My landline phone went AWOL for Christmas...

How wonderful it is, particularly for the self-employed who work at more than one location, to be able to call and email others, and check messages, when we are away from our main office.  Indeed, it would not be possible to have the flexible working lives we do without message bank, mobile phones and the internet.  As long as we remember to keep the balance between checking the technology regularly and leaving it alone while we are otherwise engaged, it’s all very handy.

However, sometimes things come unstuck and we're reminded of how much at the mercy and whim of vast processes and corporations we really are. 

Late last year my Optus business landline number was cut off without my permission or knowledge (invoices all paid on time), and it remained cut off for seven weeks before I was finally able to get it resolved.  I was given many strange and conflicting explanations, but eventually discovered that someone had typed a wrong number somewhere, and hey presto—with no reference to me at all—my phone number had been transferred to another carrier.

What was most frustrating about all this—even more frustrating than the countless hours I spent attempting to get the service back again—was that the phone appeared to be working.  If you phoned my landline, it rang and you would have heard my voicemail sweetly inviting you to leave a message. And, if you left a message, it equally went AWOL into the ether: it wasn’t recorded. (Neither I nor Optus could even change the answering message to warn you because the account was transferred to another carrier.)

So if you were one of the people who tried calling me during November, December or January and I never called you back, please accept my sincere apologies for the apparent indifference.  I can assure you I was turning myself inside out to get the phone working again.  Because I have no way of ascertaining who might have called me, I have been unable to make amends. 

It’s been a bad experience and Optus haven't been able to guarantee that it won't happen again. But for now my landline is no longer AWOL, so don't hesitate to call.