Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Google Voice explained

One of my previous employers offered an excellent perk, a phone and data plan. While I often used the smartphone for business, I decided to also have the phone double as my personal phone. I did not make this decision lightly, but keeping track of 2 phones, 2 chargers, 2 calendars, etc. convinced me to integrate my work and personal identities, so to speak.

Unfortunately, I made a rookie mistake that I hope I can help you avoid. I transferred my personal mobile phone number to this company. Luckily, my SVP at the time generously signed the paperwork to transfer it back to my personal use when I left the company. However, if I had known about Google Voice, I could have avoided this.

For just $20, you can transfer your personal phone number to Google Voice. This service allows, among many other features, call forwarding. I recommend getting a new mobile number through your employer's phone plan and letting Google Voice call that number. This way, you don't have to re-circulate a new phone number. It also allows you to differentiate between personal and work calls.

You can send unlimited text messages via email or the Google Voice web site and make free calls via Gmail to any North American number. There is even a setting that allows you to send calls to your number to an office phone during weekdays and a mobile or home phone during other time windows.

A tangent on switching employers. "But I love my company, so I don't need to worry about the mobile number release," you might say. You may love your employer, but turnover is so common that you should be protected, even if a future move is unlikely. What if your spouse gets a job across the country, for instance? Also, Forbes ran an article recently showing that salaries tend to remain stagnant if you stay at the same company. I have not found this to be the case universally, but it's important to know the research and your market value. Make sure to check out my post on compensation equity.

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