Man Loses 6-Figure Job Because of the Way He Answered the Phone When His Boss Called Him

Man Loses 6-Figure Job Because of the Way He Answered the Phone When His Boss Called Him

  • Kenyan Mark-B shared his experience of losing a well-paying job opportunity due to poor phone etiquette, highlighting the impact of unprofessional communication
  • Career and law expert Martin Obarimo said that it is important to maintain professionalism during phone calls, particularly when dealing with potential employers and unknown callers
  • The incident raised questions about employer expectations and the balance between candidate etiquette and company communication practices

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A Kenyan man has narrated how he lost a six-figure job he had been interviewed for over what he described as poor phone etiquette.

Man speaking on phone, right frame shows a paper written fired.
A man's manner of answering phone calls cost him a job. Photo: Juan Algar/Peter Dazeley.
Source: UGC

Cost of poor phone etiquette

Identified as Mark-B, the man said he had passed the interview stage of the job and had already been shown the office he would report to once the onboarding process was complete.

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According to Mark-B, his would-be boss called him, and he replied with "sema," a signature response he liked.

"They said they would reach out once they finalised the transition process. Days went by, and I assumed it was a hoax. I later received a call and answered with my signature word 'sema.' I froze when the person on the line said, 'that is very unprofessional of you,' in a disappointed tone, and she hung up. It was my boss-to-be in the communication department. She never called me back and never replied to my numerous texts," he narrated.

Mark-B explained that the experience taught him that bad habits are costly and can ruin one's career or business prospects.

"I had not signed any contract and this was many years ago, after this I went into business and that's what I've been doing, I learnt that people have different temperaments and this world can be cruel. Lastly is that God always has better plans for us though I can not quite place a finger on what I was saved from," he explained.

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Career and law expert Martin Obarimo weighed in on the matter, stating that a phone is like an office for both employed individuals and job seekers.

He insisted that everyone needs to answer phone calls with decorum, especially when the caller is a stranger.

Crucial role of phone etiquette in career success

He criticised the employer for denying someone a job just because they answered a call with "sema."

Obarimo advised bosses contacting prospective employees to use text messages to introduce themselves before calling.

"I've talked about this several times. If a person is called, it is always very important that they respond in a professional way because a phone is actually an office, regardless of the situation. There are also instances where a person is given a phone by the office to use for communication. That person must pick up the call, regardless of the time, if the phone is provided by the office. However, if the phone is not given to you by the office, you are not obligated to pick up outside working hours unless your work involves emergencies where you may be required anytime."

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A job seeker is like a person selling eggs in the market—you have to guard your eggs all the time. Be very polite to anyone calling you because you never know who it might be. At the same time, bosses should recognize that phone calls are not official unless a person has been engaged. They should send a message, email, or WhatsApp first. But calling a prospective employee is unprofessional. Further, it is also very wrong for a person to have a loud ringtone in this modern world when entering people's offices because it interrupts others. Professional and educated people put their phones on vibration. Additionally, having inappropriate skiza tunes is very bad. People should just have a normal ringtone," Obarimo added.

Man who was sacked from work gets another job

Briefly News recently reported that a man lost his job and started thinking about how to survive without a steady source of income. However, a few days after he was sacked, he got another job offer, which he said was better than the one he had lost.

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The man said the new job he got came with a bigger pay as well as personal accommodation.

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Rebone Lesejane (Editor) Rebone has experience in news bulletin reading, writing, content writing and editing. She did news bulletin reading and writing during her volunteering days at Pukfm and worked as a journalist intern and then as a freelance journalist for Newskoop. She wrote and edited entertainment, arts, culture and leisure content for What’s On In Joburg. Rebone passed the Google News Initiative training. You can contact her at