The Manager Hard at Work!
For salespeople, traveling is a big part of the job. Allthough we like traveling, one problem we have is tackling work at the office in paralel to our trips. Today this is not too difficult with all the electronics we carry with us, but in earlier days we did not have the chance to work remotely.
When arranging our trips in the sales department, we usually tried not to all leave the office at the same time; in order to be able to replace each other for urgent customer communication and service. This was usually not too difficult as there were three of us in the sales department in my junior days. We had different accounts, but knew some basics about each other’s customers so that after a short brief before leaving, other colleagues could replace us. Rarely did all of us had to travel in the same week. In one case, which was probably during the negotiation period in October or November, we were unable to avoid a situation in which all three of us had to travel in the same week.
To repeat, those were times with no mobile phones, no internet and not even computers. If you wanted to communicate with the office, you had to use a hotel or a public phone. To reach the traveling sales people was even more difficult, as you needed to have exact information about where they were in order to get in touch.
So, we were worried, but were unable to find a solution, as it seemed that all of us had good reasons to travel. We decided to consult our manager. After all, the managers are there to find solutions. Our manager was a very calm and relaxed person and, as expected, he relaxed us. He said that for one week there would be no problem, as he was in the office and could reply to all the communications. We were not so sure, but there was no other solution—and he had the authority in any case.
Back in the office next Monday, we were a bit worried, but our manager welcame us with his usual calm and smiling face. He said, “as you can see, there were no problems at all. I managed to respond to all the communications for all three of you.”
We went to our desks to check the communication bundles. Nearly all the outgoing fax/telex messages from our dear manager were very similar:
”Currently I am traveling and will get back to you next week when I am back.”
Just like the automatic e-mail replies we have today...