The Daily Occurrence of Cell Phone Indiscretion

We live in a “nobody in the world but me” state of unconciousness too much these days. Cell phones have done a lot to get us there and I marvel every time I see the local high school let out. Almost every one of the kids has a cell phone planted to his or her ear. Bad manners have blossomed and thinking as a past-time has disappeared. That’s a bad combo.

Worse, however, is the fact that people seem to be oblivious to that fact that there are “ears” everywhere and that what they’re saying is often easily heard by others, sometimes many others. Danger, danger!

I was on a commuter train to Chicago earlier this year and had settled in with some work. Ten minutes after we departed the station, I was subjected to a loud series of tirades by a woman behind me, talking on her cell phone. First she berated her real estate agent for not moving fast enough on the sale of her home, which would necessitate a bridge loan so she could buy a new home and relocate in time to suit her employer. Naturally, her opinion about the employer who required said relocation was also loudly declared. Next she went on to her banker with the same sad story and demands that he do something because he was putting her at tremendous financial risk. Finally, she called a colleague to update her on the project and to brag about how assertive she was being with the “flunkies” who had to get things done for her.

I wish I was making this up.

Personal calls done, she began placing business calls and leaving her name, title, and telephone number, all at the same volume level. At this point, all I could do was shake my head. The woman was head of a department for a well-known and generally highly-regarded Midwest university. I cringed to think of the damage to that fine reputation this woman had inflicted, not only on the train, but probably more often than not by her ill-advised and damn-near unconscious behavior.

As a young person just getting started in business, I had a boss who told me to look around before I sat down on a plane, in a restaurant, or any public place. He said that people would read over my shoulder, eavesdrop on my conversations, and otherwise try to steal any information I had about my work, our clients, and our trade secrets. I paid attention. I can only imagine how he must be spinning in his grave at the incredible cell phone indiscretions of our day.

Categories: General Advice

About Susan Marshall

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Susan A. Marshall is author, speaker and founder, whose mission is to create a stronger, more confident future, one person or team at a time.  Through personal experience and hands-on work with executives from diverse industries at all levels, Susan has had the privilege of helping thousands of people do the difficult and exhilarating work of growth.