“Leave word call,” noun phrase, a form of internal phone message in which the caller doesn’t leave a voicemail; instead he simply leaves a record of his name, extension, date, time called, and number of call attempts. Usage note: When employed by a manipulative person, this form of communication is truly vile because it cannot be checked from outside the office, so it can serve as a way for a taskmaster VP (or higher) to keep underlings chained to their desks. Fortunately, not all firms’ phone systems offer the leave word call (“LWC”) function, an omission that probably cuts costs because LWC recipients have been known to throw their phones and break office equipment in frustration. A leave-word message is only left for a subordinate, never the other way around. In theory, leaving such a message for a superior can be done but would be career suicide.
When a vice-president deposits a LWC in the telecom system for an associate, the implication is clear: Although the VP has no interest in wasting his precious breath on a voicemail, he nonetheless wants to convey to his minion, in the most impersonal way available, that HE WANTS HIM IN HIS (the vp’s) OFFICE ASAP. When the associate returns to his own Stygian office from, say, napping in a coat closet for ten minutes and sees the red LWC indicator light staring back at him, he’ll be crestfallen because he knows what’s coming. The VP will have all kinds of mind-numbing work for the associate that he couldn’t tell him about in a voicemail for a very simple reason: He wants to see the dispirited look on the associate’s face when he tells him to cancel his plans for the weekend. When he dishes out the bad news, a Machiavellian VP might even say something sympathetic, such as: “Sorry, buddy, this stuff’s gotta get done. Think of it as a rite of passage.” At this point, the associate should resist the temptation to become like a dog that’s been beaten too much and will do anything to please its master; he shouldn’t laugh along with the VP at the “rite of passage” comment. He should remember that the VP will do it to him again as soon as he gets the chance.