The Shyness Project

First Time Calling for an Informational Interview

I had planned on making my first call right away, but found that every time I thought about doing it I was filled with a lot of dread. I just didn’t want to think about it. So I put it off a day.

The next day, I prepared myself to make some calls. I used the internet to research various places I could call to ask for informational interviews and wrote down the numbers.

When I was ready with the first number (Kaiser hospital) and all I had to do was press send, I felt my heart pounding. I couldn’t bring myself to just push the button though, and the longer I waited, the worse it got. Eventually I put down the phone and went to the computer. I googled “phone phobia” and came across a variety of postings by people who have phone phobia. Reading other people’s fears helped me, and made me realize how much harder a lot of others have it even. Some can never bring themselves to do it, or wait weeks.

After reading others experiences, I felt comforted. I picked up the phone again and held my thumb over the send button. I still hesitated. But then as I was shifting on the couch, I accidentally pushed send!  The phone was ringing!  By then I had no choice but to let the phone keep ringing and prepare to talk with someone. I didn’t mean to push the button like that, but it got the job done!

I wasn’t taken to a person though, and instead had to punch in all these different numbers to get where I wanted to get to. Then all of a sudden the phone was ringing again.  A lady answered, and I said my spiel. To my dismay, soon after I had finished talking and she had begun to talk, the call somehow got lost. I had to call again!

So I called again, punched all the different buttons again, and got a hold of the lady again, saying I had just called and the call got lost. I repeated what I had asked earlier.  She told me that she didn’t think there were any occupational therapists I could interview in this department. My heart sank.  I wasn’t quite sure what to say then and was confused on why there weren’t any occupational therapists I could talk to. She said she would connect me with the operator then and maybe he could help me.  So I agreed, and the phone rang again, then a man answered. I gave him my spiel again, then heard nothing on the other end, then found the phone ringing again! I didn’t know what was going on or where I was going to be taken to next. It seemed like the operator didn’t know how to help me either.

The phone was answered by a lady who I thought was the same lady I originally talked to and had connected me to the operator, and after verifying, I learned it was her again! I wasn’t getting anywhere and neither of them knew how to help me. It was kind of stressful and confusing. It wasn’t what I expected to happen. Eventually she said that she would transfer me to the head of the department where I could leave a voicemail. So the phone rang again, then I got the voicemail message. Luckily beforehand I had written out a few different scripts depending on whether I got a secretary, the person, or the voicemail. I looked at my voicemail one and left my message, repeating my name and number twice and being sure to go slow. I was told I wouldn’t hear back  until Monday.

That first call didn’t go as smoothly as I had thought, but I managed to get through it. The hardest part was just making the call in the first place, which funnily enough I finally was able to do because I accidentally pushed the send button. If this doesn’t happen though, in the past I have had my brother or mom push the button for me since sometimes I really just can’t bring myself to do it. I get nervous as I hear the phone ring, but at least I’m finally making the call.

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18 thoughts on “First Time Calling for an Informational Interview

  1. You did make the call and that is important regardless of the outcome. I’m impressed you even scripted – I would never be so prepared…

    • Thanks it was more confusing than I thought, but eventually I got somewhere! Yeah in my career/life planning class we were told to write down scripts for when we got a secretary and for when we got the person since we had an assignment to do two informative interviews in that class as well. I used those scripts basically and altered them a little. My teacher must have known how nerve-racking calling for informational interviews can be for anyone. I thought it was cool that she helped us with that.

  2. I’m, too, am impressed that you made that call. As I do PR, I make calls to the press and must be prepared, should they answer the phone, to pitch my story. I get nervous too. I tell myself, with no call at all, my client would receive no press. What also helps is that I imagine myself at the same level of importance as that human being at the other end – we are all people. Scripts help enormously. Congrats on that call!

    • Thanks Marcy! And thanks for sharing that you get nervous too, that makes me feel better about it. What you say to yourself makes a lot of sense and I can see that being helpful. Scripts do help a lot. 🙂

  3. This experience must have been very stressful. It was the same thing for me as well a few months back. Then I got a job at a calling center and well, now I pretty much avoid the phone just because I am so sick so using it! ^^
    But it can be very difficult, yes. I remember how I used to avoid taking appointments with my doctors or concerning my finances and how it used to bring up so many problems. The way I overcomed my fear was by using the phone more. Then I saw that nothing bad happened and the anxiety slowly went away.

    • Yeah it wasn’t the easiest way to start, but at least I got the worst case scenario out of the way! Haha. I imagine the job at a call center really got you used to the phone! I would be sick of it too after having to answer it all the time!

      Exposure is definitely proving to be helpful, and I think it is just a matter of doing it over and over. It does get easier little by little. The hardest part is just pushing “send”. Thanks Vee!

  4. A script is a good idea – especially if you’re leaving a message. Now the ball is in their court – or voicemail. Calls like that can be very annoying – but once you get going, it’s all right. Nice that you turned to internet accounts from folks with similar feelings – good idea.

    • And now this post will be there for someone else 🙂

      • Haha yes very true! Now there is another post out there for people who like to read stuff like this like I do in times of difficulty. It was a confusing call but it was a good experience for me. I’m glad I finally got somewhere in the end and was at least able to leave a message.

  5. Great job, Brittany 🙂 Phil once decided he wanted to be a radio journalist and got a week of shifts at a BBC station. He was terrified. He told me the only way he got through it was to put one foot in front of the other, and not think any further than the next step. It’s a great tactic: it really works…

    • Thanks Kate! 🙂 Wow that’s awesome that your husband got a week of shifts at a BBC station! I imagine that would be very nerve-racking and at the same time very exciting. It really is about just going forth with your plans and not thinking too much ahead of what could go wrong.

  6. Ohh being transferred like that is horrible. Especially when you are psyched up to talk to someone. When you have to get put through to someone else and run through the whole spiel again is so stressful.
    Good on you for persisting and leaving a message 🙂
    You asked a question about my photos on my blog, I’m not sure how to set up notifications to reply to people, so I’ll answer here if that’s OK – I process most of my photos in the Camera+ app on my phone – my project 365 is for me to take a photo on my phone every day. Sometimes the quality of the photos is terrible, so they need a lot of tweaking. Camera+ is my comfort zone app. I also use Instagram some days.

    • Yeah it is nerve-racking! Especially when you don’t know where you’re being transferred to exactly.

      Thanks! It was a lot of being transferred around until I got somewhere, but at least I finally got somewhere!

      Cool I had no idea that those were photos from your phone!! I thought they were from one of those super big and fancy cameras, haha! They look amazing! You have a good eye for photography.

      • Thank you 🙂
        The apps make a huge difference to the photos, especially if the light is bad. I find the phone doesn’t take very good pics in low light & the flash just washes everything out. I decided to make them all square as an added element to the challenge.

  7. Don’t lose faith, young lady; NOTHING ever goes as smoothly as you want it to! Just keep moving forward.

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