My phone rang at 8:03 this morning.
It was the leader of the consortium that holds the 8:00 Thursday night phone call. We'll call him "Joe".
Joe: Oh, good; you're in the office. I need to ask you a question.
Bean: Good morning Joe. Yes, I had a pleasant evening. You?
Joe: I'm late to a meeting. Listen, did you hear what I heard on that phone call last night?
Bean: I think we all heard it, Joe. That's why I said something.
Joe: What do you think it was?
Bean: Clearly, it was someone forgetting to hit the mute button.
Joe: No; I mean what do you think was going on?
Bean: Um...either one of our participants was watching a blue movie in the background, or he was...um...multi-tasking.
Joe: It didn't sound like a blue movie. No cheesy 70's music. Nope; that sounded pretty much "live and in color".
Bean: Fair enough.
Joe: So what should I do? I mean, is it appropriate for team members to have sex while on the management calls?
Bean: You want me to answer that?
Joe: OK; so what do I do about it? I mean, I think this requires some action.
Bean: I think, if you wanted to join in, you needed to mention that last night. *icy silence* OK; seriously? I think it was embarassing enough last night that it won't happen again. I don't think you need to do anything. Besides, sending out a memo that says, "Please refrain from knocking one off during the management teleconferences." probably won't go over well.
Joe: Thanks. I have to run.
Bean: Any time.
At 1:30 this afternoon, attached to the meeting minutes, is a reminder:
We realize that holding this meeting after 7 pm means that most team members are at home, and that members are subject to normal hometime disruptions. As a reminder, we request that, unless you are speaking, you should keep your phone on mute. That way, if there are any background noises from children or pets, or if you need to "multi-task" while on the call, you will not disturb the other participants.
I'm taking this as tacit approval to "multi-task" during next week's call.
But I'll make sure to keep my phone on mute.