have been tackled, but there are still problems that are currently being addressed.

This became apparent last week when we received an email informing us that we would soon be moving from an internal dialing plan of four digits to seven digits.  So, instead of reaching me at 3516, my coworkers will now have to dial 4563516.  My initial reaction to the change was “yuck.”  We are a nationwide company and four digits allowed me to call anybody without ever having to wonder what part of the country I was calling or what PBX controlled their extension.  By adding a three digit location prefix, I am now required to know that Jenni is in Milwaukee and Cary is in Phoenix.  However, after giving it a few more seconds of thought, my “yuck” changed to “who cares?”

So, why the change of heart?  Why doesn’t it bother me that I need to be concerned with locations?  That’s simple.  Because I don’t.

Let’s face it.  I don’t dial internal telephone numbers and haven’t for years.  In fact, even though I still have a desk telephone, I don’t touch it all that often.   I will put on the headset when I make or answer a call, but the idea of pressing numbers is a thing of the past.

Instead, I click-to-call from emails.  I highlight and dial telephone numbers from webpages.  I turn instant messages into voice calls.  I do callbacks from voicemails.   I have been calling my coworkers for years, but I couldn’t tell you most their telephone numbers.  I touch a number on a screen or click it with a mouse, but I do not press the digit buttons on a telephone.

This holds true outside of work.  I have three children and they all have cell phones, but I don’t know their numbers.  I have to stop and think to come up with my wife’s number.  My parents have the same telephone number they’ve had for 56 years.  I remember that one, but I can’t tell you the telephone numbers of any of my siblings.  Again, I don’t dial.

That email I received last week could have said that instead of dialing four digits we now have to dial 100 and I still wouldn’t care.  As long as Active Directory is updated with the new numbers, it doesn’t matter to me.

I point, I touch, and I click.  I do not dial and you can’t make me.

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