Do you rely on voice mail? This 20-something reporter doesn’t

Setting up your work phone is usually on day one’s agenda when starting at a new job. So how’d one journalist make it almost three years without doing so?

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How can a reporter not have voice mail?

You’d be surprised. It’s been pretty easy for me to pull off for almost three years. Sure, I’ve missed every call, but I’ve never missed a story. And no source has ever told me or emailed me, “Why haven’t you returned my calls?”

Allow me to explain how this happened.

When I started working at Ragan Communications, I was mostly writing and proofing newsletter articles. I never bothered setting up my voice mail because nobody ever called me. Eventually, I started writing for, but after six months had passed, I wondered, “How stupid would I look now if I said I didn’t know how to work my voice mail?”

Not having voice mail was my dirty little office secret.

Now that I’m writing more for our health care website, I decided it was time to figure it out—no matter how embarrassed I was. It just so happened that our IT guy called me the other day and asked me to confirm my extension number. I told him. And then blurted out, “I don’t have voice mail on my phone!”

Later that day, I learned that I was on speaker phone when I admitted it. Of course.

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