I’ve had cause this week to think of gatekeepers – the people who manage other people’s diaries and take calls on their behalf and constantly say “so and so is unavailable right now, I’ll take your name and get them to call you when they’re free”. Many find themselves in an awkward position when they know “so and so” has no intention of ever returning the messages and the caller keeps ringing in, trying to make contact and leaves yet more messages, still believing they will eventually speak to “so and so”. It would be infinitely more professional and respectful for the caller if the gatekeeper could ask them the purpose of their call and then relay that message to the intended recipient. The intended recipient could then tell the gatekeeper whether they are interested or not in the subject, and ask the gatekeeper to call the caller and pass that message on. This would save the gatekeeper being put in such a difficult position. Why don’t people do this?