Financial Times Calling

November 25, 2008

Because my sweet son was up between the hours of 2:15 and 4:45am last night (thankfully something that does not usually happen), I didn’t have the energy to face the commute to LSE and instead stayed at home to work on some data I am refining for an upcoming paper.   Working at home used to be very productive for me, but that was before the house during the day was the realm of Nicolò, our nanny and “the chicken ballerina” (an Italian children song that Nicolò loves).  Now I have my good days and my bad days of working from home, but there are always more interruptions than previously.

The trick about working from home is to maintain a level of professionalism.  Especially as you can get a phone call from the office, a colleague or in my line of work, the media, at any moment and don’t want to be caught off-guard.   As an academic, people don’t call me very often, but every once and a while, someone calls.  Like today.

Around 2pm my mobile phone rang and the person said “Hello.  Is this Dr. Lauren Phillips?”  I affirmed and she proceeded to say “This is Christine so-and-so calling from the Financial Times.”   I immediately sprung up to close the door so that the FT wouldn’t hear the dancing chicken song in the background.   I assumed that they were calling to interview me on something.  She proceeded “Dr. Phillips… we need to check your credit card data for your online subscription to the FT to make sure your details are up to date.”

Can you hear the sound of my ego deflating?  To be fair, it wasn’t wildly improbable that the FT would call me: I have been quoted in the FT before and appeared on TV and radio to discuss things like IMF reform and sovereign debt.  And just the other week my husband, who also teaches at LSE, received a call from Forbes out of the blue asking whether he could comment on the implications of Obama’s win on trade policy (and while M. is an expert on a number of things, trade policy is not really one of them).  In fact, being at LSE means that you get entered into a database called “LSE Experts” and if no one more famous than you picks up the phone and the media is desperate to get a quote from an LSE academic, they will eventually find you on the list.

In any case, I carried on with my data, laughing slightly at myself and hoping that if the FT calls another day, I spring into action as quickly.

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