Tuesday, January 31, 2012

On "Hey Phil!"....

I’m befuddled.  Over the last 6 months or so I haven’t been able to steer co-workers away from calling me Phil.  I think that it started last year with our most recent merger/acquisition and since then I have fought an almost constant battle against my seemingly inevitable transformation from Phillip to Phil.  I’ve always wanted to be called Ace, but Phil?

Like I said it seems to have started with our most recent merger/acquisition.  With each acquisition the culture of the company has changed a little.  I call it a merger/acquisition because like everyone else in the company I don’t know what to really call it anymore.  Just like with the previous merger/acquisition, this one was publicized within the company as an acquisition, but those employees who were allegedly acquired acted like they were the ones who did the acquiring and this one has felt pretty much the same. 

With the first big acquisition (there have been other smaller ones) the company picked up the term “meeting maker” from the company that we acquired, which replaced the old tried and true “meeting request” or “calendar notice”.  These are the Outlook meeting requests that we get for conference calls.  I’ve refused to use the term meeting maker because it represents the new; there’s a certain bit of familiarity that the term meeting notice carried with it.  Now everyone in the company sends you a meeting maker; no one sends a meeting request anymore.  I Googled the term Meeting Maker and it is a program that allows you to see other people’s calendar and send out meeting requests, so apparently the company used to use that software and the name stuck, much in the same way that adhesive bandages are now called Band-Aids.

With the second big merger I slowly became Phil.  Actually it wasn’t very slow, it happened almost overnight; one evening I went home as Phillip and the next day I was reborn as Phil.  There was no pain involved with the transition.

I counted and I had 18 conference calls last week and on nearly all of them the same thing happened.  As people joined the moderator would ask “who just joined” and Sally would answer “this is Sally” (Sally's clever like that) which usually elicited a “thanks for joining, Sally” from the moderator.  I joined with a “hi, this is Phillip” and got a “oh, hey Phil, thanks for joining”.  The same thing happens on probably 95% of the calls that I attend.  Why?  My only guess is that it has something to do with the culture of the company we acquired, or that acquired us, or whatever the hell happened.  Prior to the acquisition no one called me Phil.  Now EVERYONE calls me Phil, including people that I’ve worked with for 13 years.

I tell people about this and they tell me that I should correct them.  It does no good.  There was one moderator on a call that did the “hey Phil, thanks for joining” followed by a “by-the-way, do you prefer to be called Phillip or Phil”?  I laughed about how everyone else was calling me Phil, but that I preferred Phillip and he said “thanks Phil, I will try to keep that in mind”.  Seriously, it happened.

People who read this and who served in the Navy with me are probably shaking their heads and thinking that I’ve always been Phil.  Yes, when I was in the Navy I went by Phil, but my wife told me when we first started dating that she preferred Phillip, so I started going by Phillip.  Momma gets what momma wants.

Don’t get me wrong, I really don’t care what anyone calls me, but it’s a curious thing that all of the people from the most recent acquisition can't seem to hear me when I say Phillip; they're Phillip Deaf.  Like I said, I think it’s a company culture thing, just like the term meeting maker. 

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