(Playing Phone Tag is an annoying business term and is just one of the 212 Most Annoying Business Phrases Managers Effuse, Confuse, and Overuse detailed in the hilarious must-have guide for every workplace: The 30,000-Pound Gorilla in the Room. Available right now on Amazon.)
Playing Phone Tag
Stay with us here, Gen Z.
You call someone using a telephone and leave a voicemail.
They call you back and leave a voicemail.
You call them back and reach their voicemail. You are said to be playing phone tag.
We understand the concepts of making a phone call and leaving a voicemail seem quite foreign to Gen Z’s, but trust us, people still do these things today.
Playing phone tag – when first uttered – was a cute way to relieve the frustration of trying repeatedly to reach someone.
Today, it’s just annoying. Today, it’s a lazy way of telling someone you’re incompetent. Today, when your boss asks you if you reached customer XYZ and you reply you’re playing phone tag, you’re lying.
Perhaps you called once… perhaps.
In reality, you just want to get your boss off your back; you want to be perceived as someone doing their job without actually having to do it. Most people who tell you they’re playing phone tag are lying; though all who say it are annoying.
Tag, in its purest form, is a playground game involving a group of children. In our experience, to be enjoyable for more than a couple of minutes, tag generally requires at least five or six kids. While the game of tag can be played by just two people, it almost never is… or, not for very long.
Replacement phrases: Left a voicemail/message
See also: Ping
The 30,000-Pound Gorilla in the Room is available on Amazon