Some of my – how shall I put this? – more chronologically advanced readers may recall AT&T’s “Reach Out” advertising campaign from the 80s and 90s. If you need something to jog your memory, watch the video, then keep reading.
I don’t know if any of you have noticed it, but the phrase “Reach Out” has become a cliche in the USA. As I prepared breakfast one morning a few weeks ago, I noticed a pamphlet from my congressman on the table. It’s a good pamphlet with great information about the services the congressman and his staff provide for their constituents. The part that made me gag was near the bottom of page 5, in a textbox entitled, “7 Tips for Working with Congressman XYZ’s Office.” Tip #4 opens with the phrase,
Reach out early…
I hate the phrase, “Reach Out!” It’s so- cutesy, warm fuzzyish, New Ageish and fake. It reeks of faux intimacy. And, I hear it all the time. I’ll be on the phone with someone from a job placement center, and that person will inevitably say, “I’ll reach out to XXX and see if he’s interested in the position you have open.” What’s wrong with saying, “I’ll call XXX…?” Or, if I’m speaking with someone whom I haven’t heard from in a month or so, she or he will say, “I just wanted to reach out to you and find out….” No one in the HR field calls, writes or contacts anyone. Instead of doing such mundane activities, we supposedly “reach out” to people. And now, I can’t just call, write or contact my Congressman and his staff; I’m supposed to “reach out” to them too.
I don’t mean to be rude to my congressman, or HR professionals, or job applicants, but, frankly, I have no desire to be bosom buddies, BFFs, or pals with any of them. I’m interested in conducting business in a professional manner with them. To do that, I will write, call, or otherwise contact them. What I most certainly won’t do, is “reach out” to them.
— the chaplain