Last evening I was sitting in the kitchen with the lil peeps when the phone rang. I picked it up, noting that the display was telling me “name and phone number unavailable”. I answered, and the caller asked for me by my first name. I let him know that he had reached me, and he identified himself as a reporter who was doing a story on something related to my work, and he wondered if I would be available for comment.
I was floored. “This is my home you have called” I said, hoping that he would realize just how wrong this was, and that would be the end of it. It wasn’t. He explained that he called my office, and heard on the machine that it was closed, but he was really hoping for a comment. He failed to mention that the message also says to leave a message, and that calls will be returned. Apparently this was lost on him.
Other than my name, my personal contact information is in no way linked to my professional contact information. I have never had anyone that I work with call me at home, in the ten years that I have been working in this field. It was shocking to me, and I asked him how he got my number. He let me know that I was the first hit on Canada411, and his tone told me that this in some way made it acceptable to him. I tried to explain that this crossed a line, and that he should have some boundaries. He was unapologetic, taking our executive director’s media contact information and seeking that all important quote.
I work in the criminal justice field, helping those who are harmed by violent crime. The vast majority of the people who I work with have lost a loved one to homicide. It can be a very demanding and draining job, but I love what I do and the people who I help. I do not, however, bring my job home with me. This is in part to preserve my mental health, but also because my family is not prepared for, nor should be hearing, the things that I hear of on any given day. This call came in at 4:40 on a weekday, when I was with my very young children.
He didn’t know that I have young children at home, but they are only part of the reason why I am upset about this call. I just can’t fathom why he thought it was acceptable to search me out. The issue he was calling about was old news, something that our office had commented on a week prior. This was neither a scoop nor pressing news, yet he still felt it justified and necessary that he call my house. I am thankful that this was an isolated case, but saddened by his cavalier attitude and implication that this was somehow my fault for having an unusal last name, and daring to have my phone number listed.