Showing posts with label Bureaucracy and Dealing With It. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bureaucracy and Dealing With It. Show all posts

How to Deal With Being Put on Hold on the Phone - Bureaucracy Guide

Latest update: January 29, 2022. Page URL indicates original publication date; meanwhile, times change and the updates continue.

This page has to do with bureaucracy phone situations, both being put on hold forever and accomplishing your goal when a real human finally answers.

Being frustrated at the injustice and stupidity of it all is not the answer.

How to Deal and Cope with Bureaucracies
When Using the Phone

Do you have to deal with a bureaucracy or bureaucracies often? This can be city, county, state, federal, or other various government related agencies. Then there are private sector insurance companies, internet service providers, medical, and many other companies one may be required to deal with on a regular basis.



The speakerphone is the main key. One simply turns the thing on and then goes about their business while on hold waiting for a human. My longest wait so far has been over 45 minutes. I was amazed at the amount of work I got done during that time. Needless to say, this described procedure will not be appreciated by the mobile phone battery and/or will wreak havoc on any time-measured service plan you may be using.

If you have to routinely deal with these kinds of phone-on-hold, bureaucratic calls all the time; then a Lifeline phone service plan is your best bet, preferably landline; it is amazing how many people qualify for this discount. With a landline, you may even be able to tie in a DSL or broadband internet service plan along with it at an amazingly low price. Lifeline is a measured service. For landline, mine is measured by number of calls, as opposed to length of calls. For both landline or mobile phone, make sure service plan is the same; for  cell and smartphones, that may not be that easy. Many people have both a landline and cell or smartphone. With the single allowable Lifeline discount being used for the landline, the additional cost for the mobile phone can be negligible.

Whatever your phone and service plan situation is, all of the following information still applies.


Have a blank sheet of paper and pen ready before making the call. Try to write down all your thoughts and questions before making the call. In fact, you will even think of more thoughts and questions to write down after you have made the call and are waiting for that elusive human.


When a human finally answers, get their name. Then explain your situation and begin going though your questions and thoughts list. Be sure to check off each thought as you mention them. Be sure to write down the answers to the questions you've asked. Be sure to write down the inevitable new thoughts, questions and answers that come to mind during the conversation. If a future appointment date and time is involved, repeat the date and time back to them so as to confirm it.

Calculator optional

Some Closing Thoughts

Most people just pick up the phone and try to wing it. Please don't do that. Invariably they remember after the call that they forgot to volunteer an important piece of information or to ask a crucial question.

Good Luck! It Can Be Done!

And as a side note, don't even try contacting bureaucracies on Mondays. Fridays may not be that good of an idea either.

And another side note. If you end up in a situation where you are repeatedly being transferred all over the planet: get the name, job function, phone number and extension of each person along the way. Especially note who ends up being the go-to person to contact and their number and/or extension for future calls regarding the current problem.

Did you mail anything to the agency or post a requested document to their website? Always, and I do mean always, be sure to call them in a week to confirm that they received it and to confirm there are no additional problems needing to immediately be dealt with.

I have fought bureaucracies many times over the years. I have won every time. Persistence is the key. Most bureaucracies act in good faith, one just has to not give up.

And a Final Note

There are times when making a call that you know from experience you will be shunted to voice mail and be asked to leave a message. In such situations, always prepare your message in advance. That's right, type it up and have it displaying on your screen when making the call; then simply read them the message. It would be wise to start preparing the message the day before you plan to make the actual call. You will inevitably keep thinking of things to add over the next 24 hours. It will also give you the opportunity to reread and delete the anger, frustrations, and other emotions that have crept into your original message. When reading them the message, beware your voice intonation.

And an Update. Some entities may have a website with Live Chat. You might be able to avoid the whole phone situation altogether, worth checking out.

- End of Article -

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